It’s was a bit quiet in the world of Marvel Infinite comics in 2015, but in recent months there seems to have been something of a deluge as we see fantastic team-ups from big name Marvel heroes strutting their stuff in the world of cutting edge digital comics. We round-up some of the best featuring Deadpool & Cable, Amazing Spider-man & Silk, Daredevil & The Punisher as well as the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Deadpool and Cable: Split Second [star rating=”4″]
There’s something about Deadpool which makes his fourth-wall-breaking, wise-cracking antics perfect for the Marvel Infinite format. Deadpool: The Gauntlet is still one of the best series Marvel have released in the format, and this latest offering comes very close to matching it. The story is a Day’s of Future Past time travel jaunt which sees Cable return from the future to stop Deadpool from killing an evil scientist called Carl Weathers (not THE Carl Weathers!) and destroying the world. However before we get to that there is plenty of henchman killing and joke cracking (mostly involving Deadpool’s hydra agent mole Bob). With a script from Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza it captures the tone and voice of the character perfectly, while the art from Powerplay’s Reilly Brown (who also lends a hand with the scripting), gives us some outstanding visuals that make the most of the infinite format and mean this a sure fire hit.
Amazing Spider-Man & Silk: The Spider(Fly) Effect [star rating=”3.5″]
Like Deadpool, Spideys wise-cracking ways just seem to lend themselves to the infinite format. Spider(Fly) Effect joins Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I and Ultimate Spider-man as another great read, thanks especially to an opening sequence that sees Peter and Cin bantering while climbing a stair via one long sequence. Writer Robbie Thompson, artist Todd Nauck and layout artist Geoffo manage to nail the tone of this book just right to create something that is really fun to read and doesn’t require you to be up to date with the latest timelines to enjoy (quite the opposite in fact, thanks to it’s time travel presume!). Thompson has been doing an awesome job with his old school web slinger series Spidey and he continues that light tone and classic Stan Lee feel here. While artist Todd Nauck, has a very classic, almost Mark Bagely style to his work, which when augmented by some really clever layouts from Geoffo makes the whole thing feel really polished and slick. Although not quite on a par with the outstanding Who Am I?, The Spider (Fly) Effect has enough charm and originality that you would have to use stolen time travelling tech just to prevent yourself from reading on.
Daredevil/Punisher: The Seventh Circle [star rating=”3″]
With Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s Daredevil: Road Warrior setting the standard for Infinite comics, this latest team up for DD with the Punisher has a lot of live up to – but unfortunately is a a long way off the high standard set by the two guided view veterans. It’s not that The Seventh Circle is particularly bad, it’s just that it lacks anything fresh or new. The story sees Murdock shipping a particularly nasty villain off to Texas only for the Punisher to attack the convoy and attempt to take him out. This leads to a dynamic chase and Daredevil calling on assistance from fellow hero Blindspot while Frank Castle unleashes his own brand of justice. Writer Charles Soule normally delivers better than this fairly pedestrian fare, while artist Szymon Kudrqnski looks to give the book the kind of gritty style we saw during the Alex Maleev era with lots of angular lines and harsh shadows, but it lacks a certain slickness to make it stand out. At least Reilly Brown is there to give the book some life with his layouts, but it’s not enough. The plot feels very by the numbers, however we are only judging this from one issue, and there is very little in this opening salvo to make you really want to check out the next episode apart from curiosity. We’ve often complained about how more serious books don’t always make the most of the Infinite format and this again confirms it, especially when compared to the lighter, smarter tone of the recent Spiderman and Deadpool books.
marvel Universe Guardians of the Galaxy [star rating=”3.5″]
A bit like Deadpool, the wise cracking world of the Guardians of the Galaxy is well suited to the Infinite format and by using the classic characters from the cartoon series it helps give the whole book a shot in the arm of vitally and fun. Peter Quill and the rest of the Guardians are woken up by Groot who is about to lose his arm into a pocket dimension vial. As the Guardians attempt to rescue him from it in their own unique way we find out Rocket is already in the vial and only Groot is stopping him from disappearing into it complete. Inevitably we see them all get sucked in and that is where the first issue ends, so at the very least you need to keep reading to find out what happens! Artist Luciano Vecchio does a great job of replicating the cartoon series style, while layout whizz Geoffo gives the whole thing a few neat touches with some wide scrolling pages and some cool transitions. Although not the most comprehensive of stories, or as innovative as some of the early Guardians Infinite books, there is enough energy and enthusiasm that should make you come back for more, just as long as you don’t get sucked into a trans dimensional vial of your own!
For a site that specialises in indie and small press, it feels wrong to use the word ‘indie’ in a derogatory manner, however when it is a book that comes from one the worlds biggest comics publishers then you expect it to be of a certain standard. Although you can see what they are trying to do, giving the format a left field dose of something different and making it feel unlike your traditional comic book story, unfortunately they have chosen the wrong team to attempt it so it ends up looking decidedly amateur. The story sees Tony Stark on some down time at Avengers tower only for a mysterious energy force to attack the tower. The off duty Avengers begin to assemble, with the first being Cap and Falcon who rush back from their R&R time to help. It all sounds very basic, and you’d expect more from a two man writing team. But it is the art which really makes the book stand out and not in a good way. The simplistic styling of Soutch, feels a bit like Dennis Culver’s from Edison Rex with lots of simple clean lines and minimal clutter, but without the any of the charm and detail. Instead it feels half done, with backgrounds incomplete rather than simplistic, and the characters feeling half-baked and static. Add to this the relative lack of transitions or clever layouts (despite being produced by Infinite veteran Mast) and although this shouldn’t be the be all and end all of whether an Infinte book is good, it leaves us wishing this book was much better than it has ended up. For a long time Marvels Antman Infinite movie tie in had the ignominy of being the worst Infinite book, but this comes very close to taking that undesirable title.