Fail in their latest mission, and the Avengers may find that space is their — and everyone else's — final frontier.
An expanded roster of Marvel Comics' signature superhero team heads off on a galactic journey to rally the universe in the six-issue event series Infinity, launching in August from writer Jonathan Hickman and artists Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver.
Fans will get their first taste of what's to come on May 4 when Marvel issues a special Infinity preview on Free Comic Book Day in comic shops. The preview will look at what nefarious business the cosmic villain Thanos (the purple baddie movie fans saw last spring during the end credits of The Avengers) is planning to do to Earth, since the Avengers' departure has left the planet vulnerable.
"The universe's greatest serial killer is cut loose to do bad things to our most precious world," Hickman says.
The writer has been planting seeds for Infinity in his two series, Avengers and New Avengers, which also will act as tie-in books.
In the flagship Avengers, the "space opera" tale of Infinity teams the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor with outer-space heroes Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy on a mission to bring together shape-shifting Skrulls, warriors of the Kree, the Alien-like Brood and other intergalactic folks against a common foe.
And the Avengers will need all the help they can muster. Their new enemy, the Builders, are an ancient race of universe-building beings targeting Earth for destruction, who "can raze worlds and have basically seeded life through the galaxy," Hickman says.
Issues of New Avengers as well as Infinity focus on Thanos' secret agenda and the superheroes who are left to deal with him and his army running roughshod over Earth.
"Somebody like Daredevil, who's used to dealing with more street-level problems, has to suddenly face foes and situations that are a little bit out of his ordinary weight class," says Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort.
Cavalry shows up in the form of the Inhumans, a society of super-beings led by the silent but extremely powerful Black Bolt, who have always straddled the line between heroes and villains since their first appearance in 1965 in Fantastic Four.
"They're not like a team of superheroes. They're a demographic — being an Inhuman is like being Cuban, like being Irish," Brevoort says. "Within that strata, there are good guys and bad guys and bystanders and guys who just want to do their job and go home and drink an Inhuman Löwenbräu and kick back."
Infinity begins a push to make them a much more important part of the Marvel Universe than they have been recently, Hickman says. "There are huge plans for the Inhumans. They're such great characters, and this will be a pretty good example of why."
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