When one thinks of great writer/artist combinations, several names come to mind – Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo, Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean, Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso and Brian Michael Bendis/Mark Bagley. Infinity Wars #1 proves that Gerry Duggan/Mike Deodato Jr. should be included in that collective.
Gerry Duggan has quietly become one of Marvel’s greatest and most influential writers, having helmed Deadpool for around six years while consistently showcasing his writing prowess. Now he’s moved into the space-opera genre and proven equally adept in that arena.
There’s always a degree of fear when Marvel announces a new event with a similar title to a past event. You worry that the new event will just retread old ground. That’s not the case here. Everything that is introduced in this issue feels organic and wholly original, particularly the new villain, Requiem. Without spoiling anything within the issue, Requiem is both terrifying and emotionally gut-wrenching, managing to evoke feelings of hatred, fear and compassion, all within the span of a few pages.
There’s a lot of dialogue in the issue that establishes the truly cosmic nature of this conflict, yet the pace never slows down. Duggan calls upon the rich history Jim Starlin created with the Infinity Stones (creating an Infinity Watch, ensuring Thanos’s role is ever-present, etc.), yet makes it all seem new by mixing in concepts like the God Quarry and Loki flying around in an interstellar Viking boat, meeting up with other versions of himself. Duggan makes sure that the reader is consistently off-balance, yet satisfied.
I can’t imagine a better artist for this event than Mike Deodato Jr. His signature shadow and line work bring a unique emotional quality to the story. From the first full-page headshot of Gamora to the cosmic revelations faced by Loki, to the stunning close to the issue, Deodato Jr. proves that no situation is too difficult for him to visualize and bring to life on the page. The way he is able to switch between carefully detailed close-up action scenes to expansive ensemble sequences is inspiring and impactful.
As a long time fan of anything dealing with the Infinity Stones, I had been skeptical of this event. I didn’t want another reimaging of the past like Secret Wars, or even Secret Empire. Duggan and Deodato Jr. put all my fears to rest in this issue and have made sure I’m going to read every issue until the saga ends in December.