Originally posted at BlackGirlNerds
What’s Right and What’s Wrong with Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet
I had friends who have been telling me that I should pick up Marvel’s New Infinity Gauntlet for awhile, but I had so many other comics, reviews and shows that I was behind on that I let it pass until one day I was on tumblr and saw this image…
A lil black girl with natural hair in SPACE?! Marvel, you now have my undivided attention.
Infinity Gauntlet is actually a reboot of the 90’s version of the story by George Perez and Jim Starlin in which Thanos acquires all of the Infinity Stones and although almost everyone in the Marvel U tries to stop him, he basically destroys half of the universe and the life in it with the flick of a wrist. For those of you less familiar, there are 6 Infinity Stones (or gems) that have God-like powers which control Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power anywhere in the multiverse. They all fit neatly into a fab little glove/weapon/shiny accessory called The Gauntlet. (For more info on the Gems and the MCU read this).
This version of the story takes place during the Secret Wars timeline within the Battleworld universe. Battleworld is part of the Secret Wars umbrella, which also includes War Zones and Last Days. (You don’t need to understand all of the world’s in order to understand this story though, trust me). Basically, Marvel created a way to make all of their universes (Earth-616, Earth-1610, etc.) exist alongside each other by destroying the time/space continuum that held them together. Freeing them up to create whole new storylines and characters without having to stick to the rules of any one particular verse. In other words they “Game of Throned” their universe and this tale is one of the first stories coming out of the new one.
The Story (Book 1)
Co-Written by Gerry Duggan and Dustin Weaver illustrated by Weaver, the story starts with a little girl named Anwen Bakian (Nova) and her father, sister and grandfather who are doing their best to survive in the wasteland of New Xandar. They spend most of their time trying desperately not to get eaten by giant space bugs that were left behind by the Annihilation Wave. It definitely has that Land of the Lost vibe. (look it up kids).
In the middle of a fight Anwen actually finds an Infinity stone (the Mind stone to be exact), but she’s too busy fighting for her life to understand what it is she’s found. What’s curious is that Anwen’s mom, Eve, isn’t present, but we soon learn that she is Nova Force (a member of Nova Corps) and left her family to try to help New Xandar from the Annihilation Wave with the rest of the Corp. The family’s tensions are evident over whether they will ever see her again since she’s been gone so long. Even Gramps doubts his daughter’s survival.
Spoilers (Book 2)
In the second book, however, it’s revealed that Eve isn’t dead, and has come back for her family. She not only came to rescue them from Battleworld, but she brought Nova Stars (the source of Nova Corps members power) with her. They transform each member of the family into Nova Force members themselves, complete with flying exosuits and weapons…even the family dog Zigzag gets one.
Their happy reunion is short-lived however, when they are almost instantly attacked by more “bugs” and need to learn to control their new suits to fight them, as well as work together as a team and look out for each other as a family.
Anwen and her sister Fayne imbue both childlike fearlessness and wiseness beyond their years as a result of the post-apocalyptic world they’ve been thrust into. Eve is clearly the leader of the family and of her unit in the corps (I refuse to call her a “strong black woman” because that term is so trite no one takes it seriously anymore) and she clearly knows how to handle herself in battle. And we do see a bit of Eve’s softer side when she interacts with Menzin, her husband.
Meanwhile, Thanos is trying his damndest to get his hands on the rest of dem stones along with Star-Lord and Gamora, however, neither Thanos nor the Guardians of the Galaxy are aware of the Bakian family or Anwen’s discovery of one of the Mind Stone…yet.
What I Think
I am a fan of stories about real people who suddenly acquire powers, who weren’t necessarily born with them, but through a series of events (or inventions) become enhanced in some way. (like HULK, Iron Man, Hawkeye, etc). Add to that a Black family facing real problems and a little Black girl who is coming of age in a warzone and I’m hooked.
Weaver’s palette is simple yet dramatic and I’m impressed with his style, especially when it comes to the closeup emotional and wide-shot fight scenes. Both Duggan and Weaver’s writing is thoughtful: we not only see a group of people fighting a war, we see a family struggling with loss and fear and parents disagreeing on how best to protect their children. For the most part, I really do like this comic and this storyline, I only have one problem….
There is absolutely not one Black person working on this project at Marvel.
You see, I think representation both in the pages of comic books and behind the scenes during the creative process is important. In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s there were so few Black folk working in comics that we took what we could get. These days, Marvel, DC and others know how important diversity is to their fanbases because comic book sales and box office numbers are reflecting our spending habits. They are trying to fix things, however, there have been so many missteps that lately, I feel a little like I’m being pandered to. Kind of like when Marvel dropped their “Hip-Hop Homage” variant covers or when DCYou put damn near every Black, Latino, Female and Gay character into one of the most blatant targeted ad campaigns since Calvin worked at McDonalds.
In fact, since the IG storyline is all about a Black woman leading her family through a really difficult struggle (something that I think maybe one or two Female POC might know a thing or two about), you would think that they might hire one Black woman to work on part of the series. I mean, they had Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson to help create Kamala Khan for Ms. Marvel, why not get Charlie Trotman or Afua Richardson to help create Infinity Gauntlet?
I understand that IG is part of a larger verse and I do think that Duggan and Weaver are doing a good job and that they should keep creative control for continuity’s sake. And I’m not saying don’t buy the comic, because hell, if it doesn’t succeed, it will go the way of Greg Pak’s Storm series and just end prematurely. Then we’ll get the excuse that “Black people don’t buy comics” and it’ll be five years before they make another one. Although it is a wonderful story about a Black family in the future, led by a smart, capable Black woman (with a natural no less!), I just want to know when will it be okay to say, “Hey Marvel, hey DC, if you’re really committed to diversity, how about you hire someone who actually LOOKS like the market that you’re trying to sell to instead of temporarily putting characters in the window for limited runs?”
All panels and artwork were drawn by DUSTIN WEAVER
Infinity Gauntlet #1 and #2 (2015) are property of Marvel Comics.
DUSTIN WEAVER (Artist)