Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Dean White
Letters: Cory Petit
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brevoort
Cover: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Dean White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: June 2011
Cover Price: $3.99
Parker Robbins, having possession of three Infinity Gems, travels to the Astral Plane in order to gets his hands on the Soul Gem. When he arrives he’s confronted by Thanos, who possesses the Soul Gem, claiming the Infinity Gems belong to him. After a failed attempt to convince Parker he should hand over the Gems, Thanos reveals his true form – that of Dr. Stephen Strange who used the Vishanti Spell of Illusion to conceal his identity.
Ejecting both of them from the Astral Plane with a spell, Strange and Parker meet the rest of the Avengers. Just as they appear, the Red Hulk, holding the Power Gem in his fist, lands a shot to Parker’s face that sends him reeling. In the ensuing battle with the Red Hulk, he loses control of the Infinity Gauntlet and the Gems. This time it is an Avenger that is wielding the greatest power in the Universe – Iron Man wears the Infinity Gauntlet.
Tony Stark can do so much with the Gauntlet, he can remake history and change the entire fabric of time. He decides to do the sensible thing with it. First he sends Parker back to prison and then he makes a far more difficult decision.
The story was well written by Brian Michael Bendis and it flowed much better than Avengers #11 which I think suffered from too many splash pages. Although, I found it odd that even though The Watcher pretty much narrated the entire previous issue, he was completely absent from this one. The story came across much better without The Watcher’s commentary, but it made it an inconsistent flow if read back to back. If this event was so important for him to literally be standing over everyone’s shoulder, why didn’t he stick around for the finale?
John Romita Jr. broke away from the almost all full page splashes of the previous issue, although he manages to put in a handful. A lot of pages are 1/2 splash pages though, but I felt this worked so much better than the last one. I really enjoy his art along with Klaus Janson’s inks, but the full splashes didn’t work for me.
This issue felt much stronger because of the layouts and the writing, also maybe because The Watcher was gone completely. It moved away from the narrative and that fact alone made it more substantive. Maybe he got an advanced screening of the new Thor film and had to leave – who knows?
– The Comic Book Critic
Comic Book Critic Rating: 6.5