So the Infinity event is here and the Avengers are well and truly involved (you could argue that the entire run of this volume of Avengers, bar a few issues, have been building up to it).
So far, the Avengers (without Spider-Man and no reason given as to why he was left behind – his probation? Isn't that over since Superior Spider-Man Team-up #1?) have gone into space to meet up with all the other races threatened by the oncoming Builders.
We start the issue not with the Avengers but with a group of Skrull warlords asking to join the galactic council. The chief warlord, Kl'rt, represents every Skrull warlord bar one, and that one sacrificed himself and his troops destroying their sun to show Builders can be beaten. The united Skrulls are welcomed and join the Kree, the Spartax Empire, the Brood and the Annihilation wave from the Negative Zone as part of the growing council. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of worlds are represented and the Avengers are quite small in number in comparison, but as Bruce Banner points out it's not necessarily about scale but what they can offer.
The council decide that their only chance against the Builders' fleet is an all out attack in a region of space called the corridor. Lying in wait for the Builders, the fleet hide near a singularity amidst a vast asteroid belt. When their prey arrives an almighty battle breaks out with the fleet managing to successfully take down a Builders' command vessel. However, the Builders were playing them and de-cloak the rest of their massive fleet leading to the destruction of most of the council's fleet.
With the retreat call given, Manifold evacuates his team of Avengers but the Quincrusier with Captain Marvel and Hawkeye on gets caught in an explosion and is drifting towards the singularity.
Bit of an odd issue as it's kind of a set-up issue but not really as it follows on from Infinity #1. Lots does happen too, so it's not just set-up with nothing to see for it for 3 issues.
First off, my main (but only) gripe. It takes nine pages for an Avenger to feature in this Avengers comic! Now this would be okay if they were setting up the baddy for the issue or the start of a new arc but, as I've already said, this issue follows on from Infinity. Why didn't they have the scenes showing the Skrull joining up in Infinity #1 instead of here? Then the scenes of the Avengers dealing with the Skrulls on Earth from that comic could have featured here instead. To me that would have been nicer; the Skrull force seen getting through back in Avengers (Vol. 5) #15 would have been dealt with within the Avengers comics and the Avengers would have appeared in their own comic a bit sooner. It's a minor thing overall I guess, but if I buy a comic for the Avengers I do expect them to feature even if that issue is part of an event – why bother to do a tie-in that hardly features the characters you're tying them in with?
Fortunately, it's not that bad as the Avengers do have their time in the light in this issue. There's a little bit of flirting between Smasher and Sunspot/Cannonball (not sure quite who she is flirting with as both respond – heck maybe it is both!). There's a nice moment acknowledging Spider-Woman past with the Skrulls (and being replaced by their Queen during the Secret Invasion). I also liked the nod to the other alien races that have signed up to the council who have appeared in previous Marvel comics, such as the Kree, the Brood and the Shi'ar. Little bits of continuity like that, I do enjoy.
The story itself is good and moves things on nicely, showing once more just how powerful the Builders are but also that they can be beaten (although it took the explosion of a sun to do it). Finally a word about the art, and it's nice. Very vivid showing the space battle and numerous explosions well.
Let's hope this event goes well and respects the storylines of the comics it is tied in with (although as Avengers has set up this Event I don't think that will be a problem here)
Good continuation of the event.