Previously in Infinity: The Avengers have joined a galactic council, one formed to try and fight the seemingly unstoppable force of the Builders. After an all out attack between the fleets of the council and the Builders, the Builders took the upper hand leading to the retreat of the council's forces. However, the quincruiser carrying Captain Marvel and Hawkeye was left behind...
Captain Marvel, along with Sunspot, Cannonball and Hawkeye are prisoners aboard one of the Builders' vessels. A brief flashback shows us that with their ship going down, Hawkeye et al abandoned it and Cap M briefly got her binary powers back before being captured by the Builders (more of this side of the story features in the Captain Marvel title for those interested). A Gardener (one of Ex Nihilo's race) called Ex Nihila comes to take Carol for questioning. It seems the Builders are surprised to see an Abyss, a Nightmask and a Starbrand amongst the Avengers' number and want to know where they got them from. They are even more amazed that Captain Universe is also with them (albeit still in a coma following the events in Infinity #1).
In a different region of space, the survivors of last issue's epic space battle have made it to the Behemoth ringworld. Spider-Woman, Shang Chi and Manifold are helping to tend to the injured whilst Ex Nihilo has used his gardening skills so that the planet has thousands of gardens each continually yielding food so supplies are rich. Meanwhile, the galactic war council are meeting and trying to figure how their plans were so wrong. Gladiator, Emperor of the Shi'ar, blames the fact that they don't know their enemy. Captain America makes a suggestion that could change that (much to the annoyance of J-Son of Spartax, but the Kree Supreme Intelligence soon shuts him up). Cap A takes them to meet Ex Nihilo but to be honest he doesn't know why his creators are attacking either, he was always taught to be life-creating. It is here the Kree Supreme Intelligence calculates that the Builders are on a direct route to Earth that takes them through Hala (the Kree Capital World).
It is also now that J-Son decides to betray the council. He contacts the Builders and offers them Earth in exchange for a truce. The Builders aren't interested though and trace his communication back to Behemoth, allowing them to attack the refugees...
Nice little issue, keeps the story moving on well. We see the council licking their wounds but also planning their next move. We see the Builders and their genuine surprise at seeing things from their past (namely Abyss, Nightmask, Starbrand and Captain Universe). I'm really interested to see how this plays out and where these “unique” characters fit into the Builders and their mythos, as we didn't get to see that this issue.
There were some other little touches I approved of too. I liked how J-Son tried to write off the Avengers but then the Kree Supreme Intelligence stuck up for the Humans and with the stats to back it up! I also liked the use of Ex Nihilo in this issue as both the provider of food and as an insight into the enemy (although he didn't have much advice to offer on the latter). One thing I wasn't to keen on was the way Ex Nihila interacted with Captain Marvel. In the panel just before she takes the Captain off for questioning, she is a little bit too close for comfort and I think it looks a bit dodgy – almost bordering on assault. If it was meant to portray Ex Nihila in a bad light and emphasise her as one of the villains, it worked! Also, as you may expect in an event tie-in, there wasn't really any moments for a characters to have a stand out moment (apart from maybe Ex Nihilo as mentioned above); I'm just hoping that the Avengers don't take a back seat to the other “event” characters.
That all said, I look forward to see where Infinity goes and hope the traitorous J-Son gets his comeuppance!
3.5 Solid mid-event issue