Previously in Infinity: After saving the Universe from the threat of the Builders, the Avengers turn their attention back to their own planet that is currently under threat from Thanos. As the Avengers hurry back with the entire galactic fleet behind them, Black Dwarf awaits in control of the Peak space station. Fortunately, Captain America knows what awaits them and has come prepared...
For those keeping score, this issue is set before Infinity #6.
After checking in with Iron Man to let him know they've returned, Captain America gives the order for the galactic fleet to attack Thanos's blockade. He has previously asked for assistance from the Guardians of the Galaxy in taking the Peak offline. It appears they fail though, and the galactic fleet is getting hammered, so Cap A sends Manifold, Shang Chi and Black Widow to do the job. Cap A and the rest of the Avengers leave to join in the battle against the blockade, but not before Steve gives his thanks to the galactic council. Kl'rt, the Skrull chief warlord, tells him not to thank them until they have won.
Widow's team meet resistance on the Peak in the form of Black Dwarf himself, so Manifold teleports out to get reinforcements. With the Avengers in space fighting the blockade, the galactic council themselves step in and fight Black Dwarf personally. They succeed, allowing the Avengers the opportunity to try to beat the tyrant who holds their world...
Pretty short review, which kind of says it all. Not really a good thing for the plot of an issue if you can sum up a comic in two short paragraphs. It's not all bad, but it's just a lot of it is fight scenes and spaceships shooting at other spaceships; whilst that takes up a lot of the pages and can look very pretty, it doesn't take long to summarise.
As hinted at in Avengers (Vol. 5) #22, this storyline for this battle comes in two parts: one to shut the Peak down, the other to get past the blockade. Off panel, Cap A put in a call to the Guardians to see if they could do the first job for them. Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon literally appear in one panel and are presumably unsuccessful, which is why Black Widow's team are sent. This story may be told in the Guardians of the Galaxy Infinity tie ins – I'm not picking that comic up so don't know for 100%. If so, I'm glad the tale isn't retold in it's entirety here but if their story was significant then a brief recap here or at least a caption box pointing us in the direction of the tie in should have been included. Otherwise it's a pretty pointless cameo from the Guardians.
I like how the council themselves step in to fight Black Dwarf. Gladiator has been itching to get his hands dirty for a while and is given the chance, though it is Ronan the Accuser that lands the final blow. I guess that was the council's way of earning Captain America's thanks from earlier and it was a nice touch.
The art is a little disappointing for me. I just found it a bit patchy. On one page you have some nice crisp close up of the characters, but on the next you have some sketchy wide shots that lack colour and shade. I suppose I'm more of a fan of Ramos's art, he rarely seems to skimp on his panels, not even on page splash group scenes. Misleading front cover too (which I hate) as Supergiant does not feature in this comic.
There's not much else to say really. Once again this issue seems about building up to the final part of the Infinity event and that's a bit of a shame. It's not so much filler as the plot does move on, it just doesn't move on very far. To me it's a bit annoying that Hickman is dragging out the Avengers' return to Earth when he got rid of the Builders and saved the rest of the Universe so quickly.
Probably could have condensed this issue and the last into one, so it gets a below average score. Not awful, just a few too many fight scenes and not enough plot for me.
Avengers (Vol. 5) #18 was called Avengers Universe 1, do you think we'll get an Avengers Universe 2 to justify the use of the 1?