Infinity: The Hunt #3 – Comics Review
(This review includes spoilers for Issue #3 of Infinity: The Hunt)
Thanos is a mysterious Marvel comics villain who gained notoriety from a brief appearance in the film Marvel’s The Avengers early in 2012. Since this appearance, the purple alien with the bumpy chin has planed and executed an attack on Earth in Marvel comics’ event called infinity. The Hunt is story spinning out of this invasion. On the eve of a contest between seven schools for young super heroes (“The contest of champions”) The younger Marvel superheroes react to Thanos’ alien attack. References to The Hunger Games have faded by the third issue. Rather than hide in panic rooms across the world, they want to make a difference, and stop Thanos.
Realism, and close ties to reality, are recruited for this story. Marvel superheroes struggle to stay calm in a crisis, and use their abilities in combat to solve the problems in front of them. Some of them succeed. There is a sense of gloom and defeat, however, as the inexperience of the younger heroes is underscored and highlighted.
Just past halfway in the comic are scenes of colourful superheroes in school uniforms using vibrant abilities to attack vicious aliens. The colour is sufficient for these pages. A more bright and warm colour palette would improve the overall impact of these scenes. It’s easy to recognise each group of Marvel superheroes by the colour and shape of their costumes, which makes these complex fighting scenes less chaotic.
Despite the heavy subject matter of an alien invasion and inexperience, there are some notes of humor, which are reflected in the art. A character called Pan from the Latverian School of Science watches the athletic hero Finesse defeat several aliens, and spouts valentines love hearts.
Character voices for Marvel superheroes visiting from other books are carried across into this book. Bently sounds like Bently from the Future Foundation. Finesse of the Avengers Academy retains her cool and mature outlook established in Avengers Academy. New characters, such as the students from Laveria (The country controlled by Doctor Doom), receive more attention then characters already established, which is fair. The intention appears to be establishing an international network of Marvel superhero schools.
What results from a story with a large cast many characters saying a few words each. Rotating the narrator for each comic might work as a solution. Finesse narrates the third issue of The Hunt effectively. Her sentences are short, with an economy aimed to match her fighting style.
Themes, Ethics, Values.
A larger theme this comic raises is how a student can use their education in the real world. In the second half of the issue, Finesse narrates the events of an alien attack above the city of Atlantis. She comments that “maybe the teachers were right to keep them [the students] locked up or their own safety”. Finesse also states:
“Nothing we [the students] have learned in school has prepared us for any of this”.
The question of how useful education is outside of a classroom is raised here. Finesse is skeptical of the students training. Since her abilities are based on observation – the ability to gain new skills instantly by watching another person perform physical ability – she can accurately assess the behaviour of each student. What is clear, however, is that the students from training facilities with curriculum that imitates real world situations are performing better than those that lack this feature.
For example, despite the acumen and intelligence reputed by Mr.Fantastic’s Future Foundation, Bently and the Moloids are unable to think of any solutions to the alien invasion problems – they enter into the battle over the Atlantic Ocean and stay out of the way.
In contrast, the students from the Avengers Academy, and the X-men‘s school (The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning) handle the attack with calm combat ability, and less panic. Fear, and how it affects decision making in a crisis, is acknowledged: Striker forgets that salt water is a strong conductor of his electrical powers. The students from schools that teach problem solving from the perspective of real world issues cope, however.
Practice in facilities such as the holographic Danger Room (X-men comics), and sparring with experienced Marvel superheroes such as Captain America, would successfully imitate real world combat and crisis situations.
In education, this is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). As Linda Pigott Robinson (Connections-NC director, specialising in gifted education) wrote in an article for Learn NC.org, high-school education that asks students to investigate problems from the perspectives of professionals, and role play solutions using those perspectives, are beneficial.
A bit more on Infinity: The Hunt #3
Not one of the best youth oriented comics around, but The Hunt could be a great launch pad. There are no moving emotions, or soaring heroism that readers might expect from a comic about young superheroes using their gifts and abilities or brains and technology to out-fight and out-think an army, monster, or some other ancient, deadly foe.
Realism is key here, however, since the effect of a complete disaster on a less experienced, younger peace-keeping force is played out. It will be interesting to see where this goes. It’s not bad that the comic showcases almost two-dozen marvel superheroes and Marvel comics characters. Current and new readers might find a character they like, and follow the Marvel comic that character stars in.