This is the first in a series of posts in which (partly out of vanity) I highlight moments in superhero comics that deserve to live on in the annals of superherodom.
***Spoilers for Infinity #4 follow . . . but if you haven’t read it yet, what’s wrong with you?!***
Since I found fault with one aspect of Jonathan Hickman’s otherwise magnificent Avengers run a few weeks ago, I thought I’d begin this series with a great moment in his Infinity crossover event from 2013. In that story, the Avengers have to battle the Builders, who are bent on destroying Earth in order to save the universe (this is part of the buildup to the major crossover event of 2015, Secret Wars).
A team of Avengers (led by Captain America) has gone into space to try to stop the Builders before they arrive at earth. Though they’ve joined forces with the Skrulls, the Kree, the Shi’ar, and the Galactic Council, they have been unable to stop the wave of Builders traveling across the universe toward Earth, and in Ininity #4, they perform a false surrender to the Builder who has taken control of the Kree homeworld, Hala.
Thor travels to Hala as the “negotiator” for the Avengers and the rest of the resistance. When he arrives, he discards Mjolnir and sends it flying into space, where it hurtles toward Hala’s sun.
Then he bows before the Builder as part of the surrender ruse, and for a few pages, it looks as if the “negotiation” is going as badly as it could go.
The Builder slaps the God of Thunder and tells him that nothing he can do will save Earth. Seeing Thor humbled and disgraced in this way ought to hurt the heart of anyone who is a fan of the Odinson, but the payoff is tremendous.
Mjolnir passes through the fire of Hala’s sun and reverses course.
The superheated mallet causes a massive clap of thunder when it enters Hala’s atmosphere . . .
. . . and then returns to Thor’s hand, punching a hole right through the Builder’s abdomen. It’s one of those moments in comics where it’s hard not to stand up and do a fist pump (or some embarrassing geekiness like that).
With the Odinson declared unworthy at the end of Original Sin (and we still don’t know why, though hopefully we’ll know soon), it’s refreshing to go back to Infinity and be reminded why he’s one of the real badasses of the Marvel Universe.