writer: Jonathan Hickman /artist: Dalibor Talajic / Marvel Comics
I’m not sure we can call what Hickman is doing with the Time Runs Out storyline worldbuilding anymore. In the literal sense and in the figurative sense in regards to scale, this is multi-universe building. Hank Pym (Da Gawd), stumbled back through the portal in the last issue of New Avengers to tell our Heroes and “shouldn’t be really classified as Heroes” about the horrors he had seen. So guess what this issue was about: all the horrors he had seen in excruciating detail. It’s been obvious for a while now, that Hickman isn’t necessarily planning on the end of the Time Runs Out story as much as he’s building a very large prologue for Secret Wars. The storytelling is good, very typical Hickman quality in imagination and scope, but there’s a little frustration in anticipating that this frankly great storyline isn’t really going to give us a solid conclusion before the next story begins. Or so it looks. Introducing a bigger threat than the big threat from before (that was a bigger threat from before that…and so on) means this story is growing even wider and harder to wrap your arms around. But it also makes it seem impossibly grim, which is also kind of cool.
Both Pym and Captain Britain get some cool moments in explaining their journey through the multi-verses (and their subsequent failures of sorts). Even though there is some huge action that happens in the retelling from those two, this is mostly a pretty chatty issue. Given those circumstances Talajic does a good job with the action segments he’s given. I imagine that governing scale is a little different when you factor in Hank Pym as a bystander for most of it, but he handles it all well.
Hickman skirts the edges of the story, expanding it (again) and giving us an even bigger threat (again). Things have cooled a little on the bombastic front ever since T’Challa put the blade where it belongs, but look, this is one of the best large scale storylines we’ve had in a while. It’s still worth the read.