The Marvel Infinite comics show us how digital comics can be a different way to read comics.
As with the previous 'Infinite' comic featuring a member of the Nova Corps racing to Earth to deliver the warning of the coming of the Phoenix Force, this one really utilizes the digital format. In a surprising fashion, despite the first few issues having a feeling of being a little lacking on action (aside from random fight after fight), there hasn't felt like there's really been room to delve into the individual thinking of characters. In particular, we haven't really seen how Cyclops is handling all of this.
Cyclops has always been driven and pretty much obsessed with leading the X-Men and doing what he believes is the right thing. Since M-Day, his entire race's survival has been called into question. He's done everything he can to ensure they can continue to survive despite the incredible odds stacked against them. The coming of the Phoenix Force and the fact that Hope seems to be the ideal candidate for its host must be putting his mind into overdrive in figuring out what he needs to do. Hope was under the care of his son, Cable and the Phoenix Force was a strong presence in Jean Grey's life. The Phoenix Force may have saved Jean at one point but there's no denying the destruction it caused as well. Scott now claims it's the only hope for the continued survival of mutants.
This is a topic we don't really get to see a focus on in the main AvX series or any of the tie ins. Yet in this Infinite comic, we do get to see this touched on as Cyclops takes the center stage. In needing to get away in order to get some peace and quiet in his mind (for obvious reasons now that he has a portion of the Phoenix Force within), Cyclops finds himself on the area of the moon where Jean and the Phoenix Force had their greatest battle. Seeing these old familiar surroundings is eerie as well as exciting. In some ways it does feel like sacred territory and shouldn't be used in a comic because it would be exploiting the events. But it's a great part of this comic. Cyclops has felt way too arrogant and extreme. He even refers to himself as "Cyclops the First." Seeing him work through the current events is something that needs to be seen and works to move the story along without Cyclops seeming like a crackpot.
The format of the Infinite comic also helps to make this story shine. When I first saw the preview pages for this, I wasn't too impressed. But with the 'guided view' technology, the pages flow and you find yourself getting sucked in and moving throughout the story at a faster pace. Some of the panels use a lot of the same art with a slight change to the next 'scene.' For example, Cyclops would be floating, contemplating the situation and in mid thought, the next swipe would contain the same art except for his head looking in a different direction. There was also a scene where a certain person was listening and the next swipe uses the same close up shot with the only change being their eye shutting. This subtle change may look cheap to some, in that it's using the majority of the same art, but I see it as capturing more of the feeling of those involved. It may sound corny but it does give a little more life to the comic. It's not animated by any means but it makes the story flow in a completely different manner. If this was simply in printed form, there would be a lot of the essence and feeling of the story sacrificed.
The story in this issue really shines in this Infinite format. I don't even want to think what it'd be like in a regular format. It is important in giving us a look into Cyclops thinking, something that has been lacking throughout this series.
I love this format. This isn't necessarily something I'd want to see used in every comic as it could get to be too much but it's great seeing it here. I've felt the AVENGERS VS X-MEN series has had its ups and downs but this is more of the type of story I want to see. There is something fun about seeing our favorite heroes fight each other to answer the often asked questions, "Who would win in a fight between ___ and ___?" Comic books aren't just about big action. We haven't even had a lot of 'big action' in this series as the big battles have been shown in the pages of AvX: VS. This is more about the characterization of Cyclops and what he's going through with the power of the Phoenix Force along with being reminded of what happened to Jean Grey. I would love to see more of these Infinite comics from time to time provided they continue to have the same quality and there is a need to tell the story in a splashier way. It's a fun and different way to see a story that would feel a little flat if told in the traditional manner of a printed comic.