Infinity War #2
Issue(s): Infinity War #2
I'm not providing an Infinity-sized version of that scan because it's not a very impressive image. It's more like Al Milgrom stick figure stuff than what i'd expect from Ron Lim. I have to admit i was less impressed than Johnny Storm; the room looks half-empty. To be clear, i think it's totally fine for the characters to not all be huddled together and posed dramatically, but at the same time i don't see a lot of cool interactions like you sometimes do in these kinds of scenes, and as a double-page spread it seems like a waste of space.
But then again, the Marvel heroes are all kind of wasting space just by being in this series. The real story is happening with Starlin's characters. Thanos is convincing the Infinity Watch to join him in going after the Magus.
Note the phrasing. He has "returned", not "this is another one". We'll add that to our data regarding whether or not to tag this Magus as a unique entity from the previous appearance.
Warlock and Thanos both have their reasons for not wanting to go to the Avengers.
As for convincing Drax to work with the guy that he was created to destroy, that turns out to be surprisingly easy.
Thanos convinces the Watch to go to the realm of Death so that Thanos can gaze into the Infinity Well (which he used previously during Thanos Quest).
Throughout this series, we'll see Magus and the Thanos doppelganger observing Warlock and company and talking about how it's all going according to plan.
By the way, don't call Warlock Magus' other self or anything like that. He strongly prefers "shade".
Meanwhile, Galactus, Dr. Strange, and the heralds still haven't left Earth. They've tracked an energy signature to an island on Earth. It's a "reception relay". Having found it, they now begin to track the relay to its source. Again, Magus is watching them do all of this. But the potential wildcard is Dr. Doom and Kang, who begin tracking Galactus, unbeknownst to Magus.
In Death's realm, we see Warlock blast a guard with his Soul gem.
It's said to not be his usual soul-stealing move. Instead it's something new he's trying out, a "karmic blast" that "disrupts the anima centers". Basically he gets to attack people without having to absorb all their souls now.
In the Infinity Well, we first get a recap of the Magus' previous appearance. The new information is that while Adam Warlock held the Infinity Gauntlet, he subconsciously decided that, in order to be perfect, he had to cast off the good and evil sides of himself. In old school D&D terms, we'd say that Warlock therefore now has a Neutral alignment, at least on the good/evil axis. Warlock isn't so happy to learn that now.
The evil half wound up in the Crossroads.
Definitely looks like the same one that the Hulk was cast into after Hulk #300. From there, he went to five realities (which may not have existed before his "resurrection"), and whatever he took from those five realities is what is sourcing his power now. The Infinity Well doesn't know what he got, but confirms that they aren't Infinity Gems.
More data regarding whether or not this is the same Magus. The circumstances of this Magus' creation suggests one thing. The use of the word "resurrection" says something else.
We also learn that the Magus got his doppelgangers from a "nearby dimension".
Note that the Well is also only able to tell the group what Magus wished it to learn. Magus, still watching from afar, decides that the group has learned enough, and he alerts Death to the fact that they have been sneaking around in her realm.
Warlock has Pip teleport them away (Drax wouldn't have minded staying and getting into a hopeless fight with Death). When they get back to Monster Island, the Mole Man has a message for them. "Mr. Fantastic" has called, looking for them to join the other heroes. Warlock sends Moondragon and Pip to see what's going on.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye is attacked by his doppelganger, Chickeneye. How come we never got an action figure of this miniature?
Spider-Man shows up and stops the doppelganger, but then the Iron Man doppelganger, disguised in a non-evil looking form, shows up and knocks out Spider-Man. The fake Iron Man then joins the other heroes. The fake Mr. Fantastic tells the group about the doppelgangers. But then Wolverine shows up, saying that Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic are fakes.
This is confirmed by Daredevil.
Eventually a big fight breaks out. It kind of splits along mutant/non-mutant lines, but the Hulk (for some reason) seems to be attacking indiscriminately.
For those counting Hulk/Wolverine fights, here's a minor one.
During the fight, the Mr. Fantastic doppelganger triggers a gamma bomb hidden in his podium. Just as Moondragon and Pip are teleporting in on top of a nearby building (Moondragon was going to contact Quasar - who happens to be in space, but she doesn't know that - instead of going directly in), there's a huge explosion and the top floors of Four Freedoms Plaza is destroyed. So they head back to Monster Island.
I think the parts with Warlock and company are interesting. I like Starlin's repeated interest in dualities (he's the guy that created Master Order, Lord Chaos, and the In-Betweener, after all), and the idea of the villain of this story being Warlock's dark side has potential in terms of character exploration in addition to the more tactical fact that he is (or seems to be) able to anticipate all of Warlock's moves. And of course, the unasked question of "if the dark side became sentient, then what about..." is a set-up for the next event. There are other elements of the story that are fun as well. The idea of Galactus working directly with Dr. Strange, as long as they're not bickering the way they do in the tie-ins, is fun. And Dr. Doom and Kang still have the potential of being really interesting.
It's the Marvel heroes portion that is weak. Way too many heroes for any of them to demonstrate much personality, and even the ones that do don't feel quite right. We'll see more of the scene of Wolverine showing up in the next Fantastic Four tie-in, and between this issue and that one it feels like both tried to leave room for the other and in the end neither one really accomplished much. The Hulk is yes, supposed to be irritable, but i don't like the way he acts here, and really all of the characters seem a little off. In general everyone just acts dumb enough to allow for a big hero vs. hero brawl, which may be fun in theory but it's pretty pointless storywise.
Still, i really think the right way to read the Infinity books is to focus on Warlock and Thanos and friends and skim past the parts with the regular Marvel heroes. These are Jim Starlin stories about Jim Starlin characters (his creations, and ones that he's taken an interest in). You can look at the presence of the other Marvel heroes as a marketing necessity, or you can look at it as the answer to the inevitable fan question of, "If all these major things are happening, where are the Avengers and everybody?". This gives that answer. They're deliberately wrapped up in time-wasting nonsense. Accept that and enjoy the mindless fights and then you can focus on the more interesting stuff going on with the other characters.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The fight amongst the heroes is shown in several of the tie-in books, but they don't all necessarily end during this issue, so they may wind up getting placed further back in publication time. See the comments regarding the inclusion of Quasar here.
Crossover: Infinity War
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (12): show
In the next infinity crossover, the Magus is said to be Adam's animus and the Goddess to be his anima. I think Starlin's thinking at this point is that the ordeal the In-Betweener put Adam through in the '70s series made his animus consume his psyche, causing Adam to become the Magus. Then, after the Infinity Gauntlet, Adam expels animus and anima from himself; doing that with infinite power inadvertently creates independent bodies for them. So there's really just one Magus, one animus, just brought out in two different ways.
It's kind of a Jungian take on Peter David's Freudian Hulk. The savage Hulk is Banner's id, and it normally takes over his body, but there've been times it's been separated due to external factors and become its own thing.
Posted by: Mortificator | April 3, 2016 2:02 PM
Let's strike from the record Thanos's statement that the Magus has "returned," since Thanos doesn't know what he's talking about at that point.
Posted by: Andrew F | April 3, 2016 2:19 PM
Am I the only that thinks the heroes should have realized Iron Man was the imposter as soon as he said "mutie"?
Posted by: Michael | April 3, 2016 4:05 PM
He's not depicted anywhere else in the book or the tie-ins featuring that scene, but isn't that Quasar talking to Black Knight and U.S.Agent on the double splash?
When Quasar does appear in #3 or #4, he is fully aware of what's going on at this point, so it could be he was there during all this and just took a backseat.
Posted by: AF | April 3, 2016 4:12 PM
Actually, yeah, Quasar being there might also contextualize Moondragon's line about contacting Quasar first.
Posted by: AF | April 3, 2016 4:50 PM
At some point, the Magus talks about being denied "all his yesterdays and tomorrows," which to me sounds like the original Magus was reincarnated somehow.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 3, 2016 5:15 PM
@AF- the problem is that in his own series, the dialogue makes it sound like Quasar didn't return from space until after Dr. Druid and Agatha Harkness arrived.
Posted by: Michael | April 3, 2016 5:19 PM
Magus had a Quasar duplicate (seen briefly in issue 1) that never actually fought Quaze. I'm sure there's an answer there somewhere... :)
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 3, 2016 5:21 PM
That opening panel with the gathered heroes is underwhelming indeed. The most awesome one ever? Contest of Champions #1's centerfold from 1982.
Posted by: Joe | April 3, 2016 5:38 PM
The way I see it, Warlock in effect absorved the Magus into himself in the Starlin 1970s stories.
In the last few panels of Strange Tales #181, after overcoming the Madness Monster by basically accepting his existence, he says outright that he now understands Magus' motivations despite not subscribing to them. Then he was hit twice by the Magus' Soul Gem's blasts, perhaps attaining some sort of deeper communication with him by way of their gems. And when he destroyed the Magus' timeline, he actually inherited some of his powers, further implying that the Magus is in some sense a part of him ever since. It just turns out that Warlock learned to consistently outvote and outmaneuver him. Something of a Dark Phoenix situation, come to think of it.
What Starlin means by the need to expurge Good from Warlock is anyone's guess. I certainly don't follow it. Then again, I couldn't call the Goddess "good" in any meaningful sense, so I guess I would not understand.
As for the Infinity series themselves, it has rightfully been said that War and Crusade are not really as good as Gauntlet. But I don't think that can explain the weakness of so many of the War and Crusade tie-ins, which I attribute to wrong editorial decisions tied to Marvel's decision to flood the market beyond any hope of having meaningful content for all the books and not to the Infinity events. Take for instance the most recent Doctor Strange issues: #41 was a very unnecessary guest appearance of Wolverine, #42-#43 were even less necessary tie-ins with Infinity War with everyone acting a bit dumb. So that is three issues in a row with little attention to Doc's own plots and characters. At regular prices. During a regular schedule. On a run that was already lacking on character development and plot resolution even at this point, when it is ignoring the Midnight Sons storylines and the Secret Defenders do not yet exist.
To me it looks like the book is rapidly becoming an accessory to events (soon enough, mostly the Midnight Sons over-plot as it is) as opposed to a true monthly solo title, so it is no wonder that the sales kept falling. Marvel did not have the time to it, and neither should readers.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 3, 2016 6:40 PM
Ah! I think I have the Magus's "survival" figured out.
I believe it's in the Iceman limited series that we're told people who are "erased from existence" go to Oblivion's realm; things includes things like being hit with the Ultimate Nullifier or falling prey to time paradoxes. At the end of the 70s storyline, when the Magus faded from the universe, he went to Oblivion's realm.
Warlock subconsciously associates "the evil within me" with "the Magus." So when he expelled all his evil, he created a link between the evil and the Magus, which was able to pull the Magus back from Oblivion's realm and merge him with the evil, resurrecting him (albeit at the cost of much of his power).
Do I get my No-Prize?
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 3, 2016 6:52 PM
Regarding the Crossroads where the Magus appeared after being expelled from Adam Warlock's being, to me it looks a lot like the surreal dimension where Adam Warlock ended up back in Warlock #11 after Thanos used his time machine to transport Warlock into his own timestream. As described by Warlock, where he ended up was Kismet, his life's path, his fate, his time cycle, his own personal Kismet Trail. Warlock found himself at "the crossroads of (his) fate" from whence his life was destined to take one of five possible turns. Choosing to commit cosmic suicide, Warlock used his Soul Gem to purify and destroy the longest and blackest of these paths, that which would have led to him becoming the Magus, and then raced along the shortest of his four remaining life paths in order to prevent the In-Betweener from undoing his prevention of the Magus. Once this Warlock absorbed his future self's soul into the Soul Gem, the universe ended and was reborn as Time underwent an explosive reshuffling.
Also, later issues of Warlock revealed that Adam's now multi-compartmental brain shared the Magus' memories. This would explain why the "new" Magus considered himself to be the original Magus resurrected, right?
Posted by: Don Campbell | April 3, 2016 6:59 PM
@Thanos6 : That scene sounds like it's what is in Infinity War #3. It doesn't say that Quasar had been in space for the whole thing - just that he was returning from space. He seems aware of what's going on and Cap doesn't say something like "Hey, Quasar, good to have you on board". Had he been there for this, as depicted in the splash, he likely would've followed up during that downtime by heading out to space to try and get some answers or trying to get an audience with the Great Powers - much like he did in Infinity Gauntlet #3.
Posted by: AF | April 3, 2016 7:22 PM
@AF: I think that was supposed to be directed at Michael, not me.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 3, 2016 7:29 PM
@AF- I was referring to Quasar 38, where Quasar says this is the first time he returned to Earth in "6 days 7 hours 14 minutes" and the Thing says to Quasar "Long time no see! Come to join our intergalactic volleyball team, have ya?"
Posted by: Michael | April 3, 2016 8:20 PM
@Thanos6 I like your answer best, your no-prize is in the mail
Posted by: Andrew F | April 3, 2016 11:57 PM
Sorry on all accounts then.
So if we're going with that's a Quasar duplicate, that would mean he beat and captured Quasar in order to replace him. So how did Quasar escape captivity without Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic?
And, honestly, that's too much of a fantastic off-panel occurrence to use to write off the art or continuity blunder. Personally I have no problem with overlooking things like that (Quasar and Thing might not have really interacted in the first scene, Quasar was "in space" where Earth "time" can be subjective) but I know that's not to everyone's taste at all.
Is there any other then-current blonde heroes with blue capes we can say it is? Someone who just showed up for this meeting and then went home after the nuttiness of it all? Captain Ultra?
I'm guessing it's a result of Gruenwald requesting Quasar having a more prominent role in Infinity War. Starlin/Lim thought they'd pop Quasar into this scene since it was obviously a big scene for tie-ins but Gruenwald missed his single panel appearance here (and read the Moondragon line like fnord did too).
Posted by: AF | April 4, 2016 7:32 AM
I'll get to Quasar #37 soon, but we'll see in that issue that Quasar was meant to have been in space watching the giant space embryo since the end of issue #36, and the story from Quasar #35-36 is meant to begin soon after the Avengers get back from Operation: Galactic Storm. So it wouldn't just be ignoring the temporal reference. That said, i've already had to place a fair amount of space between issues #36 and #37 (since time has to have passed since Galactic Storm for various reasons), with the idea that Quasar, Makkari, and Her have been watching the embryo for a while. And since Quasar can teleport quantum jump across the universe, there's no reason why he couldn't have popped back to Earth. Supporting the idea that it's really him, when the Wasp announces that Quasar is contacting the heroes in issue #3, Wonder Man asks, "Where's he gotten to?" which suggests that he had been around earlier. So maybe he did quantum jump in briefly for the meeting at the beginning here, but he left again before the fight broke out (which is why he's not around to help Invisible Woman contain the gamma bomb explosion). Maybe since it was such a brief visit, Quasar didn't bother resetting his counter.
I did like Thanos6's idea that it was doppelganger. It didn't have to defeat Quasar since he wasn't around, and maybe his duplicated mind was similar enough to briefly fool Moondragon (in fact, maybe that was the Magus' intention). But given the line from Wonder Man and the fact that i've had to put allow for a lot of space between Q #36-37 anyway, i'll go with the idea that it was the real Quasar.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 4, 2016 7:55 AM
My assumption was that the dopelgangers had to go all hand-tentacly in order to duplicate the heroes and not look like sharp-toothed versions of them.
Posted by: Andrew F | April 4, 2016 10:45 AM
I agree, if they're on their own. But back at home base, I think the Magus alters them himself. It seems like he could do that. So most of the doppelgangers are blatantly evil-looking as a way to give them a psychological edge over the heroes ("is that...me?"). Notice that Thanos, whom this trick wouldn't work on, has a doppelganger that looks exactly like him. No point wasting time coming up with a design for "eviler Thanos."
But if the Magus wanted to make one of them an exact copy for infiltration and espionage, without having to fight and replace, I'm sure he could.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 4, 2016 11:07 AM
Since Thanos has a non-spiky doppelganger without being defeated by him makes it possible that Quasar is one as well.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | December 15, 2017 6:01 AM
Or it's just Quasar... :p
He's also on the cover. We also have Moondragon's line that suggests she knows Quasar is there. He's a reserve Avengers with Cosmic expertise and a working relationship with the FF (they lease him an office and Ben is a good friend). And logically, if the Mr. Fantastic doppelganger was planning to blow up all the heroes, why wouldn't you want to include the Protector of the Universe among them?
What I can imagine happened is Ron Lim drew him in that splash page because he was told to draw "most the heroes we're using in the crossover". Then never drew him again because the script never dictated Quasar doing anything.
Replacing him with a doppelganger for one single page is a greater stupid than writing off the line of dialogue pertaining to the passage of time (we already have to write off a lot of those!).
But also, Craig Anderson is an atrocious editor.
Posted by: AF | December 15, 2017 2:22 PM
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