Infinity War #4
Issue(s): Infinity War #4
This fight is pretty much filler; it won't have any impact on the plot, and the heroes won't win the fight thanks to their own efforts. I guess it's about watching the team trying to hold out against impossible odds, but the space could have been better used for more characterization elsewhere. Even the Magus says that it's of no concern to anyone except the participants.
The second fight isn't much better. It's a classic Marvel Misunderstanding Fight, but at least it's one that was set up in a way that makes sense. Magus, who looks like Adam Warlock, has a doppelganger that (unlike most doppelgangers) is identical to its template, Thanos. So Marvel's heroes believe that Warlock and Thanos are responsible for the doppelganger attacks and the mysterious energy signature that they've detected. The fact that Warlock is now back to his golden color instead of being purple isn't brought up. What i love most about the fight is that Thanos' unmanned chair is pulling equal duty on the Infinity Watch's side.
All of this random fighting is an opportunity for Kang and Dr. Doom, if they can manage to avoid their cliched inevitable betrayal long enough.
They find Magus' power source. We don't get to see what it is right away, but we're told that he's utilizing it through "instrumentation" instead of directly.
Which was the same thing we saw when the Man-Beast had several of the Infinity Gems in Warlock & the Infinity Watch #5-6, but if that's meant to be a clue it's a red herring. We do find out a few pages later that it is five Cosmic "Cubes" (they'll later be called Cosmic Containment Units).
Meanwhile, Galactus and Dr. Strange's team have recovered from getting "killed" by Magus. Galactus then begins considering using the Ultimate Nullifier against their as-of-yet unknown enemy.
This would be a little more shocking if someone hadn't used or considered using the Nullifier in at least three stories in recent years.
Galactus then stops the fight between the expeditionary heroes and the Infinity Watch, and beams everyone to his ship.
One of my favorite scenes in this series is when Galactus casually and begrudgingly ends the threat of the doppelgangers attacking the Earth heroes.
Galactus then zaps all the heroes with all of the information that has been gathered to date. It's a painful but efficient way of getting everyone up to speed. Now everyone (including Galactus, who didn't have all the pieces of the puzzle) is aware that the Magus is the threat, and who he is. And they get confirmation that Thanos is working with the good guys this time.
In another scene that feels like a set-up for a tie-in book but isn't, Thor is sent back to Earth's solar system to hang out with the Watcher. Galactus is using Thor's hammer to relay data back to him. Thor sees a kind of harmonic dissonance, with two versions of the Earth and moon being formed.
Meanwhile, in what i'm still not sure if it's a coloring error or not, Thanos suddenly seems to be wearing only one glove, and Warlock asks all the members of the Infinity Watch to give him back their gems so that he can use the Infinity Gauntlet to fight Magus.
We learn that the "disgusting" place that Pip was holding his gem was between his toes...
...and it turns out to not be hard to retrieve the gem that Drax swallowed.
And the biggest news is that Warlock (claims to) already have the Reality gem, the holder of which is meant to be a mystery. Look at Thanos playing along.
So the Infinity Gauntlet is re-formed.
But it turns out that, thanks to the Living Tribunal's ruling in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1, the gems no longer work in unison.
Note that Thanos' glove is back. Maybe he had a spare in his space chair.
Galactus expected that the gems wouldn't work together, so he's asked the Living Tribunal for a meeting. Galactus refuses to take anyone with him for the meeting except Gamora. He doesn't trust Warlock with the Gauntlet, but he doesn't say why he chose Gamora specifically (she is, of course, the most reliable member of the Infinity Watch).
As soon as Galactus and Gamora leave, Magus shows up and grabs Warlock and the Infinity Gauntlet.
If you've read through the entire series already, you know that Thanos and Warlock are running a con against the Magus. But we are privy to Thanos' thoughts after Warlock is taken, and Thanos does genuinely believe that Warlock will be dead by now.
While waiting for things to play out with Galactus, Thanos checks on the data from Thor's hammer, and tells Captain America about the duplicate reality that Magus is creating. He says that everyone on Earth and the rest of the galaxy is already entranced, and soon Magus' doppelgangers will take over.
Professor X and Moondragon are assigned to trying to wake up Earth's populace, with help from Nova, who will operate Galactus' equipment. And the rest of the mystics are told to go back to Earth to see what they can do.
I feel like there should be footnotes in each of these panels, telling us exactly which tie-in will cover these (ultimately unimportant) efforts. No point in hiding it.
Thanos then tricks Invisible Woman into revealing the location of the Ultimate Nullifier.
He then proceeds to manipulate Quasar into volunteering to use it.
And that's essentially where this issue ends. To repeat myself from previous entries, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on, but there is way too much clutter. Too many characters. Too many pointless fights. And too much setting up of tie-ins that won't really matter. If this were just a Warlock & the Infinity Watch story, it would be really great, but probably no one would have read it. Thanks to all the Marvel heroes, it's a big event, but that also hurts the quality of the story.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Wonder Man #14 and Quasar #38 cover the fight between the expeditionary heroes and the Infinity Watch from different perspectives. Moon Knight #41-43 takes place during the fight between the Earth heroes and the doppelgangers. Silver Sable & the Wild Pack #4-5 take place during Infinity War #3 & 4 so i'll cover them after this entry. Daredevil #310 and Nomad #7 show examples of doppelgangers roaming around and i'll cover them after this issue too. Guardians of the Galaxy #27-29 take place before everyone on Earth is entranced.
Crossover: Infinity War
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Between Thanos's manipulation and dismissal of Quasar here, and the whole M-bodies thing over in QUASAR, I'm reminded of the rumors I heard years ago--that Starlin and Gruenwald had mutually incompatible plans for the cosmic scene, and that some of their...I hate to use the word "fighting," but...was leaking over into the actual comics themselves.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 5, 2016 5:32 PM
There's a scene with Hank Pym where he seemingly has no powers or weapons and panics- the former makes no sense and the latter is out of character.
Posted by: Michael | April 5, 2016 9:43 PM
Was there anything in this issue noting that there are 2 different characters named Nova in it? I forget.
Posted by: Vincent J Valenti | April 5, 2016 10:42 PM
I almost commented on it myself, Vincent, but there's nothing in the book. It's a good thing Frankie Raye was standing right there when Cap told Professor X to work with Nova to get Galactus' machines to work, or else Rich Rider might have gotten himself electrocuted or something.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 6, 2016 8:52 AM
I never understood why they couldn't come up with a new name for Frankie at this point. There's LOADS of good ones for her (I'd have called her Herald, but that's just me). Saves eventually killing her off.
Posted by: AF | April 6, 2016 9:51 AM
Magus is going out of his way to state that Warlock is his shadow. I assume he feels vulnerable as being just an aspect of Warlock and is attempting blunt (and pointless) denial.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 6, 2016 9:59 AM
"Professor X and Moondragon are assigned to trying to wake up Earth's populace, with help from Nova, who will operate Galactus' equipment."
When I first read this, I was thinking of Rich-Nova, forgetting about Frankie-Nova. (I guess I tend to read the commentary and scan through the panels, and not actually read the panels' dialogue unless fnord calls attention to it.) Rich's space-travelling experience was why he was picked for the expeditionary force, after all, so I didn't think it THAT strange. Though Frankie-Nova makes a heck of a lot more sense.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | April 7, 2016 12:36 AM
I'm currently reading this series and, while I'm enjoying it, I'm having a hard time trying to understand or just plain accept:
1. The lack of a detailed backstory as to how in hell did the Magus got those cosmic cubes.
Everything else is fine...btw to anyone knowledgeable enough: what are the numbers I should read to get Adam Warlock's origin ?
Posted by: Nova | January 27, 2017 1:29 AM
@Nova: Do you want his actual first appearance, or the Jim Starlin stories where he became the Warlock we're more familiar with now?
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 27, 2017 1:49 AM
Nova, my take has always been that a cosmic cube is equivalent to the Reality Gem. Incredibly powerful, but not supremely so, especially in matters of the mind and spirit.
Warlock first appeared in Fantastic Four #66-67. He got the Soul Gem in Marvel Premiere #1-2, had a bunch of forgettable adventures on Counter Earth, and died and was resurrected in Hulk #176-178. But that's all prelude. For the stories that really put Warlock on the map, pick up Warlock by Jim Starlin, The Complete Collection, preferably at your local comics shop. It's worth the money. To get Thanos' complete story, pick up Avengers vs. Thanos, if you don't mind that the second half of that book reprises the second half of the Warlock one.
Posted by: Andrew | January 27, 2017 6:51 AM
Or if you don't want to reprise the Warlock stuff, you could try to find a copy of the "Life of Captain Marvel" trade, which collects all of Starlin's first Thanos story.
Posted by: Tuomas | January 27, 2017 5:56 PM
Good point. That's out of print now, though. A better bet would be CAPTAIN MARVEL BY JIM STARLIN COMPLETE COLLECTION.
Posted by: Andrew | January 27, 2017 7:30 PM
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