Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1
Issue(s): Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1
But this first issue of the series is as much an epilogue to Infinity Gauntlet as it is the slow build start of a series about those characters. Infinity Gauntlet left the Marvel universe in a strange state, with Adam Warlock in possession of the Gauntlet and the six all powerful Infinity Gems. An epilogue in Doctor Strange #36 attempted to address the question of why Marvel's heroes would be any more comfortable with Warlock possessing the gems than Thanos. Well, i shouldn't say ANY more comfortable. Clearly, you'd rather have the mysterious Warlock holding the gems than the guy that worships death and actively wiped out half the universe and everything else. But that much power in anyone's hands would surely not leave anyone feeling comfortable. The Doctor Strange epilogue did address the point but i don't think really settled things.
And Eternity, at least, agrees, as we saw in that Strange story. So he's called for a trial, with the Living Tribunal acting as judge. Eternity already asked for a similar trial when Thanos was holding the gem, in Infinity Gauntlet #3, and lost, but this time he makes the argument that Warlock is not mentally competent to hold the Gauntlet.
Warlock lashes out in rage after that, unleashing a destructive force, and he's surprised to see the Tribunal calmly cancel it out.
Interesting to see the Tribunal able to do that. My first thought is, "Well why didn't he just do that to Thanos?!" but i have to refer myself back to the trial in Infinity Gauntlet #3.
Weaved into the the "trial" are several pages recapping the history of Warlock (with no footnotes!), and i'll note the relevant stories in the references. Citing Warlock's unusual origins, Eternity charges Warlock with being an "anomoly" with "little life experience" which seems like such an odd charge coming from a man literally made out of the universe, in a room filled with space turnips and everything else, that Warlock is momentarily taken aback, thinking to him, "Could they all have come from pasts more traditional than mine?".
Eternity also brings up the odd time loop with Magus and the way Warlock killed himself, calling it an affair "indulging in an auto-sado/masochistic whim at the expense of universal peace". Warlock says it was just a "temporary aberration", but Eternity raises the possibility of Magus returning. "The Magus with the power of the infinite is a future we cannot chance!".
The Living Tribunal hears all this and more, and rules against Warlock, while noting that since Warlock has the Time gem he already knows this. After considering the possibility of fighting, Warlock succumbs to the destiny he already knows, and agrees to abide by the Tribunal's ruling. But Eternity is surprised to learn that it doesn't mean that he doesn't get the gems, or even get to decide who the gems will be given to for guarding. And that's basically how this issue ends, with Warlock flying off to distribute the gems.
It's a cool issue, capturing the weird cosmic nature of these entities very well. Angel Medina - who worked on Starlin's Dreadstar, although i don't remember if he ever drew an issue written by Starlin - does really well with the cosmic stuff. It's a different tone than, say, Ron Lim (both are good), but i feel like it's closer to Starlin's 70s artwork. His art plus the collection of strange awesome characters helps keep an issue of a bunch of people standing around talking interesting. The all white (non-)background also helps keep the issue feeling otherwordly and different even from most other cosmic stories. Medina unfortunately will be on and off in this series, with what i guess is a regular rotation of relief artists.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This doesn't necessarily take place directly after Infinity Gauntlet. I have it at publication date, which happens to mean that some of the cosmic beings assembled here have appeared in other stories between Gauntlet and this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
Eternity also refers to Warlock's attempt to kidnap Sif- should that be listed in the references?
Posted by: Michael | January 22, 2016 8:25 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | January 22, 2016 9:57 AM
I always hated the whole "having the Time Gem means you know what'll happen and you're trapped by it" thing. Then what's the point of being God?
Good job helping Eternity make his case, Adam. Getting pissed off that they want to take your hard-earned reward from you is justified, but you need to vent with words. Blowing up the "courtroom" rarely produces good results, especially when it comes to determining your mental state.
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 22, 2016 2:04 PM
I couldnt wait for this review...
Posted by: Tabe8 | January 23, 2016 1:32 AM
Seems strange to see Thanos wipe the floor with all these cosmic deities, yet Warlock is rendered impotent and simply gives up the gems.
Posted by: JC | January 23, 2016 4:01 PM
I believe Medina drew just one issue of "Dreadstar" that Starlin wrote, #39. Starlin's last issue was #40, with art by Luke McDonnell. Peter David took over the scripts with #41, and Medina did the lion's share of the art from that point forward. Agreed that his work has something of a 70s Starlin vibe. Doesn't hurt to have Terry Austin inking, either.
Posted by: Instantiation | January 23, 2016 5:31 PM
Thank you for bringing the existence of this series to my attention! The next convention I'm doing a celebrity signing at I intend to go haunt the back issues and get this series.
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Comics CEO | January 23, 2016 7:26 PM
Well, JC, the only entity here who can challenge Warlock is the Living Tribunal, who Thanos (and Nebula) didn't fight. There's also a bit near the end where the Tribunal admits that, despite his earlier boasting, it's not certain he'd be able to defeat Warlock either.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 23, 2016 7:38 PM
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