Infinity Gauntlet #3
Issue(s): Infinity Gauntlet #3
And it is definitely the case that Thanos' ego is getting in the way of his stated goal. Death is (unsurprisingly) unimpressed by seeing Thanos spell his own name in the sky.
The fact that Thanos can't see how obvious it is that there's no reason why that would make her love him is a sign of how far gone he is.
Earth is not one of the planets floating above the Death monument, but according to a SHIELD scientist it's in trouble too. The shockwave that Thanos sent last issue has changed Earth's orbit, pushing it further from the sun and threatening an ice age.
Meanwhile, Dr. Strange takes Adam Warlock, Pip the Troll, the Silver Surfer, and Dr. Doom over to the Avengers (leaving Rintrah behind). After asking the Avengers to stay their hand regarding Dr, Doom, they tell the Avengers that it's time to raise an army. We then see Black Widow nearly dying while trying to rescue people from a fire, so i guess she's out. But Dr. Strange teleports others to Avengers mansion.
Note that Nova is wearing his blue and yellow costume, for what it is worth, and Wolverine is in his brown and tan (although he seems to just use both costumes around this time). We saw Drax and Firelord's arrival in Silver Surfer #52, and there's no major difference here (Firelord and Drax were flying to Earth at the time they were teleported in, so Drax wound up teleporting in face first, unlike what's shown here, but that's not a big deal). One arrival that is pretty different is the Hulk's. In Hulk #383, the Hulk was fighting the Abomination in a sewer when he was unwillingly teleported away. But that teleportation must have only taken him so far, because in this issue he's standing out on the street, refusing to enter the portal.
He apparently wants to be an Avenger again, or maybe just wants to be acknowledged as one of the founding members (i'm sure Starlin didn't have this in mind, but the Avengers later retroactively made Captain America a founding Avenger to replace the Hulk). Captain America says that "he can be again, now that he's reformed".
I remember thinking that this was a pretty significant scene when i read it at the time. But in retrospect, that's not really the case. The Hulk already acted as an Avenger during both The Evolutionary War and Atlantis Attacks. And there was no sign of him falling out with the Avengers again after that. Heck, he might even have been at the Avengers' ceremony for their new building in Avengers #332. More relevantly, nothing comes of this. The Hulk's relationship with the Avengers will be shaky during future issues of Peter David's Hulk run, and he is certainly isn't brought back into the team any time soon. Maybe the tentative agreement here doesn't survive the continuity reset that happens at the end of this series.
The story then pans around some of the more street level heroes (Moon Knight, Cloak, Spider-Man), showing them coming to grips with being involved in an event of this magnitude. Meanwhile, Warlock and the Silver Surfer leave Avengers Mansion for a while and go to where Warlock sent Quasar and Epoch.
They are joined by a number of other cosmic entities.
It's nice to see Kronos getting over his ennui (as seen in Quasar #19) to show up. Note that Infinity, also from that Quasar arc, is not here. That's probably not just a case of her first appearance being too close to this story for her to be worked in. Since Thanos is wielding the Infinity Gems, it would be a bit confusing for her to be included here without giving us some kind of explanation or making her more of a focal point than was desired. Starlin will use Infinity a bit in future stories.
Also note the fanfare-free introduction of two new cosmic entities, Love and Hate.
Also, only two Celestials?! Granted one of them is the Super-Celestial One Above All, but you'd think that the events here would merit sending their full force if they were going to get involved at all.
One entity that decides not to get involved is the Living Tribunal. From his ("his") perspective, Thanos is simply supplanting Eternity, and therefore he's not really disrupting the universe in a way that the Living Tribunal needs to be concerned with.
After the Living Tribunal leaves, Eternity leaves too, but he'll continue to be a part of this story.
The other cosmic entities then take umbrage that Adam Warlock presumes to command them in battle, but Master Order and Lord Chaos vouch for Warlock, saying that "He is one outside the loop of destiny". The other entities then fall in line.
Meanwhile, the Vision helps set us up for the conclusion of this story, noting that in the two previous times they fought Thanos, it was Thanos himself that subconsciously sowed the seeds of his defeat.
That is key to understanding this story, or else you're just going to be very disappointed when the heroes don't manage to accomplish anything on their own.
The Vision was cycling through images of various heroes and villains while talking to She-Hulk, and i think it's funny that he landed on the Beyonder by the end of the conversation. If only that guy was still around to help!
While they are talking, a fight breaks out between Iron Man and Dr. Doom.
Dr. Doom's "That is my way" reminds me of the parable of The Scorpion and the Frog. "It's in my nature!" But it seems a little out of character for Doom to talk that way. Or to let the Vision attacking him go unpunished.
But i guess he's actually just being very upfront about why he's here, so there's no question of him being dishonorable about it later, and he's willing to put up with the minor indignity of the Vision's attack for now while waiting for an opportunity to present itself.
During this squabble, it's noticed that the Hulk and Wolverine are missing, and it's assumed that they're off fighting too. But they are really just talking.
Warlock shows up and basically tells them that he expects them to be his black ops squad, the ones willing to use lethal force if necessary.
It's a cool scene, but, like the scene with Hulk and the Avengers, nothing comes of it in this story. Warlock sends the heroes into battle against Thanos saying explicitly to the Silver Surfer, who remains positioned in the distance with Warlock, that the heroes are nothing more than "sacrificial lambs". So probably the most revelatory part of the scene with the Hulk and Wolverine is that Warlock, in this incarnation, is a monster too.
The Watcher has been hovering over Thanos' monument to Death, so it's no surprise to Thanos that something is about to happen.
But he's really still more interested in trying to get Death to love him, and he's still insane, so he creates a being to love him called Terraxia, trying but failing to make Death jealous.
And now here come the heroes.
We'll pause here to check in on the tie-ins that take place around this time, but it's not actually much of an interruption to the main story, since we'll see at the beginning of issue #4 that Thanos freezes time moments after the heroes arrive.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: We saw Drax and Firelord's arrival at Avengers Mansion at the end of Silver Surfer #52.
Crossover: Infinity Gauntlet
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
I wish that the Hulk had stayed with the Avengers after this story.
Posted by: Steven | October 10, 2015 3:36 PM
Always lived that Hulk and Wolverine scene.
Posted by: Bob | October 10, 2015 4:45 PM
I was surprised to learn Love and Hate were introduced here for the first time since there was zero fanfare. I really like the Wolverine and Hulk scene even if it doesn't amount to much in the end. I also did not realize Eternity has been around since the 60s. First I saw it was during the Korvac saga.
Posted by: david banes | October 10, 2015 4:51 PM
I admit that I've never understood why the Watcher or the Stranger are included among the "cosmic beings". They are just aliens, right? Meanwhile, even the Celestials are more akin to gods. And the Living Tribunal and Eternity are so esoteric that they well might be considered the true gods of the Marvel Universe... How can the Stranger even compare to them?
Posted by: Piotr W | October 10, 2015 5:21 PM
For what it's worth, since Terraxia pops up in issues 4 and 5, should she be tagged?
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 10, 2015 5:24 PM
While this is a great series, I do find the first half of this story much stronger than the second half.
It felt as though many characters were going to play a part, rather than what would be come the usual Starlin plot of everyone else being useless background for the Warlock and Thanos show.
It works here this one time, but the constant repetition of this in the later series, and Thanos becoming such a Mary Sue, soured me on his further writing.
Posted by: Bob | October 10, 2015 5:44 PM
I don't know a lot about the Pantheon but I think so some are just in based on sheer power but I think there was also some beefing up. It kind of helps give a little more scale to have a sheer army rather than just a handful of deities. I do wonder how all the Thor's Odin and Hela operate.
A lot of these are Starlin's creations and they just sort of popped out of the blue before. Eon/Epoch, Lord Chaos and Master Order, Love and Hate and Kronos of time.
Posted by: david banes | October 10, 2015 5:47 PM
The coloring error on She-Hulk throughout this issue always bothered me. I mean, as colored, her costume doesn't even make sense!
Posted by: Bill | October 10, 2015 5:50 PM
@Thanos6, i don't really consider Terraxia a character. She's just a construct created by Thanos. If she appeared outside this event i'd probably tag her but since she doesn't, it doesn't seem worth it.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 10, 2015 7:04 PM
Shouldn't she have been named Thanosia or something? Terraxia seems like a name for somebody linked to Galactus's Herald pre-Nova.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | October 11, 2015 1:21 AM
She's Thanos' OC so he can name her how he wants. Do not steal!
Posted by: david banes | October 11, 2015 2:35 AM
Dammit, David, be glad I wasn't drinking when I read that or you'd owe me a new monitor.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 11, 2015 6:48 AM
You know, I look at the scene with the heroes arriving to fight Thanos and... this story stops working for me.
I mean, Thanos is basically omnipotent at this stage. I remember that scene from "Thanos Quest", which showed the extent of the powers of Gauntlet-wearing Thanos and my impression was that he could do anything with just a thought. The heroes know it... and yet, they arrive to fight the guy. But what are they hoping to achieve there? Considering his powers, Thanos might already be aware of their plans anyway. Even if he wasn't, he would be able to defeat this whole army of heroes with a twitch of a finger. So, why fight him in this way?
I feel like this story has defeated itself by making the states so big. The villain is so powerful there that he can't conceivably be defeated - not by ordinary superheroes, anyway. So, seeing these heroes trying to do it is just pointless and leaves me cold. The tension there hinges on the possibility of the heroes winning by some chance... but they have no chance. So, there's no tension...
Posted by: Piotr W | October 11, 2015 2:08 PM
I agree with Piotr, there's absolutely no tension. "Secret Wars II" had more character development, drama, better ideas and plotting, not to mention consequences for the characters involved. The dialogue's about the same, and this series does have George Perez and Ron Lim, but it really says something that this series is unfavorably compared to "Secret Wars II."
But what gets me is Thanos creating a girlfriend to make Death jealous. How many levels is that wrong? She's Death. She doesn't care about any individual. In my opinion, comics like this went so far away from the realm of human experience that it made other characters, like Neil Gaiman's Death, that much better by comparison. Death as a cute, likeable, friendly girl. Not someone you'd want to love, but someone whose very presence makes you feel better. As you, you know, die.
Creating a girlfriend to make her jealous is the sort of idiotic idea Thanos should have gotten over in high school. Why didn't he just use his ultimate power to create his ideal woman? Or, I'm sure this was addressed here or in "Silver Surfer," but I don't remember how, why didn't he just *make* Death love him, like the Beyonder did with Dazzler?
Posted by: ChrisW | October 12, 2015 2:30 PM
@ChrisW- it was said that Thanos COULD have made Death love him but he'd always know she didn't really love him.
Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2015 4:23 PM
Then I guess I'm missing the point of his omnipotent control of reality. Remake Death - the Beyonder did it, why can't he? - as someone who was pining for a Titan to love long before he was born, and fell like a teenage girl as soon as he saw him. Use the Mind Gem upon himself to realize that he's not in love with Death, he's in love with the idea of being in love with Death, a "death wish" if you will. Realize that she's incapable of returning his affection. Remake her into someone who is. Get on with his life and enjoy being a lunatic with omnipotent power.
I'm not saying any of these are brilliant ideas, but I only spent ten seconds on them, and I'm neither in love with Death nor graced with omnipotence.
I like the point someone made on the comments for #6 that this felt like an 'end' to the classic Marvel Universe, and I'll generally agree with that, but I think this series also makes the point that even the classic Marvel Universe had become a place with very few recognizable human features. Again, I will make the unfavorable comparison to "Secret Wars II."
Horrible as it was, there was at least something going on with the Beyonder. Luke Cage explaining the concept of money, Iron Fist pointing out errors in his explanation, the Beyonder's initiation into sex, love, control and the need to go to the bathroom, Boom Boom's alienation [I believe I commented on "SWII" #5's page that it was the highlight of that series] an idiosyncratic love for gadgets which, as with everything else, was done horribly, but it at least recognizable as a human trait. And as Michael points out, the Beyonder's relationship with Dazzler obviously had more depth to it than Thanos has here, and was at least slightly more original, or at least done before this series.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 14, 2015 7:19 PM
Michael, I'm not actually claiming you said that, just using your explanation as a springboard.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 14, 2015 7:26 PM
I would pay good money to see Beyonder and IG Thanos sit down and have a conversation about omnipotence, love, and death. God who's trying to be a man and the man who's trying to be God.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 14, 2015 8:26 PM
Looking at it this time, I am really reminded of the 7th issue of Crisis. Same penciller. Same overall concept - a select group of powerful heroes in a battle they can't really win. Same kind of location - in Crisis, it's the Anti-Matter Universe, but in both cases, it's a location of white rock set out in space. Except Supergirl's death stuck for quite a while while this was all reset by the end of issue #6. And no powerful emotional moment like her death and Superman's primal scream.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 8, 2016 11:53 AM
Since you counted some of the monitor appearances of heroes the Avengers contacted last issue, here's what you'd be missing here:
Reserve Avengers: Monica Rambeau, Sandman, Rage, Mockingbird (pg. 6 panel 2)
Texas Twister (pg. 24, panel 2)
Doc Samson and Whizzer - who is long dead by this point (pg. 24, panel 4)
Jocasta, Captain Marvel and generic Kree? (pg. 24, panel 5)
Snowbird, Mantis (pg. 24, panel 6)
Beyonder (pg. 25, panel 3)
Hellcat (pg. 26, panel 1)
Personally I wouldn't count any of em, but you counted some for last issue.
Posted by: AF | January 22, 2016 7:11 AM
Just to close the loop, i agree characters only shown on the monitors shouldn't be counted as appearances. Thanks AF.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 22, 2016 7:29 AM
I'm not sure how important they are in the end, but shouldn't this at least get a "2" due to introducing Love and Hate?
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 22, 2016 9:52 AM
I didn't think so. Aside from standing around in the background of some group scenes, they're really only featured in one story.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 22, 2016 9:59 AM
That's Troma's Toxic Avenger pictured on the poster in that Hulk panel.
Posted by: Jonathan Hamilton | June 4, 2016 10:23 AM
I find it fun and awesome that in Defenders #125 the original Defenders Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Hulk and Namor had to disband, never more to join together as Defenders lest the Earth be doomed. And now here they do just that, and Adam Warlock even name-drops "Defenders" as his addressing of the collected heroes prompting a panel where exactly those four (and Dr. Doom) are standind as the closest ones to him. Earth's already gone off the orbit at this point.
Posted by: Teemu | August 30, 2017 12:02 AM
Dr. Strange had already dismissed that edict as a "cosmic hoax" in Hulk #370 or #371, but the Surfer wasn't present there, and it sounds like you're suggesting he wasn't entirely correct...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | August 30, 2017 2:32 PM
Oh, there already was discussion. Well, Surfer was absent in MF #20-21 too, and especially taking these previous sans Surfer instances into consideration, it's even more difficult to not feel that Surfer bursts through Dr. Strange's roof window as the herald of stuff getting real finally. So, I must stake as my claim that Eye of Agamotto indeed is the Real Deal, and you can have your Hulk sulk and not want to join the defenders *cough* Avengers all you want now that it's on, PAD.
Posted by: Teemu | August 31, 2017 4:56 AM
Actually, thinking it over, it's fairly obvious that Dr. Strange was lying in HULK #370.
The horrible event referred in the edict in DEFENDERS #125 was specifically that the Earth would be destroyed. But, by the time of HULK #370, Thanos has already been resurrected and his plan is set in motion, and some mystic emanations from that has on some level alarmed Strange, or maybe his old pal Eternity has given a subliminal heads-up, or somesuch, of such a horrible cosmic cataclysm that Earth in itself is not much of a consideration at that point, except maybe as a source for super-powered cannon fodder (because it always is).
So for when the time comes, you don't want anyone pulling stupid drama of not coming because of the "No Defenders!" edict, nor needlessly alarm them about Earth's near-certain demise in such event. So, "Yeah that was a total hoax dudes."
Posted by: Teemu | August 31, 2017 7:22 AM
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