Warlock and the Infinity Watch #3-4
Issue(s): Warlock and the Infinity Watch #3, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #4
Adam Warlock arrives on the planet that the High Evolutionary is currently on. He isn't welcomed and has to fight his way through some Ani-Men and Nobilus, one of the New Gods.
I figured the New Gods were supposed to be pretty powerful (i mean, "God" is in their name), but Warlock takes Nobilus out very easily, and as i understand it Warlock is not supposed to be all that powerful (when not using the Soul Gem) at this point, as we'll see in a bit.
When Warlock gets to the High Evolutionary, he starts to talk about how he's having suicidal feelings.
But it turns out that the High Evolutionary is catatonic. Readers of the High Evolutionary's last appearance already know that, but Warlock didn't.
The Evolutionary isn't always catatonic. Sometimes he's just crazy.
But the more immediate problem is that a group of armored soldiers have been pursuing the Evolutionary and his New Men. Warlock agrees to help, but that first involves him having the New Men sacrifice themselves fighting the soldiers, so that Warlock can test the soldiers' capabilities. Pretty similar to the passionless expediency we saw from Warlock in Infinity Gauntlet.
Warlock watches the New Men get defeated (non-lethally, at least, according to the text, anyway)...
...and the next thing Nobilus knows, Warlock has seemingly run away.
Warlock is actually opting for stealth instead of a direct confrontation. But even that doesn't go so well.
When he's in danger, he panics and his Soul Gem kicks in, but the rush of experiences from his victim knock him out.
That queues up about three pages of recapping Warlock's history, all of which we saw in the first issue of this series as well. But it ends with Warlock berating himself for leaving Counter-Earth behind, saying that it was because of his "ego" that he falsely believed that Counter-Earth would be safe after defeating the Man-Beast, and acknowledging that he really left the planet because he wanted to free himself from the responsibility of being Counter-Earth's protector. He then wakes up, saying, "And now that error in judgement has returned to haunt me".
It turns out that this relates to the fact that Counter-Earth was taken by the Beyonders. The people of Counter-Earth were affected by the Beyonders' energy (it's not said exactly how), but then Thanos' actions during Infinity Gauntlet messed things up further.
Someone named "Omega" saved twelve people from Counter-Earth before they were destroyed by Thanos' wave of destruction, and turned them "into the embodiment of pure hatred".
This story doesn't address the fact that all of Thanos' actions were reversed by Nebula at the end of Infinity Gauntlet. Marvel in general has been handling that reset inconsistently, but you'd think Jim Starlin of all people would acknowledge it.
Meanwhile, Nobilus is defeated, and the High Evolutionary captured.
Warlock then confronts the remaining soldiers. The good news is that they remember him as their messiah.
Contradictory orders from two different "gods" causes their heads to explode.
Warlock belatedly tells the soldiers that they should "trust no God, my children". He then says that "someday" he will need to hunt down Omega. That will turn out to be as soon as next issue. For now, Warlock starts to realize that he's given the Infinity Gems to some very silly people.
As for the rest of the Infinity Watch, we start on Earth with the Human Torch wondering how the Fantasticar wound up crashed into the side of an apartment building. And the answer is Pip the Troll, who has moved on to stealing an Avengers Quinjet. But he is subsequently pulled out of the Quinjet via a tractor beam and is carried away by an armored humanoid that looks like the Omega we saw above.
Drax is lured into the armored guy's ship with promises of Alf cartoons.
Gamora and Moondragon were also making their way to Earth, by much more conventional means than Pip's teleportation.
They also get captured.
There's actually a lot of interesting stuff here, giving us insight into Adam Warlock's current character. I am a bit annoyed by the amount of pages devoted to flashbacks, even though i admit they serve a purpose since Starlin is nicely pulling together a lot of elements of Warlock and the High Evolutionary's past histories. But everything is a bit soured by Leonardi's art. That image of Thanos was the clincher for me. Yeesh. Granted that the coloring doesn't help.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: In Quasar #35, Epoch started to tell Quasar that Moondragon was "currently aboard a ship". That might have referred to her being stranded in a ship in issue #2 of this series, but it could also be referring to the fact that Moondragon and Gamora were on a ship between the place where Adam Warlock had gathered the Infinity Watch in issue #2 and Earth, which is where they are headed when they get kidnapped in issue #4 here. Based on current placement, i've gone with the latter option. The rest of the Infinity Watch have been captured and shouldn't appear anywhere else before the start of next issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAdam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, High Evolutionary, Human Torch, Man-Beast, Moondragon, Mr. Fantastic, Nobilus, Pip the Troll, Soul Gem, Triax
uhh that flashback of Thanks to the Infinity Gauntlet has him wearing a different colored outfit than what he wore during that storyline
Posted by: Brimstone | February 16, 2016 11:18 AM
All of the flashback scenes are colored differently to distinguish them from the present day scenes, which is a common practice, but the colors chosen for the FBs in these issues are definitely odd. I don't know if something went wrong with the process or if the colorist (Ian Laughlin) was just trying for something different (in which case i don't think it worked).
Posted by: fnord12 | February 16, 2016 11:22 AM
The scan with Pip in the Quinjet is posted twice. One of those was meant to be Moondragon & Gamora?
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 16, 2016 12:20 PM
The scans look fine to me. I see Moondragon and Gamora, not Pip, in the final scan. But please please please, everyone, report scan problems and typos in the forum or not at all.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 16, 2016 12:25 PM
Sorry about that! I refreshed and it's coming up correctly now.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 16, 2016 1:08 PM
Leonardi is one of the most wildly inconsistent artists.
Posted by: Bob | February 16, 2016 4:44 PM
I take it that Warlock's steathly approach was supposed to be a nod towards his stealthy attack back when he met Pip during the Magus storyline. Except this time it goes south right away.
Posted by: david banes | February 16, 2016 6:49 PM
If you think this art isn't good, wait til we get to the Tom Grindberg issues...
Posted by: AF | February 16, 2016 8:21 PM
Regarding the effects of the Infinity Gauntlet being reversed, we saw that beings that were outside the universe proper were sometimes unaffected by Nebula's reversal (e.g. the Chain Gang and the Marvel Boy doppleganger). Although sometimes they were, like the Asgardians. So it's possible that Counter Earth was unaffected by the reversal because it was outside the universe.
Posted by: Michael | February 16, 2016 8:58 PM
On Warlock's strength, the Deluxe handbook says it's normally 4 tons, which feels right to me. It adds that he can temporarily increase it to 40 tons, which would explain how he's been able to put up at least a little fight against Thor before being pulverized.
But this was written pre-Infinity Gauntlet, so it could have changed when he came back to life.
Posted by: Mortificator | February 18, 2016 11:34 AM
They upped that to 50 tons closer to this series:
Posted by: AF | February 18, 2016 12:45 PM
Oops, ready Superhuman Class as tons.
But never-the-less, there's a post-Gauntlet entry for you.
Posted by: AF | February 18, 2016 12:46 PM
I always have had a soft spot for Leonardi's art since his run on Spidey 2099 but I can see why ppl don't like it here.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | December 13, 2017 8:05 AM
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