As we get ever closer to the inevitable Avengers: Infinity War films, which will close out Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos is on a mission to unite the six Infinity Stones to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, harnessing complete and total power. It’s been a pressing matter of mine that I actually read the source material going forward, before that time comes, especially after his first being teased at the end of the Avengers. The 1991 6-issue crossover series, Infinity Gauntlet is produced by Marvel Comics, written by Jim Starlin and pencilled by George Pérez. It sees the mad-Titan ‘Thanos’ challenge the Marvel universe a third time, this time wielding the power of all six Infinity Gems (as they are referred to in the comics), each possessing the unique element of either Mind, Soul, Space, Time, Reality, or Power. Together they create an incredible foe, omnipotent and omniscient – godlike.
The trade paperback for Infinity Gauntlet collects all six issues.
Thanos, this iteration of the character anyway, is obsessed with infatuation towards Death – literally the personification of death, as represented by a gaunt and beautiful female. It has yet to be seen what Thanos’ on-screen motivation for his newly acquired power will be, but likely it won’t involve his obsession towards such an outlandish concept. Regardless, this professed love leads the Titan to commit acts great and terrible in the hope that it will woo the lady Death, and each act rips the fabric of reality and time a little further appart.
From the get-go, the scope of the destruction caused by the mad-Titan’s newfound power is strikingly apparent. One of his mad schemes is to literally kill half the population of the universe at random. Several of our earthly heroes are caught in this atrocity, including Hawkeye, Daredevil, most of the X-Men, and the entire Fantastic Four roster, among many others.
A plan is set in motion via Adam Warlock – a character that is actually teased in Guardians of the Galaxy – who has a special link to the Soul Gem, to set the universe aright. As the reader we don’t discover what this plan is completely until the very end. Even then, before it comes together it is muddled, thrown about, and at the worst of times doesn’t seem like much of a plan at all. But it is progressively awesome.
Aside from the obvious fight between our earthly heroes and Thanos, we get the rare sight of the different universal entities attempting to thwart him also, including Galactus and Eternity. Even the Watcher shows up to… watch…
There’s an early scene in which the Sky-Fathers meet that seems like a setup for some really great action. This sees very little follow-thru however, and is my biggest disappointment with the book. For those unaware, a Sky Father is the leading god in a pantheon of gods. Usually considered the ‘sky god’ or the ‘Father’ of the other gods. Odin would by the Sky-Father of Norse mythology, Zeus the Sky-Father of Greek mythology, and so on. Very pagan and such. Well Odin unites all the Sky-Fathers into a single council to talk about defeating Thanos before things get out of hand. Thanos locks them in Asgard. And that whole side-plot doesn’t see the light of day again.
George Pérez happens to be one of my go-to classic comic artists. I loved his work on the New Teen Titans. He’s also well known for his work with Crisis on Infinite Earths. So it was a delightful surprise to find that he also did the artwork for Infinity Gauntlet, as it was just so fantastic.
All in all, I really enjoyed the insanity of it all. Plenty of technobabbling and cosmobabbling to chew on, but still. Quite a fun read. The majority of it isn’t likely to be covered, or adapted to film, once Thanos gets his hands on the Infinity Stones in Infinity War. It’s just too out there. A main character in the fight was Doctor Strange, someone we know who IS going to show up in the MCU, and has strong ties to the spiritual and celestial side of the universe. We can assume he will be a huge aid in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps even taking the place of Adam Warlock?
(The Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus collects the entire crossover event: Silver Surfer (1987) 34-38, 40, 44-60; Thanos Quest 1-2; Infinity Gauntlet 1-6; Cloak & Dagger (1988) 18; Spider-Man (1990) 17; Incredible Hulk 383-385; Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme 31-36; Quasar 26-27; Sleepwalker 7) Grab it in Hardcover.