Cap suggested twice that I lead this discussion, so here it is. I decided at the last minute to put these series in a thread of their own rather than to fold them into “What Comic Books Have You Read Today?” (The “plus” is the various series leading up to and in between the OGNs.) Here’s a look at what’s ahead.
Infinity Abyss #1-6 (2002)
Marvel: The End #1-6 (2003)
Thanos #1-6 (2004)
Infinity Revelation OGN (2014)
Thanos vs. the Hulk #1-4 (2015)
Infinity Relativity OGN (2015)
Infinity Entity #1-4 (2016)
Infinity Finale OGN (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mother Entropy #1-5 (2017)
Infinity Siblings OGN (2018)
Infinity Conflict OGN (2018)
For completeness’ sake, I’ll move what I posted yesterday about Thanos Annual #1 (2014) here: “It’s by Starlin and Lim, and features Thanos from two different periods in his life (after his first major defeat by Captain Marvel and between panels of Infinity War #5). It ‘foreshadows’ events of Starlin’s early 2K series (as well as events of the non-Starlin ‘Annihilation’ series), but is too complicated for a Starlin novice. Even for a Starlin fan it’s not essential, but I enjoyed it.”
INFINITY ABYSS #1-6:
Infinity Watch spun out of Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade, but the series kind of petered out after that. Infinity Abyss was the first “infinity” series of the 2K’s and was Starlin’s return to art and story, and is, in my estimation, the best of the series since the original Infinity Gauntlet. The main action is told through a series of flashbacks narrated by Adam Warlock.
The flashbacks (narrated from the end of issue #6), reveal that, shortly after we last saw Adam Warlock in Infinity Watch, he encountered a cosmic being called Atlez, who serves as the “reality anchor” for the cosmos. Each “anchor” serves for several hundred years, then is replaced by a successor. Normally, there is a period of overlap in which the outgoing anchor trains the incoming one, but in this case the events of Avengers Forever skewed the timeline, and Atlez successor is a recent newborn, one f a set of twins born to an Earth couple in upstate New York.
There is no time to lose. Atlez imparts to Warlock the knowledge he will need to find and retrieve the baby girl, Atleza. Unfortunately, the knowledge drives him insane. Early in the flashbacks it is revealed that Warlock has spent the last two years in his cocoon within an asylum called the Corporation for Mental Stability under the care of Dr. Nilrats. (Get it?)
Meanwhile, the flashbacks reveal that five duplicates of Thanos are active, each one based on a different aspect of the mad Titan’s personality: Armour, Warrior, X, Mystic and Omega. The series gets typically cosmic involving the Avengers, Doctor Strange and the Defenders, Spider-Man, the current Captain Marvel (Genis Vel), and the various former members of the Infinity Watch (Moondragon, Gamora, Pip the troll). It should be noted that Thanos has moved beyond his nihilistic beginnings, but his doppelgangers have not. When one of them was created with a splice of Galactus’ DNA, defeating them is not an easy task.
By the end of the story, the two-year-old Atleza has become reality’s anchor, with Adam Warlock and Gamora serving as her caretakers.
NEXT: Marvel: The End
MARVEL: THE END #1-6 (2003):
Marvel: The End came at a time when Marvel released several “last stories” of various characters. What sets this one apart from the others is that it is actually in continuity. As with Infinity Abyss, Starlin utilizes a narrator, Thanos this time, to relate the story in flashback. Starlin, as we shall see, is adept at playing with the toys in Marvel’s sandbox, meaning that he not only follows his own continuity, but the continuity established by others as well. This will become increasingly obvious as we go on and Starlin begins using revised versions of characters he himself crated, such as Drax the Destroyer and Gamora. In this case, it’s the Genis Vell version of Captain Marvel. He also uses Grant Morrison’s X-Men, although they don’t survive beyond the first issue.
As the story opens, Warlock and Gamora are continuing their shepherding of Atleza. Thor is the ruler of Asgard. In outer space, the Silver Surfer discovers Gladiator, the sole survivor of the destruction of the Shi’ar fleet. Perhaps because the Defenders (except for Dr. Strange) did not play a large role in the previous series, they are used to better effect here. At least they survive the first issue, which is more than can be said for the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, whose bodies are put on display inside transparent, cross-like boxes floating in the air in a scene Spider-Man has to describe to Daredevil, who cannot discern the situation with his radar sense alone.
The villain is Akenaten, a pharaoh abducted by aliens thousands of years ago and who has now returned to assert his rule over Earth. He was abducted by the “Celestial Order” and transformed by the “Heart of the Infinite” into a god-like being, an excruciatingly painful process which took over two thousand years. In issue #2, he destroys all of Earth’s deities during a meeting, except for Thor and Zeus who escape. He also freezes the MU’s time travelers in limbo. Even though Doctor Doom observes a future version of
himself frozen with the time travelers (meaning his time is limited), he plots Akenaten’s defeat.
Akenaten has established an Imperial Police Force, made of up super-villains, on behalf of the Celestial Order. The Celestial Order offers a benign dictatorship, but a dictatorship nonetheless. While thot and Zeus petition Eternity and Infinity for their help, Dr. Doom time-travels back to 1334 BCE in order to kill Akenaten before he is abducted by the Celestial Order. Then he plans to take Akenaten’s place. Just as Doom is about to pull the trigger, the present day Akenaten appears and stops him.
Thanos theorizes a power source he calls the “Heart of the Universe” which the Celestial Order are tapping to power Akenaten. He and the Defenders (Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer and Captain Marvel) find the Celestial Orders’ giant space station, but the Hulk stupidly draws attention to them once within. Namor is the first to fall, followed by Dr. Strange. In a desperate ploy, Thanos throws himself into the Heart of the Universe. He succeeds in absorbing its power into himself, but the space station is destroyed in the process, thus killing the Hulk, Silver Surfer and Captain Marvel.
Thanos is now more powerful than he has ever been before. The Heart of the Universe has given him more power than the Cosmic Cube, more power than the Infinity Gauntlet. He time-travels to 1334 BCE to thwart Akenaten from preventing Dr. Doom from killing Akenaten’s earlier self. Akenaten is wiped from existence. Thanos then goes further back in time and commits genocide on the race that would evolve into the Celestial Order. Reality resets itself, but something is not right. In the present, Thor know it and rallies the heroes against Thanos.
The universe has been remade with an imbalance of evil over good. (This is why so many heroes are able to return from the dead, to right this cosmic imbalance.) Thanos argues with Eternity, Infinity and the Living Tribunal. Suddenly, all the heroes of the Marvel Universe attack him at once. Without thinking, Thanos destroys all reality. It is from this void Thanos has been narrating the story up until this point. Unexpectedly, Adam Warlock steps through a cosmic doorway from outside reality where he and Gamora had been tending young Atleza. (Now that reality no longer exists, Atleza has nothing to anchor.)
Adam Warlock spends several pages psychoanalyzing Thanos and comes to redefine his purpose in the Universe. Death appears ad speaks directly to him for the first time. Critics of Starlin’s work will argue that this story fits into the formula of Thanos gaining ultimate power then losing it, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But in this case, he loses it because he comes to realize that he is actually a force for good, and he apparently sacrifices himself to restore the universe to its rightful state. No one other than Warlock knows that Thanos has actually saved all reality.
Years ago, I considered Jim Starlin to be one of a triumvirate of artists I associated with huge larger-than-life storylines involving multiple heroes (the other two being John Byrne ad George Perez). Starlin’s skill certainly has not dimmed. Each issue features at least one double-page spread absolutely jam-packed with details. Coincidentally, this story came out at a time when continuity was becoming decreasingly important in the Marvel Universe. I personally fault Thanos for incorrectly rebuilding reality.
Starlin really seems to have done his research in plotting this story (the operative word being “seems”). My wife is quite studied in the history of Egypt and the pharaohs (on two occasions she drew a crowd leading me through Egyptian exhibits at museums), but I gave her issue #1 to read when it first came out and she says it’s all b*ll$#it. She pointed out all of the historical inaccuracies (and there are a lot of them), which kind of ruined it for me the first time through. I’ve forgotten most of what she said by this time, though, so I’m able to enjoy it again. My point is, it’s okay to be entertained by the story, but don’t expect it to be historically accurate.
NEXT: Thanos #1-6
THANOS #1-6 (2004):
“Epiphany!” – (“A tale of unnatural enlightenments, futile longings, tenuous alliances and bitter betrayal.”)
Thanos (who faked his death at the end of Infinity Abysscontemplates the destruction of Rigel-3 by one of his doppelgangers. Thanos’ origin and history are recapped in flashback. (NOTE: Starlin incorporates the revised “Eternals” origin in favor of his own original “Olympian” origin.) Adam Warlock also finds himself drawn to New Rigel-3. Thanos explains that his life has taken a new direction. Surprisingly, Thanos surrenders to the Rigellians and offers them his services.
Across the bottom of the pages, a small black box grows. Two bright slits appear, which eventually become eyes. By the end of the issue, the entity achieves consciousness.
“Rebellion!” – Warlock vouches for Thanos to the Rigellian Grand Commissioner and a Recorder. Warlock grows increasingly annoyed with the Recorder’s narration, at one point asking if it has a “mute” setting. Last issue recapped Thanos’ origin and history, this issue recaps Warlock’s. the Rigellians stage a coup against the Grand Commissioner for dealing with Thanos. Thanos is imprisoned within a photon block, but escapes and halts the coup. He then sets about solving Rigel-3’s problems. Meanwhile, Rigel-18 has a problem of its own: Galactus!
“Alone!” – Galactus is not there to consume the planet; he’s there for some other mysterious purpose. This issue we get the origin ad history of Galactus. The entity that has been lurking in the background since issue #1 refers to itself as “Hunger.” Instead of consuming mere planets, Hunger consumes entire realities.
Galactus recruits Moondragon and Pip the troll to assist with the evacuation of Rigel-18. Galactus destroys the planet’s star, and retieves a skeleton with a gem embedded in its sternum. Hunger then notices and speaks directly to… ME!
“Hunger!” – It was the Infinity Gauntlet which drew Hunger’s attention to this reality. It lured Galactus to Rigel-18 with a power source Galactus thought would eliminate his hunger. In reality, Galactus opened the dor for Hunger to enter and consume this reality. Thanos was unable to protect Rigel-18; now he feels he needs to avenge it. His Punishers attack, stealing Warlock’s Soul Gem. Galactus has the other Power Gems, and affixes them to a “Focusing Crux.”
“Entry!” – An accurate description of this issue would be, “first Thanos and Galactus fight, then they team up.” Pip uses his powers to throw the dead planet of Rigel-3 at Hunger. Thanos lectures, threatens and gives advice. A tiny piece of Hunger survives. Thanos and Warlock depart as friends.
There are six more issues of this series, but only the first six were written and drawn by Jim Starlin. I took Hardcore Station out of my “Featured Creators” box and Death of the New Gods out of my “Kirby Legacy” box and moved them both into my “Starlin” box.
INFINITY REVELATION: This OGN sets up a new status quo and deals with “a quandary of parallel realities converging upon a synchronistic moment.” Reading this, one will soon notice that the characters change from panel to panel. Drax changes back and forth from his old self wearing a purple cowl to his tattooed movie self; the Silver Surfer’s board is sometimes rounded on front, sometimes pointed; and there are other minor character variations as well.
Most significant (to the story) among these are the changes to Adam Warlock. In some panels, he is wearing his costume from the various “Annihilation!” series; in others, he is wearing a costume we’ve never seen before and sporting a different haircut. About three quarters of the way in, we realize that we have been watching the activities of two sets of Warlocks ad Thanoses from two timelines that have yet to diverge. Eventually both sets meet. In one reality, Thanos gains omnipotent power, and in the other Warlock does. Each of their respective partners realize this is a bad thing, so Thanos/Warlock kills Warlock Thanos.
The Warlock who was killed is the one from Annihilation as well as all previous appearances. The one that remains is a Warlock we have never seen before, yet one who has had nearly identical experiences to the Adam Warlock of Earth-616. What Starlin has done here is to set the slate clean, not only wiping out the non-Starlin Warlock stories, but his own as well. It’s a massive rearrangement of the pieces on the chess board, yet it is an engaging story as well. Reading these series in quick succession, one wonders what has become of Gamora and Atleza, but some 10 years have passed real time and the stories are ready to move into a new phase.
Thanks for doing this, Jeff. If we add the 20th century stories, by the time you're finished we'll have a Thanos reference page!
I did a summary of some early Thanos stories somewhere, but I can't find it now. Let me do a few here:
THANOS THE MAD GOD: This is the first Thanos storyline, and I'm not sure if it ever had a name, so I'm paraphrasing the title to Captain Marvel #32. This story runs through various books:
* Iron Man #55: Shellhead and Drax the Destroyer battle the Blood Brothers. First appearance Thanos, Drax, Blood Brothers, Alars (Mentor), Eros (Starfox). Starlin plot and art, Mike Friedrich listed as scripter
* Marvel Feature #12: Iron Man and Thing vs. Blood Brothers. Friedrich listed as writer, Starlin as artist.
* Daredevil #105-107: Introduction and origin of Moondragon (initially Madame MacEvil). All three issues are written by Steve Gerber. Don Heck drew the first two, with Starlin contributing a few pages set on Titan in #105. The third issue is drawn by Bob Brown.
* Avengers #125: Thor, Captain America, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Swordsman and Mantis battle Thanos' fleet in outer space. Writer: Steve Englehart. Art: John Buscema and Dave Cockrum. (Boy, them was the days!)
* Captain Marvel #25-33: Thanos searches for the Cosmic Cube, which he determines is encoded in Rick Jones' mind (by the Supreme Intelligence in Avengers #98). He sends the Super-Skrull to Earth to keep Captain Marvel busy/kidnap Jones, and later The Controller to take out the Avengers (with the promise of making him viceroy of the planet). Thanos kidnaps Rick Jones, gets the information he needs and proceeds to Earth. Rick/Captain Marvel escape, and go to Titan to find out about Thanos, where he/they meets Mentor and Eros. Thanos gets the Cosmic Cube in Captain Marvel #28, after defeating Drax. Captain Marvel gets cosmic Awareness from Eon (first appearance previous issue) in CM #29. Thanos becomes God in CM #31, and Drax gets an origin. Thanos kidnaps Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Mentor, Eros and Moondragon, and Drax shows up too, while the rest of the Avengers are battling Thanos' fleet. Captain Marvel uses his Cosmic Awareness to determine that the Cosmic Cube -- apparently now an ornament, after Thanos absorbed all its power -- is still the Mad God's weakness. Thanos ages CM super-fast, but as he is about to die CM destroys the Cube with a karate chop. Thanos blinks out and all returns to the way it was before.
Starlin wrote and drew all of the Captain Marvel issues, except for #25 (Friedrich listed as writer) and #26 (Friedrich listed as scripter over Starlin plot).
A GATHERING OF EAGLES: I had to invent this title, too. (The phrase was used by Moondragon to describe the good guys in Avengers Annual #7.)This story also occurs in various books.
* Warlock #9-15: Warlock battles his future self, The Magus, and Thanos shows up to help. He tells Warlock it's because The Magus is destined to become master of the universe if they don't stop him here, but the real reason is that he siphons power from Warlock's Soul Gem while they battle The Magus. Warlock realizes the only way to destroy The Magus is to destroy the timeline that leads in that direction, so he goes into the near future and erases that timeline, essentially committing time-delayed suicide.
* Logan's Run #6: A short story depicting Thanos destroying a religion's most sacred relic (because he's evil) and Drax failing to stop him. (Drax ALWAYS fails to stop him.) It's not really important, but I'm still amazed that this story appeared as a back-up in Logan's Run. You had to be a collector of virtually all Marvel titles to find this story and understand it, which I happened to be at the time. But what about the people who only read Logan's Run because they liked the TV show? It would make no sense at all.
* Avengers Annual #7: Captain Marvel and sometime-Avenger Moondragon show up at Avengers Mansion, where Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, Scarlet Witch and Beast await. Warlock shows up and explains how Thanos has achieved the five other Soul Gems (as they were called then) to add to the power he siphoned from Warlock's Soul Gem. in order to make a really big gem with which he intends to snuff out all the stars in the universe as an offering to Death. Just then Starcore (remember that?) reported a massive alien fleet heading for Earth. Iron Man and Thor run interference as the rest of the Avengers use Moondragon's star cruiser to reach the flagship. They win, but that turns out to be a diversion, as Thanos is on the other side of the sun warming up his sun destroyer. Everyone races to the far side of the sun, with Captain Marvel and Warlock arriving first. Captain Marvel smashes into the "ion-laser projector" the giant Soul Gem is on, knocking himself unconscious. Thanos prepares to mount the gem on another ion-laser projector when Warlock arrives. Thanos kills him (and rather easily). Then we see past Warlock show up to take dying Warlock into the soul gem -- the opposite view of what we saw in Warlock #14. The Avengers arrive, and Iron Man destroys the big Soul Gem with his repulsors and, defeated, Thanos flees.
Note: Gamora and Pip were also killed in this adventure, and their souls were taken into the Soul Gem as well.
* Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2: Peter Parker receives an SOS from Moondragon -- after the events of Avengers Annual #7, Thanos returned and handily defeated all the remaining "eagles," who he placed in stasis. He now plans to use Warlock's Soul Gem to destroy Sol, in the hopes that will pacify Death. Spider-Man recruits the Thing, because the FF has a spaceship (the remaining members of the FF are not home). They go to the rescue, but Thanos defeats the Thing easily and Spider-Man, overwhelmed iwth blind panic, flees. He thinks his way out of it, realizes his only option is to free Thor, who is the only one with a chance against Thanos. He does so by driving his own body through the stasis machine. The Avengers engage, keeping Thanos busy, while Spider-Man recovers. Again, he thinks his way through it and realizes that he must free Warlock's Soul Gem from the globe encasing it. When he does, Warlock emerges and turns Thanos to stone before returning to the Soul Gem to enjoy a pacific eternity with those souls that have been previously absorbed, including Gamora and Pip.
I thought it was kinda neat that the two characters with a team-up title -- Spider-Man and Thing -- got to team up for once!
Note: The "Eagles" learn that Thanos is on the far side of the sun because Pip knew it, and Warlock learned it when his gem absorbed Pip's soul. Mar-Vell says, "But surely Thanos must have realized you'd find this out through Pip's spirit?" To which Warlock responds "Yes, that's quite likely. It wouldn't be the first seed to his own destruction I've seen Thanos plant. I fear it is a trait I have in common with him." This idea will come up again in Infinity Gauntlet, and later.
RETURN OF THANOS: This is really the prelude to Infinity Gauntlet, but Marvel has packaged these issues under that name. So there ya go.
* Silver Surfer #34-43, Silver Surfer Annual #3: Death resurrects Thanos to correct "the Great Imbalance," i.e., that there are more people alive currently than have ever died. Thanos' solution is to kill half the universe. He explains all this to the Silver Surfer, who vows to stop him. Thanos disappears to do his work, so the Surfer goes to Avengers HQ (Captain America, She-Hulk present) to find out more about Thanos. They direct him to Mentor and Eros on Titan. Meanwhile, the return of Thanos means the return of Drax, who also arrives on Titan, but is now a brain-damaged moron. Eventually Thanos reappears to reclaim his fleet from Nebula, establishing that she is not really his granddaughter. He also fakes his death so the Surfer wills top hunting him. Then Thanos tricks the Surfer into getting trapped on a planet without his power cosmic. He escapes during Thanos Quest.
Note: It is frequently said that the Surfer presents a unique danger to Thanos. No one knows what that is, only that it's true.
All issues written by Starlin, drawn by Ron Lim.
* Thanos Quest #1-2: In a two-issue miniseries, Thanos collects the six Soul Gems from their current caretakers. The six are held by the In-Betweener and five Elders of the Universe, some of whom we see in this series for the first time. They are Champion, Collector, Grand Master, Gardener and Runner. Thanos uses both wiles and power to win the gems.Thanos shows genuine cleverness in this series. The downside: Death still won't talk to him, not because he's inferior, as before -- but because now he's several orders of magnitude above her on the cosmic food chain.
All issues written by Starlin, drawn by Ron Lim.
* Silver Surfer #44-50: Drax insists that the bones of "Thanos" aren't really him, and after tests, Surfer, Mentor and Eros discover he is right. So the hunt for Thanos begins anew. However, now Thanos has the Soul Gems, which he renames Infinity Gems. He also gains a challenge in Mephisto, who naturally tries to trick Thanos, who is amused and makes Mephisto his toady. He also resurrects Nebula in a state halfway between life and death as a moldering corpse. He then handily defeats Surfer and Drax, who wake up in Soulworld, the world inside Warlock's Soul Gem. They eventually escape, leaving Warlock to rally the troops. Then the Surfer confronts Galactus, as Thanos had hinted that the Soul Gem had found some tinkering in his soul. Galactus admits he changed Norrin Radd's soul to allow him to find Galactus populated planets to eat, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to bear it. He also made him forget his father's suicide. Surfer demands the changes be un-done, and nearly goes mad from the guilt. He then battles the stone version of Thanos that the mad Titan has animated, and in the aftermath flies deleriously to Earth, where he falls through Dr. Strange's skylight.
All issues written by Starlin, drawn by Ron Lim.
INFINITY GAUNTLET: While there were a lot of crossovers, the main story took place in the eponymous, six-issue miniseries.
Infinity Gauntlet #1-6: Death still won't talk to Thanos. In addition to his now being her cosmic superior, "she" also feels he lied to her about getting the Infinity Gems. He told her he was getting them to wipe out half the universe, not to become a god. But now he is a god and she feels betrayed. He builds her an enormous shrine floating in space, populated only by him, her, Mephisto, Nebula's walking corpse, and the corpse Death uses as a third party to communicate with Thanos. (He destroys the latter in a fit of pique.) He then snaps his fingers and wipes out half the universe. Meanwhile, three Earth people have died in a car wreck, and are now resurrected, slowly transforming into Gamora, Pip and Warlock.
The heroes of the universe, especially Earth, react to the calamity by assembling. Dr. Strange is in mental contact with Warlock. Epoch (Eon's successor) puts Quasar into the field. (That used to be a thing.) Dr. Doom becomes involved. Captain America has started tracking which heroes have disappeared, and they include Archangel, Beast, Black Cat, Black Panther, Box, Dagger, Daredevil, Diamond Lil, Firestar, Guardian, Hawkeye, Hercules, Iceman, Makkari, Marvel Boy, Marvel Girl, Night Thrasher, Northstar, Luke Cage, Puck, Quicksilver, Sasquatch, Sersi, Shaman, Thing, USAgent, Vindicator, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Excalibur. (Although Wolverine turns up.) Good thing most of the heavy hitters made the cut!
Thanos traps all the all-fathers (Zeus, Odin, etc.) on another plane of existence. Mentor is one of the vanished, and Thanos kidnaps Eros and removes his mouth. Later, he turns him into boxes and Nebula into ribbons (like he did to Drax and Mantis in the movie), before turning them back. Then he has a hissy fit that blows up suns and stuff, and on Earth results in California falling into the sea, a tidal wave wiping out Atlantic City and the Japanese archipelago disappearing under the waves. Oh yeah, the planet's been knocked out of orbit.
The troops assemble at Avengers Mansion: Captain America, Thor (secretly Eric Masterson, long story), She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Warlock, Dr. Doom, Cyclops, Hulk, Iron Man, Drax, Star-Lord,Sub-Mariner, Nova, Cloak, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine. Warlock and Silver Surfer join Quasar at a cosmic summit, which includes Epoch, Kronos (spelled in the last Thanos story as Chronos), Galactus, Eternity, the Watcher, Lord Order and Master Chaos, the Living Tribunal, the Stranger, the embodiments of Love and Hate, and two Celestials. (The Living Tribunal says it's survival of the fittest and bows out.) They all agree to follow Warlock's plan, as the heroes have as well.
Note: I think it's established here for the first time that Warlock is "outside the loop of time" or somesuch, a wild card even for cosmic beings. Later, Thanos is mentioned as being such a person also, I think.
Thanos creates a girlfriend, since Death is ghosting him. "Terraxia" looks uncomfortably like Thanos himself, only with boobs.
The heroes attack, and Thanos freezes them all with a snap of his finger. He is about to dispatch Warlock and the Silver Surfer -- Remember? Unique threat? -- but Mephisto suggests an alternate plan. He says fighting the heroes might impress Mistress Death at last. Obviously a trick, but Thanos goes for it and the fight is on. (Eros thinks that Thanos is a bit off his game as he adjusts to his new status.) Thanos turns off his cosmic perceptions, which he estimates gives the heroes a 0.5% chance of victory.
Warlock holds Surfer out of the battle, and won't tell him what his part will be, or Thanos could read his mind. Meanwhile ...
Hulk and Drax get a couple of licks in, but then it goes very badly. Hulk is turned teeny-tiny. Mjolnir is teleported away, and while Thor gets some licks in, after 60 seconds he turns into Eric Masterson and begins to die in space. Thanos puts some sort of fast-growing gunk on Sub-Mariner and She-Hulk, which covers and suffocates them. (Or eats them. It's not clear.) Wolverine's bones are turned to rubber. Something dreadful we don't see happens to Scarlet Witch, and Cyclops' head is enclosed in a block of transparent force, and he suffocates. Thanos pulls wires out of Vision's chest (like in the movie). Cloak tries to hold Thanos in the dark dimension, but explodes. Drax and Fire-Lord are sent to the distant past. Off-screen, Terraxia has decapitated Iron Man. Spidey does the old web-in-the-eye trick, and while Thanos blinded, he and Thor attack. Terraxia grabs Spider-Man, and beats him to death with a rock. Thanos turns Thor into glass and shatters him. Nova is turned into toy blocks, and Thanos steps on them. Thanos blows up Quasars Quantum Bands, and his hands with them, before he disintegrates him.
"Now?" says the Silver Surfer. "On my call!" says Warlock.
Only Captain America is left. He gives a speech. Then Thanos conjures up some stone hands from the ground to hold him in place. He shatters Cap's shield. "Now!' says Warlock, and Silver Surfer ...
... flies really fast and tries to grab the Infinity Gauntlet. And misses.
That's it. A build-up from Silver Surfer #34 on, about how only the Surfer could stop Thanos, and that was the big plan. Good grief.
Cap gets in a punch to the face (like in the movie), and then Thanos backhands him (fatally). He then restores to himself his cosmic senses.
Next up: the Cosmic Forces. All of Infinity Gauntlet #5 is the big guns and Thanos going at it. Lots of splodey lines. Some trickery. In the end, Thanos imprisons them all ... and takes Eternity's place. He even looks like Eternity, with the half-face and body full of stars. That proves to be a mistake, since that leaves his body undefended, and the corpse-like Nebula grabs the Infinity Gaunltet. Her first act: Shoot Thanos and Terraxia into space. Thanos is rescued by Dr. Strange, but Terraxia is dead.
Now the remaining heroes have to deal with a godlike Nebula! Dr. Strange summons Hulk, Thor, Dr. Doom, Drax and Fire-Lord. (I don't know how Hulk and Thor are alive, and Doom was beaten pretty soundly.) And Thanos joins them! But first, Warlock administers a little tough love to Thanos about "the truth ... about yourself." He knows Thanos "better than you know yourself" because he was in the Soul Gem when Thanos had it.
"Look back onto your life, Thanos of Titan, and what do you see? A man always seeking ultimate power and losing it as soon as he attains it! Why? Because deep in his soul, he know he is not worthy of it. Three times you have triumphed over incredible odds to gain the ends you desire ... and three times you have subconsciously supplied the means to your own defeat."
Anyway, someone -- Dr. Strange? Warlock? -- opens a portal and sends Thor, Hulk, Fire-Lord, Dr. Doom and Drax to fight Nebula. She beats them easily. Then Dr. Strange, Warlock, Surfer and Thanos appear ... but mysteriously, Nebula only perceives three of them.
She locks Thanos in stone. She turns the clock back 24 hours, and everyone and everything is restored.
But she can't see Warlock, who touches the Gauntlet, dying on the spot and shooting a beam at SIlver Surfer, who also dies. Both go to Soulworld, where Warlock claims his power is greatest. He says he needs Surfer as an "anchor" for his soul as he expands and makes the Gauntlet too hot for Nebula (or makes her think it is, or something). She throws it off and there's a mad scramble for it.
But Warlock gets it. Thanos says he'd rather die than lose and sets off a bomb on his person (after Strange or someone shoots him off into space.) Then Warlock tells everyone he'll be a benevolent deity and sends them all home. Then he, Gamora and Pip visit Farmer Thanos. He's not dead, of course, but has retired to a pastoral life to absorb the lessons taught by this adventure. The End.
All issues written by Starlin, drawn by George Perez and Ron Lim.
Thanks for adding all the 20th century material, Cap. I saw the “Thanos” movie over the weekend, which has really put me in the mood to re-read these. If the mood still holds by the time I finish the OGNs and other 21st century material, I may add some other 20th century “cosmic” comics as well.
THANOS vs. THE HULK #1-4 (2015):
Thanos vs. the Hulk was released between Infinity Revelation and Infinity Relativity, and I could have sworn that that’s when it took place, but a note at the beginning places it before Infinity Revelation… not that it makes all that much difference. It’s mostly a big slugfest, not very thought-provoking. But it’s a good slugfest that doesn’t try to be thought-provoking. The action is set in the Negative Zone and also features Blastaar and Annihilus.
I didn't do Infinity War and Infinity Crusade yet. I didn't particularly enjoy those, so I wouldn't object if someone beat me to them.
Yeah, it probably won't be me. Infinity War/Crusade could have just as easily been dubbed Infinity Overkill. Same for Infinity Watch. I generally prefer the material Starline writes and draws; when he only writes he seems to be phoning it in (with the exception of his recent collaborations with Alan Davis).
THE INFINITY RELATIVITY: In a lot of ways, The Infinity Relativity is a follow-up to Thanos vs. Hulk. Thanos vs. Hulk has to occur before The Infinity Relativity, but it doesn’t necessarily need to occur right before. The reason I thought it did is because events of that series are referenced several times throughout. It is a true graphic novel in structure (as opposed to a collection of individual issues), and “reads” very much like a movie, barreling along with no real break between scenes. The difference between this OGN and a Marvel movie is that I foresee the potential to re-read this several times in years to come, whereas I’ve never seen a Marvel movie more than once (nor do I expect to). The volume ends on a cliffhanger.
THE INFINITY ENTITY: This was released between The Infinity Relativity and The Infinity Finale, and it occurs between The Infinity Relativity and The Infinity Finale. It is integral, yet apart from the overall story. It focuses on Adam Warlock rather than Thanos, but that’s about all I can say about it without giving it away. The art is by Alan Davis.
THE INFINITY FINALE: The art in this one is by Ron Lim. It really is a Thanos story, not a Warlock story. I didn’t remember the end of this one at all. Talk about “comic book science”… this one deals with “comic book theology.” [SPOILERS] By the end of this one, the “reset” button is pushed, and the original Adam Warlock (the one killed in Infinity Revelation) is restored, and Starlin’s “new” Warlock becomes the new Living Tribunal.
Have you read Deadpool vs. Thanos? I have two issues of it and haven’t found the other two cheaply enough. Is it part of the saga or just a gag?