Infinity War Aftermath

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After defeating the Magus in Infinity War, Adam Warlock is now in a coma. With him out of the picture it’s up to the rest of the Infinity Watch to defend their home of Monster Island and their Infinity Gems. The Watch battle multiple enemies from demons to the Hulk. Warlock finally awakens to go on an adventure to Hell itself with the Silver Surfer to fight for the soul of the Surfer’s former love, Shalla-Bal. Also, Quasar battles an evil Quasar after being trapped in the White Room.

As you can see in the above description there’s a lot going on the aftermath of the Infinity War and like the Infinity Gauntlet’s aftermath a lot of it doesn’t connect that well. Like last time the most important stuff in the collection are the Infinity Watch stories and besides the Drax focused two issue story it’s some of the weaker bits of Infinity Watch I’ve read. We get two issues that are basically just retelling the character’s origins; one time it’s a jumping on point I guess and the next is to bring Warlock out of his coma. There’s the good Drax portion where he battles Hulk which has some good intrigue and tension as we see Drax starting to remember his past troubles with Moondragon and his old life. Then we get two issues that are so horrible because they contain some of the worst art I’ve ever seen in a comic book. Tom Grindberg does the pencils for the last two issues and it makes them almost unreadable.

The Silver Surfer/Warlock team up is a pretty ok miniseries about them battling Mephisto together. There’s some interesting visuals during the battle and the Surfer has some fun interaction with the Infinity Watch. The ending is kind of expected though because of just how tragic the Surfer’s life must be and I don’t buy what Starlin is trying to do with Warlock. Here he’s presented almost as an anti-hero with an evil smile as he is first introduced that just doesn’t fit with what I’ve seen before of the character. The Surfer doesn’t trust him even though nothing Warlock has done really merits distrust. It just feels like unnecessary drama to make the story more interesting and to make a morally grey character by telling and not showing.

The Quasar story is probably the weirdest thing to be included in this collection. After trying to use the Ultimate Nullifier to fight the Magus, Quasar is trapped inside the White Room while a clone of the original Marvel Boy tries to take his place as the Protector of the Universe. Thanos makes his only appearance here as he is the one who revived the villain, Thelius. We see Quasar stuck in the White Room for a while as Thelius teams up with the Punisher and tries to become an Avenger. The two eventually meet in the White Room and fight until Quasar reveals a last minute power boost and wins. There’s not much to the story and Thelius is a pretty annoying villain even though I’m a fan of the character he’s a clone of.

Overall these series are all pretty skippable for the main Thanos story and aren’t that good on their own anyway.

Writers: Jim Starlin, Mark Gruenwald

Artists: Tom Grindberg, Jim Starlin, Andy Smith, Angel Medina, Tom Raney

Rating: Rubbish

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Rebirth of Thanos

It’s hard to keep Thanos down so the marathon continues with the comic, Rebirth of Thanos.

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Rebirth of Thanos is a story that takes place in Silver Surfer #34-38 and it follows the Surfer as he battles a recently revived Thanos. This is the first Silver Surfer comic I’ve read so I don’t have much knowledge of the character, just to get that out of the way. Chronologically this comic follows after Avengers vs. Thanos which ended with the death of Thanos

The story begins with the Surfer landing on a deserted planet to take a break. He falls asleep but then notices a large skull castle. The Surfer tells himself he’s dreaming but when Thanos appears, called back to life by Mistress Death, Surfer must face this new foe. On his journey to handle this villain the Surfer deals with a returning villain and a revived Drax the Destroyer.

This is a short five issue story so I won’t have much to say again but I did find this story enjoyable. It’s a pretty important story in the continuity as both Thanos and Drax return here after their deaths. Drax apparently died back in an Avengers comic when Moondragon blasted his mind. Now he’s been revived by Chronos but he’s mentally not all there now. He still maintains the drive to kill Thanos but now with the mental age of a child. It’s a funny change to the character and is how the character is for a long time. Not knowing much of the Surfer I did like his character. He’s interesting and the way he handles Drax and the Impossible Man shows his intelligence and more human traits.

The most important thing here is that Thanos is back and even more evil. He has a new goal in mind, to wipe out 50% of the universe’s sentient life. Here Thanos is at his peak villainy. He laughs after wiping half of a planet out and making the Surfer make a tough choice to save the population. His attack on Nebula on what he does to her shipmate are just overkill. It’s neat to see how destructive and villainous he can be, especially after future stories in this marathon. Another aspect of Thanos, his Metron-like Space Throne, appears here for the first time and it adds more to his arsenal.

My few criticisms of the comic would be the few things not explained like the last meeting with the Impossible Man and the death of Drax. The art doesn’t really stand out anywhere, it’s standard Ron Lim art of the time, except when depicting Thanos’s bombastic speeches. Overall I was a fan of this comic, despite those two hiccups, and recommend it as it’s important to the Thanos story.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Ron Lim

Rating: Full Price

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The Avengers vs. Thanos

Let’s begin the marathon with the origins of Thanos.

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Avengers vs. Thanos is a trade paperback collecting many different comics that make up Thanos’ first two major storylines, the Cosmic Cube and the battle with the Magus. I’ll include exactly what’s collected in the bottom but the main comics include issues of Warlock, Captain Marvel, Marvel Feature, Avengers, Marvel Two-In-One and Daredevil mostly while including his very first appearance in Iron Man #55. 

With so many different comics put together in this collection you’d think the story wouldn’t flow so well, and besides a kind of weird tangent into Daredevil, it all fits together well. I would put that down to a good list of editors like Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Roy Thomas, and Archie Goodman. The art team manages to create a consistent art style across every issue that keeps the book looking good in that classic 70s Marvel style. Of course when talking about Thanos Jim Starlin’s name comes up and his pencils, plotting, and scripting definitely keeps this book on track.

Thanos first appears near the back half of Iron Man #55 and his appearance still hadn’t been ironed out so he looks very odd. His lips are way too big, his outfit doesn’t cover his whole body yet, and he’s more wrinkly than craggy. This Thanos though, is actually a robot; our first hint of Thanos’ intelligence and scheming. Then the next issues of Captain Marvel show Thanos with his modern appearance, notably the dark eyes and craggy chin. He reveals his first scheme is to acquire the Cosmic Cube, the ultimate weapon in the universe. Here Thanos is given the motivation that makes him such a compelling and interesting character, his love for Mistress Death. Of course he does such awful things and goes too far but it’s almost admirable how much he would do just for the one he loves.

The main heroes opposing Thanos in this early story are Iron Man, the Thing, Captain Marvel, and Drax while the Avengers pop up mostly as fodder. Thing is written very well and has some of the funniest lines of the book. Captain Marvel is the most interesting character to me and his dynamic with Rick Jones makes his issues my favorite ones. Special mention to issue #29, Metamorphosis, where Captain Marvel goes through a journey of enlightenment and comes out with the power of Cosmic Awareness. It’s very trippy and psychedelic, like most of Starlin’s comics, and the way the universe is drawn is always amazing to look at. Drax is in the story in his original incarnation as the Destroyer, with thoughts of destroying Thanos as the only thing he has. This sets him up for his future characterization but he’s not very interesting as he is here.

After a very interesting conclusion to the Cube story, Thanos ends up in the Warlock comic. Adam Warlock is a major character in cosmic Marvel and here he faces off against an evil future version of himself with an awful afro called The Magus. Thankfully most of the very overt religious metaphors with Adam aren’t here and it’s mostly about Adam wandering as everything falls apart around him. These issues set in motion events that will be followed up on in the final issue of the trade and even the Infinity Gauntlet. Not to spoil anything but the final issue does a very good job of wrapping everything up and gives Spider-Man one of the best scenes I’ve seen from him.

After planning this marathon and having read so many related comics I appreciate these early issues more. A lot of important characters are created and key concepts like the Infinity Gems and Cosmic Cube show up here. My only criticisms go to the more tangential Daredevil issues that only explain a little more about Moondragon, a future important character, but don’t really relate to the overall story of the Cosmic Cube which is where the issues are placed. Overall I really enjoy this trade and would recommend it to anyone interested in Thanos.

Issues collected in the trade: Iron Man (1968) 55; Captain Marvel (1968) 25-33; Marvel Feature (1971) 12; Daredevil (1964) 105-107; Avengers (1963) 125; Warlock (1972) 9-11, 15; Avengers Annual (1967) 7; Marvel Two -In-One Annual 2; material from Logan ‘s Run 6

Writers: Jim Starlin, Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber, and Steve Englehart with Scott Edelman

Artists: Jim Starlin, Don Heck, Bob Brown, and John Buscema with Mike Zeck

Rating: Vintage

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