Infinity Abyss

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Infinity Abyss marks Jim Starlin’s return to the Infinity series after a nine year hiatus since Infinity Crusade. In this story, five clones of Thanos called the Thanosi are trying to destroy the universe. The Thanosi plan to prevent Atleza, the Anchor of the Universe, from selecting his successor and thus causing the world to be absorbed by nothingness. The only ones left to take them down are Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Thanos, Adam Warlock, and Genis-Vell.

The Infinity Abyss is a six issue miniseries but it really should not have been.The plot is very basic with these evil clones wanting to destroy the universe and the heroes stop them. There just isn’t enough story here to keep my interest and while I do like the banter from Genis and Spider-Man, the characters don’t have much going on. Dr. Strange gets a heavy focus here as he takes down a mind-controlled Moondragon (which is something repeated from Infinity Crusade) and one of the Thanosi. A whole lot of new characters are introduced here but none of them have any depth. The villains just want to destroy and only have a little personality because they’re based on other characters like Gladiator or Professor X. The final battle with Omega is hyped up throughout but when he’s defeated I couldn’t actually believe it happened because the way he was stopped was so underwhelming.

Some positives here would have to be the art. Starlin is doing double duty as writer and artist. There are some weird visuals like in the Doctor Strange/Moondragon fight that I liked and just the art overall has good moments showing off the Marvel Universe. While I don’t like their characters, the Thanosi have cool designs that mixes the Thanos look with other Marvel heroes into a unique appearance. I also really like the ending here with Gamora and Warlock finally getting together.

I wanted to give this one a pass as it’s just forgettable but I’m dying to come up with something to say because it’s very boring. Something this boring should never be read.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Jim Starlin

Rating: Rubbish

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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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Infinity War

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Infinity War is the next big Infinity event by Jim Starlin and it came out just one year after the Infinity Gauntlet. Since that story is such a classic it created some big expectations for it’s sequels and I’m sad to say that this one just didn’t live up to them. I’ll get more into specifics later but right here I think a lot of Starlin’s later flaws become more apparent. Unlike last time where I only talked about the main event, I’ll be mentioning Warlock and the Infinity Watch #7-10 and Marvel Comics Presents #108-111 as they are important tie-ins.

As mentioned last time, Warlock had the Infinity Gauntlet for a brief time and it was taken away from him by the Living Tribunal. We learn here that before he gave up his power, Adam expelled all the good and evil in his body to become a more logical being. After Thanos discovers a vast source of Cosmic Cube energy he locates the source to Warlock’s evil half, the Magus. With a new haircut and more power he has Eternity in stasis and is sending out evil doppelgangers of Earth’s heroes. After this we have three main groups going after the Magus now and that’s the basic plot as Magus just wants to make some duplicate Earth overtake the original.

So the first problem I have here is with the villain. Here the Magus is just a generic doomsday villain who wants to destroy the Earth because he’s evil. There’s never anything more than that and it makes the main conflict so boring and predictable. Secondly, the heroes of Earth are way too incompetent here and have no effect on the greater story. The villains actually do more to stop the Magus than the heroes do because they’re too busy fighting each other. Speaking of villains, Doom and Kang are in this and they team up to fight Magus. Both being arrogant and egotistical villains they secretly hate each other and almost every scene with them has them with thought bubbles about how they’re going to betray the other. This goes throughout the story and it’s just an annoyance as it could have just been mentioned once or just inferred it’s going to happen with these two at some point. Instead we get this constant reminder and it’s not even funny in that classic Doom way.

I don’t want to bash the comic so I will point out some positives. Ron Lim puts in some good art here and can make panels and splash pages with multiple characters look interesting. While the main comic itself is weak I did enjoy the tie-in comics mentioned above. Marvel Comics Presents had an interesting Thanos solo story where he somehow ends up in Death’s palace while working on his throne. Death appears to Thanos and gives him the option to have her back if he betrays and kills Adam Warlock. Then we get to see how Thanos thinks; he wonders if that was real, if he can do it, what will happen to the universe if he does do it, etc. all in a short period as he finally makes his decision. Warlock and the Infinity Watch actually advances the story of the characters while also having the most interesting plot points from Infinity War happening here. Gamora goes into Eternity himself and has a visually interesting experience as she recalls her own childhood with Thanos. There is also Thanos’s battle with his own doppelganger which actually had a cool moment from the Magus.

So while the tie-ins had some good material and there’s strong art across the board the main story just isn’t good and brings down this comic.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artists: Ron Lim, Tom Raney, Angel Medina

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath

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At the end of the Infinity Gauntlet event Adam Warlock had gained possession of the Gauntlet. Warlock now has the ultimate power Thanos had and like the Titan, the power goes to his head. After a short battle with Doctor Strange, Warlock is put on trial by Eternity, the living embodiment of the universe itself. After a short history of Warlock the Living Tribunal decides that he is guilty and must give up the gauntlet. Warlock is given the choice about who gets the Infinity Gems though and gives them to a few trusted individuals; Pip, Gamora, Moondragon, Drax, and a secret member, forming the Infinity Watch.

The Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath trade paperback contains Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1-6, Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #36, and Silver Surfer #60-66. The Doctor Strange story is just one issue where Stephen fights against Warlock because he was trying to remove the free will of the “evil.” Warlock sees his error but then Eternity arrives and tells Strange about the upcoming trial. This issue isn’t that important as Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1 gives enough reasoning for the trial but it’s a fun enough comic.

We move into the Infinity Watch comic which is the most important series of the comics included. We start with the trial, which is mostly here to retell the backstory of Warlock to provide more context for the main plot of this arc, as we see his time on Counter-Earth which will be more relevant in the later issues. One thing I liked about this comic is that the Infinity Watch sets itself up like a regular team book but then they immediately split up. It’s a smart subversion for the beginning of the comic and it makes sense that these characters would want to be apart to protect their gems. The choices for the Watch are interesting because they’re not the most heroic group and that builds some suspense as you never really know what they’re going to do next. Another thing I enjoyed about these issues is the surprising level of comedy that actually worked for me. There’s the obvious jokes about Drax because he’s mentally deficient but when the High Evolutionary is just rambling to himself because of madness I just thought it was some funny stuff.

We get to the Silver Surfer stuff after that but it’s really not relevant to the Infinity Gauntlet story and can be ignored as well. It’s weird because it’s six issues and there’s only about 2 pages in the last issue that I can remember actually relating to the Infinity Gauntlet and it’s not very important, just Surfer destroying Thanos’s temple to Death. These comics aren’t bad, it’s cool to see Mar-Vell again, but I don’t think it needed to be here in this collection.

Now here’s the part this get’s tricky. As individual comics none of these are bad, in fact I’d say they’re all good. However, as a trade paperback called “Infinity Gauntlet Aftermath” half of the book has barely any relation to the event itself. So if you want to know what happens after Infinity Gauntlet I’d just read the six issues of Infinity Watch. Overall I’d rate the comics around the Full Price range each, but I wouldn’t recommend it collected like this.

Writers: Jim Starlin, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, and Ron Marz

Artists: Dan Lawlis, Ron Lim, Rick Leonardi, and Angel Medina

Rating: Buy For a Bargain

 

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