Infinity Finale

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Infinity Finale is the final graphic novel in the new Infinity Trilogy by Jim Starlin, with Ron Lim now on art. Picking up where Relativity left off, Thanos wakes up in Death’s palace. Months have passed since the last comic and Annihilus has destroyed most of the universe. His power has increased to the level where he has taken out Galactus and all the Celestials. The only hope left to save this universe is Adam Warlock, who is still trapped with Doctor Bultar. Thanos defends against Annihilus with the last of Earth’s heroes and again the universe is destroyed and remade.

We’ve reached the end of this marathon finally and it’s pretty fitting as this comic reminds me a lot of Marvel Universe: The End. Once again there’s this unstoppable cosmic threat who destroys most of the universe, a lot of heroes die in the fight against them, and then in the end something hits reset on the universe. This time it’s the alternate reality Adam Warlock, with the powers of his destroyed universe, who fixes everything and sets things back to the start basically. He disappears in the end to become the new Living Tribunal but before he goes he brings back the original, who died in Infinity Revelation. So basically the point of this whole trilogy was just to show off Starlin’s favorite characters and make them the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe.

Despite the stakes being higher than ever, the entire universe is almost gone, there’s still no tension or drama here because Starlin doesn’t build it right. When we begin our comic with a dead Galactus you know that something is going to have to fix that. Annihilus is insanely overpowered now so anything that does defeat him will come off as cheap or convenient, which is what happens here with Adam Warlock taking out all the villains. So we have no stakes, no character to care about as our main character has died so many times now it doesn’t even matter, and the plot is thin. The best parts of this comic are just rehashes of Starlin’s better works. I will at least compliment Ron Lim on his art. He draws bloody battle scenes and dead bodies pretty well.

I’d say just skip this whole trilogy. Entity may have been slightly better than all of this but it only really works in context with the rest of comics so on it’s own I wouldn’t recommend it.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Ron Lim

Rating: Rubbish

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Infinity Entity

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The Infinity Entity is a 4 issue miniseries taking place in between The Infinity Relativity and the Infinity Finale that focuses on Adam Warlock. At the end of Relativity, Warlock was kidnapped by Annihilus and put inside some tube. Here he suddenly wakes up in the middle of nowhere and he ends up at the first meeting of the Avengers in an early issue of their series. After fighting them he goes on an adventure through the universe to understand his current situation.

Like most modern Starlin comics, this comic doesn’t have much in story as Warlock just goes around to figure out what’s going on right now. The final issue reveals that none of this is actually happening so it can feel like a waste of time to read this as a lot of information is repeated from Relativity. The big reveal of Doctor Boltar comes in this series but like I said last time it’s pretty obvious who he really is. After the reveal the villain spends a few pages just monologuing and explaining his evil plan. Starlin falls back into the familiar plot point of the character not yet adjusting to their omnipotence to explain why they were defeated so easily despite their amazing power.

To talk positives I’d mention the art. Alan Davis does a lot of cool splash pages and spreads of the cosmic entities, even if they’re just standing around doing nothing. In the Avengers section the art takes on a Jack Kirby inspired style that fits very well into the tone of the issue. Sometimes the art has a Neal Adams like quality to it with the faces while retaining some of Davis’s own original style. I feel if Starlin just let the art tell the story and removed a lot of his heavy exposition the story would be a lot stronger here.

At the end of the day it’s a mostly irrelevant side story to the new Infinity trilogy but it has good art that makes up for the poor storytelling.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Alan Davis

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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The Infinity Relativity

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The Infinity Relativity is the second part of the new Infinity Trilogy. Let’s hope it improves over the last one. In this comic Thanos fights Annihilus, the Bug King who has his swarm of insects attacking the universe. He teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Adam Warlock again to fight off Annihilus, who’s power has been increased since his appearance in Annihilation, and his Annihilation Wave. We also finally get a resolution for the events of Infinity Revelation, which barely had an ending.

So I will say Infinity Relativity improves over Revelation in a few ways. There’s more characters, like the Guardians and they get their own moments to be competent and fight the Wave. Annihilus isn’t a great villain but at least this comic has a villain unlike last time. Thanos gets some beating at least when he first faces Annihilus but even then Thanos wins their fight because he is Thanos. Getting an answer for what happened at the end of Revelation at least makes the Adam Warlock parts better as there’s an interesting development with him.

To go onto negatives I’d have to start with how it’s still a boring, predictable read just like the last one. Being the middle issue of a trilogy there is no true ending here as the story just stops on a cliffhanger. I think Revelation can stand on its own as you at least get a conclusion with Thanos and the Universal beings. Starlin is still doing double duty as writer and artist but the art is way less appealing here. There’s no neat visual tricks like last time and there’s no interesting fight scenes here, just big space battles that don’t really matter. Annihilus is a generic villain and he has this sidekick who’s obviously more than he looks but the twist of who he really isn’t revealed here even though it’s pretty easy to figure it out.

So even if this did improve on the last one a little bit it still doesn’t make it any good.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Jim Starlin

Rating: Rubbish

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The Infinity Revelation

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The Infinity Revelation is a Marvel Graphic novel that is the beginning of Jim Starlin’s last Infinity Trilogy. Thanos detects some imbalance in the universe; an imbalance inside of himself. After meeting with the Guardians of the Galaxy and a newly reborn Adam Warlock, Thanos discovers some Dreidel looking object. This object leads Thanos on a quest that brings him into conflict with the Annihilators and somehow they destroy another universe.

Infinity Revelation is another Jim Starlin comic where Thanos goes on a quest for power and in the end the whole universe gets wiped out. So once again we retread the same plotlines but with even more meta commentary about things that Starlin himself is guilty of doing. What really soured me on this comic was how much Starlin tried to prop up his own work while ignoring the works of other writers. In this comic there’s a few pages of Thanos history that covers basically everything I’ve reviewed for the marathon (it includes the battle with Akhenaten which is apparently non-canon so I’m not sure where this OGN fits in.) During this recap and a little before it Thanos mentions his appearance in Infinity was out of character for him and shares a similar sentiment for when he joined Annihilus in Annihilation. Another example would be the aforementioned battle with the Annihilators where Adam Warlock and Thanos take down some of the strongest cosmic superheroes with barely any effort. There’s no stakes or tension in the story because Thanos and Warlock are so much stronger and smarter than everybody else.

While I don’t have much good to say about Starlin’s writing, his art is still really good. It has a classic feel to it even with modern coloring and inking. Starlin does some interesting visual tricks like having characters change appearances between panels to show off the current imbalance in the universe. While I don’t like the purpose of the fight against the Annihilators, it’s a well done action scene. My favorite image is the two page spread where we see a world ruled by Thanos.

In the end good art doesn’t make up for a lack of quality writing and plotting. The shilling for Starlin’s pet characters kills this comic as he tries to make them the coolest characters by making everyone else weak.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Jim Starlin

Rating: Rubbish

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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 Crusade

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Now we’ve reached the end of the original Infinity trilogy. Infinity Gauntlet was amazing and War wasn’t that great so I didn’t know what to expect from this one. Infinity Crusade is an event about the good half of Warlock that was shown back in Infinity War. The good half is actually a woman calling herself a Goddess and she brainwashes half of the Marvel universe to serving her. It’s up to the more scientific characters, Warlock, and Thanos to take her down.

Alright here we go with this one. This comic talks a lot about religion and faith and it does not handle it well. The characters that are mind controlled by the Goddess are all noted to be religious or have had near death experiences. Because of this, only science based heroes are left to fight and there’s obvious subtext there about logic winning over faith. Also the main characters are assisted by Mephisto, who is basically Satan, to fight against the God-like villain. There’s no subtlety here and it’s painful and probably would be offensive to the religious if it wasn’t so lame.

With that out of the way I wanna talk about how everything else is still bad about this comic. We have the same problem Infinity War had; the villain is still just not interesting. She has a lot of power and wants to destroy the universe and that’s all there is to her character. She has the heroes on her side but it’s just basic mind control so there is no conflict between friends or any moral arguments between characters. Warlock Chronicles tries to give her depth by saying she’s his ignored feminine side and something about how men ruin everything. It’s a confusing issue and there’s a lot of weird visuals in it and whatever message Starlin is trying to send by having Warlock be half a woman for an issue.

This story takes place over three titles: the main event, Warlock and The Infinity Watch, and Warlock Chronicles. Because of that this comic just goes on for so long and there’s a lot of filler. I like Pip but he wastes so much time in the story with comedy scenes that aren’t that funny. Tom Grindberg is still on Infinity Watch and I seriously couldn’t read his Drax vs Thor issue because of how awful the fight looked. One compliment I’ll give this book is there’s a similar fight scene in Warlock Chronicles that is actually really good with Warlock fighting Magus. That scene is great and I enjoyed the art overall in the main story and in Chronicles. Another big problem I have with this comic is one carried over from Infinity War; the heroes are useless and only Thanos and Warlock do anything relevant to the story.

So to end this I’m gonna include two pictures at the bottom of the post, instead of just one as a comparison of two very similar ideas done wrong in one picture and done well in another.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artists: Ron Lim, Tom Grindberg, Angel Medina, Tom Raney, Kris Renkewitz

Rating: Rubbish

 

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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The Infinity Gauntlet

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Here it is, the big one. Infinity Gauntlet is the most famous Thanos story and one of the most famous Marvel comics ever. The Infinity Gauntlet is a six issue event comic that came out in 1991, almost a year after the Thanos Quest. With the six Infinity Gems in his possession now, Thanos has the ultimate power. Even this though, does not impress Mistress Death so Thanos goes through with his plan and wipes out half the universe with just a simple snap of his finger. Now all the remaining forces in the universe must band together to battle the Mad Titan.

I first read the Infinity Gauntlet on it’s own, out of order with the rest of the list and I did enjoy it. After reading it again in the context of all these Thanos comics, I have to say that this is definitely the highlight out of all of them. This is the very first of the original Infinity trilogy and it starts the series out strong. It picks up right where Thanos Quest left off but with Thanos hanging out with Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel Universe. Here Thanos shows off the power he now possesses by using it to alter things to his liking, like removing his brother’s mouth and turning Nebula into a zombie-like creature. These first three issues really are just displays of power for Thanos as the heroes come together to face Thanos with help from a newly revived Adam Warlock.

Issue four is where the heroes finally arrive for the famous battle where Earth’s mightiest heroes fight against Thanos and his girlfriend he created, Terraxia. Thanos dulls his own powers to give the heroes a slight percentage of victory and he still almost effortlessly wipes them out. The gems just give him too much power and he kills the heroes in creative and dark ways. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the comic now as I highly recommend it but from here the stakes have reached their highest and after this point everything just seems hopeless. I am a fan of what actually happens and while some might call this ending a cop out, it has to happen for the story to make sense.

One of the best parts of this comic is again, Thanos himself. He’s all powerful and the comic really shows off the unlimited power he has now. The power goes to his head and he still doesn’t have full control of his omnipotence yet. This clouds his judgement and his love for Death makes him vulnerable to Mephisto’s tricks as he depowers himself and ultimately creates his own downfall. He ends this comic in a completely different place and it’s a good advancement for his character as he has become humbled. There’s just a really good balance between his more sympathetic traits and his outright evil actions.

Infinity Gauntlet is an amazing read and is up there with some of the best comics in the genre.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artists: George PĂ©rez and Ron Lim

Rating: Vintage

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