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 Thanos Imperative

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The Thanos Imperative is a six issue miniseries that includes two one-shot comics, one for a prologue and another for an epilogue. This series stars the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos as they try to stop an invasion from another reality where death does not exist. The ruler of this “Cancerverse” is Lord Mar-Vell who leads the Revengers, a Lovecraft inspired team of Avengers. A lot of the biggest cosmic characters are in this event as they all try to survive against the invading forces.

Thanos Imperative is the last big event by the team of Abnett and Lanning who have created the biggest cosmic events in the modern age of Marvel from Annihilation to Realm of Kings. Having only read Annihilation this comic does a good job keeping you up with previous events as the Ignition one-shot provides some context while advancing the story by introducing our villain. I really was surprised to see Lord Mar-Vell as the villain and the explanation for how he turned into one in his universe is very interesting as it’s unexpected. Unfortunately he falls into the generic side of villains as he does cliché things like killing his own subordinates for no good reason.

This story has a whole lot of characters and while that can be a strength as they’re obviously trying to tell this space epic, it can bog down things. The Inhumans and their drama with some other ruler is very irrelevant and just seems petty for them to argue at this time when everything is in danger. My favorite character in the comic was Cosmo and that’s because he’s a funny space dog who actually trash talks Thanos and does a lot to help the team. Nova and Star-Lord are the two main heroes here as they try and escort Thanos into the Cancerverse. They’re a good team and they have similar personalities that gives them good lines and jokes. The rest of the Guardians and the Cosmic beings don’t stand out much as they all play backseat to Thanos himself.

In this comic, for the first time, Thanos started to annoy me. There’s a lot of scenes of him and Drax just fighting and scenes of characters saying how great Thanos is. Having read all these comics about him, his scheming has just gotten old. Starlin himself criticized the constant deaths and rebirths of Marvel characters but here it just keeps happening with Thanos. There’s a lot of death in this comic and all of it now has been reversed so it’s hard to buy into the stakes of the event.

The Thanos Imperative has a few negatives but the positives outweigh them. The art is very good, the characters who are important are cool and have funny lines, the basic idea of the Cancerverse is something I’ve never seen before, and the Lovecraft inspired heroes are visually interesting villains.

Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Artists: Miguel Sepulveda and Brad Walker

Rating: Full Price

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Thanos #1-12

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In 2003, Thanos starred in his first ever solo series written and drawn by his creator, Jim Starlin. After the first six issue arc the creative team of Keith Giffen and Ron Lim took over the title for the last six issues. The story takes place a while after the events of The End (Which is non-canon so I don’t really understand why it’s mentioned in this canon story.) Thanos decides to atone for his previous actions and helps out a small planet a clone of his had attacked a while ago. What starts as a simple mission to help becomes something bigger as Galactus becomes involved and something else that may be even bigger than him. After this arc Thanos joins up with some space cops at the edge of the universe to stop the Maker, a now female Beyonder.

So for the first time Thanos stars in an ongoing comic and now he’s become an anti-hero. While he does kill some people he tries to justify it every time and here he is truly just trying to help and make amends. This is a big change for the character as he’s spent a long time hanging around the edge of being an anti-hero. The first arc of this series “Hunger” is pretty good as Thanos fights against an unknown entity trying to invade this universe. It starts a little slow as Starlin sets up what Thanos is doing now and we get a recap of what has been happening in the past comics. It starts to pick up when Galactus shows up and there’s good fight scenes with him. The true villain is actually a new character and I wish it had showed up again as it was a little more unique than the usual invading alien. Starlin does the art for his issues and as always it’s very well done. My only other complaint with this arc is that characters just kind of pop up when they’re needed and then just disappear. Moondragon shows up for one issue and then is just thrown out once she’s served her purpose.

The second arc “Samaritan” doesn’t hold up as well as “Hunger.” There’s a lot going on in Samaritan as we are introduced to this prison called the Kyln and there’s a bunch of new characters being introduced. The problem though is that these characters seem to have a lot of background and history but we don’t really get told about them. The Omega Core characters are just some generic cops who banter a lot, Mynx is a generic cat like villain, and Skreet is an annoying pixie girl who Thanos lets join him for some reason. The other villains, the Maker and the Fallen One are just too confusing and that makes them uninteresting to me. The best part of this arc is the team of Gladiator and Star-Lord, making his first appearance here. They have an actually good banter and there’s some mystery as we hear about something awful that Peter Quill did that makes him give up the Star-Lord name.

The main focus of the comic though is Thanos and here Thanos is still written pretty well. Both writers keep a consistent character with him as he tries to atone for his sins but he still has some bad tendencies. Thanos, especially in the Hunger arc, shows off his intelligence and planning against a stronger foe while also being dismissive of people below him like Pip and Moondragon. I still wish the character had just died off in The End but Hunger wasn’t bad and I’d definitely recommend it for fans of Thanos. However, Samaritan is a pretty weak arc and since it’s half the story this comic is going to be dead in the middle in terms of rating.

Writers: Jim Starlin, Keith Giffen

Artists: Jim Starlin, Ron Lim

Rating: Buy for a Bargain

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Marvel: The End

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“The End” were a bunch of Marvel comics that told stories about the last days of their heroes like Hulk: The End or today’s comic, Marvel: The End. The story begins with Thanos narrating to an unseen character about how he destroyed the universe. The next few issues are Thanos telling this story about an ancient Egyptian pharaoh named Akhenaten who had gained the power of the Heart of the Universe and went crazy with it. He killed almost all of the world’s heroes so the only ones who were left to stop him were Doctor Doom, the Defenders, and Thanos. After the battle the whole universe was eventually destroyed so now Thanos is left with only one person because they were outside of the universe when it was destroyed.

Was surprisingly difficult to write a short plot summary because the plot of this six issue miniseries is wafer thin. The beginning sets the story up to be about Thanos fighting Akhenaten but it switches towards the end to be an Infinity Gauntlet retread. Thanos gains omnipotent power and fights against the cosmic forces of the universe and easily defeats them again. Akhenaten is another lame villain from Starlin that has no personality and just wants to take over and destroy stuff. He’s taken out pretty easily after the first half and then completely forgotten. Once again the main heroes are useless here and are just pawns for Thanos to use.

There are some positives here though. Again, Jim Starlin did the art here and I’m a fan of his style. There’s a lot of impressive splash pages with all the heroes and some of the cosmic beings. While most of the issues of this comic I thought were just ok, the last issue is actually very good. Starlin injects in this criticism of Marvel and their constant deaths and revivals. Thanos sees a flaw in the universe and it traces all the way back to the first revival of Wonder Man. It then has a very good ending for the Thanos character and I think it should have been the canon ending for him as this comic is just a What If style story.

So while the last issue and art are good the rest is just not that great and the fact that the story isn’t canon means it’s not that important even. I’d just recommend the final issue and think of that as Thanos’s last appearance.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artists: Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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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