Forces are joined across the galaxy for an assault on Thanos in The Infinity Gauntlet #3.
This article contains plot details for The Infinity Gauntlet #3.
The Infinity Gauntlet #3
Writer: Jim Starlin | Pencils: George Perez | Inkers: Josef Rubinstein | Letters: Jack Morelli | Colorists: Max Scheele | Editor: Craig Anderson | Chief: Tom DeFalco
The epic tale of Thanos’s quest to win the heart of Mistress Death continues in The Infinity Gauntlet #3. In the prior issue, Thanos attempted to capitalize on successfully completing his mission to wipe out half of all life in the galaxy. However, Mistress Death remains aloof towards him. In his frustration, Thanos lashed out at the galaxy. The ramifications were wide ranging, and Earth suffered mightily. Now, in The Infinity Gauntlet #3, Adam Warlock rallies champions, big and small, from across the galaxy to challenge the Mad Titan.
Things Get Worse
As if things weren’t bad enough for the universe following Thanos’s tirade in the previous issue, the citizens of Earth have a new problem. Thano’s shock wave knocked Earth out of its standard orbit around the sun. Therefore, the planet is beginning to cool as it drifts away from its parent star. Eventually this will cause Earth to enter a “new, never ending ice age.” If humanity didn’t have enough of a reason to stop Thanos before, they have one now.
Avengers and Allies Assemble
There never was any doubt that the heroes of Earth would step up to challenge Thanos. However, that doesn’t stop this issue from issue a call to action. Doctor Strange opens a portal and issues a summons for heroes not currently assembled at the Sanctum Santorum. The arrival of the heroes is a product of its times as each steps through Strange’s portal and announces their intention to answer the call. Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Drax, Firelord, Nova, Sub-Mariner, Cloak, Cyclops, and Scarlet Witch all join the assembled heroes by stepping through the portal. Not everyone is so easy to convince though. Hulk initially refused to join the assembled force over a grudge. The Avengers rejected the Hulk for years, but, now that he is reformed, they welcome him back. That’s enough for the Hulk.
This isn’t the final step is assembling the army to challenge Thanos. Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer take a trip, courtesy of Dr. Strange’s cosmic portal, to the far corner of the galaxy. There they unite with Quasar and Epoch to recruit additional allies. For casual comic fans, many of these allies are likely unknowns. Lord Chaos, Master, the Watcher, Order, Stranger, Love and Hate, Eternity, Living Tribunal, Lord Kronos, Galactus, and a pair of Celestials all answer Warlock’s summons. Not everyone agrees to join the campaign and each makes their case for or against their invovlement.
The text of this issue describes Eternity as “the actual embodiment of all there is!” and Thanos seeks to unseat him in that role. The Living Tribunal hears Eternity’s argument and hold that Thanos’s challenge is rightful as the result of natural selection. Therefore, he refuses to join the cause. After hearing its ruling, Eternity also departs. The Watcher too cannot participate because his role is to observe and record. Chaos, Order, Stranger, and the others agree to aid Warlock.
Thanos Tries Jealousy
Thanos has gone to incredible and desperate lengths to win Mistress Death’s heart. For example, in issue one he builds a shrine to her. When that fails, he turns Nebula, his granddaughter, into a monument to death by keeping her perpetually on the precipice of death, although she is incapable of dying. He builds on those failures with additional failures that include the torture of his brother, Starfox, in The Infinity Gauntlet #2. Now, Thanos attempts a truly desperate measure.
Out of thin air, Thanos creates Terraxia the Terrible. Terraxia’s complexion is similar to Thanos. Like the Mad Titan, she is purple and powerfully built. Thanos declares that Terraxia is “everything [his] soul longs for,” and “Terraxia is everything [Mistress Death] is not!” After Terraxia embraces Thanos, he boldly proclaims that he no longer has need of Death.
Either Thanos believed that this would soothe him, or it was an attempt at persuading Death through jealousy. Despite his claims that he no longer needed Mistress Death, Thanos casts longing looks at her as she walks away even while Terraxia embraces him. Furthermore, the look in Thanos’s eyes is one of sadness and disappointment. Despite his bold claims, he didn’t get what he was looking for. Indeed, he immediately calls for cosmic warfare.
The Infinity Gauntlet series has always had aspects of an epic myth. This portion of the story resembles various creation myths. Thanos is essentially alone as a supreme being in the universe. He creates Terraxia to cure this problem. The key difference is that Terraxia is closer to an equal. She is almost a spouse instead of a child. As of yet, she has not had an opportunity to rebel against her creator and supplant him.
Dire Fate for the Heroes
The issue concludes with an attack by the heroes on Thanos’s palace. Although the attack does not actually commence, it is ill-fated. For one, Vision analyzed the Avengers’ prior engagements with Thanos and determined that although they defeated Thanos in the past, they can’t do it without help. Specifically, they couldn’t defeat Thanos unless Thanos wanted to be defeated on some level. Therefore, their chances of defeating Thanos were almost zero.
In addition, Adam Warlock knows Earth’s assembled heroes stand no chance of defeating Thanos. He says as much when he tells Silver Surfer, “Our allies’ power is less than nothing against Thanos’s might. They stand defeated before the battle has even bgun.” Indeed, he confesses “the true purpose of their attack is merely diversionary,” and “the are sacrificial lambs.” It is exactly as he planned.
Concluding Thoughts on The Infinity Gauntlet #3
If Warlock is correct, then The Infinity Gauntlet #3 stands to go poorly for Earth’s heroes. Undoubtedly, Warlock has the best intentions. The fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance. However, his lack of candor with the heroes rankles the conscience. Villains such as Doctor Doom obviously aren’t to be trusted. Heroes, such as Captain America, would likely lay down their lives to preserve their country and world. In addition, Warlock calls on the heroes to trust him and follow his leadership. Should the heroes of Earth and the cosmic entities assembled under his banner survive this, would they ever be able to trust Warlock again? Perhaps that is a cross Warlock is willing to bear.
Over the prior two issues, this series compared favorably to an epic myth. This issue compounds the comparison. Many of the heroes answer Doctor Strange’s call to action. In ancient mythologies, many of the gods destroy their own creators and supplant them. In this series, Marvel’s heroes occupy a position akin to a demi-god. Although they don’t intend to unseat Thanos and take his place, he clearly represents a level of power above their own. In addition, Thanos ascended to a level of godhood by collecting artifacts that granted him godlike power as he attempted to become the equal of Mistress Death.
Considering that Earth’s heroes are just now preparing an attack on Thanos, it seems likely things will not go well for them. There are, after all, three issues left in this series. In all likelihood, they are ready for a defeat as Warlock predicted. However, that will make their inevitable triumph in the end all the much sweeter.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.