Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Classics: Infinity Gauntlet #1

    Given the event landing at theatre today, I thought I'd review the classic series that served as the foundation for the Avengers: Infinity War film (which I hope to see and review this weekend).

   But I'd already written a review, back on Nov. 14, 2012 - reprinted here for you, gentle reader: 

   Most event books try to hit it out of the park, and in 1991 Marvel succeeded in a big way by turning the task over to two creators who specialized in cosmic stories.

   For The Infinity Gauntlet they turned to writer Jim Starlin, who has few peers when it comes to cosmic epics. He resurrected his formerly-dead villain Thanos and gave him a weapon even more formidable than the Cosmic Cube (with which he almost destroyed the Earth, a fate averted by the space-born Captain Marvel). 

   Reborn in the Silver Surfer's comic, Thanos then starred in a series of Prestige Books leading into this series. He gathered the Infinity Gems - cosmically-powerful gems created by Starlin - each of which was in the possession of a cosmic being, including the Soul Gem once carried by the then-dead (or was he?) Adam Warlock

   Thanos embedded the gems in a glove and created The Infinity Gauntlet, a source of power that made him a god, whose every thought became reality. In other words, an impossible challenge for the heroes of the Marvel Universe to stop - and then he struck before they even knew what they were up against. 

   I remember being delighted to see the artist chosen to draw the series - it marked the return of George Perez, one of my favorites, to Marvel's hallowed halls.

   He actually started his career at Marvel in the '70s and, after a long run on books like The Avengers and the Fantastic Four, moved over to DC where he spent years working on the New Teen Titans and Justice League.

   Gauntlet was a book tailor-made for his strengths - imaginative layouts, heroic figures, larger-than-life panoramas and stories that include almost every character ever created.

   The only disappointment would happen months later, when he was unable to finish the last couple of issues of the series (though Ron Lim ably filled in) - but he got the event off to a great start!

   The series didn't disappoint, as it featured lots of surprises, a seemingly unbeatable opponent and the gathering of every major character into a single story. It was big, bold and brash - and lots of fun.

   It's a series that continues to echo, as it set a mark future events would try to live up to. Very few have succeeded.

Grade: A


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