In this six issue series published in 1991, the character Thanos creates a gauntlet containing the six gems that give him control of all space, time, soul, mind, reality, and power. Obviously, having controlling of all these gems basically makes him omnipotent, so he decides to do all sorts of bad things. My knowledge of this series was quite limited, as seeing the cover art I immediately thought it was one of the comics that Target was able to slap on a t-shirt and sell it to people who really liked the Iron Man movie. It was my friend Ben who actually encouraged me to read and review it, so here we are today. Most of my knowledge of comics books would be modern age of comics, and since this falls on the earlier end of that spectrum, I had no idea how relevant it was. Still have no idea how relevant it is to loyal comic book fans, but at least now Ben will stop telling me to read this.
Shortly after, Hulk and Wolverine put on some Joy Division and started cutting themselves…unsuccessfully
The story itself gets a little complicated at times, but it turns out that gauntlet not only refers to the piece of armor that Thanos puts all of the gems in and wears, but also refers to the fact that Thanos himself runs a gauntlet. Determined to win over the affection of Lady Death, the first issue points out that there are currently more people on Earth currently than have ever even died. Thanos decides to change this as a way to impress Death, so immediately half of the world’s population disappears. This includes humans, superheroes, and some animals. It’s never really determined what animals or why, but there is a panel about cows disappearing, which doesn’t really seem important. Earth’s heroes confront Thanos, and we get to see him run the gamut of them and destroy them all. After that, Thanos takes on the likes of Galactus, some celestials, and even Eternity, to which he destroys them all. In a scene similar to Jafar becoming the Genie in Aladdin, Thanos then gets full of himself and gets all intangible, which results in his supposed grand-daughter Nebula takes the gauntlet from him. Once she does, she tries to possess the power, but it overwhelms her, and she accidentally fixes everything Thanos broke, and she loses the gauntlet. Thanos then gets punched into oblivion and everyone is happy.
LOOK AT THIS ENORMOUS CONFLAGRATION!!!
It’s refreshing to see huge events like this that Marvel has done that don’t involve all sorts of cross-overs and tie-ins. I know that when Civil War happened, to get the “complete” story, there were over 80 different books you had to buy. That’s insane. Luckily, they are down to only having tie-ins with the relevant characters or participants, but it can still get a little nuts trying to keep up with everything going on. This was six issues…that’s how many you needed to buy to know what was going on. Sure, you could have read a few Thanos related stories beforehand to have a better idea of the character, but whats to know? He’s purple, apparently super powerful, and a bad guy. I knew that much about him before going into the story, so I’m sure that when it came out that people were a little more informed than I was.
Grimace was clearly quite upset with the glass Thor he received in his happy meal
When it comes to stories involving the Celestials and people named Eternity and gods and all that stuff, it’s sometimes hard to stay relevant. They are obviously existing on a completely different plane of existence than all the other characters in the Marvel universe, so how do they factor in? Most of the turning points of this story involved emotion, which was really interesting. The reason why Thanos made half of the Earth’s population was to try to impress someone he desired, by giving her more victims. He was so omnipotent that at one point he was advised that Death wasn’t impressed, since there was no chance of him losing, so he made himself slightly vulnerable. He turned his grand-daughter Nebula into a charred and burned corpse to show Death how much pain and sorrow he could put something through, especially something related to him. It was pride that made him become intangible, which proved to cause vulnerability. Then it was anger that caused Nebula to take something away from the person who caused her so much pain. These things weren’t happening just because anyone wanted the power, which seems to be the case with most villains, that they just do bad things to do bad things. It certainly made these characters have relevance and made me realize that rather than these intangible God-like creatures, but they happened to be characters just like all the heroes and villains, these ones are just far more powerful.
Wolfman Moon Scale
UPDATE:What If…The Silver Surfer Possessed the Infinity Gauntlet?
Also recommended by my pal Ben was this one shot tie-in to the Infinity Gauntlet series where (big surprise) the results f Silver Surfer getting the Infinity Gauntlet were pondered. There was a moment in the original series where Thanos was about to strike Captain America, and then Silver Surfer surfed in to try and grab the gauntlet, and missed. But in this story, S.S. grabbed the gauntlet and became omnipotent. He held no grudges against Thanos, and undid all the damage he had done. In addition, he basically fed all the hungry and gave poor people money and killed Carlos Mencia and cured AIDS and all sorts of things the world wants. Then Mephisto was all like “You’re still a bitch, Norrin Radd”, to which Silver Surfer exploded him. Obviously realizing he was going cuckoo with power, Dr. Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, realized it was time to take action. Dr. Strange brought back Surfers dead wife, and she claimed they could never be equals because he was a god and she was a mortal. So Norrin Radd gave her half of his power, and she again objected to the situation, and they started fighting. After quite a few backhands to his recently revived love, he realized he was being a douche, destroyed the Infinity Gauntlet, and the two of them disappeared. In general, the “What If…” stories are fun to read because you know the outcomes aren’t permanent. That being said, I kind of would have like to see a more drastic result with all that power going to someone’s head, but I feel it was probably in honor of how noble of a character Silver Surfer was, that even in the worst case scenario, he held his composure pretty well. Thanks Ben!