Comic recommendation of the day Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim
Comic recommendation of the day
Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim
Space. Time. Mind. Power. Soul. Reality.
4 months into daily recommendations, it’s probably pretty clear that I love comics. Why? I trace my love of the medium of comics and the genre of superheroes to a few things I read in my formative years. Nothing so much as this. If you wanted to point to a single story that made me a lifelong superhero fan, this is the story.
At 10 years old, this was, up to that point, the best thing I had read in my life. I have read it more times than I have read anything else. At one point I could recite most of it. I stopped rereading it, when I could recite it too well. It’s now been several years and I’m out of practice. I like to think that if you fed me a line, I could tell you the next few. I’m going to try to transcribe a couple scenes from memory below.
Guardians of the Galaxy appears this week. Avengers: Infinity War next year. I’ve spent a couple week’s talking about the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. We’ve been through the ’70s and ’80s. I suggested at the beginning that you choose an era that’s right for you for your superhero in space pleasures. Each era has its own storytelling sensibility. If you want the ’70s, start with Captain Marvel. For the ’90s, read this. For the 2000s, wait a couple days and we’ll get there.
It’s not just me. I think this story resonated with my generation. I know lots of people my age who don’t read comics, but read a couple as a kid. And, over and over again, I find this is what people remember most fondly.
Excerpts paraphrased from memory.
“There can be no denying it. You are supreme. Anything you wish, is. Anything you wish to be, you are. There can be but one word to describe you… God.”
“The heavens will run red with blood, but in the end, as always, Thanos will be triumphant.”
“Once again, the universe needs saving. It all sound rather mundane when said like that. But that’s what beings like you and I do. We defend reality.”
“As long as one man stands, you’ll never be able to claim victory.”
“Foolish sentiments from one who is about to die.”
“I’ve lived my life by those sentiments. They’re well worth dying for.”
This story reads quite well on its own, and if you’ve never read it, or are new to comics, I would suggest just reading the 6 issues that make it up. To augment it, I would add yesterday’s suggestion of Thanos Quest, a 2-issue series that serves as prelude, also quite excellent.
If you really want to read everything connected to this story, here’s a complete list, though not an ordered one. Of these, Silver Surfer #34-49 are the most important, as they represent the build-up. And Warlock and the Infinity Watch will wrap up a loose end for you. The rest are extremely inessential.
Silver Surfer #34-59
Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1-2
Cloak & Dagger #18
Doctor Strange, Sorceror Supreme #31-36
Incredible Hulk #384-385
Do not, and I repeat, do not, read any further. This is followed by Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, Infinity this, Infinity that… skip them all. You’ll thank me for it. Skip everything involving Thanos for the next 13 years.
“Hey, this sounds great, but some of your friends, particularly really old people, don’t seem to like this story, why not?”
The flaws with this story lie not within itself. The problem is that it’s a sequel to a story that didn’t need one, where one didn’t fit. We described already the old Thanos saga. In which Thanos gained the power of a god in order to destroy the universe for Mistress Death. And, when that failed, gained those 6 gems in order to build a weapon to destroy stars. A story that ended with a certain amount of finality. It was a good ending. Closure was brought to character arcs. And everybody was dead.
In this story, Thanos again gains the exact same gems to once again try to destroy the universe as a gift to Death. It’s the same basic story. And telling it meant untidying the tidy end of the last arc, and resurrecting lots of characters who had gone nobly to their final deaths, including Thanos, Warlock, Drax, Gamora, and Pip.
Fans of the original wondered why it was necessary to bring everybody back to life just to tell basically the same story again.
They have a point. The counter is that this is really good. And if, like I, you start here without reading the ’70s version, you won’t notice any problems.
Except maybe the inconsistent art.