Monday, September 7, 2009

Infinity War by Jim Starlin

Wrapping up the Labor Day weekend cosmic graphic novel fest, I read through the second book in the so-called Infinity Trilogy, Infinity War. After the conclusion of Infinity Gauntlet, the universe has apparently returned to order, although we are soon to find out that a nasty surprise is on its way. Magus, the evil portion of Adam Warlock, was expelled when Warlock gained near omnipotence (along with the good of Warlock, the Goddess), as Warlock attempted to become a purely logical god-figure. This evil entity has returned in a big way, gathering together cosmic objects of extreme power, in the hopes of creating his own alternate universe to overlay the current one. Thanos discovers this plan, and alerts Warlock and company, while at the same time a spree of doppelganger attacks on heroes of Earth alert them to a pending threat. Once again, a universe-wide attack ensues, with the fate of eternity in the balance.

While not quite as deep as Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War still manages to be a huge amount of fun. It is faster-paced than Infinity Gauntlet, with more action and over the top cosmic mayhem. After the story of Infinity War, the book contains a number of short pieces that add a lot to the background of the story, with large amounts of solid characterization. It is odd that these are given out of chronological order, as they would have fit nicely between the chapters of the War, but they are still a fun and illuminating read. “The Island!” details what Warlock and his compatriots are up to prior to the Infinity War. “Interlude” takes place, as the name suggests, in the middle of the Infinity War. It builds the relationships between the characters, particularly that of Gamora with her adoptive father Thanos, and her non-love interest Warlock. “Old Wounds” once again focuses on Gamora, as she gives her point of view on a pivotal moment in the War, while “Self-Destructive Tendencies” follows Thanos’ battle with his own doppelganger, as well as his contemplations on supreme power, identity, and sacrifice. By far the deepest part of the book. “I, Thanos” is a four part tale of a hidden interaction between Thanos and Death that takes place during the exact same time as “Interlude.” There is a three page section that explains how the War effected the rest of the universe, and then the final tale, “Yule Memory,” which recounts a Christmas that Thanos and a young Gamora spent together.

All in all, yet another fun cosmic graphic novel at the hands of Jim Starlin. While this book signals a return to straightforward prose, keep an eye out for both volumes of the final part of the trilogy, Infinity Crusade, to appear sooner rather than later.


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