Infinity Wars #6 review: Marvel's run-of-the-mill series comes to an end with a disappointing grand finale
So here we are at infinity’s end. The last Marvel comics event of 2018 has come to an end. (technically the epilogue is out this month but let’s not get bogged down in details) Some characters have died, others have returned, doomsday schemes were hatched and even fulfilled, but in the end, the good guys won and everything’s back to normal right? Well mostly yes, but not quite.
Infinity Wars is ultimately a run-of-the-mill comic book story which saves its moment of greatest impact on the greater Marvel universe for the final pages. An odd place to put your biggest revelation since the main plot of Infinity Wars could have been anything at all, with the first five of the six issues having little impact on the narrative’s most critical outcomes. The one that we were told will “have lasting consequences for the Marvel Universe”.
We won…but it doesn’t feel like a victory
Overall, what should have been the grand finale of the Infinity Wars storyline feels rushed, which while disappointing, should not be that surprising. With so much to cover in this final issue, the pacing of the story was always going to be problematic. Most of the plot points that were introduced over the last five issues are hastily wrapped up by about the halfway mark. Honestly, dealing with Devondra and Loki’s journey to the source universe both resolve so abruptly in just three or four pages that it hardly feels like it’s worth waiting till the spoilers section to tell you what happens (I won’t actually do that here, but I certainly was tempted). It’s frankly a pretty paltry payoff for months of built up anticipation… although I may be jumping to conclusions by assuming you were anticipating much.
Somewhat frustratingly, with the established narrative wrapping up at such a breathless pace, Infinity Wars #6 spends an unreasonable number of its pages on planting the seeds for potential future storylines. On the positive side, I will say that Gerry Duggan did technically resolve the existing plotlines, one way or another, before moving on to building up future stories. At the very least, this means that Infinity Wars avoids the tactic of simply adding convoluted layers of danger and mystery to create a thrilling but ultimately pointless and incoherent story. A trap that many other talented (and not so talented) writers across various media have fallen into.
Also a positive, in my opinion at least, is that the pocket dimension of Warp World, held within the Soul Gem has at least for the moment, been spared. Which means that we could potentially see more stories or crossover events featuring the heroes (and villains too I suppose) from the Warp World. While that may not be welcome news for some who found the new mash-up heroes to be an unwanted addition to the Marvel character roster, I think they will make a fun alternate/parallel timeline if Marvel chooses to pursue them further.
You take the bad with the good
While I can’t claim to love Infinity Wars, I can’t honestly say that I hated it either. Ultimately, Infinity Wars will likely go down as a footnote; perhaps eventually serving as a stepping stone to some interesting storylines in the future. But I do think there is a chance that it could just as easily be ignored entirely. While it does introduce a fairly momentous change to the power dynamic of the Marvel universe in its closing pages, it would be fairly easy for future writers to undo or maybe even flatly ignore the curveball thrown by Duggan when they start crafting their own stories.
Is it worth buying? Well if you are like me and bought each issue individually, I’m going to say no. But there will be a compilation of the whole run out in a while at about half price, which is a reasonable deal if you have held off on buying until now. Despite dealing with a few interesting concepts, Infinity Wars ultimately had trouble delivering on its original promise, preferring to set things up and hand responsibility of actually dealing with the consequences to one or more follow up series.
Whatever form those follow-up storylines take, I think I’ll probably wait for the compilations to be released this time around.
Summary of events
Remember I said there’d be a section with spoilers? Yeah? Well, this is it so if you don’t want the entire issue spoiled in intimate detail for you, this is where you should stop reading.
Warning: Major Spoilers for Infinity Wars #6 start here
Ok, let’s get started.
We open with Loki, now in the source universe and surrounded by Celestials, who for the most part, are content to ignore him completely. When Loki confronts them, one of the celestials directs Loki to a place where his future was revealed to him. We are not given much insight into what exactly Loki sees, but his vision of the future appears to be enough to make him throw in the towel immediately, declaring that he knows when he is beaten and returning to the quarry of creation.
Upon returning to the main Marvel Universe Loki returns the pilfered Infinity Gems to his Infinity Watch, the very same group he had betrayed only moments before, and departs. Loki speculates that the unseen actor he thought was working against him all this time may have been a future version of himself trying (unsuccessfully) to keep him from meddling in events, but that theory is never confirmed.
Back in the Soul Gem, the Infinity Watch return to aid the other heroes who are fighting a losing battle against Devondra. Over several issues, much has been made of how strong the soul-eater is and how she cannot be defeated, even with the Infinity Gems. However, Devondra’s fearsome reputation apparently doesn’t impress Hulk, who uses the Space Gem to create a black hole in the centre of the creature, defeating it/her with a single punch.
Yes, apparently it actually was that easy. Anyway, with Devondra out of the way, Adam Warlock and the other Infinity Gem wielders band together and begin the delicate task of recreating and repopulating the universe with the aid of the gems.
However, as part of their deal with the heroes from the Warp World, they agree to only copy the many quintillions of souls back out of the Soul Gem, leaving people and places as they exist within the Warp completely unaffected and mostly unaware of anything out of the ordinary occurring at all.
The saving of these universes however also requires Drax and his former/alternate self Arthur Douglas to stay behind and hold the portal open while everyone else makes their escape. A fact which made his brief reunion with a parallel version of his daughter Moon Dragon, sadder than I expected it to be, though naturally, I know that few comic book characters are ever gone for good.
Now back on a newly restored Earth and with the day having been quite categorically saved, there appears to be no rest for the weary. With the imminent danger now past, the temporary truce is evaporating rapidly as the saviours of the Universe begin to argue amongst themselves over who should control the Infinity Gems. Warlock, realise that without decisive action, history will be doomed to repeat itself indefinitely. The lust for power resides in the hearts of almost all people and the desire to possess the Infinity Gems will continue to breed chaos, strife and suffering on a universal scale.
Moving quickly Warlock secures the Time Gem, stopping time temporarily and using the opportunity to collect all the Gems. But rather than claim their power for himself (again), Warlock instead relinquishes his command of the Infinity Gems. He uses their power on the very gems themselves, granting each a soul and some degree of intelligence in the hopes that they will finally be capable of being the masters of their own destiny.
Warlock also used the power of the gems to send Gamora away to “somewhere she could do the most good”, setting her off on a possible path to atonement for everything she has done while also defusing a potentially deadly confrontation between Gamora, Moon Dragon and Phyla-Vell. The two latter heroes understandably hold a grudge against the famed assassin as the Requiem/Gamora of their reality succeeded in her plan to destroy the entire universe.
Cutting for a moment to Warp World, we see that the heroes of this world have formed their own superhero organisation, adopting the name of The Defenders, complete with an impressive downtown skyscraper to serve as their headquarters. I expect we will hear more about them at some later date, assuming Marvel is interested in telling those stories.
We then cut to Gamora who has apparently been transported to the place where Magus, a future, usually evil, version of Adam Warlock, is currently sealed within one of his regenerative cocoons. It appears that as part of Gamora’s penance, she is going to have to raise the young magus himself. A task that will likely be quite important as Adam Warlock appears to be growing increasingly distant from other heroes and may be on the cusp of going a little rogue himself.
The final panel of the comic mirrors the first panel of Infinity Wars #1 with Warlock, now without the Soul Gem, stating, that he felt like a piece of himself was missing. Both the tone and the way Warlock’s face is framed in the panel suggest that he could be very close to going down the same path as Gamora/Requiem.
When we first set off on this adventure, we were promised long-lasting repercussions from the events of this story, and for a while, it looked like that promise was quite hollow. But giving the Infinity Gems sentience was an interesting decision. I’m not sure where they can go with that from here but there are a few interesting options.
With sentience and personality of their own, maybe we’ll see the gems themselves acting heroically or villainously. Alternatively, and probably more likely, is that we will see a new set of heroes and villains come into possession of the Infinity Gems. Perhaps characters who, until now would not have been interested, powerful or skilled enough to acquire one will now have a Gem of near infinite power simply drop into their lap. I think the results could be pretty entertaining in the right hands.
I don’t know what direction Marvel will want to go on this, maybe they will play it perfectly straight or maybe they will let the writers have a little fun before the eventual universe reset. With the next storyline in the series already set to release later this year, we don’t have long to wait so I’ll see you then.
Updated Date: Jan 12, 2019 10:11:33 IST
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.