Marvel's Infinity Wars #3 review: Details world-altering revelations, but stakes remain elusive
Who is really in control? That’s the key question that readers of the third installment of Infinity Wars are going to have on their mind. On the face of it, Gamora has pulled off her plan to seize the infinity stones with near-perfect precision, perhaps even faster than she had any reason to anticipate. But despite wielding unlimited cosmic power, the daughter of Thanos seems to be growing increasingly erratic and a bit paranoid.
The story picks up with Loki and his travelling companion/chronicler Flowa finally catching up to Gamora. Recognising her now unrivalled power, Loki true to his nature, attempts to schmooze his way into her good graces. He offers his ‘wise’ council, helping Gamora embrace her newfound godhood and how to best use her powers. An offer Gamora, naturally, promptly refuses. He is after all the trickster God, so it’s not without a reason (or ten) that Gamora distrusts him.
In an effort to convince her to spare his life, Loki shares everything he knows about how similar events are playing out in parallel universes. He also shares the suspicions he has harboured for some time now, that an unknown actor is pulling the strings of current events from behind some unseen curtain. But, if Gamora has similar misgivings about her actions being manipulated, she doesn’t show it.
Instead, she uses the power of the Infinity Gems to set off an ‘Infinity Warp’, a move which could indicate that Gamora takes after her old man more than anyone realised. In my review of the previous issue (which you can read here), I had speculated that Gamora seemed to be falling into a pattern of behaviour that was not unlike what we’ve seen from previously from the Mad Titan. And it looks like that’s exactly what Gerry Duggan is going for, although it’s not clear why Gamora is still haunted by the mocking apparition of her adoptive father… A hallucination? Mental manipulation? A literal ghost? Your guess is as good as mine.
Despite Marvel bafflingly deciding to spoil parts of issue #3 prior to its release, I’m not going to follow suit, you’ll just have to scroll on down to the spoilers section as usual to know more about the Infinity Warp. But if you don’t want the story spoiled for you, suffice it to say that the far-reaching ‘event’ (or at least one of them) that Marvel had promised would be a highlight of Infinity Wars has finally come to pass, and it’s a doozy.
Before I go on, a quick note about the artwork. Frank Martin’s colour work, which has been in top form since #1, is only getting better over time. To me, Martin’s work is the highlight of this series. Even my cynical, jaded eyes paused numerous times to take in some of the more impressive panels.
Mike Deodato has been putting in solid work with his illustrations but seems to be going out of his way to give Loki some very odd facial expressions. It seems intentional too since no other character has been given the same treatment, but I can’t begin to guess at why… maybe Deodato just doesn’t like Loki?
With our two parallel storylines now fully merged, there’s nowhere to go but forward and the next issue will likely see Gamora begin her search for the ‘Original Universe’ and possibly begin to understand the repercussions of the events that she has (perhaps unwittingly) been instrumental to setting in motion. If the new characters introduced through the Infinity Warp are handled right, we could be in for some really fun (if completely off-the-wall) adventures from our new cast as they presumably, take the fight to Devondra in the near future.
But for all the good in this issue, it’s not without its flaws. My main criticism is that we are now at the half-way mark for this mini-series and still have no clear understanding of what the stakes are, or who we should be rooting for. Gamora’s motivations are too obscure to determine whether she’s the hero or villain of this story. And while morally grey characters are a personal favourite of mine, it’s usually at least clear what they want, with the big question being what they are willing to do to get it.
Unfortunately, as of now, we have little clarity regarding the greater threat and what it will take to counter it. As we go into issue #4, Infinity Wars has regained most of the momentum it lost with issue #2, but Duggan needs to lay his cards out on the table soon if he wants people to care about how the Infinity Wars pan out.
Warning: Major Spoilers for Infinity Wars #3 start from here
Breakdown of events in Infinity Wars #3
If you don’t want the story spoiled, this is your last chance to bail out…
Ok, here we go.
The story of Infinity Wars issue #3 is focused on two major points. The first is that Gamora, now aware of the Quarry of Creation thanks to Loki, is curious about a barrier that she is able to perceive deep within it. What lies beyond is able to elude her, despite Gamora wielding the power of all six Infinity Gems.
The nature of this barrier and its purpose is not yet clear. Is it holding something in, or keeping something out? This is a bit of speculation on my part, but perhaps the barrier separates our universe from another. While an unlikely scenario, this would fully explain why Gamora’s powers appear to end at the barrier since the Infinity Gems, while immensely powerful in their origin universe are little more than jewellery in any another.
This brings us to the second point where Gamora, now resolved to travel to the Quarry of Creation wants to ensure that she doesn’t have to deal with any more meddlesome heroes along the way. To that end, she resolves to trap the assembled Avengers and the surviving Infinity Watch members (who have been frozen in time since the end of issue #2) in the Soul World. Or at least that’s what we are led to believe at first.
But Gamora isn’t content to simply send the heroes into the Soul World; from the look of things, she’s sent everyone else too. At the very least, the entire Earth seems to have been moved within the Soul Gem.
As part of this transition, she also proceeds to ‘Fold the universe’ halving the number of inhabitants by forcing souls to join together. It’s a move that her Dad would be proud of and it’s rather hard to explain, mostly because as far as I can tell, it lacks any clear logic or reasoning behind it.
Being optimistic, I’d say we simply don’t understand the reason yet, or perhaps the logic is shoddy because Gamora, despite the infinite power at her fingertips, is rapidly losing her grip on reality. If I was being cynical, I’d say it’s a quick and dirty solution to bring out a whole range of character mashup comics that draw attention from readers primarily on their novelty. Since we don’t learn much about them in this issue, the jury is still out on whether this was a good idea.
But absolute power and absolute control are not the same things and Gamora is openly surprised by the results of her attempt to play God and create a new Universe. It appears that history has been re-written to adapt to current events. As an example, we see Captain America and Doctor Strange mashup, Private Stephen Rogers becoming a magic wielding, goatee wearing super-soldier back in the 1940s.
The scene is pretty good and establishes that to those who live in the warp-world, though they have technically just come into existence, nothing has changed, everything has always been the way it is now. But also stealing the show is Martin, with the colours, using a more washed out palette in Warp World to contrast the vibrant, near-neon hues that are prevalent outside of the Warp… Universe? I’m not totally sure what we should call the new realm within the Soul Gem.
We are also told that the Soul Gem’s well-established hunger for a steady supply of new souls is actually caused by Devondra, an entity (almost certainly confirmed at this point to be a soul eater like the one we saw in issue #1) that resides within the Soul Gem. It looks like Gamora is tossing the new mashup heroes (and everyone else) to Devondra and isn’t that concerned about who comes out on top. Even for a deadly assassin, that’s pretty cold.
As Gamora departs with Flowa in tow, she teleports Loki into the Warp Universe. While not forced to endure a mashup of his own with anyone, this, on the face of it, is still far from an ideal situation; and yet the Trickster seems to be perfectly happy with this state of affairs, despite his desperate protestations prior to being banished here.
It’s clear that Loki has an agenda and that he had intended or at least expected to have been sent here. I’m not yet certain what angle he’s trying to play, but whatever it is involves Adam Warlock. To find him he sets off to meet the X-Men, presumably since they are usually well stocked with psychics in any reality.
Loki seems extremely confident that Adam Warlock is definitely the answer to their problems; and while he will indeed be alive again in this new reality, whether he (or whoever has been created from him combining with another soul) will be able to help is not a sure thing by any means. We’ll just have to wait for issue #4 to know if Loki Laufeyson is as good a schemer as he thinks he is.
Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 18:46 PM