Marvel's Infinity Wars #5 review: In the penultimate issue, a plan comes together, as others fall apart

Vinay Viswanath

Nov 20, 2018 15:45:09 IST

We’re in the endgame now. Gamora’s plan went off almost without a hitch, but now Loki and his impromptu Infinity Watch are finally ready to challenge her again on a much more even footing. While the Infinity Gems came fairly easily into the possession of the daughter of Thanos, mastery over them appears to be quite a different matter entirely. In fact, it appears that if Gamora’s plan is to fail, it will only do so because of her mistakes, rather than any particularly brilliant counter-strategy from those who oppose her.

Twitter apologises amid row over CEO Jack Dorsey posing with 'Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy' placard

Will Infinity Watch 3.0 fare any better than their predecessor? | Marvel Comics

We know the stakes, but not all the players

This issue was pretty heavy on the action, but by the end, the stage is fully set to take us into the conclusion of this series as all the major characters appear to be exactly where they are needed. But being in the right place is only going to get you so far, especially if we consider how miserably the heroes have fared in all the alternate realities that we have seen over the course of the series. It looks like defeating Devondra and whoever or whatever is behind this entire crisis is going to take far more than a few shiny Gems, powerful though they may be.

On a more positive note, we also have a small ray of hope that at least some of the Infinity Warp characters could perhaps survive the conclusion of the Infinity Wars without undoing their existence within the Soul Gem. It’s not clear how they could keep these merged souls intact while also restoring the old universe to normalcy, but at least it could mean that the Infinity Warps can hang around a little bit longer if Marvel is interested in exploring these characters further.

The concept is pretty ‘out there’ but the Soldier Supreme has grown on me | Marvel Comics

The concept is pretty ‘out there’ but the Soldier Supreme has grown on me | Marvel Comics

Moving on to the artwork, Frank Martin and Mike Deodato provide the drawing and colours as usual and their work has been consistently good throughout, although this issue, taking place mostly in a barren hole in the ground had only a few opportunities to really showcase the impressive visual work they are capable of, though there are still a few great panels in there.

The third act still has a lot to do

With Gamora’s plan now fully revealed, we can at least get some closure on why the Mad Titan’s daughter seemed hell-bent on betraying all of her friends and following in the footsteps of her hated father. But while it does offer us a possible glimpse of those that we have suspected have been pulling the strings from the very start, who they are and what their motivations could be, has regrettably been left to the very last issue to explore.

What that means is that the final issue, ideally, will have to perfectly balance exposition and action while also providing a satisfying conclusion. A big ask at the best of times, made even more difficult by the fact that Gerry Duggan will only have about thirty pages to do it. The threat of introducing a deus ex machina to quickly resolve the plot’s problems is getting pretty high.

Yes, I’m worried about contrived plot devices in a story about magic stones from space, what of it? | Marvel & Hasbro

Yes, I’m worried about contrived plot devices in a story about magic stones from space, what of it? | Marvel & Hasbro

In fact, I’m starting to wonder if this arc will really tie things up or if the story will instead just lead into another phase of the narrative, similar to how Infinity Countdown led into Infinity Wars. Perhaps the recently touted Wolverine Infinity series will pick things up. I hope not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. We’ll know soon enough I suppose.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FOR INFINITY WARS #5 START FROM HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Summary of events for Infinity Wars #5

Kicking right off where things ended in issue number five, Gamora is surrounded by watchers hovering above her as she tries to break through the seemingly impervious barrier at the quarry of creation. But what we thought should have been a cliff-hanger turned out to be… well, nothing at all really. If the watchers did have anything at all to say, we will perhaps never know, since Gamora apparently defeats them in a single panel, banishing them all to the Warp-World via the Soul Gem.

Defeat may be too strong a term since they were mostly just glowering at her | Marvel Comics

Defeat may be too strong a term since they were mostly just glowering at her | Marvel Comics

Now, this raises several questions such as what were the watchers doing there, and how were they even around if Gamora had merged all living souls and sent them into the Soul Gem anyway? Can they find their way out like Adam Warlock? If they can leave so easily on their own then what does she gain by sending them back? And most importantly of all, why would Duggan bother to once again provide a plot point and then seemingly do nothing with it? All good questions, but apparently lacking anything resembling an answer.

Thankfully there is one very important point that we do get clarity on, and that is what Gamora’s true agenda is. It’s been stated previously that Gamora wants to re-create the universe once Devondra the soul-eater has been sated by all the souls currently inhabiting the Soul Gem. Her plan appears to be to re-create the universe in such a way that she does not become the daughter of Thanos. What exactly this would imply is unclear, it could mean she plans to prevent Thanos’ rise to power, or it could mean that she prevented his birth entirely. Given that she’s creating a universe of her own devising, any solution could be valid. It seems a long way to go to get one back at her old man, especially since he has already died by her hand. There has to be an easier way to get similar results, but I guess that’s no business of anyone but Gamora.

Anyway, getting back to the story, Loki’s new team have tracked down the remaining Infinity Gems to a tree house in what seems to be the middle of a desert. Turns out they are in the possession of a pre-teen Gamora who for some reason is here inside the Soul Gem. Now supposedly, the reason that a little version of Gamora is here in the Soul Gem is that Gamora was ‘distracted’ by Loki while she was folding the Universe in on itself and moving it into the Soul Gem. But considering the trouble she went through to reunite with the missing fragment of her soul in the first issue, I don’t buy this for a second.

Would you abandon a part of your soul in a treehouse in a wasteland to be devoured by a monster? | Marvel Comics

Would you abandon a part of your soul in a treehouse in a wasteland to be devoured by a monster? | Marvel Comics

There’s also no explanation for why this fragment of Gamora’s soul is young, or why she is not noticeably linked to any other soul here in warp world, or why she has five of the six Infinity Gems with her (the power gem is conveniently absent from her collection since Loki already got that one from a time-travelling Wolverine and apparently Duggan isn’t ready to even consider what happens with Infinity Gems in the event of a time paradox). Gamora agrees to hand over the gems to Emma Frost because she asked politely; proving courtesy is the greatest superpower of all… although I suppose she may have been using mind control.

With all the stones now in their possession, Loki passes out the gems to the various members of his team but not in the order you’d expect since he states that the gems in this universe are somehow different. For example, Emma gets the Power Gem instead of the Mind Gem, Hulk gets Space instead of Power, Kang gets Reality instead of Time. The reasoning behind the shake-up isn’t clear, even to most of the characters. But it doesn’t really matter since their time with these stones is extremely short-lived anyway.

With their newly acquired powers, the team returns to the regular universe to find that Phyla-Vell and Moon Dragon, refugees from a universe that Requiem has destroyed, are currently fighting a losing battle against Gamora. Loki’s Infinity Watch proceed to engage Gamora and, for some reason, their Infinity Gems appear to work just fine despite no longer being in their own universe. I know that Duggan hasn’t forgotten how Infinity Gems work but for some reason, the rules don’t apply to these Gems. It could be that they work in this universe because they are a copy of the stones made by Gamora, but that answer feels cheap. Infinity Gems that can infinitely clone themselves seems to be a new bizarre level of power.

The plan works flawlessly and Gamora is soon relieved of all her Gems by Loki’s team, but what the team are not aware of is that Loki, has a plan of his own that involves betraying them. A fact that really should have been obvious to everyone who has ever met or even heard of the trickster god, especially Emma Frost who can read minds. Maybe her power doesn’t work reliably on Asgardians? *shrug*

With a little illusion magic, Loki quickly collects all of the Gems seized from Gamora for himself, swapping them out for regular pebbles. Loki then banishes Phyla-Vell, Moon Dragon and Gamora into the Soul World (Technically he was only aiming for Gamora and the other two were just in the way). With Gamora out of the picture, Loki uses the Gems to effortlessly slip under the surface of the Quarry of Creation.

Loki’s always been a smooth operator, with a flair for the dramatic | Marvel Comics

Loki’s always been a smooth operator, with a flair for the dramatic | Marvel Comics

I don’t know whether it’s his talent for subtlety, his skill at magic or his Asgardian/Frost Giant heritage, but Loki certainly seems to have better control over the Infinity Gems than Gamora ever did. Now in this new dimension or universe, which we can only assume is the ‘Source Universe’ we heard about back in issue #1, Loki finds himself in a cave filled with Infinity Gems from various alternate realities, all presumably now powerless outside their respective home universes. Exiting the cave, he finds a number of giant beings that appear to be Celestials or this universe’s equivalent of them. Loki is convinced they are the ones who have been guiding the events that have brought him here.

Laufeyson may have bitten off more than he can chew this time | Marvel Comics

Laufeyson may have bitten off more than he can chew this time | Marvel Comics

We then cut to Gamora, now in the Soul World and sans any Infinity Gems, being attacked and possibly mortally wounded as Warlock and Stephen Rogers (Soldier Supreme) along with Moon Dragon and Phyla-Vell (Quasar) gang up on her. Finally, we have what is almost a post-credits scene, with Drax the destroyer, now back to being Arthur Douglas and his late wife Yvette driving through the wilderness in a manner very similar to the day they were killed by a young Thanos back in the regular timeline. It’s not clear how come their souls are not noticeably tangled up with others or how Yvette is alive again at all (apparently even the long-dead are not being spared by Gamora’s plan to feed Devondra).

After crashing due to a run-in with one of Devondra’s minions they encounter a mash-up of Peter Quill and Groot, which unfortunately has gone for the “We are Peet” approach to all conversation. A Groot-like character with Quill’s or even Rocket’s smart mouth could have been an interesting character to explore and certainly feels like yet-another missed opportunity. The issue ends with Drax and Peet leaving together to presumably join the battle against Devondra.

Weird that Drax had to drive out of town to their meet up when Peet’s the one with rocket boots | Marvel Comics

Weird that Drax had to drive out of town to their meet up when Peet’s the one with rocket boots | Marvel Comics

Well with the end of issue #5, we finally have the answer to What and we mostly know Who, but Why is still a big unanswered question. Perhaps there are plans to continue the story in a second arc, but hopefully, Duggan will find a way to bring at least a reasonable amount of closure to fans who have stuck it out all the way to the end.

A satisfactory answer to the question of who is behind all of this and what they hope to gain is critical to keep this whole series from being one giant waste of time. Going into the final chapter, we still don’t know who our primary antagonist or antagonists are; only that Gamora isn’t the villain she was made out to be, which pretty much everyone had figured out by now anyway.

There is a lot that issue number six has to deal with to bring this narrative to a satisfying conclusion. If they can pull that off now, with just the final issue to go, no one will be more surprised or delighted than myself.

Oh well, the only way to go is forward. See you for the next and final issue!

Read the reviews of issues 1234 here

Updated Date: Dec 03, 2018 15:21:51 IST