Thanos begins to enact his plan to obtain the Infinity Stones while both the Nova Corps family and the Guardians of the Galaxy pursue their own goals. Is it good?
Infinity Gauntlet #3 (Marvel Comics)
It’s always nice to see a series successfully expand its scope, and that’s just what Infinity Gauntlet does in its third outing. What began as an intimate tale of the Bakian family, spearheaded by a tense relationship between mother and daughter, has now become a full-fledged cosmic adventure.
Infinity Gauntlet #3 switches gears by focusing on Thanos. The Mad Titan had been little more than a cameo in the previous titles, sitting back only to remark about his constant defeat at the hands of the Bakian family. Now, using the Time Stone, he tries a different strategy: infiltration. Using the Time Stone to arrive during the attack by the Annihilation Wave, Thanos saves the Bakian family from the attack, finding himself in their good graces after his ruse. It’s a pleasant change of pace to see the Mad Titan use his cunning rather than his power to enact a plan. And though his actions are still for the assemblage of the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s refreshing to see a Thanos that isn’t contemplating the Cosmos or the esoteric workings of the Universal Constants.
That being said, the use of the Time Stone here presents the biggest flaw of the issue. It’s not necessarily a problem on its own, but in rewriting the past, Infinity Gauntlet #3 undercuts some of the events of previous issues as the interactions between the Bakian family now take place differently. When just reading the current issue, it doesn’t seem that problematic, but when reading the issues back-to-back it’s a little distracting.
In addition to the reimagining of Thanos, Gerry Duggan and Dustin Weaver also bring to life a new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The main difference that will strike readers, especially those who are primarily familiar with the 2014 film’s iteration of the characters, is the inclusion of a more classic Drax. Weaver’s take on the original design is stunning, and a bit reminiscent of a more alien-looking Superman.
Dustin Weaver’s art throughout the issue is fantastic, showing a great range from action, to quiet character moments. This range gives the story a wide berth to grow on its own, and it really shows as Gamora and Peter Quill enter the story. These scenes balance Quill’s humor with the urgency of avoiding an attack from the Annihilation Wave. Weaver uses wide angles in his panels to highlight the distance, both physically and in bargaining, between the Bakian family and the Guardians, who are in possession of one of the Infinity Stones.
Thanos doing stuff a.k.a. things you will never see in a Marvel Studios film before 2018.
As the two groups resolve their issues, their travels take them into a dead forest, where a familiar tree guards another of the Infinity Stones. As readers are introduced to this domain’s version of Groot, Gerry Duggan gets the most out of a gag involving the plant’s signature phrase.
The highlight of the issue is a strong moment for all involved as Thanos confronts Anwen about her inability to save one of her family members. It’s a powerful scene as the Titan preys upon Anwen’s insecurities in the aftermath of a tense discussion with her mother. Gerry Duggan’s dialogue is perfect here, Thanos’ proposal is hypnotic to Anwen, subtle in the way it weaves into her mind. Weaver’s detailed lines really capture Anwen’s inner turmoil. And color artist Rain Beredo makes great use of the lighting here, casting both Thanos and Anwen in shadow at the beginning of the scene and using more light as they both emerge from the darkness with similar thoughts in mind.
Is It Good?
Dustin Weaver and Gerry Duggan have created a solid tie-in to Secret Wars with Infinity Gauntlet. The new series is a worthy successor to its namesake and finds its success in not trying to recreate the original epic, but rather in doing something new the concept. This is no more evident than with its use of Thanos, now a more active and tactical thinker, rather than a being that contemplates the cosmos. The continued growth of the Bakian family is where the heart of the issue lies, and readers looking for a nice balance of humor and action will find themselves satisfied with Infinity Gauntlet #3.