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Infinity Wars #5 review: The stakes are raised

Introducing… Loki’s Cosmic Avengers!

Gamora just doesn’t understand.  Why doesn’t everyone else see the Universe as she does?  Why can’t they see the good she has done, or can do, for everyone?  Why can’t they let her fix the universe that allowed her to be so tortured by Thanos?  Why don’t they understand the pain that she alone can soothe?

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In parallel wars, the merged heroes inside the Soul Stone battle Devondra, the seemingly immortal nightmare bent on devouring everything while the escaped and de-merged force assembled by Loki fights Gamora in the real world.  With the Infinity Stones, the former Guardian of the Galaxy can hold her own, but barely. The force she wields is matched, however, by another set of of the gems, brought from the Soul Stone itself. There’s a bit of hand-waving as to why each new holder gets the stone they now carry, but they all function a bit differently.  Foreshadowing!

Before the battle, in the Soul Stone, Emma Frost bullies the new team into following her lead when approaching a desolate region, far from the main battle with Devondra.  Grabbing Ms. Marvel with the excuse of needing a woman’s touch for their next hurdle, Frost finds a young Gamora, trapped away from herself, playing with the Infinity Stones.  With a bit of cajoling, she gives up the stones to the new team, preparing them for the fight ahead. The imagery in the Soul Stone scenes, especially the rust color of everything, really speaks to the bleakness of the situation and the desperation felt by the team.  Artist Mike Deodato Jr. is truly in his element in this series, stretching the boundaries of what a comic page can be. Some of the pages look so layered, panel to panel, that the characters not only step out of the panel and into the gutters, they pop off the page.

Can we talk for a moment about this insane team-up?  Loki chose those who he somehow figured out could each wield an Infinity Stone, tore them apart from their merged selves, and brought them out of the Soul Stone.  Hulk, Ant-Man, Ms. Marvel, Emma Frost, and an eerily silent Kang. That’s not even beginning to delve into what is going on with Sax the Destroyer and what I assume to be the mash-up of Peter Quill and Groot.  This series has created some of the most exciting mash-ups since Paul’s Boutique and so many deserve to have their stories told.

As much as Infinity Wars has been a major leap forward in storytelling and universe-building for Marvel, issue 5 takes things to a new level, reaching back into not only the history of the brand, but the personal history of one of its most intriguing characters.  The final moments of the book are a game-changer, potentially throwing everyone’s plans and hopes into chaos. The Watchers came, but not for Gamora. She was a convenient catalyst, a mere player in a game that has lasted millennia. On the verge of finally winning, finally getting answers, more questions appear.  Wherever Gerry Duggan is taking this story, the stakes are high. The fate of the universe and all of reality hangs in the balance.

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Infinity Wars #5
Is it good?
Gerry Duggan changes the game for the entire Marvel Universe
Mike Deodato Jr is doing some of the best work in comics right now
I don't know where the "sax player driving into the wilderness" is going, but I'm in. Careless Whisper!
Can we keep all the mashed-up heroes please? Please??

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