Friday, October 23, 2015

Infinity Gauntlet #4 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This series didn't deserve this issue.

First, it has two grammar/spelling mistakes.  Ignoring how much that sort of error can pull a reader from a story, it's also a mess, narratively and visually. 

We begin the issue with the revelation that Eve has used the Mind Gem to find a city full of people that they never knew existed.  (We don't know how Eve knew to look for said city, given that she didn't know it existed, but I digress.)  They discover that Adam Warlock has managed to keep the city (called Magus City) safe from the bugs with the help of the Soul Gem.  Eve demands that he surrender the gem, he refuses, and a fight ensues.  Eve aligns the gems to her chakras to form the Infinity Armor, but Warlock makes short work of her given his superior experience in wielding the Soul Gem.  (The spelling of "wield" is one of the mistakes.)  While her family fights Adam's "knights," Eve is drawn into a conflict with Warlock on some version of the Astral Plane.  We learn that Warlock essentially uses the Soul Gem to possess people (explaining the extreme allegiance of his people to him) and that he's been hiding the "Behemoth Bug" all this time.  Thanos arrives to take down Warlock, stealing the Soul Gem and killing Eve for the other four gems.

I tried to present the events of this issue as coherently as possible, but it was a challenge.  First, I sort of accept the idea that Warlock could pwn Eve, given his comfort with the Soul Gem.  But, Weaver portrays Eve as completely overwhelmed, as if she weren't already a Nova Centurion.  I'm pretty sure her battle smarts plus four Infinity Gems would've made her more of a force than she's shown to be here.  Then, we've got the totally left-field revelation that Warlock is controlling the bugs.  We're given no insight into how or why he came to control the bugs or what his goals are.  Presumably we'll get those next issue, but it's hard to believe that Weaver is going to have time to answer those questions organically and without a lot of exposition.  To make matters worse, we've also got Drax's insistence at the end that it's really Thanos that brought the bugs and the gems to this world.  In other words, we have a lot of questions.  It's a tall order for one issue.

Beyond just the plot challenges, the characterization is off.  Weaver has added Gamora, Groot, and Peter to the team, but they do little more than fight here.  We would've been better just focused on the family, given that they're the emotional core of this series.  Speaking of said family, Eve is downright crazy here.  Again, given her experience, she should know that she can't just waltz into someone's city and demand that they hand over a powerful artifact.  Sure, she has the four Gems and Weaver has already portrayed her as arrogant, but it really almost defies belief that she pretty much just instantly attacks Warlock.

In terms of the art, Weaver also suddenly goes all Liefeld here, throwing extra lines everywhere and making it difficult to follow the action.  For example, I have almost no idea what happened in Gamora's fight with Ch'od (one of Warlock's knights).

As I said, it's a mess.  Hopefully Weaver will be able to deliver next issue, but (as should be obvious) I have my doubts.  It's just a sad state of affairs that started as probably the most fresh and innovative of the "Secret Wars" tie-in series.

** (two of five stars)

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