By Ryan Penagos and Greg Draudt
What would you do to catch the eye of your beloved? How about eliminate fully half of the universe's population? When your love is Lady Death herself, what else could be expected? The Infinity Gauntlet saga begins as Thanos--in the aptly titled Thanos Quest, availble now as a digital comic
--looking to impress Death, sets out in search for the six Infinity Gems: Mind, Soul, Power, Time, Space and Reality in order to attain ultimate God-like power and become the omnipotent ruler of the universe (quite a lofty goal).
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Before making his power play in Thanos Quest
, Thanos was dead. Again. Purplepuss has a habit of dying, but luckily for him, he's in tight with Death. She brought him back in Silver Surfer
#34 in order to balance the scales between life and death. There, in Thanos' resurrection, lies the true beginning to the Infinity Gauntlet saga. Set off on his new path, Thanos marches toward his date with omnipotence. Along the way, Adam Warlock (also formerly dead), Drax (yup, him too), Mephisto and other characters make their way into the story.
The actual Infinity Gauntlet story starts with Cloak and Dagger
#18, kicking directly into Infinity Gauntlet
#1 as Thanos, along with his new consort Mephisto, begins adjusting to godhood. After playing with lives and making small displays of power, the now-omnipotent Thanos makes his grand gesture to Death: He wipes out half the sentient life in the universe.
Thanos' actions send ripples throughout the universe, but they pale in comparison to the real shockwaves sent out as Thanos, in anger and frustration brought about by Death's continued ambivalence, destroys a star. The repercussions from its demise reverberate throughout the cosmos, annihilating planets and sending Earth off its orbit. Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer help put together a strikeforce made up of many of Earth's few remaining heroes in hopes of taking down the mad diety. At the same time, the universe's cosmic beings--Galactus, the Collector, Eternity and others--forge their own alliance to confront Thanos. Neither is successful.
While most of the large, jaw-dropping moments are found in the Infinity Gauntlet
mini-series, the various tie-ins cover side-stories, smaller scale events, differing perspectives and other minutiae. Each tie-in adds to the mythos of the story, but only the Silver Surfer
--and to a lesser extent Doctor Strange
--issues are integral to the overall saga. One note about the tie-ins: Some don't carry the Infinity Gauntlet tie-in banner, but definitely add to the story, in some cases more than those issues that do bear it.
Nonetheless, the events that unfold in the tie-ins pale in comparison to the battles waged in the last issues of the Infinity Gauntlet
. After gruesomely killing the cadre of heroes and almost effortlessly dispatching with the collective cosmic entities, Thanos is only defeated as a result of his own hubris. He loses the Gauntlet first to his granddaughter Nebula and finally to Adam Warlock.
But the story does not end there. This Visual Guide is a roadmap of sorts, putting the Infinity Gauntlet saga in a reading order set up to make the story as coherent and continuity-oriented as possible. Keep checking back at this page as we reveal more layers to the Infinity Gauntlet saga including the follow-up series and their respective tie-ins: Infinity War
and Infinity Crusade
, off-shoots and more, culminating in the most recent part of the Infinity Gauntlet story: New Avengers: Illuminati
Added on 2/21/07
: New Avengers: Illuminati #2
Other Visual Guides on Marvel.com:
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter
| Civil War
| Dark Tower
| Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
| Infinity Gauntlet
| The Initiative
| Marvel Zombies
| Spider-Man: Back in Black
| World War Hulk
| X-Men: Endangered Species