In recent years, whenever Marvel announces a high-stakes plot for a movie, I’ve taken the time to read the comic version prior to the movie. I did this with Marvel’s Civil War before Captain America: Civil War released in theaters. While most of the time the movie version of the story is significantly different than the comics, I still like to see what the original writers envisioned and how the new writers had adapted the story to fit with the established Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus, I read through Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus, Infinity Gauntlet: Aftermath, and Infinity War comics before the release of Avengers: Infinity War.* There are more comics and arcs to the Infinity Saga, but I didn’t have the chance to read through all of them. (Probably because the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus consisted of about forty-four issues and 1,248 pages.)
*Note: This post is not going to try to compare Infinity Gauntlet to Avengers: Infinity War, though I have seen the movie. I’m merely sharing my thoughts on the comic story line, though some comparisons may be made. Also, there will be spoilers for the comics, not the movie.
Infinity Gauntlet is the story line that starts Thanos off on his mad search for the six Infinity Gems. (Yes, Gems, not Stones.) But his reasons for doing so are not as demented in the comics as the movie version. In the comics, Thanos chooses to wield the Infinity Gauntlet in order to wipe out half of the universe’s population. He does this to please Mistress Death, who he is in love with.
I found it bewildering that Thanos, who I’ve only known as this mad titan seeking to destroy the universe, could love someone. It’s also interesting to note that despite his efforts, Mistress Death continually friend zones him and refuses all of his pursuits, sometimes not even bothering to talk to him but just give him the silent treatment. It’s great.
The bulk of the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus comics are actually Silver Surfer comics. He’s the one who first gets wind of Thanos’ plans, and he is the one, alongside Adam Warlock, who seeks a way to stop Thanos, no matter the cost. (Which is why I find it interesting that Avengers: Infinity War doesn’t include either Silver Surfer or Adam Warlock. It seems hopeless without them.) I can’t say I enjoyed Silver Surfer‘s comics. Most of them were boring and dabbled in story lines that didn’t connect to the Infinity Gauntlet arc.
Another part of Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus are the comics titled Thanos’ Quest. These were much more interesting than Silver Surfer because they show Thanos’ reasons for obtaining the Gems along with his methods of finding them. Following that, Silver Surfer‘s comics dive into the Soul World, which is connected to the Soul Gem, and where Adam Warlock and Co. have been sent. Adam Warlock, if you don’t know, is the ultimate Marvel Babe. He has fabulous hair, an evil personality running around the universe causing havoc, and is basically the reason the Avengers defeat Thanos in the comics. I cannot wait for him to join the MCU, which supposedly will be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Finally, the Omnibus edition begins the Infinity Gauntlet series. This is where the fun—and horrors—begin. All your favorite Avengers team up with Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer to fight Thanos. It doesn’t go well at all. Basically, they all die and Thanos wipes out half the universe, leaving Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, and Adam Warlock to save the day. BUT! The real hero (sorta) is Nebula. They trick Thanos, and Nebula seizes the Gauntlet and puts it on! She reverses time, which brings everybody back to life.
But Nebula + Gauntlet= Not Good, so Avengers and Co. ally with Thanos to stop her. In the end, Adam Warlock puts on the Gauntlet and the universe is saved. (Until Adam Warlock almost goes crazy with power and ruins it all over again and Doctor Strange has to find a way to stop him. But that’s another comic arc.)
The rest of the Omnibus edition are the in-between comics from the other characters—Hulk, Cloak and Dagger, Spider-Man, Quasar, and more Silver Silver—that take place during the events of the Infinity Gauntlet arc. I didn’t think these were worth reading as maybe one or two panels connected and the rest had nothing to do with the Infinity Gauntlet story line. Perhaps if the book had been compiled in a way that placed the extra comics in chronological order, it would have made more sense, but reading those comics after I read the conclusion to Infinity Gauntlet wasn’t all that interesting.
As for Aftermath and Infinity War, these weren’t much better. Aftermath had overlap with the end of the Omnibus edition and it mainly focused on Adam wielding the Gauntlet. It was a quick read and ended pretty much how anybody would think it would. As for Infinity War, this story line is completely different than Infinity Gauntlet. Adam Warlock’s evil side, Magus, seeks the Gauntlet and they have to stop him. (Which is why everybody out there saying Avengers: Infinity War is based off the Infinity War comics needs to stop because it’s not. It’s based off Infinity Gauntlet. But who’d go see a movie called Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet?) Infinity War was more interesting that Aftermath, but if you’re looking to focus on Thanos and the Gauntlet, this probably isn’t the comic for you. Yes, Thanos is in it and he does help the Avengers (sorta) defeat Magus, but it’s not about him collecting the Gems and wielding the Gauntlet. Plus, it gets into weird territory that unless you’ve been reading comics for a while and understand characters who haven’t been introduce in the MCU, you might be confused or bored.
So there you have it, the basics of the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War story arcs, in case you’re curious how it stands against the movie.