CoverInfinity Gauntlet #3, Vol. 1
Published by Marvel Comics

September, 1991

"Preparations for War"

Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciling: George Perez
Inks: Josef Rubinstein

Color: Max Scheele & Ian Laughlin
Letters: Jack Morelli

Editor: Craig Anderson
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Original Price: $2.50
Current Value: N/A (believe it or not)

History Behind Issue: Continued from Infinity Gauntlet #2.

Plot: The battle is described in the words of Eros , Thanos's brother . My brother , Thanos , is insane . He beholds four of the Earth's mightiest heroes - Thor , Firelord , Namor , and Iron Man pouncing to the attack , and what does he do ? The madman smiles . But he has good reason to . Power is one thing Thanos has in abundance . The power to freeze Earth's defenders in time . It appears this conflict will not live up to expectations . Of course , Thanos has spared his entourage the indignity of being ripped loose from the time flow . Mephisto .. Mistress Death .. Nebula .. Terraxia .. and myself Eros . Even the enigmatic Watcher has been spared . What use is godhood if you have no audience to flaunt it before . The Mad Titan is about to kill Earth's fighting force when Mephisto tells Thanos that in order to win the heart of Mistress Death he should show courage . Thanos agrees and wills his power level down . He has cut off all sensory input from all but the power gem . Earth's heroes now have a .05 % chance of winning . What game is Mephisto playing here ? It was most subtly done , but that devil just saved the lives of Earth's heroes ! And engineered the possibility of Thanos's defeat ! The master of deceit is playing upon the confusion Thanos is experiencing adjusting to his newly elevated state of being . It seems the forces of life have a most unlikely comrade . Let the battle begin ! Time resumes it's normal flow with bone-jarring results . Then ... The unbelievable occurs ! Drax the Destroyer and the monsterous Hulk take Thanos by surprise ! He truly has dampened his cosmic senses ! Thanos is actually playing by the rules ! How out of character . Yet , do even these mighty warriors stand a chance against Thanos' vast powers ? I doubt it . They are but bothersome fleas to Thanos . Though their cause is hopeless , I must hand it to Earth's defenders . Their battle strategy is first rate and flawlessly executed . A lesser foe would surely fall before their assault ! But not Thanos . Of course it's Captain America who leads this fighting force . Vain hopes ... I can already sense Thanos adjusting to his situation , taking control of the battle . The She-Hulk must be merciless if they hope to prevail . Thanos has narrowed the scope of his godhood just as he was beginning to adjust to it . His mind must be reeling from the changes . Of course that makes him no less dangerous . Thanos throws a small brown object onto the chests of Namor and the She-Hulk . Namor screams " remove it quickly ." Sorry , Namor , my brother would never lay a trap so easilt evaded . To your sorrow , there are truths that cannot be denied . He is Thanos and his name means Death . The old campaigner in Thanos begins to return . This type of battle has always been his forte . Any hope I foolishly of Earth's heroes triumphing quickly fades , Yet Hope never dies . It is a universal condition within the species . Unfortunately , treachery also resides in some hearts . As Dr. Doom cuts infront of Thor to grab the Infinity Gauntlet . Such greed always creates it's own reward . Doom tastes the bitter nectar of Thanos's wrath . Fortunately , his armor's defensive systems save him from suffering total defeat and destruction . But once again a valuable lesson goes unappreciated . Doom will not be denied those gems . While Thor , one who has always known such truths fights on despite the odds . And , in turn discovers new , more horrifying realities . A teleportational portal conjured up by the power supreme . Takes away Thor's hammer . Without his hammer he will revert back to plain ol' Eric Masterson in mere 60 seconds . So savage is the thunder god's attack that even mighty Thanos is momentarily taken back ! Sadly , spirit will only carry one so far in an encounter such as this . Power is the only capital honored in this high stakes game . And Thor was the highest card in our hand . Thanos throws him into deep space . Firelord swoops in for the attack , but one blow from Thanos is enough to take him out . Then the truly unexpected happens , the miraculous ! He is one of the X-Men -- goes by the name of Wolverine . Of all the combatants , he would've been one of the last I thought capable of delivering the death blow . But then my hopes plummet from the mountain heights to the depths of the dark valley . Adamantium bone transforms into spongy rubber , and the most vicious of Earth's defenders flops to the ground , helpless . My heart is deeply touched by the valor I witness here this day . The might of the Scarlet Witch and Cyclops wield is nothing compared to Thanos's power . They know this , yet still they press the attack ! Thanos turns his attentions first to lovely Wanda . Her mutant Hex power easily fall before his will . I avert my eyes . I've no wish to remember such horror . Now Thanos turns to face Cyclops . A masterful move cutting off the force beam when least expected . My brother pitches forward , off balance . And the Avenger Iron Man swoops in for the kill . Unfortunately , the metallic warrior's naked power is not equal to his battle prowess . Then Thanos's newly created perfect woman , Terraxia , joins the fray . The Mad God allows her to vent her anger and frustration on the golden avenger . My brother sets his sights on the X-Man , Cyclops . A clear block of force envelops the mutants head . Cutting off his force beam in mid-stream , and cutting off oxygen to the warrior . Captain America rushes to the fallen mutant's aid , while a once successful ploy is tried again . But Thanos never falls for the same trick twice . He turns and rips the circuitry out of the Vision . And yet another valiant soul falls . Thor is almost back to Deaths Monument . He grabs onto the ledge just as he changes back to Eric Masterson . But perhaps too late . For the mystic spell Dr. Strange cast so the thunder god could breathe in the depth of dark space apparently does not extend to this mortal Eric Masterson . Captain America cry's to Thanos about the death of his comrade Cyclops . An emotional outburst wasn't something Thanos expected from the legendary Captain America . Unless it serves to create a clever diversion . The being known as Cloak draws the crazed Titan into the folds of his cape into a dark and fearful dimension . But Supremacy cannot be contained . Thanos's divinity is absolute . Drax the Destroyer and Firelord double team Thanos . Thanos laughs at their defiance . And I am chilled to the soul . For there is unholy truth in that insane howl . Mistress Death knows this I can see it in her eyes . She has no doubt of this conflict's outcome . No battle is this . Just slaughter to feed an already over-sized ego . The only person not fascinated by this outrage is my grandniece , poor Nebula . For her shattered body and mind are beyond all caring . She is but another twisted creation of Thanos's black soul and infinite power . He made her the charred caricature on the brink she now is . She would be far better off dead . Still , some dreams refuse to die . Some souls never know when the cause is lost . As Eric Masterson grabs the hammer which turns him into Thor . Such ignorance can be truly awe-inspiring ! A Time portal opens . And mighty Firelord and Drax the Destroyer find it's pull irresistible . They fall lost within Earth's prehistoric past . Terraxia walks up to Thanos holding the head of Iron Man . Thanos is all of a sudden blinded by Spider-Man's webbing . Terraxia dives at Spider-Man . Thor pounds Thanos to the ground . That's it Thor ! stay not your hand ! THANOS MUST DIE !! Or all is lost . Thanos turns Thor into glass . And Terraxia beats Spidey's head in with a rock . A grim , bottomless acceptance of our fate finally claims me . Thanos is inevitable . All light is lost . All that is left are tears . And the echo of dreams shattered . Echoes . Thanos shatters the thunder god . Quasar , the replacment of the late Captain Marvel confronts Thanos . He is the wielder of the Quantum Bands . With but a thought Thanos burns off the hands of Quasar then finishes him off . Echoes . Captain America is the only one left on the battle field . He confronts Thanos . Elsewhere , Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer wait . On Adam Warlock's call it will be so . Captain America dodges Thanos's attacks . The ground itself grabs the Avenger's legs . Thanos shatters Captain America's indestructable shield . Echoes . Thanos slowly raises his hand in preparation for a final blow . Warlock screams NOW !! The Silver Surfer races in the direction of the Mad God Thanos at light speed . The Surfer is carefully heading towards the gauntlet . The Surfer misses his mark and Thanos retains his godhood . The echoes of failed plans and good intentions wasted in futile acts . Nothing remains of hope . Nothing remains but sweet oblivion and an end to this nightmare . Thanos kill Captain America . He walks away upset about his near loss of godhood . he wills himself back to full power , and wishes the battlefield cleared of all remnants of the folly Thanos nearly allowed . For Thanos senses a far greater struggle about to begin . Adam Warlock speaks " We tried to do this the easy way -- and failed . Now begins the conflict I strove to avoid . It may well prove to be a battle the universe cannot survive ! Eternity ... It is now your turn ." Despite my best efforts , I cannot shut my eyes to the awesome sight no mortal was ever meant to see . Armageddon commences in but seconds , and I have a front row seat for the event . I pray my end comes quickly , for the universe is about to become a place I no longer wist to be part of .

Continued in Infinity Gauntlet #4

Comments: George Perez does a great job on the art, and Jim Starlin makes this one of the best stories ever!

Review written by Matt Bartke

 

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