CoverInfinity Gauntlet #5, Vol. 1
Published by Marvel Comics

November, 1991

"ASTRAL CONFLAGRATION"

Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciling: Ron Lim & 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 #4.

Plot: A contingent of Cosmic Entities challenges Thanos's might , such a conflict may well prove more than this fragile reality can bear . The powers unleashed in the initial clash are beyond the power of words to describe . Many of the edicts of nature fall victim to the assault . There is a near collapse along the entire spectrum of reality . Entire solar systems in the immediate vicinity are ravaged by the effects of this celestial clash . Calculating the billions of lives lost as a result of this confrontation will have to wait . But even in the midst of such destruction , I am awestruck by mysteries of the soul . The Titan Eros , felt that certain death was near to claiming him . The only thing greater than his surprise at finding himself among the living is discovering who his savior is ! Mistress Death has saved both Eros and Nebula . Her hatred for Thanos must reach unfathomable depths . A perilous universe where each second reveals a new and greater danger . Case in point : The planet Earth , jarred loose from its orbit , and drifting away from its sun , is about to have a new doom visited upon it . A dimensional distortion cascade spirals too near the fragile world , and its woes increase a thousand fold as interdimensional scavengers , such as Annihilus , swarm down upon the once emerald jewel . Yet such worries seem hardly worth mentioning when considered in context . For this universe waits a mere breath away from all-encompassing cosmic destruction . A doom birthed and nurtured within the mad ambitions of a black soul . Thanos defends his divinity . Let the heavens tremble . The two Celestials draft helpless planets into the conflict , using them as weapons of war . The fact that some of these worlds are inhabited by sentient life cannot be considered in this galaxy spanning contest . With the speed of thought their menacing potential is neutralized by power without limit . But a second later it becomes apparent that their sacrifice was but a ploy , a diversionary tactic . For the true thrust of the assult comes from Chronos , who seeks to bury the Tian deep within the layers of time long forgotten . A futile hope . For one of the Infinity Gems on Thanos's gauntlet gives him mastery over that which seeks to over-whelm him . It be like striving to drown an ocean . Yet defeat is answered with renewed vigor : a two-front assault by Lord Chaos and Master Order . They hope to dichotomize the Titan . A divided enemy is an easier foe to deal with . But Thanos refuses to surrender his individuality . And the battle continues to rage without pause . Forces combined to add up to more than the sum of their total . The temporal is abandoned for pure force of energy . And the sheer intensity of Galactus , the Stranger and Eon's blitzcrieg catches the mad titan off balance . Yet it is but a minor setback for Thanos , one that can be overcome with a mere wish . Mistress Love and Master Hate attempt to manipulate Thanos's emotions . The conflicting emotions are tearing the Ma Titan apart . Thanos stops them his way . But also beware decievers , Titan . Thanos is surrounded by hell's fire . Mephisto is trying for the gauntlet . A utter folly for Thanos is going to kill Mephisto for his lack of loyalty , but is stopped by Mistress Death . Thanos is hurt deeply by Mistress Death's hate for him . All the Cosmic Entities attack Thanos as one . The Mad God is vaporized into mere atoms , but only for a moment . Because with a mere though Thanos traps the entities in suspended animation . 'Tis truly the best way ! Divinity calls for clear thinking , unburdened with chaotic emotion . Let Thanos be rid of all illusions . Fot he is Thanos , and Thanos is Supreme . Who is there to argue with that sentiment ? Now that his foot soldiers have fallen proud Eternity at last deigns to show himself . To reclaim that which Eternity believes to be his and himself . Control of this reality . The battle lasts a mere second . Thanos retains his godhood . Adam Warlock along with the Silver Surfer return to Dr. Strange's mansion . A retrieval is in order . The nature of energy is to disperse . The nature of despots is to contain . Conflicting tendencies . As Thanos did once before when in possession of the Cosmic Cube . Thanos leaves his body and is now an invincible celestial form . Thanos is now reality . His body discarded . It now sits souless on his throne . Then as now , Thanos underestimated the strength of the flesh . Especially charred flesh , spurred on by hatred . Deep within withered Nebula , vengence stirs . A senses shattering return to flesh . And a reversal of dire fortunes . Nebula takes the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos's souless body . There is now a new supreme being in this reality . Nebula's first wish is revenge . She sends Thanos into deep space along with his newly made woman Terraxia . Trapped and alone . Thanos had not the forsight to create Terraxia capable of breathing in deep space without of his now-forfeited godly powers . An eternity of floating in space . An infinity to mull on his sins and follies . A mystic portal opens and Thanos is sucked into it . Thanos finds himself inside Dr. Stranges mansion with many other super heroes that had once battled him . Nebula has attained sudden omnipotence . It would be a crushing load for even the finest mind . For Nebula's scarred psyche it must be overwhelming . Total confusion reigns as she strives to adjust to the deluge of universal sensory input . Suffering the nightmare of abruptly becoming aware of all life and matter . Most certainly the thought of escaping into catatonic oblivion enters her chaotic soul . Pray she does not surrender to the urge . For an entire reality would join her in that dark journey . In Strange's mansion Warlock develops a plan . Everyone agrees to follow it . But of course Dr. Doom objects , but majority rules . Adam Warlock has a word alone with Thanos of Titan . Warlock discusses with Thanos that his aid is greatly needed . Adam Warlock tells Thanos of the truth about the Titan . Warlock tells Thanos to look back into his life . A man always seeking ultimate power and losing it as soon as it is attained . Why ? Because deep down in his soul he knows he is not worthy of it . Three times Thanos has triumphed over incredible odds to gain the ends he's desired . And three times he has subconsciously supplied the means to his own defeat . Thanos let Nebula wrest the Infinity Gems from him just as he allowed Captain Marvel to shatter the Cosmic Cube . Thanos decides he will aid Warlock . They send the Hulk , Firelord , Thor , and Dr. Doom to fight Nebula . They strike as one . Their combined might could easily rend assunder a small planet . But against Nebula and the Infinity Gems ... they are nothing . Nebula traps them in a chunk of cement . Nebula tells Eros that there are three who seek to challenge her might . And one of them is Eros's brother Thanos . Thanos , Dr. Strange the Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock enter through a portal . Nebula says to Thanos " Do you seek to defeat me with the help of your two little friend ?" The Silver Surfer wonders " Two little Friends ?"

Continued in Infinity Gauntlet #6

Comments: George was good, but I thought Ron did better.  And Jim Starlin continues to rock.

Review written by Matt Bartke

 

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