Friday, April 27, 2018

Cosmic Battle on the Edge of The Universe! (Marvel)
Infinity Gauntlet #4 When: October 1991
Why: Jim Starlin How: Ron Lim & George Perez

The Story So Far...
When the Silver Surfer crash lands to Earth through the roof of Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum -- he brings ominous warning of the greatest threat the universe has ever known! Thanos lives and has taken possession of the Infinity Gems of Soul, Mind, Power, Time, Reality, and Space to form the omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet!

The Mad Titan's mission is to eradicate half of all sentient life in existence! A feat he achieves in an instant with but a mere thought! His quest to court the mistress Death does not end there, though. His dominion is now all that exists in the known universe -- a reality, his to dominate and reshape!

Ripples of Thanos' power echo throughout the universe, causing mayhem and destruction on Earth, where the mightiest heroes assemble in conference to discuss the unknown threat. The unexpected arrival of Adam Warlock provides limited answers as he takes command, selecting a special task force to confront Thanos in a desperate ploy to save the universe from The Infinity Gauntlet!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Thanos 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Thanos 5 (Professor)
Speed: Cloak 2 (Average)
Stamina: Thanos 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Cloak 7 (Intangible)
Fighting: Thanos 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Thanos 6 (Mass Destruction)
Total: Thanos 34 (Super)

Most of the heroes attacks have depended on the physical plane, attacking Thanos with enchanted weapons, energy blasts, and brute strength. The hex magic of Scarlet Witch was cut short during the sixth wave, but has allowed for another esoteric hero to attempt a subversion of their cosmic foe!

Cloak was stuttering teen Tyrone Johnson until he turned runaway after witnessing a robbery-homicide, and the mistaken police shooting of his best friend. Leaving Boston for New York City; Johnson found a friend in Tandy Bowen, who was with him when they were taken in by Maggia drug scientists.

Experiments radically altered Johnson and Bowen, connecting them to realms of Darkforce and Lightforce. As a conduit for the Darkfroce, Johnson can create a dark expanse within the body of his cloak, where forces compel him to entrap victims whose lifeforce will be drained. These dark forces can be sated by the opposite light wielded by Bowen, aka; Dagger.

Dagger's influence is a calming one for the tortured Cloak, but she was among the heroes erased from existence by Thanos' purge of half of all sentient life in the universe! That means Cloak is prone to his darkest urges and plenty motivated to direct them at The Mad Titan!

Cloak is largely rendered intangible by the dimension of Darkforce, which also allows him to teleport over vast distances. His greatest offensive ability will be entrapping Thanos within the dark dimension of his cloak's folds. A fate deemed to torture the soul, and drain a life!

As we saw at the end of the last round in the gauntlet: Thanos is sufficiently distracted to fail to notice Cloak looming behind him. He's still fighting without his vast cosmic awareness, as well. Which makes Cloak's unique abilities an intriguing alternative to the other methods tried so far!

Will it be enough to defeat Thanos? Holding one who controls the Infinity Stones of Time, Reality, and Space could be difficult!

Our only record for Cloak is a moment of vulnerability under fire from the pro-registration Avengers and SHIELD during Civil War #3. They took him down before he could fight. Let's see if he can turn the tide for the heroes this time!

The Tape: Thanos Ranking: Thanos (#20)

What Went Down...
Thanos mocks the impassioned rage of a Captain America who calls him murderer, whilst kneeling over the body of Cyclops! The X-Man is but one of the inevitable many to lay broken and battered across the battlefield!

In his gloating, Thanos fails to notice the eerie folds of cloth belonging to the dark hero Cloak! He glides silently behind The Mad Titan -- engulfing him!

Thanos falls desperately into the void within the cloak! Its black nothingness: a portal to the Darkforce Dimension that punishes the wicked and consumes their life force! As the hero draws his eerie shall closed, it seems as if Thanos' stay within the darkness is assured.

Captain America celebrates Cloak's efforts, but beads of sweat show the hero's uncertainty. For a moment, he has the luxury of not knowing if Thanos will hold.

With wide eyes and a cry of "NO!" Cloak soon realizes his power is too great!

There's nothing to be done. Thanos returns to his platform with a devastating explosion that obliterates the man Tyrone Johnson and his mystical cape!

Cap's shield protects him from the blast that throws him to the floor! This time it's Thanos who bellows furiously over the hero, declaring his supremacy! Cap defiantly rejects his claims of divinity, calling him a false god as a renewed effort descends to continue their assault!

The Hammer...
Another hero pays the ultimate price in the fight to stop Thanos. Whatever evil may lurk in the darkness of Cloak's otherworldly folds, it clearly cannot compare to the omnipotence supplied by The Infinity Gauntlet!

Thanos' acquisition of the Infinity Gems has the universe's astral deities on notice. These are beings who represent, or challenge, the very make-up of all existence! It was probably a fool's game to wager a sub-dimension of darkness against that influence, but Thanos did pledge to give the heroes a chance.

We're a week into running the gauntlet with Thanos and an assembly of the greatest heroes in the universe. Is kinda fun that we get to pause on Cloak, who's a character we haven't seen a whole lot of on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths, but did touch on in a Hero of the Week, this time last year.

He probably isn't one of the heroes storming the big screen in Avengers: Infinity War, because you'll find live-action Cloak & Dagger starring on TV's Freeform.

Which is probably one of the charms that will be most lacking from the long awaited big screen arrival of Thanos. Don't get me wrong. They've done a fine job amassing a couple dozen heroes to splash across  the big screen -- but their IP management and planning just can't rival the excesses of classic comics!

Cloak is one of those fringe characters I always got a kick out of seeing in a big crossover event. He was a little more at home a few years after Infinity Gauntlet, loosely affiliated with Captain America again, in Maximum Carnage.

Most of the characters involved had a link to Spider-man, but the collective that teamed to fight Carnage were a pretty irregular bunch! Interesting that Maximum Carnage was another crossover event predicated on the (apparent) loss of Dagger as motivation for Cloak. A little Women in Refrigerators, but her light has a way of shining brightest in the end.

We shouldn't dwell too long on tangents. Cloak's death brings Adam Warlock's heroes another step towards oblivion! Their stand is roaring towards its carefully plotted climax! The eighth round of attack is coming up tomorrow!

You can get a complete perspective on the hero's gauntlet, and the entire cosmic happening, by checking out the collected edition of The Infinity Gauntlet! By shopping via the Amazon link provided you help support the Comic Book Fight Club at no extra cost to you! Good deal!

If you're looking to get a glimpse of more of the fourth issue running of the gauntlet, you can keep an eye out for links throughout these posts, or via social media links on Twitter and Facebook. A like a share is a great way to join the fight with more friends!

You can also find all of the Infinity Gauntlet links in the Secret Issue Archive in the Marvel section. The archive includes over ten years of featured fights indexed via publisher, series, and issue number!

Winner: Thanos
#18 (+2) Thanos [+1 kill]
#859 (-277) Cloak

Infinity Gauntlet #4
Thanos runs the gauntlet of heroes in a special series spotlighting the classic cosmic showdown!
Versus Wave 1, Hulk & Drax, Wave 3, Thor & Dr. Doom, Wolverine, Wave 6, Cloak, Firelord & Drax, Iron Man, Spider-man & Thor, Nova, Quasar, Captain America

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