Saturday, April 28, 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: Firelord 5 (Super-Speed)
Stamina: Thanos 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Firelord 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Drax 7 (Living Weapon)
Energy: Thanos 6 (Mass Destruction)
Total: Thanos 34 (Super)

The failed ambush attempt by Cloak has Thanos all riled up, but the eighth wave of attack sees two repeat customers rushing bravely into the line of fire!

Firelord was part of the opening salvo that had no real effect, but got back into the action during the fourth wave as Thor was flung into space. He got put down pretty hard with a backhand from Thanos, but the ill fated intervention of Wolverine likely kept him from a finishing blow. It's tough to say for sure.

The flaming former herald to Galactus is imbued with the Power Cosmic, which makes a guy pretty tough to put down! Cosmic flames probably won't cause Thanos too much concern, but Firelord is fighting with tremendous will, and can provide support to a tag team partner with a real shot at ending this!

Drax The Destroyer was essentially created for the purpose of destroying Thanos! He teamed with Hulk as a second wave able to capitalize on Thanos' adjusting to his altered powers. They were able to knock the Mad Titan on his back and do some real damage, before he sent Drax flying with energy blasts, and Hulk running with a bizarre shrinking offense!

Round 2 for Drax is a chance at redemption! We know from future encounters [Annihilation #4] that Drax can put Thanos down, even if death has a way of being a temporary predicament [see; Guardians of the Galaxy #25].

It shouldn't be forgotten that this era of Drax is hugely bulked up, but incredibly dim witted. We saw the power of this version on display in Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 when he went the distance with a mad Thor. We also saw his susceptibility to distraction.

Drax should be nice and focused after his earlier skirmish with Thanos. Teamed with Firelord, they should be another formidable duo! Let's see how it went...

The Tape: Firelord & Drax Ranking: Thanos (#18)

What Went Down...

No sooner than Thanos returns from Cloak's dark dimension -- Firelord and Drax are upon him! Declarations of divinity are quickly forgotten as the fiery former herald pulls his burning staff to Thanos' throat, exposing him to The Destroyer!

Drax takes full advantage of the vulnerable positioning - blasting pure energy at the heart of the Mad Titan! It crackles spectacularly against his powerful chest!

As he has many times before - Thanos laughs gleefully in the face of opposition!

Perhaps The Destroyer would live up to his mantle in a physical confrontation, but Thanos feels no need to indulge such a chance. With a mere thought, he opens a portal through time that irresistibly pulls his foes through!

Space-faring Firelord never has a chance to resist as the portal hurls he and Drax back through time! In an instant they're dumped somewhere in Earth's prehistoric past! Out of mind, out of sight -- out of time!

The Hammer...
Their lives may have been spared, but the indomitable cosmic wills of Drax and Firelord are now lost to the heroes! Some may debate the particulars, but the unconventional method still constitutes another victory for the all-powerful Thanos, whose control of time and space knows no bounds!

Things are clearly looking dire for Warlock and his heroes, but there's a grand plan waiting to be enacted, and several high-powered players waiting to play their part! Before we get to them; we're going to take a brief detour in tomorrow's featured fight to take a closer look at the fate of Iron Man!

We last saw Iron Man participating in the sixth round of offense, where he was caught by surprise by a tackling from Terraxia. We'll talk more about who she is, and what her ties to Thanos are, in tomorrow's feature fight.

Today was the third time we've seen Firelord in action during Infinity Gauntlet. The first was the opening salvo - his first entry into the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths record, as well.

He's one of those second-tier favourites I've been hoping to get around to for quite a while, but never found the time. That's one of the great things about a big superhero event like this one. It's a chance to revisit old favourites, and meet new characters if you're new to the corner.

Much like Cloak; Firelord'll be one of those Infinity Gauntlet characters I'll miss in whatever live-action approximation is assembled for the big screen.

It's clear Avengers: Infinity War won't be a direct adaptation of The Infinity Gauntlet, but its apocalyptic ensemble owes enough inspiration to regret the Hollywood tendency to simplify, and play it safe.

The simple things have been enough to make Marvel's Avengers films beloved by the masses, and massively successful at the global box office. Some still consider the first Avengers film one of Marvel's best -- possibly because it was the first time they saw the marquee heroes fighting side by side. Under scrutiny, it's a middling effort with weak villains, and not much more than the team-up going for it. Fifty years of seeing the characters together in print probably took the novelty out of it for me, and other seasoned comics readers.

Most multimedia adaptations of comics will strip out the nuances and the excesses. What you're inevitably left with is a straight forward, conventional piece of storytelling. Nothing too complicated, but not so simplistic that there isn't at least something new and shiny to attract the masses.

Firelord strikes me as a character who could've scratched the nagging itch of obscurity, whilst fitting in to a bigger puzzle. After all, he's a native of Xandar, which was under assault from Ronan The Accuser -- a minion of Thanos in the movies, for no expressed reason -- in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.

He also has ties with the Nova Corps, who were also present in the Guardians movie(s), albeit in a less than iconic incarnation. Recent rumblings from Marvel allude to plans for a Richard Rider movie, which Firelord could play a neat role in, either as a fellow trainee or mentor, with or without an arc that turns him into a herald to Galactus. If Novas are inevitably compared to Green Lanterns, then it's easy to see Firelord playing a role similar to Sinestro.

Space certainly seems to be becoming the hot new ticket. There's also a Captain Marvel movie already in the works, building up towards the threat of hostilities between the Kree and the Skrulls. That could build to the next big threat to the Marvel cinematic universe, but I have to think a sub-plot involving the coming of Galactus could function similarly - if not better - to the arrival of Thanos.

All of this is to say -- Firelord probably won't be in Avengers: Infinity War, but it'd be a tremendous joy if the films found it within themselves to venture wider, for broader gains. Formulaic safety has meant Marvel movies can tend to feel a lot like the same thing repeated with different paint. Building up a third stringer like Firelord, off the back of inexplicably arriving to help humanity fight the threat of Thanos, would finally be approaching the joys of cosmic comic books!

I've clearly gotten completely distracted by fantasy booking third tier characters into Marvel films, though. We've got an Infinity Gauntlet to run!

Be here for our tangent into the combat of Terraxia! Or, get familiar with Firelord and the other heroes involved in The Infinity Gauntlet by picking up the collected edition via Amazon! Using the link provided helps support the site!

You can find all the Infinity Gauntlet updates, as well as past featured fights with entire universes of characters, but diving into the Secret Index! Every battle is indexed via publisher, series, and issue number!

Winner: Thanos
#15 (+3) Thanos
#118 (-17) Drax
#849 (-316) Firelord

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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