Sunday, April 29, 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...
By the blessing of Death herself -- Thanos has returned to the realm of the living with a mission to eradicate half of all of existence! To achieve this, he has scoured the universe in search of the Infinity Gems!

By assembling these cosmic stones of governance over the Soul, Mind, Power, Time, Reality, and Space, he has attained ultimate god-like powers as the wielder of The Infinity Gauntlet! His every whim is now a cosmic reality, and with the instantaneous deletion of half of all sentient beings, he is free to determine fate as he designs it!

Driven to greater madness by Death's cold indifference, Thanos impetuously creates a new perfect woman in his own image! Terraxia The Terrible lives only to serve, and when Adam Warlock leads an army of Earth's mightiest heroes to oppose him, it isn't long before Thanos' love attacks!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Terraxia 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Iron Man 5 (Professor)
Speed: Iron Man 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Terraxia 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Iron Man 4 (Trained)
Energy: Iron Man 5 (Lasers)
Total: Iron Man 31 (Super)

We're taking a special detour in today's featured Infinity Gauntlet fight for a skirmish that actually began back during the sixth wave assault! There we saw the grim fates of Scarlet Witch, Cyclops, and Vision -- but what of Iron Man?

It was Terraxia The Terrible who leapt into battle to challenge Iron Man in the midst of his attack on Thanos. She'd been present throughout the entire onslaught, but her was a presence unfelt in battle until now!

She was created in the prior issue to spite the cold reserve of Thanos' true love - Death. She was conjured into being with the awesome power of The Infinity Gauntlet, which can even create life! Thus, she was made to be Thanos' perfect woman. She is therefore everything Death is not: warm, and totally devoted!

Despite her name, Terraxia bares no relation to the space-villain Terrax. In truth, she more closely resembles a feminine counterpart to Thanos himself. She bears a similar dress, and the same purple skin that distinguished the Mad Titan from the rest of his kin. She also clearly shares some of his natural power!

We've seen Iron Man test his armor against physically dominating opponents with varying results. His long standing rivalry with Hulk was successfully revisited in Iron Man (Vol. 2) #2. He stood toe-to-toe with the Destroyer Armor in Thor (Vol. 2) #1, and bested a diminished Juggernaut in Thunderbolts #150.

It was right around the time of this battle that James Rhodes donned this Iron Man armor in Iron Man #271, taking on the awesome Fin Fang Foom in an impressive display of strength and durability! A compelling enough result to say Iron Man should at least be able to hold his own against Terraxia.

As we saw in the sixth wave, however, she does have the element of surprise, both as a complete unknown, and by tackling him when he didn't expect it. We could sit around speculating, but it's probably best we just get to it!

The Tape: Iron Man Ranking: Iron Man (#3)

What Went Down...
Iron Man is busy pouring on the power when Terraxia's rage reaches boiling point. The armored Avenger capitalizes on the efforts of Cyclops, launching his assault as Thanos finds himself caught off balance!

Having watched the battle frustrated from the sidelines until now - Terraxia takes the opportunity to surprise Iron Man, as well! She launches herself into the air, catching Iron Man with a side-on tackle!

While Thanos escapes from the confines of Cloak and prepares for the attack of more heroes -- Terraxia grapples with the grounded Iron Man!

Her hulking frame pins Iron Man face-down to the space platform, while she wrenches at the electronically sealed armor with super-human strength!

Terraxia's determination will not go unrewarded. Her powerful twisting and wrenching at the armored Avenger's helmet eventually yields grim results. The helmet clatters innocuously across the battlefield, while Thanos faces ambush.

As Thanos rids himself of the unwanted influence of Drax and Firelord; Terraxia returns baring a macabre trophy as gift to her creator and lover: the helmet of Iron Man!

Thanos praises his creation for her assistance, as the blood of Tony Stark drips from the helmet's neck. Grim confirmation of his untimely decapitation!

The Hammer...
As noted from the outset: The titular Infinity Gauntlet not only denotes the powerful glove warn by Thanos -- but also the gauntlet of heroes he must run throughout the pages of Infinity Gauntlet #4!

Most of the waves of attack making up the gauntlet are easily distinguished, but today's fight is a tangent that takes place in the background of other battles.

You may notice some repeated images from earlier entries [above]. This fight began with the sixth wave led by Cyclops and Scarlet Witch, unfolding behind the destruction of Cloak in Round 7, and culminating with the gifting of Iron Man's head, after Firelord and Drax were sent through time, in Wave 8!

Terraxia first appeared in Infinity Gauntlet #3, but was slow to intervene in the fight between her beloved Thanos, and the attacking heroes. I think part of this speaks to the speed with which everything is unfolding. By dissecting each wave of attack, we've diminished the frenetic pace of each overlapping wave.

The naming of Terraxia is intriguing. I'm not aware of a deeper meaning, or applicable portmanteau. There doesn't seem to be anything particularly 'of the land' about her, which makes the similarity to Terrax interesting.

I have to imagine Jim Starlin, or editor Craig Anderson, would've been well aware of the similarity. Should we presume that Thanos harbors hidden, or subconscious romantic feelings for the one-time herald of Galactus? He didn't reveal any such affections when Terrax was his manipulated pawn of choice, targeting Green Lantern in the cosmic crossover: Green Lantern/Silver Surfer.

If Thanos derives his name from the Greek god of death, Thanatos, then I might've expected his conjured "perfect woman" to draw from a similar source. Baring obvious similarity to her creator, I might've expected the Roman counterpart Letum, or Mors, to provide inspiration. Something involving Mortis might've been a little on the nose, but it's not like she's sticking around.

Without giving too much away, Terraxia won't make any further appearances beyond the Infinity Gauntlet series. Not at the time of this writing, at least. I am somewhat surprised she never found her way into later use, even if a revamp to differentiate her further from She-Thanos would be warranted.

According to Thanos, Terraxia is everything Death herself is not: warm, loyal, devoted. Her creation comes from spite and self-absorption. It's an impetuous, narcissistic act by a would-be god behaving like a jilted teen. She clearly isn't a direct opposite to Death. Her existence is to indulge and flatter Thanos.

Terraxia serves her purpose to reveal more about the psyche of The Mad Titan she reflects. She isn't really a character that needed to be brought back. I do wonder what traits her personality could've revealed, had she existed beyond the mini-series, though. Cast aside, it would be easy to envision Terraxia as every bit as spiteful and jealous as Thanos was when he created her. A powerful "frenemy" in reserve. Something like Mal in Inception, perhaps.

You can read the entire Terraxia story by checking out the collected edition of The Infinity Gauntlet! By shopping via the Amazon link provided, you'll get a good deal and support the site at no extra cost!

Follow Secret Wars on Infinite Earths on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with daily Infinity Gauntlet updates, or dive into the Secret Archive to find every featured fight indexed by publisher, series, and issue number! Sharing and liking links is another great way to keep the wars infinite!

Next: The ninth wave of attack!

Winner: Terraxia
#146 (+384) Terraxia [+1 kill]
#3 (--) Iron Man

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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