Tuesday, April 24, 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: Dr. Doom 6 (Genius)
Speed: Firelord 5 (Super-Speed)
Stamina: Thanos 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Firelord 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Thanos 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Thanos 6 (Mass Destruction)
Total: Thanos 34 (Super)

The gauntlet of heroes suffered its first casualties in the third phase of battle with Thanos. In this round they're sending in a trio of power houses who could do some real damage: Thor, Doctor Doom, and Firelord!

As noted in the opening strike: Thor is in fact the mortal Eric Masterson, who will eventually come to be better known as Thunderstrike. He was imbued with the full powers of Thor when Odin banished his son to exile -- a compromise to ensure Earth would still be guarded from the evil of Odinson's enemies!

Masterson wields Mjolnir and all the power that comes with it, but will revert to his mortal form if he's separated from the hammer for more than sixty seconds. It was a catch like that that caused headaches for the genuine article when fighting Champion of the Universe in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7, and Beta Ray Bill in Thor #337!

Thor and Firelord were both part of the opening strike on Thanos: a non-event when he froze time to avoid their attacks. That moment between moments was when Thanos made the all-important decision to fight without the cosmic omnipotence afforded by The Infinity Gauntlet, though. A decision to give the heroes the barest of fighting chance!

Doctor Doom wasn't a popular addition to Adam Warlock's army of heroes, but was too powerful an ally to turn down. An amoral, self-serving dictator by trade - he's a genius of the caliber of Mister Fantastic, who was lost during Thanos' purge of half of all life in the universe.

Doom brings an abundance of experience and understanding of cosmic entities. Unfortunately, he's usually trying to siphon off their power for his own devious schemes. We saw one of his many attempts at stealing Silver Surfer's power cosmic in Fantastic Four (Vol. 2) #6, and a Doombot trying similar in Silver Surfer #107.

Doom's incredible armor makes him a valuable asset, but his self-serving nature means the heroes probably won't be able to rely on him. When the Avengers and Fantastic Four were returning from a pocket reality, he turned at the vital moment, forcing a struggle with Thor in Heroes Reborn: The Return #4. Just one example of how things have the potential to go horribly wrong.

The combined godly and cosmic powers of Thor and Firelord would ordinarily be enough to cause Thanos problems. With Doctor Doom at their side, there is at least a very real chance Thanos could be relieved of his power and/or Infinity Gauntlet! Which is good, because the stakes are getting high!

The Tape: Thor, Doctor Doom & Firelord  Ranking: Thanos (#66)

What Went Down...
Having callously dispatched with Namor and She-Hulk; Thanos stands ominously over the remains of the first two casualties. Two more figures on the vast battlefield act on the grim turn of events. The first to strike is Thor - whose mighty hammer suddenly collides with Thanos' chest in a devastating blow!

At that same time, Doctor Doom has flown across the platform to seize upon his opportunity. With Thanos knocked flat on his back by the godly strike, he rushes to take possession of the awesome Infinity Gauntlet!

Doom pays for his avarice. His armor protects his life, but his body is hurled across the battlefield by the explosion of power emanating from Thanos! Doom may have put his own gauntleted metal fingers on The Infinity Gauntlet, but that is as close as he shall get!

Doom watches with envious eyes as his armor sizzles, and Thanos returns to his feet. The Mad Titan radiates raw power. Frustrated by Doom's interference, Thor resumes his attack, again hurling the enchanted hammer towards Thanos! Only this time, Thanos greets its trajectory with a wicked smile...

Seeing the attack coming; Thanos is able to create a portal inches from his face that safely sends the hammer's trajectory onward to deep space!

The separation of hero and hammer means Eric Masterson is fighting on borrowed time. He has a mere sixty seconds to be reunited with the hammer of Thor, or revert to his helpless mortal form! With the clock ticking - he fights!

The uppercut Thor launches manages to surprise even Thanos! He staggers back as the thunderer continues to fight with godly fists! His blows are enough to garner notice, but Thanos commands power to absorb them - and more!

Thanos snatches Thor by the cape - and tosses him to the darkness of space!

Firelord swoops in too late to rescue Thor, but eager to capitalize on Thanos' preoccupation. He ignites Thanos in a punishing stream of cosmic flame! Such is the gift of the power cosmic - bestowed upon him by Galactus!

Many would tremble at Firelord's boast, but his fire offers little threat to one with the power of The Infinity Gauntlet! With a swing of his arm, Thanos sends the airborne Firelord smashing brutally into the platform structure!

The Hammer...
Another wave of attack ends in victory for Thanos!

The consequences weren't quite the fatalities of the third wave, but three major players have at least temporarily been removed from playing field!

Doctor Doom survives thanks to his armor's defenses, but he was pretty badly fried. Firelord took a heavy enough blow to put him down, if not out. Without his mighty hammer: Thor is moments away from being a mere mortal floating in deep space! It's about as bad as it gets for the fourth wave!

The heroes are probably starting to sweat it, but Adam Warlock has a grand plan that's still being enacted. If Doom has truly been incapacitated, that can only bode well for the bigger picture! Let's just hope his firepower isn't needed! The fifth phase of attack is resting on the shoulders of one lone wolf!

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You can catch-up on past, present, and future featured fights by diving in to the Secret Archive Index! There, you should be able to find links to all the Infinity Gauntlet updates in the Marvel section. All featured fights are index via publisher, series, and issue number!

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Winner: Thanos
#40 (+26) Thanos
#74 (--) Doctor Doom
#531 (-121) Thor (Eric Masterson)
#532 (-121) 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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