Wednesday, April 25, 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: Wolverine 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Thanos 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: Wolverine 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Wolverine 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Thanos 6 (Mass Destruction)
Total: Thanos 34 (Super)

After a fourth wave assault consisting of Thor, Doctor Doom, and Firelord failed; Wolverine might not seem like the most obvious candidate to step up against Thanos. He's certainly much better known for fighting earthbound arch-enemies like: Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Silver Samurai, or The Hellfire Club.

That said, Adam Warlock singled out Wolverine (and Hulk) for their willingness to do what other heroes usually won't: kill!

An earlier assault showed us that Thanos has allowed himself to remain vulnerable to physical harm. Even if Wolverine's unbreakable adamantium claws can't find a killing blow -- he might be able to lop off a limb, or even deprive Thanos of the hand that wears the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet!

It shouldn't be forgotten that Wolverine's membership with the X-Men has also taken him to space on several occasions, and led him to close encounters with many alien species. If nothing else, that means the ominous circumstances of the fight and their opponent shouldn't bother him in the slightest!

Wolverine's most famous space battles may be X-Men confrontations with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Adamantium claws cut alien flesh as easily as human, but when it comes to the indomitable strength of Gladiator, our records only contain an unflattering conclusion from New X-Men #124.

In contrast, we've also seen Wolverine claim one of his most controversial alien victories! Who could forget the time he defeated DC's unstoppable Czarnian killing machine, Lobo, in the now infamous Marvel versus DC #3?

Like Lobo; Thanos is innately more physically impressive than the average human, but Wolverine made his debut fighting the Hulk and Wendigo! We've seen him go toe-to-toe with Nimrod [Uncanny X-Men #194], Sub-Mariner [New Invaders #6], Thing & The Fantastic Four [Wolverine #22], and a Dormammu juiced Hood [New Avengers #54]! He always remains in the fight!

Ultimately, that lethal instinct recognized by Warlock could be the visceral edge that other heroes have lacked. When properly motivated Wolverine can be callous [Uncanny X-Men #205], downright malicious [Marvel Comics Presents #83], and a calculated killer [New X-Men #150].

What's his motivation - you ask? As noted in an earlier installment: Jean Grey and Heather Hudson were both presumed casualties of Thanos eradicating half of all life in the universe! For a guy like Wolverine, that's real personal!

The Tape: Thanos Ranking: Wolverine (#4)

What Went Down...
From an elevated level of the white stone platform: The X-Man Wolverine rushes in for an attack! He launches himself over the unconscious body of Firelord at Thanos' feet -- extending claw-tipped arms for maximum impact!

The unbreakable adamantium of his claws plunges into Thanos' chest! A killing blow that brings the fearless mutant face-to-face with the Mad Titan!

For a moment, they exchange snarls -- equals in aggression! Then his angry sneer turns to a gleeful smile as a twinkle radiates from Thanos' eyes - and reality rearranges at his simplest whim!

The Wolverine recoils suddenly -- arching his back as he lets out a guttural yell! At first the cause of his pain seems unclear, but soon the grim reality of all that Thanos can conjure becomes cruelly apparent!

Where once his body was bolstered with unbreakable adamantium-laced bones, Wolverine now crumples, reduced to a twisted bag of muscle and sinew! His bones and claws little more than spongy rubber!

Doctor Doom takes the opportunity to fire upon Thanos, but it's a challenge soon forgotten. A hollow threat, overshadowed by an onslaught from more motivated opponents!

The Hammer...
One begins to wonder exactly how fair Thanos is fighting. His solutions are becoming increasingly deadly, and dependent on the cosmic will of The Infinity Gauntlet! Transmuting adamantium laced bones to spongy rubber, not exactly in the spirit of taking Earth's heroes on at their own game!

The contorted vision of Wolverine recalls the X-Men's classic confrontation with reality-warping mutant Proteus. I wonder if that was a deliberate choice on the part of Jim Starlin and co. It certainly presses the buttons of readers who would remember his troubled reaction to losing a stern grip on reality.

This was a time when Wolverine was approaching the pinnacle of his popularity, but was still somewhat vulnerable to extreme attacks. This was a few years before the revelation of bone claws, which might inform some of the severity of the attack. Repairing adamantium would still be beyond his healing factor, but if it were ten or so years later, his bones might've at least returned to rigidity.

Either way, the crumpled body of Wolverine is a pretty vivid demonstration that the heroes are really out of their depth. The pendulum of hope is beginning to swing in favour of total and utter failure. Warlock is down a killer, with only the Hulk still stalking the battlefield.

It's at this time Silver Surfer chastises Adam Warlock for approaching the battle of life and death as a game. He assures The Surfer it's the only way to confront the enormity of what they're attempting to do. The cosmic rider still doesn't know exactly what the grand plan is. Neither do we, but it clearly doesn't depend on everyone making it out unscathed.

The sixth wave of attack will swing the pendulum back with a powerful new set of heroes, but the stakes are only getting higher!

You can follow Thanos as he runs the Infinity Gauntlet by following Secret Wars on Infinite Earths via Twitter and Facebook. If you're arriving late, look for links throughout these posts to other waves of attack. Or just dive into the Secret Archive Index to find all available battles linked in the Marvel section!

You can get the skinny on Warlock's grand plan and read the entire Infinity Gauntlet by picking up a collected edition via Amazon! Shopping through the link provided means you'll get a good deal and help support the site at no extra cost!

Winner: Thanos
#32 (+8) Thanos
#4 (--) Wolverine

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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