Thanos: Infinity Abyss was a 6-issue miniseries published by Marvel Comics
. Jim Starlin
wrote the series, which gave him a chance to fix the wretched mess that had become of two characters he helped define, Adam Warlock
. Al Milgrom provided the pencils to this story of universal destruction.
The first issue starts at the end. Adam Warlock is staring some form of destruction in the face and welcoming the oblivion it brings. The reader has no idea what is going on, and so we get boxed narrative. That’s a flashback, folks.
Warlock starts by explaining how everyone got here. It seems that somebody is trying to destroy reality. Thanos (already presumed dead) is lured into a trap. A black hole opens in the star system he is in, stays open for five minutes, and closes. Thanos’s ship is destroyed, and whoever did it is obviously a badass. It’s not everyday you see somebody with the power to control black holes.
Meanwhile, on Earth, strange cubes of nothingness keep popping up. By nothingness, I mean nothing. Not a vacuum, just a complete lack of reality. Doctor Strange investigates. Captain Marvel investigates. Spider-Man is just really confused as to why his spider-sense is blaring.
Elsewhere, Pip the troll attempts to track down his old friend, Adam Warlock. Using his powers of teleportation (which he retains despite the fact that he no longer has the space gem), he arrives at the mental institution where Adam is being held. Adam has suffered some sort of psychological trauma and retreated into his cocoon. Pip takes the cocoon back to … Thanos. Yeah, it’s a little weird. Thanos enlists the aid of Moondragon to coax Warlock out of his shell.
On another planet, Gamora runs into an old cult of nihilists Thanos (her old mentor) had started and given up on. They’re excited to hear their master speak. That’s right, Thanos is on this planet too. It’s a real head-scratcher. This Thanos is covered in armor of some sort, and commands the nihilists to kill Gamora. This, coupled with the revelation that the Thanos Warlock and company are dealing with is actually a large-headed but small-bodied version of the real Thanos points to one thing: clones. (It’s obvious, isn’t it?)
Yep, modified clones of Thanos are responsible for all the chaos. The big-headed one, named X, makes Moondragon his slave. Adam and Pip are off trying to figure out what caused Adam’s catatonia. Dr. Strange follows an energy trail emanating from one of the cubes of nothingness, and Captain Marvel follows a different one back to Earth. He arrives at the same household that Spider-Man’s spider-sense has brought him to.
Gamora finds the real Thanos. He survived the black hole and hijacked a Skrull ship that was passing by. He explains that he created clones of himself to fight certain heroes and villains. He intended them to be tests to see whom he should ally with and whom he should be wary of. He abandoned the experiment when he discovered that his clones always chose the most destructive way to do things. Before he could destroy them, an outside force activated five of the clones, including the most powerful one, Omega. Inside each of the clones’ minds was one line: Adam Warlock is the key to oblivion.
From here on out, it’s mayhem. Eternity and Infinity, the anchor of reality, and a little girl name Atlez Langunn all become key players in the drama. Warlock steals a soul that may be more than he can handle. And of course, Omega makes an appearance. It all brings us back to the scene that opened the series.
This series was fairly good, although there were definite flaws. My main complaint is that it started slowly. It took until issue 3 to really grab me. That’s no good for a series that only has six to make me love it. However, there was plenty that I liked. Adam Warlock has been fixed. In his last miniseries, he was at the mercy of emotional impulses and acted ridiculously, far from the brooding, introspective Warlock of the past. Thanos has also been returned to former glory. We once again see the calculating, dark, and prepared-for-anything qualities that make Thanos great. Plus, any recent crappy appearances by Thanos (including the one in which Thor killed him) have been explained away as actually being appearances of clones.
In both the beginning and the end of the series, Warlock makes reference to a dark quest that Thanos is on. Having abandoned genetic manipulation as a source of amusement, Thanos has moved onto to something else. We aren’t told what it is, but we are led to believe that he is close to finding it. Knowing Jim Starlin, this means that another Thanos: miniseries will be coming soon. Keep your eyes open for it.