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Infinity Gauntlet

by yo go re

These days, a crossover event like "Dark Reign" or "Seige" hits every book in the company's lineup, but crossovers used to be a lot quieter. The first crossover of the '90s, for instance, only poked its finges into seven other titles during its six-month run. Funny, you'd think a series with the word "Infinity" in the title would have been bigger.

Resurrected as Death's new champion, Thanos the Mad Titan located the six Infinity Gems and sought to extinguish half of all life in the universe to impress Mistress Death herself. With unlimited power at his disposal, not even the Elders of the Universe could stop him...

We had a Thanos before, in 2005, but surprisingly, the only things shared between that figure and this one are the generic base body elements that every Minimate has. His helmet? New. His boots? New. His shirt, shoulder-banana and gloves? All new. There's nothing really wrong with the old molds, so Art Asylum could have reused them and still made a worthwhile figure. Making everything from scratch? Goes beyond expectations.

Thanos' face is more detailed, and has a very angry expression - a much more appropriate choice than the slight smile the original figure had. His helmet is wider and bulkier, and comes right down to his eyes, though it still lacks the one feature I'd wished the previous version offered: a bit running around the bottom to give his chin some bulk. Seriously, he's like a purple Skrull: his chin isn't just wrinkled, it's large, but on a Minimate head, it's flat and smooth.

The gloves are highly detailed, and it's all sculptural work. You'll remember that the '05 release had raised Infinity Gems, but they were on a fairly standard smooth Minimate glove. These not only have individual fingers (four, instead of the usual Minimate three), but also detailed cuffs, wrinkles around the wrists, and thin lines on the back of the fingers. And of course, the left glove has six small gems on the back. If you want to give the Gauntlet to another character, never fear: the set includes two "bare" (purple) hands for Thanos.

Attacked by Thanos and left for dead, the spirit of Arthur Douglas was given new life by the Titan Mentor. With no memory of his past life or daughter Heather, he became Drax the Destroyer and swore to destroy Thanos at any cost.

Drax really isn't much of a character. With his green skin, low intelligence and reliance on brute strength (to say nothing of his preference for purple pants), he's basically Hulk in Outer Space. It's like they wanted to have Hulk fight Thanos, but he was taken, so they bent over backwards to create a new version. Weird.

Looking at the prototype images on the back of the box, it seems that the original plan was to have Drax's distinctive skullcap as a flat piece of his head - perhaps using the Classic/Bolt Face Iron Man mask repainted in green and purple to handle the earbumps and suggest a tight fit. The finl product, however, has a separate skullcap over a standard Minimate head, allowing Drax's pouty face to show through. Why the change?

Drax has a large cape with a skull clasp at the neck, thick golden wristbands, and heavy boots. His heavyweight championship belt is just a painted element, unfortunately split between his chest and his waist cap. Why is that a problem? Because we're missing a paint app below the waist, so it's still purple where it should be gold. A minor disappointment.

Wielder of the Soul Gem and leader of the Infinity Watch, the artificially-created Adam Warlock's superhuman physical powers and energy-absorbing abilities make him a powerful threat to evil-doers throughout the cosmos.

Although he's one of Marvel's major "cosmic" characters, Adam Warlock was created on Earth. A group of scientists known as The Enclave wanted to use their abilities to create a benevolent dictatorship, and built a synthetic superbeing, named "Him," to help enforce their will. They kidnapped Alicia Masters to sculpt their creation's likeness, but lost control of Him when the Fantastic Four came to rescue her.

Adam's skin is bright orange, as it's always been. He has dark circles around his blank white eyes, and is painted to have strong cheekbones. The Marvel Legends figure made the mistake of having his skin too light, but here it's much better. It definitely doesn't blend into either his golden collar or pale blonde hair. To be fair, though, you'd think an omnipotent demigod would be able to come up with something better than this '70s wave.

Warlock is wearing his Infinity Gauntlet era costume, as he should, which means a black bodysuit with high red gloves and boots. Well, the body only looks black: there's muscular detail in grey, but it's hard to spot without a camera flash. He gets the same cape as Drax, done in red and gold rather than solid purple, which is not only a nice way to save money, it's close enough to the real design for both of them to count as accurate. He also comes with his wooden bird-crested staff, which actually ends up a bit taller than the figure.

None are more devilish than the demon Mephisto, responsible for untold death and destruction throughout history. Though powerful beyond our understanding, even the immortal Prince of Lies fell before Thanos's Inifinity Gauntlet.

In order to appease whiny parents and touchy religious groups, Marvel has to pretend Mephisto, the guy who lives in a fiery hellscape and makes bargains for peoples' souls astral bodies, isn't Satan. He's a demon of some sort or another, but not "the" devil. It's a totally 100% important serious business difference that doesn't mean jack squat in the long run. DST just sold us a toy Satan! He uses the new style of "clawed" hands, and has a cape with a huge collar.

Mephisto is mostly bright red, but his face is "new sunburn" pink. If his body is red, why is his face pink? And if his body isn't red and he's just wearing red clothes, why is he also wearing a loincloth? Is it hiding something or not? Maybe the devil's official suit includes crotchless panties. Mephisto is laughing wickedly, showing his sharp teeth, and he has a new hair piece (because no one else has such wild, uncontrolled locks).

Diamond Select has said before that their plan for these four-packs is to include one figure that would probably never be released any other way. In this case, that's probably Mephisto, but come on: Drax? Adam Warlock? Another Thanos? None of these guys were going to see the light of day outside of the Infinity Gauntlet box set. The good guys aren't too impressive, but Thanos is a step up and Mephisto is an important character we've never had before; Peter Parker and Mary Jane better watch out!

-- 03/01/10

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