The second pair of issues of Infinity War see our heroes take the fight against the Magus to other galaxies and dimensions, led by Captain America—and we get different perspectives and additional insight from the tie-in issues, of which I’ve inserted coverage at the appropriate points.
But first, we need to answer a question: What happened after the replacement Reed Richards set off that huge gamma bomb in the last issue? We get our first clue from the final pages of Fantastic Four #367, showing the same scene, but with a focus on Sue, who knows full well this is not her beloved Reed.
If there were any doubt this was not the real Reed, his cackling “bad guy” monologue below only confirms it.
This leaves no surprise at all as to who saves the day, as confirmed in Infinity Watch #3. (Clearly, Not-Reed was a fool to underestimate Sue, a mistake the real Reed, for all his flaws, would never make.)
After Thor uses his hammer to create a whirlwind to funnel the radiation into space, all attention returns to the replacement Reed and Tony, who escape through a portal generated by Thanos (actually also a replacement) and the Magus (whom the collected heroes reasonably confused for Adam Warlock, of whom the Magus is an evil future alternate-reality version).
Careful readers may remember Cap’s suspicion of Adam Warlock from Avengers Annual #7, and even though Cap seemed to trust him enough with leadership in Infinity Gauntlet #3, Warlock did go behind his back with a contingency plan to kill Thanos, which Cap may very well have learned about.
As seen in Fantastic Four #368, Cap takes command, securing a battle headquarters (while sounding just a little condescending to his valued teammates).
Also, in Marc Spector: Moon Knight #41, Cap catches Marc in the Baxter Building and makes sure he knows that he still needs to make a visit to the principal’s office regarding his recent incursion into Doom’s castle in Latveria. (Why Cap is so concerned with this, and at this moment, is beyond me.)
Back in Infinity War #3, Cap balances field leadership and triage management as he secures protection for Hawkeye and Spider-Man, both defeated by Magus’s replacement heroes in the first two issues—but acknowledges that he can’t afford to dedicate their most powerful heroes to even this personally important task.
After mysterious energies are tracked, in the words of Hank Pym, to “a dimension some hundred of so levels over”—implying some alternate dimensions are “closer” than others, which is very interesting—Wanda offers supernatural help in the form of Doctor Druid (with whom Cap is working with in current issues of his own book, with similar reservations based on the events of Avengers #297) and “It Was Agatha All Along” Harkness.
Wanda defends Druid—and pays an inadvertent compliment to Doctor Strange, currently working on a different angle with Silver Surfer, Nova, and Galactus—before Cap gets a message from Quasar.
In Quasar #37, we see Cap’s request, expressed with customary gratitude and appreciation.
Back in Infinity War #3, we learn what Quasar discovers…
…in the page below, which sets my Marvel Zombie heart all a-flutter.
As always, the best signal that a Marvel Comics event is getting serious is when even Cap sounds pessimistic, as he does above as well as below, as he peeks in on the Mystical Avengers.
He snaps back to the current situation when his favorite former Avenger shows up…
…and introduces him to the rest of the away team.
In Quasar #38, we see the title character’s thoughts in the panel above, as he recognizes the stress Cap is under—and thinks what many of us are probably thinking about this event coming so quickly after “Operation: Galactic Storm” (which, in our time, just ended one month before “Infinity War” began).
We also hear an inspirational yet realistic speech from Cap to the “expeditionary force.”
Back to Infinity War #3: Not only did the Magus send a fleet of demonic hero-replacements to fight the depleted force of heroes remaining on Earth, he also manipulated Cap and the rest of the “expeditionary force” to the location of Adam Warlock and his Infinity Watch, plus the real Thanos, temporarily working with the good guys… not that any of our heroes know that yet.
The inevitable battle begins in Infinity War #4, but we actually see more relevant Cap content in Quasar #38, including an alternate view of the heroes’ arrival…
…ans closer inspection reveals that Cap is firmly in command.
After this goes on for a while, Quasar sends the fighters to their corners, earning more praise from Cap, who regrets that the young man ever left the Avengers (in Captain America #401).
If Cap is uncomfortable with Xavier’s mind-reading, he doesn’t let on here—and he may even justify it by the presence of Thanos (and the presumed deceased Adam Warlock) among the others he doesn’t know (including two future Guardians of the Galaxy).
“Sure, Cap—you’re a megaphone!” (If Sersi had been here, I hope that’s what she would have said and done—and Cap may have even chuckled, given the old-timey flavor of the joke.)
After the Yellow Lantern makes him—sorry, creates for him—a megaphone, Cap tries to settle down his people, to the silent admiration of said Lantern.
In Infinity War #4, this battle only ends when Doctor Strange’s very kooky quartet show up and Galactus transports them all to his ship, before taking care of the Magus’s doubles on Earth after the Silver Surfer insists on going there to help them, and filling in the rest of the huge cast on the whole story to this point. (I think Cap should have wished he were on the team.) But Galactus isn’t done yet: He also sends Thor back to Earth’s moon to monitor what’s going on, and there, alongside Uatu, he watches something that looks very familiar to this 1980s DC fan.
With no apparent objection from Cap, Warlock assembles the Infinity Gems but finds them inert, due to a legal decision from the Living Tribunal, to whom Galactus plans to appeal. (He takes Gamora with him when She-Hulk, esq., is right there?) But when the Magus appears and abducts Warlock (and the Infinity Gems), our heroes get despondent again, including Cap (again).
Responding to Hulk’s impulse to “stomp Thanos” because… well, just because… the Mad Titan explains the situation and the stakes and offers his help, which Cap is understandably loathe to accept.
Though he remains skeptical, Cap is pragmatic enough to acknowledge Thanos’s guidance and goes into leader mode, assigning some of his colleagues tasks and gathering the rest to start making plans.
Don’t think we don’t see you grinning over there, Thanos—he has his own plan to defeat the Magus, but he needs the Invisible Woman’s help in finding a needle in Galactus’s haystack.
Oh, it was right there… that was easy.
Thanos’s plan is simple, but he does not want to execute it himself, for obvious reasons, so he plays on the virtues of the collected heroes to find a volunteer…
…and then apparently chooses one himself, who agrees without hesitation.
Cap urges Quasar to reconsider—as we’ll see in the next issue, he is still skeptical of Thanos’s motives (and without even seeing that creepy grin).
The issue ends with another scene for the diehard Marvel fans. (Much of the next two issues takes place among such celestial beings, which unfortunately we won’t have a chance to see much here, so indulge me the occasional page!)
What they said: the story is to be continued (and concluded) in the final two issues of the miniseries.
Infinity War #3, August 1992: Jim Starlin (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ian Laughlin (colors), Ken Lopez (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Infinity War #4, September 1992: Jim Starlin (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ian Laughlin and Evelyn Stein (colors), Jack Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Infinity War.
Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #367, August 1992: Tom DeFalco (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Christopher Ivy and Raymond Kryssing (inks), Gina Going (colors), Jon Babcock (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #368, September 1992: Tom DeFalco (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Gina Going (colors), Jack Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Fantastic Four Epic Collection: This Flame, This Fury.
Quasar (vol. 1) #37, August 1992: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks), Paul Becton (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Quasar (vol. 1) #38, September 1992: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks), Paul Becton (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Marc Spector: Moon Knight #41, August 1992: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Gary Kwapisz (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mike Thomas (colors), Ken Lopez (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
All collected in Infinity War Omnibus.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Infinity War #1-2 and Death’s Head II #4 (June-July 1992)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #404 and New Warriors #26 (August 1992) and Captain America #405-407 and Amazing Spider-Man #366 (August-September 1992)
NEXT ISSUES: Infinity War #5-6, Fantastic Four #369, Quasar #39-40, and Wonder Man #14 (October-November 1992)
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