Infinity War #5-6, Fantastic Four #369, Quasar #39-40, and Wonder Man #14 (October-November 1992)

With this post we wrap up the latest installment in Jim Starlin’s Infinity Saga, as the Magus, Adam Warlock, Thanos (and his evil double), and a lot of celestial entities battle for the survival of the universe. Unfortunately for us, at this point Captain America and the rest of our heroes—with the exception of Quasar—have little to do with the action, but we still have plenty to comment on here.

We’ll start with a couple scenes from tie-ins that fit into scenes from the last issue. First, in Fantastic Four #369, we see a rare but welcome panel of Cap and Cyclops in cooperation in the midst of the heroes’ battle with Adam Warlock, the Infinity Watch, and Thanos. (Not a big deal, but I always appreciate it when they play nice together.)

After this fight ends, Wonder Man #14 shows us a scene directly from Infinity War #4, but seems to put one of Cap’s more memorable gloom-and-doom expressions in Cyclops’s mouth instead. (Now that’s what I call getting along!)

Simon tries to connect with Cap, reading a bit too much into his time in the ice (in my opinion).

Moving on to Infinity War #5, below the wacky story title, Cap and some of the other heroes try to talk Quasar out of using the Ultimate Nullifier Thanos charged him with to destroy the Magus.

(Bonus points for the St. Augustine quote from Book IV of his Confessions, expressing his inability to escape his grief at the loss of a friend.)

In Quasar #39, we back up a bit to a slightly earlier scene at the end of Infinity War #4, when Thanos originally called on Quasar to use the Ultimate Nullifier. Here we see Cap providing reasons to be cautious, telling the young hero that no one (meaning Cap) expects him to do what Thanos asks. (Given Quasar’s worship of him, this was a good approach for Cap to use, however ineffective.)

Recognizing his words had little effect, Cap expresses his confidence in Quasar while Johnny Storm remembers the time he wielded the Nullifier himself, way back when.

Quasar starts to get ready, in the form of surrounding himself with a force bubble while he Googles “ultimate nullifier how to use without becoming dead”—actually, he quickly travels to another planet to do basically the same thing. Meanwhile, outside the bubble, Cap wonders if Quasar used the catastrophic weapon already, and the Vision steps up with some common sense.

Next, back in Infinity War #5, Cap checks on the “mindfulness” specialists in the group, who are working to counteract a psychic invasion of the Earth (as if there weren’t enough to worry about).

When Nova hints at asking Thanos more for help, Cap bristles, anticipating inevitable fallout from conspiring with the enemy.

Cap returns to command central a second too late to stop Quasar from entering a portal that will take him to the Magus’s floating space castle.

Cap can’t disagree as Thanos continues to sing Quasar’s praises… at least until he calls him a fool (but in a good way?). Cap gets the final word, though, sticking up for his friend by quoting that swivel-hipped singer he thinks all the kids are still crazy about. (I meant this song, not that song, or maybe he was just quoting the original.)

Thanos is impatient and decides to go to confront Magus himself (with Drax), but Cap is skeptical…

…and insists that they all go, which would seem admirably defiant if not for the Mad Titan’s duplicitous grin at the end.

Before they can go, and even before Quasar can use the Ultimate Nullifier, Galactus wins his appeal before the Living Tribunal to reactivate the Infinite Gauntlet—which, unfortunately, happens to be in the Magus’s possession. (Oops.)

Quasar tries to fire the Ultimate Nullifier, but the newly omnipotent Magus turns it on Quasar instead, apparently killing him. This oddly receives no further mention in the main series, but in Quasar #40, Thanos tells the group of the brave hero’s sacrifice and then mocks Cap’s calls for silent recognition and remembrance of their friend and teammate.

(Fear not, Wendell Vaughn fans: Quasar is alive and well in another dimension, as shown later in Quasar #40.)

In Fantastic Four #369, Cap announces this latest development about the Magus (but not Quasar) to the group, and this time it is the Invisible Woman who is the strongest advocate for taking the fight to the Magus.

What the Hulk doesn’t know—nor anyone else present, unless they read earlier parts of the issue—is that Sue is currently under the thrall of her “dark side” Malice, which Ben and Johnny start to pick up on. (This also shows that all the classic Hulk-Thing battles would have been a lot shorter if Sue has taken on the Green Goliath herself!)

Cap asks the fighters to shake hands (metaphorically) before turning back to Thanos, who’s ready to lead the heroes to confront the Magus.

We get a closer look at this in Infinity War #5, where we get more context regarding Thanos’s determination to lead the invasion force…

…and Cap argues, not just that Thanos should not lead the heroes into battle, but that the heroes can defeat Magus without him. After Cap gives him a “sure, Jan,” Wonder Man and the heroes rally behind their leader, and they head through the portal…

…only to face the Magus’s army of duplicates (which have plagued the heroes since the first issue).

Naturally, Thanos set them up, and as Cap says in characteristic self-recrimination, “I waltzed us straight into it.”

Most of Infinity War #6 occurs above our heroes’ heads, so to speak, with Adam Warlock eventually fighting the Magus for Infinity Gauntlet, resulting in a cataclysm so mind-boggling that Cap has to ask Thanos what’s going on.

Galactus attempts to rescue the others from the resulting “disruption of the reality flow” in his ship, but no one is sure they will survive—including Sue, still “Maliced” even if you can’t tell from below, now reunited with the real Reed, not the replacement from the first two issues. (Comics!)

But after a full-page cosmic explosion, the heroes find themselves not in heaven (or Valhalla), but very much alive and home, without knowing what happened in the end (and most of them do not really care).

If you care, I encourage you to read the issue (and the entire miniseries) for yourself—I won’t spoil it here. (And we’re not done: The story picks up again in Infinity Crusade #1 the next year.)


ISSUE DETAILS

Infinity War #5, October 1992: Jim Starlin (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ian Laughlin (colors), Jack Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Infinity War #6, November 1992: Jim Starlin (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ian Laughlin (colors), Jack Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Infinity War.

Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #369, October 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) #39, October 1992: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle (pencils), Harry Candelario and Mark McKenna (inks), Paul Becton (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Quasar (vol. 1) #40, November 1992: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle and Andy Smith (pencils), Mark McKenna and Ralph Cabrera (inks), Paul Becton (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Wonder Man (vol. 2) #14, October 1992: Gerard Jones (writer), Jeff Johnson (pencils), Dan Panosian (inks), Joe Rosas (colors), Pat Brosseau (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

All collected in Infinity War Omnibus.


PREVIOUS ISSUES: Infinity War #3-4, Fantastic Four #367-368, Quasar #37-38, and Marc Spector: Moon Knight #41 (August-September 1992)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #408 (October 1992), Captain America Annual #11, Thor Annual #17, and Avengers Annual #21 (October 1992), Ghost Rider – Captain America: Fear (October 1992), Punisher – Captain America: Blood and Glory #1 (October 1992), Captain America #409, West Coast Avengers #88, and Soviet Super-Soldiers #1 (November 1992), Punisher – Captain America: Blood and Glory #2 (November 1992), and Guardians of the Galaxy #30 (November 1992)

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