Friday, March 31, 2017

Not On Our Watch

Recently we were witness to a hearing requested by the entity known as Eternity and officiated by the Living Tribunal, to assess the fitness of Adam Warlock to retain possession of the all-powerful Infinity gauntlet--a distinctive glove embedded with gems which give their bearer mastery over the mind, space, reality, time, power, and the soul. With the help of his allies, Warlock prevailed over the villain who wore the gauntlet, Thanos of Titan, and subsequently took possession of it for himself, declaring that he would use its power wisely. Warlock considered the proceedings little more than effrontery, but nevertheless felt compelled to see the hearing through to its end. Unfortunately, Eternity's profile on Warlock was damaging enough to cause the Tribunal to rule against him; and since resistance on his part would likely lay waste to all of reality (which seems ridiculous, since one of the gems gives Warlock control over reality--but what do I know), Warlock agreed to relinquish five of the gems and distribute them to five individuals who would serve as their guardians.

The outcome of the hearing was the best that Eternity could hope for, under the circumstances--though since Eternity's case against Warlock was based on his mental instability, one could admittedly question the wisdom of allowing Warlock to choose the gems' custodians. But the compromise is struck, and Warlock departs to see to his task.

Yet Warlock's eventual choices as to which individuals will each receive one of the Infinity gems are questionable, to say the least--a collection of misfits that might have us wondering if Eternity's concerns about Warlock's stability shouldn't have been taken more seriously.

At first glance, putting these four within arm's reach of ultimate power would seem to be outrageous--but at the same time, interesting choices, indeed. Gamora, the "deadliest woman in the whole galaxy," a description that would be phrased differently at times but would always make clear how dangerous she is; Pip the troll, a scoundrel whose resourceful cleverness and blunt opinions endeared him to Warlock; Moondragon, so-called mistress of the mind, with an ego and arrogance that went hand-in-hand with her already formidable mental abilities; and Drax the Destroyer, who had been Moondragon's father and who suffered brain damage when she killed him after he interfered with her domination of an alien world.

Unusual and unique characters in their own right--but will they be suitable for such an awesome responsibility as this? To her credit, Gamora is the first to raise the issue with Warlock, only to find it an exercise in futility.

And so, one by one, Warlock dispenses the gems to each of the group, having in mind a specific person for each gem. It's almost appropriate, considering their unlikely bond, that Warlock begins with Pip, whose talent for getting into trouble will arguably benefit from this handy new way to expedite the process.

The choice for Moondragon's gem is obvious, and essentially doesn't need to alter how she will be handled in future stories, even if the scale of those stories expands to include more galaxy- or cosmic-based threats.

For Drax, the choice of gems is equally obvious--and as Moondragon points out, both Drax and Pip are unlikely to ever access their gems on more than the most rudimentary levels. And as for their ability to guard their gems, let's just say that each has their own method of keeping their charge from being readily detected or accessible.

Gamora is the only member of the group who seems an unlikely choice to take custody of a gem, since there is no one aspect to them that can be tailored to correspond to her character. Warlock wishes to hang onto the Soul gem, given his affinity for and history with it--which leaves Gamora with the Time gem, no doubt having its own gifts and advantages for her to discover but aren't yet apparent.

You've no doubt noticed that a sixth gem remains unaccounted for, nor is there a sixth member of this group available to accept custody of it--but as we learn, Warlock has already seen to its disposition. It would be close to a year and a half before we'd learn the identity of that gem's guardian--but based on Warlock's vague description of the character, can you hazard a guess as to who they might be?

Eternity raises his own concerns about Warlock's choice of the Reality gem's guardian, in an appeal of the Tribunal's earlier ruling (which is denied)--and in his response, the Tribunal is as cryptic with us as Warlock has been as to the holder's identity.

Eventually, Eternity takes his concerns directly to Warlock, who is no more tolerant of Eternity's opinion than he was at his hearing.

At any rate, the "Infinity Watch" is established, both the group and the new series--and Warlock gives them a motivational speech that will hopefully inspire them to take their charge seriously and responsibly. And while their status going forward seems as unclear as it was earlier, they still rate their own pin-up.


It would be a year and a half after the Watch is formed before we'd learn the identity of the guardian of the Reality gem, during a crisis when Warlock finds that reality has been corrupted by the Goddess, who spearheads the separate The Infinity Crusade series. His investigation eventually brings him to the hidden sanctum of the gem's holder--and now that we know who Warlock's choice was for the sixth guardian, you can almost hear Eternity saying "I told you this guy wasn't playing with a full deck!"


George Chambers said...

Well... it still isn't as bad as the Illuminati having them...

Anonymous said...

Drax doesn't go to the bathroom?!
No wonder he got so big!


Warren JB said...

George: I dunno. Are the depths of an ocean trench or a patent-pending Richards-brand pocket universe worse than Pip's ahurhurhum...?

If it's about the people holding them rather than how they hold them, well, same question.

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