Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Deadliest Woman in the Whole Galaxy!


A new flock of comics enthusiasts have come to know Gamora as a member of the trouble-making, hell-raising Guardians of the Galaxy--yet this knife-wielding, lethal woman dates back almost forty years, to her first appearance in Strange Tales and writer/artist Jim Starlin's revival of Warlock. When we encounter her, Gamora happens to be looking for Warlock, for reasons unknown--and while Warlock is seeking answers to the threat of the Universal Church of Truth and its leader, the Magus, Gamora closes in by tapping Warlock's friend (and unofficial sidekick), Pip the Troll, for information:



(Sidebar: What did you notice about Gamora here that would be absent from her future appearances?)

Gamora is coy with Pip as to her identity, though she's certainly blunt (if vague) about her intentions for Warlock. Regardless, Pip decides to tag along as she makes inquiries about Warlock's current location. And those answers aren't long in coming, since it seems her reputation precedes her. As for her named introduction to us, Starlin gives her one that makes for one hell of a calling card, as well as serving as a warning:




If Gamora indeed goes by "many names," it's news to me.  "Dagger"? "Vixen"? "Margaret"? Perhaps she's referring to the names she's been called by those unfortunate enough to cross her path.

I've stated before that Pip has become one of my favorite characters--and, as it turns out, Pip and Gamora make quite the team in a scrap, though only one of them seems to think so:




Yet, when the two finally locate Warlock, after he's freed himself from a mind-weapon of the Church, it's still a toss-up for Gamora whether Warlock actually has a chance against his other self:




At his point, we really need more information on Gamora and why she's inserted herself into this affair. From what we've seen of her so far, she appears to be working independently; but when the Magus describes to Warlock his deadly plans for him, we see that she's actually acting as an agent for someone else, as part of a mysterious plan to assassinate the Magus:



Eventually, that moment comes, when the Magus begins a countdown to summon a being who will set in motion Warlock's transformation to his mad, future self. And Gamora acts--but is the Magus doomed? Or Warlock?





With the failure of Gamora's strike, her "master" decides to make his appearance in order to take personal control of the situation. And unlike Gamora, there's no mystery about this character's identity:




With the involvement of Thanos, who reappears here for the first time since his attempt to use the Cosmic Cube to become all-powerful, the Magus decides to send a large army of "black knights" to take out this foursome. And while the outnumbered group fights well, Warlock and the others decide to withdraw and consider their options:




During the down time, we finally learn the details of Gamora's origin, and how she came to be associated with Thanos. It's an origin with distinct differences from the one where we're told the Badoon wiped out her species:




Thanos then decides to make use of a time probe to initiate his plan with Warlock--and the Magus, realizing his danger, invades Thanos's stronghold, leading to a battle royale between the two, while Warlock seeks to destroy the timeline leading to the Magus's creation.

As for Gamora, she's seasoned enough to know when she's out of her league:




(No, I don't know why that entire chamber didn't depressurize with the opening of that airlock, unless everyone present is battling in a vacuum. And no, I don't know how Gamora can walk out into space as if she's stepping out onto the lanai. Often the environments Starlin has his characters casually move back and forth among involve the suspension of disbelief.)

When the dust settles and Warlock's situation is resolved, Gamora finds herself back with her "master," who clearly hasn't taken her into his full confidence:



Gamora, despite really only being a bit player in this conflict, has still assuredly made enough of an impression to warrant further appearances. Yet, from what we've seen of her modus operandi, as well as the reputation we've learned she's established among various species in her travels, it's difficult to believe that she would be so subservient to Thanos--indeed, to believe that she would call anyone "master." When we explore this character further, we'll see that her ties to Thanos aren't necessarily the kind that bind.

4 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I haven't seen the Guardians movie yet but I've got the DVD which I plan to watch in the next few days - perhaps on Christmas Day :) What do we notice about Gamora here that's absent from her later appearances...hmmm...her fishnet costume ? Those skulls ? I give up. By the way, is she really the most dangerous woman in the galaxy - off the top of my head I'd say Hela was much more dangerous for a start.

Anonymous said...

I loved the film!! And I usually don't care much for movies inspired by comics. But I wouldn't really call it a superhero film. But it's just great. I've seen it twice already.
Remember the slogan for the Superman movie, "You will believe a man can fly?"
Well, the slogan for GOTG oughta be, "You will believe a homicidal bald cyborg can be sexy!"
mp

Comicsfan said...

Colin and mp, the GOTG film is on my list, as well--just haven't gotten around to picking it up, but really looking forward to it. Colin, you're right on target--Gamora accessorizes big-time in those opening panels, maybe because she's in a bar and hoping to attract clientele with loose tongues who might throw valuable information her way.

Anonymous said...

Pure magic, the pinnacle of us-superhero comic books...
mirko, yeahaw!

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