EDITORIAL: Plot Analysis: Infinity Crusade Book One
It's no secret that comic book arcs tend to have a subliminal meaning behind them. Some are of course, much more apparent than others. Having just finished reading the first part to Infinity Crusade, I felt like posting an analysis of the story, it's themes and messages. Hit the jump to hear my thoughts...
This story arc is an incredibly compelling one. Unlike many others, it doesn't deal with the notion of good vs. evil or right vs. wrong, oh no. This arc deals with science vs. religion. You're probably wondering why I'd put myself in the hot seat writing an editorial that's going to compare and contrast science and religion. The answer is, I'm impartial. I'm impartial because of the message of this arc. It's a hot topic in today's society and it's something we all get involved in somehow. For some, science prevails, for others, faith prevails. This arc tackles that notion of which truly prevails. Which one is superior, which one grants the most comfort to its followers. Intrigued yet? Hopefully you are, because we're about to begin...
If you've read the arc, just skip down to the analysis section.
This arc is set after the events of the Infinity Gauntlet story and the Infinity gems have been divided amongst the members of Adam Warlock's Infinity Watch. Adam of course, possesses the Soul gem, while Drax possesses the Power, Gamora possesses the Time, Moondragon the Mind, Pip the Space and Thanos the Reality. For those unfamiliar with Warlock, he denounced both his evil and good aspects, which formed into two separate entities. The Magus, his masculine evil side and the Goddess, his feminine good side.
One day, the Goddess reappears and sends Warlock into a coma, then sending him to some nether realm. She then goes on to recruit all the heroes who conform to a specific set of values and ideals to a cause she has been given by the Supreme One. These include Captain America, Dr. Strange, Sue Storm, Moon Knight, Thor and many others including Moondragon of the Infinity Watch. She entices them in using telepathy to gain control over their minds. She also gathers a variety of items which are known as the cosmic containment units, which can grant any wish you make while holding one. She molds them all into a cosmic egg, which she then conceals herself within.
The scientific and sinful heroes are then left on earth wondering what to do next. These heroes include Mr. Fantastic, Wolverine, Hulk, Vision and many others. Gamora is then taken in by the Goddess and the remaining Infinity Watch members, Pip, Maxam and Drax, teleport Reed Richards in for some advice. Reed informs them of the situation on earth and the group teleport to Avengers headquarters.
Meanwhile, Warlock's body is discovered by a being in the nether realm. The soul gem is revealed to be a sentient being, as it recalls the events that have led to the current moment. We also discover that it has grown tired of Warlock and wants a new host. It tries to cling to this man but Warlock awakens and re-attaches it. He then converses with the man for a while before departing back to reality.
Skipping ahead, Iron Man, Reed and Vision go to Paradise Omega, which is where the Goddess is hold up on the far side of the sun. They are banished from there when their negotiations fail. Later on, Warlock meets with Thanos to discuss the matter at hand, while the heroes of earth debate whether the Goddess's intentions are benign. She wants to rid the universe of evil, but she is using brainwashing techniques to accomplish this. Wars stop spontaneously and crime ceases to exist.
Warlock and Thanos are then interrupted by Mephisto who wants in on the deal of ending the Goddess's plight. Though reluctant, they allow him to help them, but he names his price as getting one of the cosmic containment units. At this time, back on earth, Pip is feeling segregated and when the decision is made to attack the Goddess, Prof. X attempts to negotiate with Moondragon telepathically. Pip touches the Prof.'s arm. Pip's possession of the Space gem allows him to teleport to anywhere he's been or amywhere a telepath has showed him while he is in physical contact with them.
Silver Surfer, one of the Goddess's chosen, roams the spaceways while the other chosen ones gear up for an assault on the Avengers headquarters. Surfer snaps out of his brainwashed state, realising that what the chosen are doing is wrong. Moondragon unleashes a psychic attack on him and Firelord pummels him into unconsciousness.
After this, we see Pip teleport to Paradise Omega and land on the cosmic egg. Upon touching it, he wishes for the Goddess to turn to salt, which she does. He then pronounces himself as King of the Universe. We later see Warlock, Thanos and Mpehisto, still debating the course of action. Warlock decides to consult with Eternity. He returns to his home of Monster Islan and uses an orb in his room to contact Eternity. He discovers that Eternity and Infinity have become one entity. A universal union. They deem him unworthy to be in their presence and blast him away. After which Warlock exclaims, "I know!". He returns to Thanos and the pair tell Mephisto to get lost. Warlock gives Thanos the Soul gem, saying it will give Thanos all of Warlock's knowledge. Of course, the Soul gem, having a mind of its own, blasts Warlock and takes over Thanos's mind.
And that's where Book One ends. If I get my hands on a copy of Book Two, I'll more than likely do a write up on that too. I guess, now I can move onto the analysis of the actual story arc.
So, what made this story so special? As I stated in the introduction, it deals with the parallelisms of science and religion. This is mainly seen in the fact that the scientific heroes are left behind while the faithful heroes are chosen to reinvent the universe and rid it of all evil. The arc favours neither side, it shows that both religion and science are flawed. The story actually presents a balance between the two, though it's buried in symbolism. The Goddess represents the second coming of Jesus and the disappearing heroes represent the rapture. The Goddess is intent on bringing about new universal age of peace, but she doesn't go about it in a very good way. She brainwahes her followers into thinking they're doing the right thing. Ending war and crime, what could be more utopian? But she denies these people of their free will. There are likenesses to this with things like the Spanish Inquisition and their imposition on anyone who didn't follow their beliefs. There is a moment when Surfer arrives on Titan intent on converting Mentor and Eros. He is used as a mockery of Iohovah's(?) Witnesses as he sees, "Mentor, Eros, have you heard the word?" He sees that his friends have been brainwashed and h=this is when he begins to doubt the Goddess's methods. Gamora is another who doubts the Goddess at one point. She expresses this in Moondragon's presence, who then tortures Gamora psychologically. Again, reflecting things like the Spanish Inquisition.
The science aspect is harder to pick up on. The main reflection of it is the fact that despite all their scientific efforts, the brain boxes fail to find a solution to anything and most of their plans fail. This reflects modern science. Constantly striving to accomplish the unthinkable, to challenge a God or some other deity, only to be met with more questions and more difficulties. The more interesting aspect of the heroes who were left behind are the sinners. Amongst them are the likes of Wolverine, Hulk, Northstar and several others. Wolverine has killed and therefore, he has commited an incredible sin. The Hulks is a creature of pure rage who warrants destruction, but on the flipside is a scientific mind. Northstar is a homosexual and by many religion's standards, that's wrong. Johnny Storm reveals he is just as religious as his sister, so why was she taken and not him. I feel that Johnny represents teenage angst. He's still young, he's still exploring the world around him, getting to grips with sex and all that other stuff. So by some religion's standards, Johnny would be classed as a sinner as he isn't in any way chaste. So, the two things contrast each other but each have their flaws and both are rather similar. Things don't start to get really interesting until you look at the symbolism of Adam Warlock.
His name is Adam Warlock. If we break that down there are two very obvious things about him. Adam was the first man according to Christian belief. Adam Warlock just so happens to be the first of a new age of men, and he is also the last and only one of that age. Adam was created by God to tend the garden of Eden and all the creatures within it. He did this quite happily and God granted him the gift of woman. A gift that would prove to be his undoing and resulted in his banishment from Eden. Adam Warlock didn't have such a thing in his life, but the testimony still stands that he is a likeness to Adam.
Then his surname, Warlock. A mystical man who plays with the arcane arts. The things scientists refuse to understand more than religion, magic. Warlock represents what scientists refuse to accept as fact. He is on the brink of both science and religion. His first name harkons back to the man who gave the world Original Sin and scientists refuse to accept the myth. His Warlock moniker harkons back to a time when the practising of the dark arts was met with death by religion and that modern science refuses to even consider an actuality. Adam also associates himself with the Devil (Mephisto) and the Grim Reaper (Thanos). Both are things religion tells us are connected to one another and ourselves, while science only associates with death.
What else is there to Warlock? He possesses the Soul gem. He has access to the inner workings of the greatest human soul in existence. His own. He doesn't need science. He doesn't need faith. All he needs is to consult his own soul to find the answers.
So, what is the overall message of this arc, in my opinion. To me, it would be that we, as humans don't need to rely on science to tell us how to live or how things are. We don't need religion to tell us what's right and what's wrong. I'm not saying we shouldn't look to those things, but they are flawed. Humans are flawed too, but we can solve those flaws with our own intuiton. People look to deities for guidance, when they could look to their parents. People look to scientists for answers, all they get is more questions. If we, as human beings, simply took the time to embrace what it means to be human, what it means to have a soul, who's to say we couldn't answer those questions ourselves, without the aid of science or deities. I'm not saying those things are pointless, they're not, they can be quite useful in helping us get through tough times, but so can a chat with a friend or dinner with a partner.
If you're going to take anything away from this, let it be this:
"We're all human, but we're the best we've got."
If you liked this, let me know, I'd like to do another one based around Secret Wars II because that also has a great meaning behind it, but if this was crap, I don't see the point.
Thank you for reading.
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