Infinity Wars, Marvel Comics’ blockbuster crossover by Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin and Cory Petit, starts in earnest this week. In the prologue we saw the villain Requiem make her decisive debut by decapitating one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest bad guys, and this week’s installment of the cosmic crossover event doesn’t hold anything back either.
Infinity Wars #1 reveals exactly who Requiem is and what she wants — and that what she wants is for a founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy to die.
[Warning: This article is going to be pretty heavy on Infinity Wars #1 spoilers, so turn back now if you haven’t read it.]
The Infinity Watch
The bulk of Infinity Wars #1 revolves around the first meeting of the new Infinity Watch, a team made up of all the people who have one of the Infinity Stones. This time around, that’s Doctor Strange (Time), Captain Marvel (Reality), Star-Lord (Power), Black Widow (Space), Adam Warlock (Soul) and Turk Barrett (Mind). With the heroes backed up by the Avengers and Turk — a street-level hustler associated with Daredevil who you might remember from the Marvel Netflix shows — backed up by an assemblage of villains including Bullseye, Sandman and The Spot, the meeting was always going to be a bit of a powder keg. But that’s always the way when a group takes it upon themselves to be the sole custodians of the Infinity Stones.
The original Infinity Watch was formed following Thanos’ acquisition of the Infinity Gems and his subsequent defeat, as depicted in Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim’s classic The Infinity Gauntlet. That event ended with Adam Warlock in control of all six gems, but a tribunal of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful cosmic forces ruled that they must be divided and never used in conjunction again. Warlock entrusted the gems to Gamora, Drax, Pip The Troll and Moondragon, plus a sixth secret member, Thanos.
Each member of the original Infinity Watch was chosen due to their unwillingness or inability to use the gems’ powers to their full potential, but Infinity Wars’ new incarnation is much more dangerous: Each member simply happens to be the person that found their stone. So, while the majority of the stones are in the possession of heroes willing to do the right thing with them, the six wielders are less likely to get on and work together than previous incarnations of the Infinity Watch.
It shouldn’t surprise you that Doctor Strange’s meeting in Central Park breaks down almost immediately.
While most of the makeshift team agrees the Infinity Stones should be taken off-planet, Turk Barrett has used the Mind Stone to set himself up with a nice little criminal enterprise in Manhattan and isn’t willing to hand it over. This leads to the discovery that Star-Lord is in possession of a fake Power Stone — something even Peter Quill wasn’t aware of — and signals the arrival of Requiem, wielding the true Power Stone in the hilt of her blade. A fight breaks out between the Watch and Requiem, and Rocket manages to get a shot off right in the new villain’s face, destroying her mask and revealing that she is actually Gamora, the deadliest woman in the universe.
With her identity revealed, Infinity Wars #1’s opening sequence makes a lot more sense. In a flashback set between Infinity Countdown — a series that did the last few bits of setup for Infinity Wars — and Infinity Wars, Gamora pleads with Star-Lord to let her use the Power Stone. She wants to use it to get the Soul Stone, which has a piece of her soul trapped in it. Quill refuses and Gamora leaves him with a parting kiss, but a closer look at the page reveals a slight of hand on her part, likely where she swapped out the real Power Stone for the fake. From there, Gamora kidnapped a Nidavellierian dwarf to craft her Requiem armor and sword and used her new power to kill Thanos before arriving on Earth.
While the relationship between Star-Lord and Gamora has never been as romantic in the comics as it is in the films, they have become incredibly close over the last decade or so. Going back to the origins of Gamora and Star-Lord’s incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord and Gamora fought on the same side against Annihilus’ invasion of the positive matter universe. From there they’ve battled every cosmic threat imaginible together — from the near assimilation of the entire Kree race by Ultron to eldritch Avengers from a Lovecraftian universe. Which is why it’s so shocking and heartbreaking when she runs him through with her sword.
But … why Is Gamora?
To understand why Gamora is Requiem and why she’s after the Soul Stone, we need to go back to Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder’s All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #3, which featured guest art by Frazier Irving. In her dreams, Gamora was confronted by an elderly version of herself who turned out to be a part of her which had remained trapped in the Soul Stone after she left its internal paradise. This gave Gamora a motivation to recover the Soul Stone at whatever cost. Throughout Duggan’s run, her teammates have either not taken her seriously or knowingly deceived her about the return of the Stones, leaving her all alone in her quest.
While Gamora may be the current threat facing the Infinity Watch, she’s not the biggest one there. While all this is going on, Loki travelled to the God Quarry to find out who has been manipulating his history, and instead met an alternate reality version of himself — who was wielding all six Infinity Stone and Mjolnir — fighting an eldritch monster alongside an alternate version of the Avengers. That eldritch monster was first seen in Gamora’s dream in All-New Guardians. Described as the soul of an elder god, it’s been teased several times since as the real threat which faces the Infinity Watch.
With Thanos dead and one Guardian of the Galaxy already taken out of the fight — though it might be wise to wait an issue or two before we start to mourn Star-Lord, just in case his last-page-of-the-issue death gets rolled back — Infinity Wars is not kidding around with its stakes. Now we know Gamora is Requiem, and we got to see her show everyone why she’s called “The Most Dangerous Woman In The Galaxy.” With Infinity Wars running through to December, we’ve got six more months of high-stakes cosmic comic action from Duggan, Deodato, Martin and Petit. If it’s anything like its earliest installments, it’s going to change the face of the Marvel Universe as we know it.
Kieran Shiach is a Salford, U.K.-based freelance writer and one half of Good Egg Podcasts. He is on Twitter, @KingImpulse. He wishes in the past he tried more things ’cause now he knows being in trouble is a fake idea.