The Infinity Gauntlet written by Jim Starlin, pencils by George Perez and Ron Lim, inks by Joe Rubinstein, Tom Christopher and Bruce Solotoff
The mad Titan Thanos is resurrected by Mistress Death, who assigns him the task of halving the universe's population. He's filled his gauntlet with the six Infinity Gems giving him control over the Soul, the Mind, Power, Time, Reality, and Space. For all practical purposes, he is God. But he is also a madman, a nihilist, and in love with Mistress Death. If that wasn't bad enough, his main advisor is Mephisto, the Devil himself. Once Earth's heroes become aware of the situation, they marshall their forces to stop Thanos. But what can their relatively puny powers do against a madman with infinite power out to impress a female who is seemingly impressed by nothing?
Marvel launches another epic storyline where the slaughter of half the sentient life in the universe includes half of the Marvel heroes. The remaining heroes band together to fight the infinitely powerful Thanos. They also have their losses, leaving very few heroes until a late plot twist (which seems really obvious from early on) undoes the damage. Much like the Age of Apocalypse storyline, this makes an interesting "What if?" scenario that's undercut by the ending that returns everything to normal with hardly any consequences.
Such a story would be okay if it includes some interesting insights into or commentary about the nature of power or love, or the characters are well drawn and interesting. The most interesting character is Mephisto, who walks the thin line between sycophant and betrayer. Thanos himself is just power-mad and love-struck without any real genius on his part. He has some character development by the end but not enough to wow a reader. The other characters do their usual thing. Thanos's love for Mistress Death reads like generic character motivation, not genuine emotion. The reflections on his infinite power are more engaging but not particularly deep or insightful. The mythology about the Infinity Gems is interesting but is quickly glossed over. Maybe the story of Thanos getting the Gems would be more compelling than when he actually wields them.
Having a bunch of diverse characters band together to fight a villain is the main appeal of this book to me. The bigger issues were too flat and generic to make this a great epic.