Could one of the most famous moments in comic book history actually be a lazy plot device that saved Jim Starlin the trouble from having to write a bunch of Marvel heroes into his story? In the opening chapter of The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos, in a bid to impress his mistress Death, proves the infinite power of the gauntlet by wiping out half of the Marvel Universe with a snap of his fingers. Among the missing and presumed dead are a number of iconic heroes including the entire Fantastic Four, Hawkeye, Beast, Black Panther, Wasp, Hercules and Daredevil. And none of them end up making an appearance in the miniseries outside of a passing mention towards the end when they are all brought back into existence. While this criticism may be powered by hindsight, Thanoss bold, universe-erasing move is cheapened by the fact that Starlin repeats similar beats in The Infinity Gauntlets two follow-ups, The Infinity War and The Infinity Crusade. In each of these series, a number of heroes are written out of the story early on thanks to some contrived plot device whether it is evil doppelgangers, or a religious experience that makes them mindless zombies. While undoubtedly a famous moment, the finger snap is actually just an easy way to trim The Infinity Gauntlets cast so Starlin doesnt actually have to characterize everyone and find token moments for them.
Mark is a professional writer living in Brooklyn and is the founder of the Chasing Amazing Blog, which documents his quest to collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man, and the Superior Spider-Talk podcast. He also pens the "Gimmick or Good?" column at Comics Should Be Good blog.