Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and the lion, finally, a child. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
All these most difficult things the spirit that would bear much takes upon itself: like the camel that, burdened, speeds upon the desert, thus the spirit speeds into its desert. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The end begins here. Thanos is God. He is Supreme. Anything he wishes to be, is. Anything he wishes, is. Within his grasp rests the Infinite. The moment is upon the Multiverse to realise that the absolute truth is Thanos', for he is the holder of the Infinity Gauntlet composed of the six Infinity Gems.
You want to make all being thinkable, for you doubt with well-founded suspicion that it is already thinkable. But it shall yield and bend for you. Thus your will wants it. It shall become smooth and serve the spirit as its mirror and reflection. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
What choices were made to lead to such a situation? Apparently Mistress Death has long thought the fact that there are more people alive today than have ever died was a type of cosmic imbalance. This was an irregularity she sought to right using the dark powers at her disposal--she made the tragic mistake of reviving Thanos, the mad Titan, from the realm of the dead. Through him, Death would mold the universe to her liking. She gave Thanos greatly augmented power and asked him to destroy half the sentient population in this Universe.
Thanos muses: ``For months, I have contemplated the direction in which I should steer the destiny of this reality. I am now omnipotent. What would I do with such almighty power?''
The answer to that is really quite simple. Anything he wants, of course. Thanos was too arrogant to be anyone's thrall. He gazed into the depths of Death's Infinity Well, where he learnt of the Soul or Infinity Gems' true power and convinced his dark mistress that the task could not be carried to fruition without them. Through cunning, sheer strength, and murder, Thanos wrested the Infinity Gems from those that possessed them, and with each acquisition he gained mastery over The Soul, The Mind, Power, Space, Time, and Reality. As I said, he now has the unbridled power of God. Such force in the hands of a madman--A Nihilist. It could mean the end of all that is.
Thanos' rise to omnipotence was not unchallenged. The Destroyer and the Silver Surfer foolishly confronted the Titan. Thanos used the power of the Soul Gem to steal their spiritual essence and banished them to the metaphysical soulworld, where they met a strange and enigmatic man called Adam Warlock, the spiritual leader of the Soulworld. He returned the two heroes back to reality to warn the Universe of Thanos' coming.
Death, now having become nothing more than the love slave of Thanos, spurns him. A shrine, a proof of Thanos' depravity (sculpting his granddaughter Nebula into Walking Death), and the final completion of his task of destroying half the sentient population in the universe with a snap of his fingers does not change her. She has no need for sycophants and Thanos remains discontented.
Imagine a Universe where half the population disappears in the time it takes to snap your fingers. Holocaust. Chaos. Anarchy. Nihilism.
Of course, how could those who never live at the right time die at the right time? Would that they had never been born! Thus spoke Zarathustra.
All is right in the heavens for Thanos possesses the six Infinity Gems. Let Nihilism Reign Supreme! The universe will now be set right, made over to fit his unique view of what should be. The Great Disappearance has struck, causing panic. Races vent their mistrust on other races. The war to end all wars begins.
Warlock speaks ``I am one who may be able to save your reality from the insanity that is Thanos, but I cannot do it alone. The only hope your universe has is the banding of all champions of righteousness under one leader. I must be the leader. I bare my soul open to you.'' Thusly, he departs from the peace of the Soulworld to go after Thanos. He makes his appearance in the prescence of Earth's heroes: ``In my time, many called me Adam Warlock. I am a man who was supposed to have been killed nearly a decade ago while battling Thanos. I alone am familiar with the secret workings of the Infinity Gems--that knowledge is this universe's only hope.'' Saying thus, Warlock went under.
You who despair! You who are strange! So it is your cry of distress that I heard? And now I also know where to find him whom I sought today: the higher man. He sits in my own cave, the higher man. But why should I be amazed? Have I not lured him to myself with honey sacrifices and the cunning siren calls of my happiness? Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Earth reels under the onslaught of Thanos caused by Death's rejection of his love. It is fortunate, for the Dark God's physic wave of power rises from the stellar monument of love and washes out into the Ether, destroying a quarter of a galaxy, and was only a fraction of its peak strength when it hit earth.
Whenever your noise and smoke were gone, very little had happened. What does it matter if a town became a mummy and a statue lies in the mud? And this word I shall add for those who overthrow statues: nothing is more foolish than casting salt into the sea and statues into the mud. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Infinite power at play. An ego gone wild. Depraved creativity manifested in the building of shrines. Thanos has still not won Mistress Death's heart, yet he continues to try. He is forlorn.
Do you love tragedies and everything that breaks the heart? But I mistrust your bitch. Your eyes are too cruel and you search lustfully for sufferers. Is it not merely your lust that has disguised itself and now calls itself pity? Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The news of Adam Warlock's rebirth stuns the community of Earth's super heroes. They all agree with apprehension that he is the one most suited to lead the task force to oust Thanos. A cosmic summit then happens involving the mysterious Watcher, the powerful and enigmatic Stranger, the embodiments of Love and Hate, the mighty destroyer of worlds Galactus, Lord Chaos and Master Order who maintain the galactic balance, Kronos, the titan God of time, Eternity, the actual embodiment of all there is, and the Living Tribunal, the cosmic judge of all realities.
The Living Tribunal hears Eternity's case (demanding Thanos be stopped because he seeks to usurp Eternity's place in this reality) and rules against him. Galactus challenges Warlock's claim to leadership. But Master Order and Lord Chaos side with Warlock for they know that he is one outside the loop of destiny and capable of wondrous deeds. Their choice prompts all the other divinities to join forces with Warlock leaving the proud and mighty Galactus with little choice.
Fools taking up arms against omnipotence. The heavens will run with blood. Thanos controls all aspects of time, reality, space, power, the soul and the mind. Warlock has sent Earth's greatest heroes against Thanos. The true purpose of their attack is diversionary; they are sacrificial lambs. The weight of their deaths will rest of Warlock's shoulders--but he is what circumstances have made him to be.
Alas, that is my sorrow: they have lied reward and punishment into the foundation of things, and now also into the foundation of your souls, you who are virtuous. But like the boar's snout, my words shall tear upon the foundation of your souls: a plowshare will I be to you. All the secrets of your foundation shall come to light; and when you lie uprooted and broken in the sun, then will your also be seperated from your truths. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The heroes are no match for Thanos. He has mastery over time itself and the heroes are stopped even before the attack begins. Omniscient Thanos sees Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer observing the battle and seeks to dispatch them. But he stops and decides that courage might be the way to win Death's heart. He decides to cut off from sensory input from all his gems except for the power gem and hopes that is good enough to impress mistress Death. The battle begins anew, but the heroes are just bothersome fleas to Thanos. Yet hope never dies. It is a universal condition within the species. To your sorrow, there are truths that cannot be denied. He is Thanos and his name means death.
You should have eyes that always seek an enemy--your enemy. And some of you hate at first sight. Your enemy you shall seek, your war you shall wage--for your thoughts. And if your thought be vanquished, then your honesty should still find triumph in that. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
To Warlock, this is all a game. If he allowed it to be any more than that, he could not go on. Thanos rises his fist to strike and the Silver Surfer springs to action. His Goal: To remove the Gauntlet from the Titan's grasp while his sense are dampened. The Surfer misses his mark and Thanos retains his Godhood. The echoes of failed plans and good intentions wasted in futile acts.
Thanos, realising he almost lost it all, reverts back to full power, for he senses a far greater struggle is about to begin.
Change of values--that is a change of creators. Whoever must be a creator always annihilates. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
You can deny neither your white nor black shadows. --Thanos of Titan
A contingent of cosmic entities challenges Thanos' might. Such a conflict may well prove more than this fragile reality can bear. With all the celestial grand forces allied against him, Thanos will unleash the full fury of his power. It will be quite a show.
Entire solar systems in the immediate vicinity are ravaged by the effects of this celestial clash. Mistress Death however, creates a safe chamber for Earth's heroes. Her hatred for Thanos must reach unfathomable depths. A doom birthed and nurtured within the mad ambition of a black soul, Thanos defends his divinity--let the heavens tremble! Lord Order and Master Chaos seek to dichotomise the Titan, but Thanos refuses to surrender his individuality. Mistress Love and Sire Hate invoke conflicting emotions within the Titan, tearing him apart, but Thanos' subjectivity cannot be tampered with. Mistress Death, along with the celestials together attack Thanos, and he imprisons all of them in a single instant. Finally, there is no one left to argue the sentiment that Thanos is supreme.
Now that his foot soldiers have fallen, proud Eternity at last designs to show himself to reclaim that which is his and himself. The universe. Eternity, however, is no match for the Gauntlet and Thanos now thoroughly usurps Eternity's rightful position as the centre of all reality in this sphere of the galaxy. The death of God, you might say, or the creation of a new one. Thanos has gotten rid of the flesh and shed all vulnerability during this process. Has he? As he did once before when in possession of the Cosmic Cube, Thanos underestimates the strength of the flesh, especially charred flesh, spurred by hatred.
Deep within withered, maggot-eaten Nebula, vengeance stirs. A senses shattering return to flesh, a reversal of dire fortunes, and Nebula grabs the gauntlet from Thanos' body and steps away from the edge of oblivion. Her first act is to banish Thanos to the deep interior of the galaxy, but he is saved by Adam Warlock.
The lust to rule: the earthquake that breaks and breaks open everything worm-eaten and hollow; the rumbling grumbling that breaks open whited sepulchers; the lightning-like question mark beside a premature answer. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Warlock to Thanos: ``I was part of the soul gem while you possesed it, which permitted me access to your inner heart. I know you as no other being in the universe does. Better than you do yourself. Look back onto your life, Thanos of Titan, and what do you see? A man always seeking power and losing it as soon as he attains it because deep in his soul he knows he is not worthy of it. Aid me, or I will let the truth be revealed.''
Everything among them talks; everything is betrayed. And what was once called the secret and the secrecy of deep souls today belongs to the street trumpeters and other butterflies. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Sudden omnipotence would be a crushing load even for the finest mind. For Nebula's scarred psyche, it must be overwhelming. The thought of escaping into catatonic obvilion enters her chaotic soul. Pray she does not surrender to this urge, for an entire reality would join her in that dark journey. The universe is clay waiting to be moulded at her hands, but she does not have time for that--Thanos and Warlock and the rest of Earth's forces seek to challenge her might while she is still adjusting to her new found power.
All citadels are built on the ruins of what has come before. --The Magus
The Will to Power is a quality that must be cultivated and nurtured. It is a reward earned through intellect and patience and cannot be gained and held through chance. In the wrong hands, it will only prove self-destructive: Nebula is unaware of Warlock's prescence. She lets everything be as it was twenty four hours ago, and thus, all of Thanos' doing has been undone. Half the universe is resurrected because a mere wish gave birth to reality for dear Nebula willed that everything be as it was.
The celestials once again attack Nebula. Inexperienced as she is, they are still no match for the power of the Infinity Gems. Once again the Universe needs saving and Warlock, the beast of burden, has the unenvious task thrust upon his shoulders. It all sounds rather mundane when said like that, but it is simply that--he defends reality. Especially a reality in which a soul can expand to fill a need, to reach out into the infinite and perhaps change the face of the cosmos.
Warlock is nowhere and everywhere. He is one with the universe of the Soul gem and from the one, he reaches out to the five. There is disharmony and retribution. The Gauntlet falls from Nebula's hands; Godhood is a mantle, she has realised unfortunately, not easily worn. The entire superhero group strives to reach the Gauntlet. ``Let the conflict end'', says Warlock as he materialises and takes possession of the Gauntlet. There is a new Supreme Being in the neighbourhood, and He will deal with all matters in His own fasihion. The Infinite power is Adam Warlock's. Seek not to dispute that claim, for he will use it wisely. Adam Warlock is a God who can be trusted.
The now and past on earth--alas, my friends, that is what I find most unendurable; and I should not know how to live if I were not also a seer of that which must come. A seer, a willer, a creator, a future himself and a bridge to the future--and alas, also, as it were, a cripple at this bridge: all this is Zarathustra. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Yet Earth's heroes mistrust him. They realise that even before Thanos they lived under the tyranny of some God, but it was a benign reign; random and unfocused. They are unsettled by the fact that the reign is now calculated. They are afraid that replacing their usual chaos with order might prove unpalatable.
Thanos, preferring death to imprisonment, detonates a thermal nuclear device on his person. But he does not fool Warlock, who is all-knowing now. Adam Warlock, a being who wished nothing more than to spend the rest of his days within the peaceful environment of the Soul Gem. He now possesses the Infinite Power and all that responsibility that goes with it. While Thanos, whose entire life was dedicated to the pursuit of power, now finds himself scraping out a living from the soil. Irony worthy of drama. Yet strangely enough though, envy not Adam Warlock. In the long run, Thanos of Titan came out ahead in this particular deal.
But who could take your melancholy off your shoulders? For that I am too weak. Verily, we might wait long before someone awakens your god again. For this old god lives no more: he is thoroughly dead. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
In the loneliest desert, however, the second metamorphosis occurs: here the spirit becomes a lion who would conquer his freedom and be master in his own desert. Here he seeks out his last master: he wants to fight him and his last god; for ultimate victory he wants fight with the greater dragon. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. --Nietzsche
On a nameless planet in the backwater regions of our galaxy, Thanos works as a peasant farmer. However, unexplainable exotic patterns emanating along the entire spectrum arouse his curiousity and he dons his warrior garb and seeks to find the source of the transmission. He realises the entire Universe stands in grave peril.
Powerful Eternity is catatonic; impossible, but true. Who could possible slip the Living Embodiment of all there is a Mickey Finn?
The Abyss. Thanos wanders far down the dimensional chute to see an amazing construct. Much energy and ego went into the creation of this astral heaven. It reminds Thanos of the shrine he built for Mistress death, and he likes it. He walks in and witnesses energies at work that are benumbing, on a level few beings could even dream of, let alone control. But realising that this control is achieved by mechanical means is even more mind-boggling. It is much like taking a dinosaur out for walk on a leash. Thanos witnesses its creator. He did not expect to encounter its creator nor come face to face with the creator's companion.
The Magus has always travelled in most unusual circles. Those journeys had been restricted to within Adam Warlock's personality in recent years, but that would be a misconception at this point. The doppelganger next to the Magus, an imitation of Thanos, is a mere shadow of what is to come. Warlock and Thanos together once had destroyed the Magus' timeline, but there are many paths leading to grandeur and the Magus is back with a host of doppelgangers and new ambitions--to enslave the universe.
The annhilator of morals, the good and just call me: my story is immoral. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
On-boards wiped clean, Thanos is suddenly deposited unceremoniously back to his own dimension. What does the Magus seek? The struggle against him has begun and it is one Thanos will need help in winning. He goes to seek the aid of Warlock, who, deprived of his Godhood by the Living Tribunal, spends his time on Monster Isle with the rest of the Infinity Watch.
Reed Richards calls for a meeting of Earth's heroes to warn them of a grave danger that threatens the entire universe. Doom and his future counterpart Kang join forces in order to discover the source of the near-infinite power and use it for their perverted interests. Certain Earth heroes are dispatched of and replaced by their doppelgangers. The Magus laughs, for everything is going according to plan.
``Where has my solitude gone?'' he said. ``Verily, it is becomign too much for me; this mountain range is teeming, my kingdom is no longer of this world, I need new mountains. My shadow calls me? What does my shadow matter? Let him run after me! I shall run away from him.'' Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul. --Will Durant.
Monster Island. The home of Warlock and the Infinity Watch. Thanos narrates his encounter with the Magus to Warlock, which comes as shock to him, for in his camel-naivete he thought he put the Magus' evil behind him. The Magus is part of Adam Warlock, his responsibility, and Warlock has to save the world again. For once, Thanos and Warlock are fighting on the same side. They set off to gaze into the depths of Death's Infinity Well, in order to learn the secret of the Magus' plan. The Magus observing, chuckles in glee. It is all going as he foresaw. But his other self, his shade, is so unpredictable.
The Infinity Well, where all things can be learned if one gazes into its depths long enough, or asks it the right questions; Thanos knows the right questions.
The Infinity Well: ``Once a time line existed where your companion, Adam Warlock, eventually became the Magus, a dark and omnious conqueror. But he was a caesar with a strange twist. To assure his control of the future, he returned to the past to cement his base of power. His might and intimate knowledge of what had been assured his success. A thousand worlds did he conquer thus, and on these planets, he established the Universal Church of Truth. His subjects worshipped him as an iron-fisted God. But then the Magus began to fear that his existence in this time frame might upset the course his own past life. So he carefully began engineering his own creation from the ashes of Adam Warlock's destruction. His one fatal mistake, for you, Lord Thanos, became aware of his dark plans and sought to thwart them for reasons of your own. With your aid, Warlock was able to destroy the time line from who loins the Magus sprang. And the base evil that had been the Magus faded from existence, only to be remembered by a select few.''
It will give you everything if you will adore it, this new idol: thus it buys the splendor of your virtues and the look of your proud eyes. It would use you as bait for the all-too-many. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
``But the Magus was not destined to be a faint memory. For you, Lord Thanos, decided to seek out the Infinity Gems and harness their awesome power. You became what you considered omnipotence: GOD. But the universe conspired against your reign and eventually prevailed under the leadership of Adam Warlock, who captured the Infinity Gems. For a short time, he was the end-all and be-all of all this reality, its master. But, like you, Lord Thanos, Warlock was a flawed being, not worthy of the Mantle of Supremacy. Mighty and jealous Eternity had him called before the Living Tribunal, the representative of The One Who is Above All. The Tribunal ruled against Warlock, forcing him to forsake his Godhood. This he did by dividing the gems among those he now calls the Infinity Watch, and one other whom Warlock wishes to remain nameless.''
State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie craws out of its mouth: ``I, the state, am the people.'' That is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
``But what none of you is aware is of that a dramatic change took place in Warlock during his tenure as The Almighty. As God, he truly strove for perfection in order to carry out his duties. His subconscious felt that only pure logic would allow him to shoulder his new found responsibilities properly. Neither Good nor Evil would be permitted to cloud his judgement. So both were subconsciously and totally expelled from his being. But that darkness that is the Magus would not easily die. Apparently the Magus reincorporated near the crossroads leading to several strange actualities and the acquisition of a mysterious and near-infinite source of power.''
Before the Well tells Warlock and his group what the Magus' true goal is, Death appears and the Infinity Watch leave. All hell breaks loose in the meeting of Earth's heroes as they discover they have doppelgangers in their midst and do not know who to trust. A gamma bomb is detonated during the pandemonium. Things are just beginning to get interesting. The Magus laughs, for everything is going according to plan.
Your shadow, the white one, whom you cannot accept, and who will never forget you. --Rolf Jacobsen
4 Freedoms plaza, where all of Earth's superheroes are gathered, undergoes atomic urban renewal. But the heroes are spared destruction, thanks to the amazing powers of the invisible woman. The Magus, for the first time appears on the battlefield with the Thanos doppelganger. People mistake him for Warlock, after all, they are both shadows of one another. Sowing seeds of mistrust--all part of the Magus' master plan to confuse and stimulate Earth's defenders. They are the spoilers, the havoc repears, the muddiers of water. With skill and courage, the Magus will manipulate them into providing him the ultimate prize, and their reward shall be destruction--a just payment for such gullibility, and all his dreams come true.
The Magus: ``In an eradicated past, I once ruled a thousand worlds. The masses worshipped me as a God. I know what is like to savour great power and bask in its grandeur. My goal is to benefit of the great power and not the power itself.''
``Can you give yourself your own evil and your own good and hang your own will over yourself as a law? Can you be your own judge and avenger of your law? Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and avenger of one's own law. Thus is a star thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude. Thus spoke Zarathustra.''
In the meanwhile, Mighty Galactus is heading too fast into the Magus' headquarters. The Magus decides to slow him down by decimating his vessel with the touch of a button; he is truly unique in this reality--there is no denying this truth. The expeditionary force also sets off to track the location of the Magus' fortress. Meanwhile, the Living Tribunal, sensing the need for adjudication, appears before catatonic Eternity and awaits his appeal. The task force, and Warlock both meet on a strange planet. The Magus releases his vicious doppelgangers on unsuspecting Earth. Enlightenment and duty tend to breed predictability, and in chaos there is more spontaneity. The Magus laughs, for everything is going according to plan.
God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjectures should not reach beyond your creative will. Could you create a god? Then do not speak to me of any gods. But you could well create the overman. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. --Seneca
The weave of web closes. Guile and patience at last reap their bounty. The day of the Magus is at hand. Chaos has such a honeyed piquancy, but it is just a fraction of the master tapestry. Earth's greatest warriors pitted against Thanos and the Infinity Watch. Everyone in this universe faces the darkness, their doppelgangers, which festers within all souls. Galactus has managed to reassemble his vessel using the massive power at his command. But he realises that his foe is a being of vast resources and power, and he actually considers using the most awesome and destructive weapon in this universe--The Ultimate Nullifier.
``You are looking on? You are listening to my strange soul? When will you drink this drop of dew which has fallen upon all earthly things? When will you drink this strange soul? When, well of eternity? Cheerful, dreadful abyss of noon! When will you drink my soul back into yourself.'' Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Ah, but all-knowing Magus has so much attention on the mayhem he has created that he fails to notice that Doom and Kang have invaded his stronghold. The Magus' Leige, the Thanos doppelganger, fails to warn him of this intrusion--he lusts for powers of his own. Doom and Kang discover the source of the Magus' near infinite power: five cosmic cubes in astral energy containment units, and the reason the Magus manipulates it using mechanical means: for their sheer power would cause extensive brain damage and death.
Galactus arrives at the scene of the delightful mayhem, and puts an end to the petty squabbling of Earth's heroes vs. Thanos and the Infinity Watch. The Watcher realises the Magus' true plan to replace the entire Multiverse with one that he himself has created, with his evil doppelgangers. Warlock learns of this and decides the time is right to recreate the Infinity Gauntlet. As he gathers the gems from the Infinity Watch and dons the gauntlet, he does not feel the power coming to him. The gems do not work as one for Eternity, and the Living Tribunal have seen to that. Galactus then goes to Eternity and the Living Tribunal to get the Tribunal to change his ruling.
The Magus however has played a masterful game. The moment Galactus leaves, he opens an interdimensional portal to Warlock's location and seizes him, along with the Infinity Gauntlet! The Universe's last hope just faded away, for the Magus now possesses the Gauntlet.
Thanos, realising that everything is lost, takes a hold of the Ultimate Nullifier and dares Quasar to fire it. It would require a hero with power to match his courage, for our knight would have to fire his weapon within the Magus' Dimension, so as not to drag his comrades into possible oblivion. Quasar's resolve is made of finely tempered steel, and he makes the existential choice by deciding to sacrifice his own life for the good of the Universe.
Courage also slays dizziness at the edge of abysses: and where does man not stand at the edge of abysses? Is not seeing always--seeing abysses? Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The Living Tribunal rules that only Eternity has the power to change his ruling, since it was he initially persuaded the Living Tribunal to rule against Warlock. The Magus laughs, for everything is going according to plan.
For my heart could not flee from my heart, not could I escape from myself, since where I ran, I should be following. --St. Augustine
The Universe is being taken over insidiously by the black forces of the Magus. The Magus relieves Warlock of the Infinity Gauntlet, a fitting conqueror's bay wreath. The Gauntlet is useless for now, but is just a matter of time before full power is restored to his Infinity Gauntlet.
Doom and Kang, realising this, attack! Quasar seeks to fire the Ultimate Nullifier on the Magus' fortress. Warlock considers the situation and a choice is made to support the Magus. Better to deal with the devil you know than two who are strangers. Quasar is about to do or die, or if he's not careful, do and die! The Magus, totterring on the brink of the loss of his power, goes directly to the containment units to use their wish granting powers. But the units are gone! Doom catches up with the Magus and attacks him viciously. The Magus is beaten. Doom reaches out to grab the Infinity Gauntlet from the Magus' hand.
After much persuasion by Galactus, Eternity arises from his catatonic state and says ``Let the gems work as one.''
A moment's difference and the fate of the entire actuality changes. Tyrant falls before madman and a million dreams perish in the flames of twisted ambition. Within the confines of what is, a new supreme being steps forth. And Quasar, a champion far from home, learns that the word ``ultimate'' carries little weight in this current contest of titans. The Magus turns the devastating weapon upon its bearer. Quasar is Ultimately Nullified in return for his courage.
Who sees the abyss but with eyes of an eagle; who grasps the abyss with the talons of an eagle--that man has courage.
``How poor man is after all,'' thought in his heart; ``how ugly, how wheezing, how full of hidden shame! I have been told that man loves himself: ah, how great this must this self-love be! How much contempt stands against it! This fellow too loved himself, even as he despised himself: a great lover he seems to me, and a great despiser. None have I found yet who desipised himself more deeply: that too is a kind of height. Alas, was he perhaps the higher man who cry I heart?? I love the great despisers. Man, however, is something that must be overcome.'' Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The Magus: ``I have achieved true existence. Time: every moment that ever was or will be cascades over me. Space: I am whereever and everything. The Mind: the thoughts of all beings mix with my own. The soul: endless spirits wait for me sculpt the clay of their essence. Reality: too much for me to focus in on just yet. Power: so much of it everywhere and all me! The shredding of physical limitations. A gazing into depths so metaphysical.''
``Once--in the year of grace number one, I think-- The Sibyl said, drunken without any drink, `Now everything goes wrong! Oh, woe! Decay! The world has never sunk so low! Rome sanke to whoredome and became a stew, The Caesars became beasts, and God--a Jew!' '' Thus spoke Zarathustra.
Thanos realises that the Infinity Gauntlet has been revitalised and decides to send off the expeditionary force as a diversionary tactic to face the Magus, and decides that the fledgling God would still be vulnerable to carefully aimed and unexpected laser charge. But he meets his doppelganger, and a fight ensures!
The Magus: ``Whoever fights monsters, Warlock, should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. Nietzsche knew exactly what he has talking about. The moment has come for me to eliminate my own personal abyss--You!''
Purity of the heart is to will one thing. --Kierkegaard
The Will to Power, where slightest whim becomes actuality with but a thought. Grievous wrongs are righted by a mere urge. The clay of reality is molded in dreams. Even one's darkest fantasies are realised by a sub-conscious that knows no bounds. It is the ultimate freedom, a blessing that cannot be shared for there can be only one God!
The Magus has captured every living being that opposes him and creates Go's trophy room. Thanos wins his encounter with the doppelganger (an existential tale that will have to be told at a later time). As the Magus is about to destroy Warlock, Thanos appears. The Magus is enraged and tries to make Thanos bow down to him. Thanos does so, but not willingly, and only for the moment.
Thanos: ``For reality is not what you perceive, Magus. 'Tis a thread which has escaped your grasp. And so the weave of your tapestry begins to unravel.''
The Magus denies this. But Warlock, grasps the gauntlet and an Infinite conflict begins:
Warlock: ``Is this too a lie, Magus? A shade who refuses to fade into oblivion. I am now contact with the Infinity Gauntlet. The power was mine longer before you dreamt of usurping it. I think you'll find the Infinite well remembers my touch.''
Magus: ``Bravado from a vessel with neither good nor evil within. You cannot prevail against your darker half. I am pure animus, Warlock. I am the depths from which greatness comes.''
Warlock: ``Will is not affected by such abstacts. You are destruction and greed, from such ashes no phoenix will arise. Corruption such as yours will never summon the inner resources to overcome its own base nature.''
A clash of would-be Gods occurs. Behond another salvation--or armageddon. Good and evil are joint partners in the drive that is life. Without that union, Man is just barely capable of sentient awareness.
Warlock: ``Reality is playing diabolical tricks on you, would-be conqueror. It shifts and alters than mere corporeal senses can percieve. Behond the TRUTH--Eternity and Infinity together! Who is the fool Magus? In your ignorance, you thought you had imprisoned a single astral entity and bound it to your will? Did you truly think that existence is divided into manageable sections for your convenience? Had you no inkling that Eternity and Infinity are but different sides of the same coin? Open your arms wide, Magus.''
Then it spoke to me again without voice: ``You must yet become as a child and without shame. The pride of youth is still upon you; you have become young late; but whoever would become as a child must overcome his youth too.'' Thus spoke Zarathustra.
It is over. Warlock has absorbed the Magus into this soul-gem. This leaves him in a catatonic state, because it obviously took every iota of his will power to set things as right as he could. Thanos and Warlock gave the Magus a taste of Godhood. Just a taste. They knew he would not be able to resist the lure of the Infinity Gems, gathered together for the taking. Realising they were under constant surveillance, a surreptitious trap was set using a facsimile of the Reality gem. At best, the Magus merely had the illusion of omnipotence, no more.
Thanos: ``And what are you, Lord Thanos? Hero? Villain? Neither? Maybe just wiser. As I always said, knowledge is power. There are more pressing questions that remain, the most important being who stole the Magus' cosmic containment units. I can think of only one viable suspect. The Magus was created when Warlock using the Infinity gems to expel all good and evil from his self to become a better supreme being. Today the evil was soundly defeated. Unfortunately, someday the universe will have to deal with Warlock's good side. I fear that may yet prove to be the greater threat.''
Well then! The lion came, my children are near, Zarathustra has ripened, my hour has come: this is my morning, my day is breaking: rise now, rise, thou great noon!. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
But say, my brothers, what can the child do that even the lion could not do? Why must the preying lion still become a child? The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel, a first moment, a sacred ``Yes.'' For the game of creation, my brothers, a sacred ``Yes'' is needed: the spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been lost to the world now conquers the world.'' Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The Goddess (Warlock's good persona) hatches a scheme; she will stop at nothing to bring about her plan for Universal peace, even it means destroying all evil and evildoers. For her plan to proceed unhindered, she banishes Warlock into a distant dimension using the power of the cosmic cube. Other heroes avidly support the Goddess, embracing her philosophy wholeheartedly in order to achieve her goals. And there begins the conflict...
O my brothers, so far there have been only illusions about stars and the future, not knowledge; and therefore there have been only illusions so far, not knowledge, about good and evil. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The details of the conflict of good versus evil are not important. What matters is the result. Warlock, now banished, releases his evil persona, the Magus, to fight with the Goddess. In this clash of the good and evil titans, there are no winners. Meanwhile Warlock creates, and creates, and creates, in this distant dimension. Finally, when the Magus and the Goddess destroy each other, along with the rest of their reality, Warlock replaces the dimension he has created with the one destroyed by the forces of good and evil. He is reborn again as a child, to ensure that his personality will never become a threat to the Multiverse again. And Warlock thus becomes the overman.
Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he left his cave, glowing and strong as a mountain sun that comes of dark mountains.
Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I have told you: how the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and the lion, finally, a child. Thus spoke Zarathustra.
The Infinity trilogy, and the story of Adam Warlock truly epitomises existentialism and, in particular, the Nietzschean philosophy. The ``sapphires in the mud'' present throughout the story likens well with the sapphires found in Nietzsche's work. Explicit Nietzschean themes are italicised as they are encountered, and the implicit ones will have to be discerned by the reader. Clearly, there exists the Apollo versus Dionysean theme throughout, and that in turn gives rise to other lenses/mirrors.
The Infinity Crusade is section is different from what is in the comic book series. Unlike the series, where the Goddess brainwashes those who help her, I prefer the use of the Magus (Warlock confronting his dark side) to create balance.
Jim Starlin is the creator of the Infinity trilogy, and all the characters presented here. They are all trademarks of Marvel Comics Group and I have used them without permission.