For those readers interested at a potential glimpse of the content of the Avengers (Assembled)
sequel this is your choice of graphic novel. Infinity Gauntlet
focuses on the proposed villain for this future movie, a villain known for meddling with the power of the Tesseract (or Cosmic Cube), and who runs by the name of Thanos. For the most part this graphic novel keeps a nice balance between message, story and visual elements, that is when the story doesn't become cosmically imbalanced by the battle between the various powerful entities.
The Marvel Universe, during its formative era, created a mixture of various entities to represent the different immortal concepts of the world. For instance Love, Hate, Eternity, Time, Death etc. The story in this particular collected tale focuses on these entities, particularly Death, and looks at how even the all-powerful Marvel heroes are powerless compared to the might of the gods. It is only the weakness of those gods which prevent the heroes from being completely destroyed.
The plot of the tale focuses around a resurrected Thanos, brought back by the feminine incarnation of Death. Thanos (whose name hints at Thanatos - the Greek personification of death) has a romantic desire towards Mistress Death and (before the story begins) has set out to perform her desire of destroying half the known universe, thus balancing the amount of dead beings with the amount of living beings. Yet to accomplish this deed Thanos persuades Death that he needs the all powerful Infinity Gauntlet, a device to make the wearer the most powerful being in existence. Of course, once he has this device, Thanos decides to use it for less noble purposes. Which causes Death to spurn him and leads to Thanos attempting various feats to win her favour. It is the abuse of power by Thanos that creates the battle filled storyline and leads to an interesting resolution.
The simple, yet more subtle message, in this volume is that of ordered control versus random control of power. At the end of the story the heroes seem to fear who is in control of the Infinity Gauntlet. Yet as Adam Warlock points out, "You fear a cosmic despot? Surely you must realise that even before Thanos you lived under such tyranny." Yet, when such tyranny seems to become reasoning and calculating, even if benign, fear exists because an intelligence is in command of such power. All of which prompts interesting questions.
An entertaining tale and one worth reading if you follow the Marvel Universe at all. Also recommended if, as mentioned, you are looking to gain insight into the ideas that may show up in the next anticipated Avengers