Infinity Wars Just Killed Another Major Character, But Does It Matter?

Gamora’s lines essentially devalue the death of a major character to a simple assurance that, while Warlock has been taken off the board as a meaningful player for the time being, he will return when the plot justifies it. It’s an incredibly self-aware statement that doesn’t exactly burst through the Fourth Wall, but it certainly puts a few cracks it. “Don’t worry,” Gamora seems to be saying, “he’ll be back. It’s comic books. No one ever dies. Not really.”

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There’s a certain amount of truth to that statement, but that’s not the only frustrating thing about Warlock’s sudden departure. That fact of the matter is that Infinity Wars already has a problem with death in the sense that Warlock is the third major character to be killed off in the series so far, and yet that body count hasn’t really stuck. Infinity Wars #1 ended with the surprise death of Star-Lord, who was skewered by Gamora with her extremely scary, very big sword. It was a major moment for both characters, as Gamora and Star-Lord are long-time members of the Guardians of the Galaxy and, as such, basically family. Star-Lord’s death served to establish just how far Gamora was willing to go to collect all the Infinity Stones and retrieve the part of herself that she lost. It cemented her as a genuine villain.

Infinity Wars #2 rolls around, though, and almost immediately Star-Lord’s death is undone by Doctor Strange, who employs the Time Stone to reverse Gamora’s killing blow. And that’s not the only death that has effectively been retconned. Infinity Wars Prime #1 killed off Thanos very definitively, and yet, in Infinity Wars #2, we see that Gamora is toting around her dead not-dad’s head and that she is conversing with him. Whether this is an actual manifestation of Thanos or a product of Gamora having gone off the rails a little bit has yet to be revealed. Nonetheless, Thanos’ noncorporeal return allows Infinity Wars to have its cake and eat it. Marvel gets to say it killed off the Mad Titan, but it also gets to keep his ghost around for the purposes of, well… probably because Thanos is a fan-favorite villain with a huge legacy in Marvel Comics. How do you really have a story about the Infinity Stones without Thanos, after all? Apparently, Marvel doesn’t know either.

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The cumulative effect of all these characters dying -- but also totally not dying at all -- creates the sense that nothing terribly important has happened in Infinity Wars just yet. At this point, even Gamora could get a clean slate when the event is over, as she has yet to kill anyone who isn’t downright evil and have it stick. Adam Warlock’s death is just the latest symptom of this issue -- he’s the safest kill Gamora could have made. Hopefully, future installments of Infinity Wars will bring new developments with genuine consequences for Gamora. Marvel has teased that the conclusion of Infinity Wars will change the very fabric of the Marvel Universe for years to come, but so far this has yet to pan out.

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