WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Infinity Wars #4 by Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato Jr., Frank Martin and Cory Petit, in stores now.
When Gamora assembled all six Infinity Stones and folded reality in on itself, she created a new existence within Soul World. Like Thanos before her, she essentially halved the universe, but not by culling half of all life. Instead, she merged two beings into one. Everyone, from Iron Man and Thor (Iron Hammer) to Captain America and Doctor Strange (Soldier Supreme) to the Hulk and Ant-Man (Little Monster) became warped into a single character... well, everyone except Loki.
Though the God of Mischief was later thrown into this new reality by Gamora, he has remained unbound to anyone else. When Infinity Wars #4 opens, Loki is the only character who is himself, and the only one who knows that things need to be put back to normal as soon as possible. Luckily, the Trickster God has, well, some sort of trick up his sleeve. Almost as soon as he lands in the warped reality, Loki knows what needs to be done -- and where to go.
His first stop was the home of the X-Men, where he was greeted by Wolverine/Emma Frost hybrid Diamond Patch. Thanks to a bit of help from a cosmic entity, Loki is able to separate Logan and Emma, restoring them to their proper solo identities. This is where we find out Loki's plan: He has no need for Wolverine, whom he leaves behind to fend off a monstrous creature. Loki only needs Emma Frost, the first of five heroes he recruits. It turns out Loki is assembling a new team of Avengers -- who are really a rebranded Infinity Watch.
The Infinity Watch was a group of cosmic characters first brought together by Adam Warlock in the 1992 comic series Warlock and the Infinity Watch, by Jim Starlin and Angel Medina. The purpose of the team was to protect all six Infinity Stones, where each member was entrusted with a gem to defend. The group was originally comprised of Warlock, Gamora, Drax, Moondragon, Pip the Troll and, yes, Thanos. While the team would eventually disband, Doctor Strange assembled a new version of the Infinity Watch at the beginning of the Infinity Wars event. This time, its members counted Strange, Warlock, Black Widow, Star-Lord, Captain Marvel and Daredevil villain Turk Barrett. Now, here we are only a few issues later and a new roster is being put together by the God of Mischief.
After joining forces with Emma Frost, Loki sets his sights on his next two recruits: Kang the Conqueror and Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel who, luckily, were merged together into Ms. Kang. However, we learn that luck had nothing to do with it. As it turns out, when Loki was at the mercy of Gamora, he knew that she would use her great powers to read his mind, where he imagined the recruits he needed blended together. This means that whatever Loki's plans entail, they are set in stone, and have been for a while. Even before the Infinity Wars began, it seems like Loki already knew which characters were best suited for his needs.
After separating Ant-Man and the Hulk, Loki explains that all of the members on his team are "uniquely suited to wield an Infinity Stone -- when the time is right." This is quite surprising, to say the least, given that we have no idea which stone Loki would give to each of his new recruits. Once again, this is why we think Loki is putting together a new Infinity Watch.
The classic cosmic team have often been assembled -- in various incarnations -- to protect the Infinity Stones, but the role of Loki's team doesn't appear to be protective. It feels more... proactive. When the God of Mischief finds his final recruit in Adam Warlock, it becomes clear that these unlikely teammates are the ones who may be able to defeat Gamora... and save the universe.