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Quote1 Arguably, you might have found your niche by the side of Adam Warlock, another singular creature. But he doesn't want you. Quote2
-- Thanos

Appearing in "Win, Lose, Draw!"

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Synopsis for "Win, Lose, Draw!"

With the tropical storm threatening Monster Island, Pip teleports Moondragon's body and Drax to a mainland hospital while Warlock and Moondragon's mind remain to deal with the berserk Maxam. Before he regains consciousness, they telekinetically wrap him in steel and telepathically subdue his powers. Adam tries to convince Maxam that the Magus will not be a threat, but he's not swayed. With no other recourse, Warlock prepares to take the Time Gem back and abandon Maxam on the island, but just then the Infinity Gems all vanish without a trace. With his mind once again closed off, Maxam breaks free from Moondragon's control and renews his assault on Warlock. The battle is long and fierce and eventually interrupted by the storm crushing them both with a tidal wave. Maxam recovers first and makes his way to the vulnerable Warlock to finish him off by snapping his neck. Wailing in anguish over what he was forced to do to his friend, Maxam holds Warlock's corpse by the cape just like in Gamora's vision from before it all began. With his mission complete, Maxam automatically vanishes from the timeline.

From a short distance away, Warlock watches with Moondragon's mind as Maxam disappears only holding Warlock's detached cape. It turns out Moondragon planted a programmed illusion in Maxam's mind while they were still in possession of the Gems so he would only think his mission was accomplished. Since the Time Gem saw the outcome in Maxam's perceived future while he held it, that was the vision passed to Gamora in the past when she held it.

Moondragon's consciousness returns to the hospital to fill in Drax and Pip on the state of the Infinity Watch. While Pip is still interested in finding what happened to the Gems, Moondragon points out that they no longer have the power to do that. The quest to recover the Gems will be taken by Warlock alone. Although unknown to them, Thanos and Gamora are also on the case. Thanos had brought Gamora on board his ship to convince her to help him combine the powers of the Reality and Time Gems in his new scheme for power. While Gamora doesn't trust Thanos, she considers relying on him to help deal with Maxam. Before either of them can do anything, they witness the disappearance of the Reality Gem and the others. While his plans may have been shot, Thanos is determined to find the Gems wherever they have gone.

Notes

  • This issue coincides with Rune/Silver Surfer, but as the stories were produced separately with minimal coordination between creative teams, there are multiple inconsistencies in the depicted events. The only consistent details outside the Infinity Watch status quo are Maxam replacing Gamora as the holder of the Time Gem and the eventual disappearance of the Infinity Gems from the Marvel Universe. Details that differ in Rune/Silver Surfer include:
    • When Maxam appears, he has equipped the Time Gem, but rather than being consumed with knowledge of his mission to kill Warlock, he's wandering the wilderness of Monster Isle looking for a chance to relax.
    • It's while Maxam is thus alone and off his guard that Rune attacks him and takes the Time Gem, rather than the Gem vanishing mid-battle between Maxam and Warlock.
    • Rune uses the Time Gem to freeze time, allowing him to take the rest of the Gems from their holders between instants. This would account for the Gems vanishing in this issue if the Time Gem itself were not vanishing the same way.
    • During the frozen moment, Moondragon is shown to be in good health and she, Drax, and Pip are all on Monster Isle rather than the Chicago hospital where Moondragon should be recovering.
    • When Rune goes to take the Reality Gem, Thanos is wearing it on his forehead, something he otherwise never did. In this issue, the Reality Gem is shown disappearing from its display case.
    • When Rune goes to take the Soul Gem, he gets drawn into Soulworld where he's confronted by Warlock's soul despite the stopped time outside. In this issue, Warlock loses the Gem with no awareness of the culprit just like the others.
  • Due to these contradictions, it's difficult to determine what actually happens to the Infinity Gems in this issue. In particular, the apparent key role of the Time Gem in allowing the other five to vanish undetected cannot be reconciled with the Time Gem's unexplained disappearance in this version of events. Regardless of the details, it can be taken as read that Rune, who had just landed on Earth-616 due to an interdimensional travel mishap, somehow steals the six Infinity Gems and is in the middle of opening a dimensional rift when the Silver Surfer attacks him, causing Rune and the Gems to scatter throughout the Ultraverse.
  • In the scene where the Reality Gem disappears, Thanos has a video display of Gamora with an image based directly on a panel from Rune/Silver Surfer depicting the moment just before Rune attacks her. Since in that version of the story the moment occurs some time before the Gems are stolen, the display could be understod as a playback of a recording of Thanos' surveillance on Gamora.
  • Drax and Moondragon appear next in Cosmic Powers Unlimited # 2
  • The doctor Pip talks to about Moondragon's treatment appears to be based on Mandy Patinkin's character in then current TV series, Chicago Hope.
  • The storm that ravages Monster Isle is a result of events in Atlantis Rising.

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