Marvel Studio’s Avengers: Infinity War will be hitting everywhere this weekend. The world is waiting for what’s been hyped as one of the biggest films of our generation. You can read Editor-in-Chief, Sheraz Farooqi’s spoiler free review here. While fans are concerned with how the entire Marvel universe will come crashing down around The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy as they do battle with Thanos, today I’ll be exploring characters and the comic book ties that makeup Infinity War. I will focus specifically on Jim Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet, and Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers, New Avengers, and his event series Infinity.
With Avengers: Infinity War acting as the culmination of eighteen films preceding it, there are several threads from previous films and new ones opening up for this gargantuan movie. While the film obviously is its own beast, with Marvel Cinematic Universe connections running through it, the source material holds key instances, events, and characters that we’ll be seeing for the first time on screen.
In 1991, Jim Starlin, George Pérez, and Ron Lim released The Infinity Gauntlet event series for Marvel Comics and it’s here we see the visual cues that are being interpreted for the Infinity War film. In The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos has an assembled gauntlet still hellbent on pleasing Lady Death but to no avail because of Thanos newfound role in the Cosmic Hierarchy. Lady Death still doesn’t want his affection nor want to be in his presence. Angered, Thanos, with some goading and coercion from Mephisto, who has been acting as a right-hand man for Thanos with his own agenda. blinks half of the universe out of existence.
Now for Infinity War, the motivations for Thanos greatly differ from this opening act found in Infinity Gauntlet #1. In the film, according to Kevin Feige “He’s from a planet called Titan that’s no longer inhabited because of things that he thought he could help prevent, and he was not allowed to do that. What he feared most happened, and the planet and everybody on it basically went extinct. He vowed not to let that happen again. He thinks he sees the universe going down the tubes. He thinks he sees life expanding outward unchecked. That will bring ruin, he believes, to the universe and to that life.” So instead of trying to please Lady Death, Thanos is seeking out the stones to right the wrongs of life and put a bottle cap on the existence of everything by killing half of the universe.
Infinity War is also acting as a precursor to the events that Infinity Gauntlet already started. The opening salvo that alerts the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to Thanos and his war on the universe in the comics is Silver Surfer crashing into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. This is shown in the film in almost the exact same fashion except for the one being the bearer of bad news is Bruce Banner. Given the ending scene to Thor: Ragnarok which had Bruce, Thor, Valkyrie, Heimdall, Loki, and the surviving Asgardians run into Thanos’s Spaceship, the Jade Giant witnessing first hand what’s coming for Earth sets things into motion quite nicely.
There are many instances of camaraderie that can be seen in the film. While there isn’t a shot with every Avenger and Guardian together, they have grouped up similar to the pages in both comic events. From the Science Bros meeting the Mages of Mysticism to the Secret Avengers and friends going to Wakanda, to the outer rim Guardians of the Galaxy meeting Thor for the first time. Both comic events have their fair share of first time or weirder interactions and showcasing that on a smaller and bigger scale is part of the fun, plus the team-ups that come with it! The all hands on deck disparity of the film brings a lot of characters together with some characters possibly getting the limelight depending on how they deep dive into The Infinity Gauntlet.
Nebula and Gamora have some of the biggest stakes and personal connections in Infinity War being the daughters of Thanos. If push comes to shove, Nebula could get caught in the crossfire if her role in Infinity War gets expanded on other than just being another character attempting to stop her father from destroying half of existence.
Infinity War will be all about uniting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy and even the forces of Wakanda to combat Thanos and his Black Order on their hunt for the Infinity Stones. It’s where things get more entangled as the 2013 Marvel Comics event series known as Infinity by Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, Jerome Opeña, and Dustin Weaver come into play as the introduction to some of the Big Bad’s and visual cues from both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity bleeding into the film.
Infinity was the event series that spun out of building plotlines from Avengers and New Avengers both written by Hickman. In Infinity, Thanos invades Earth when he gets word that the Avengers are scattered to the stars to fight an alien race known as “The Builders”. He uses the reasoning to find and kill his Inhuman son Thane who is somewhere on Earth. It’s in this story we’re introduced to the film’s quartet of villains: (a quintet in the comics) Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, and Cull Obsidian (His name is Black Dwarf in the comics and Supergiant didn’t make the cut at all)
The film has The Black Order as the Children of Thanos which I believe isn’t as literal as the name perceives it to be. In the comics, Cull Obsidian and Corvus Glaive are brothers and Corvus is married to Proxima Midnight, with Ebony Maw and Supergiant just being well…themselves. The film combines the group’s service to Thanos with a new mission, instead of hunting down his biological child and invading Earth, Infinity War has the group invading Earth for the Infinity Stones and those who have them, namely Vision, Doctor Strange, and anyone else who gets in the way of what Thanos wants. One of the most highly anticipated scenes that have been shown in the trailer is Doctor Strange at the mercy of Ebony Maw and his verbal warfare.
Another scene that’s a major part of Infinity and Infinity War is the Battle of Wakanda. For the film that battle has been billed the finale of sorts and acts as the location for most of the third act. In Infinity it was one of the many battles that The Black Order waged on parts of the world in search of their target. Wakanda was already reeling from a battle with Atlantis and Namor when the Order knocked on their front door and they successfully defended their home from Black Dwarf and his army but from the looks of Infinity War, they’ll need all the hands they can get because Thanos is coming and the Golden City may not survive.
Infinity War is a monumental achievement from a comic book and film standpoint. Acting as a fusion of original material stemming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and two landmark cosmic events that are integrated into the DNA of Infinity War. From panels, characters, to different spins on a familiar storylines Infinity War is a colossal sized film that is sure to have something for even the most eagle-eyed fans. I hope this comparison and contrast between the film and the comics helped everyone reading this learn a little more when they finally sit down to witness this monster of a movie.
Destiny still arrives if you see it or not!