With the recent debut of the first teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, we finally have solid idea of how the film will unfold. For months now, set photos, rumors, and movement on Avengers 4 have provided fans with bits and pieces of the story and scope of next year’s epic team-up.
When Avengers 3 was first announced as bearing the subtitle ‘Infinity War,’ it seemed as though the iconic Jim Starlin book from the early ’90s might be getting a straightforward movie adaptation. As time went by, however, the film looked to be drawing less from Infinity War and more from its predecessor, The Infinity Gauntlet. But while The Infinity Gauntlet is undoubtedly a source of inspiration for Avengers: Infinity War, the new trailer proves a number of other major Marvel comics will factor into the story of the film.
Here’s our rundown of the main comic book stories that Infinity War is drawing from.
The Infinity Gauntlet
While Avengers 3 is using 1992’s The Infinity War as its title, very little from that story is likely to make it into the movie. Instead, its predecessor The Infinity Gauntlet will be partially adapted. In this comic book arc, following the events of 1990’s Silver Surfer #34 and The Thanos Quest, The Mad Titan has collected all of the Infinity Stones. Written by Jim Starlin with art by George Perez and Ron Lim, 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet sees Thanos use his unprecedented power to impress the living embodiment of Death. Future comics would later flesh out this relationship, but The Infinity Gauntlet kicks off with the Silver Surfer crashing into Doctor Stranger’s Sanctum Sanctorum – an event Avengers: Infinity War will pay homage to – and warning of Thanos’ newly-acquired power.
Shortly afterwards, the Mad Titan decides to wipe out half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. This leads to the remaining heroes of Earth, including Adam Warlock, heading to Thanos and trying to stop him. Eventually, Nebula gains the Gauntlet and undoes everything before Warlock himself takes control of the Gauntlet, which leads into The Infinity War.
While the story of The Infinity War won’t have any real parallels in the MCU, given that characters like Warlock don’t even exist (yet), it’s clear so far that The Infinity Gauntlet won’t be that consequential either. Sure, there will be plenty of nods and homages and Nebula will likely play a role in defeating her father, but Thanos coming to Earth alone is a huge deviation from the source material. Instead, another Infinity Stone story looks to be the basis of much of Avengers: Infinity War.
Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity
For the full rundown on how Avengers: Infinity War will adapt Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity, check out our article breaking down the similarities. Suffice it to say that a number of major moments from the 2013 comic event will serve as jumping off points for next year’s film. For one, Thanos actually comes to Earth seeking the Infinity Stone, and oncd there he battles the combined forces of the planet. His goal, rather than impressing Death, is to find his long-lost son Thane. The former event is more likely to play into Avengers 3, but Thanos’ son could factor into the future of the MCU. The more crucial element of Infinity is that it introduces the Black Order and the Outriders.
Thanos’ top generals in the comics, 4 of the 5 members of the Black Order, will be remade as the Mad Titan’s adopted children in Avengers: Infinity War. We’ve already seen teases of each fighting the Avengers, with Black Dwarf’s invasion of Wakanda looking like it will be ripped straight from the page. Joining the warrior in that conflict are the alien Outriders, Thanos army that can be seen fighting Captain America and Black Panther in the trailer. Once the film arrives, we’ll likely see even more nods to Infinity, but it’s not the only contemporary comic that Avengers 3 will partially adapt.
Following the Skrull-centered Secret Invasion, Marvel’s next two events dealt heavily with the fallout of the event. Dark Reign and Siege both got very political and their aftermath led to 2010’s Secret Avengers by Ed Brubaker. The man responsible for Bucky Barnes resurrection as the Winter Soldier married the concept of a black ops team with an Avengers unit led by Steve Rogers. While Bucky served as Captain America, Steve gathered characters like Black Widow, Moon Knight, Valkyrie, and War Machine for off-the-books missions that the more visible branches of the Avengers couldn’t handle.
Over the next five years, the lineup would change while writers like Warren Ellis, Rick Remender, and Nick Spencer took over writing. The final version was the most surreal, bringing in a number of MCU heroes and featuring stories with MODOK, spirit quests, and all sorts of other bizarre shenanigans. The original iteration, however, is clearly the inspiration for Steve’s renegade heroes following the events of Captain America: Civil War. In fact, many of the heroes in that epic Cap-led run in Wakanda from the trailer have served time as Secret Avengers. And Steve’s new suit is a direct homage to the outfit he wore in Brubaker’s original book. We probably won’t get much with the team, but the film will likely kick off with them running covert missions. And with Phase 4 said to feature more grounded stories, it wouldn’t be surprising if a Secret Avengers film is in the works.
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