Captain America's Team is Traveling the Globe
Don't expect any Captain America cameos in Black Panther. Steve Rogers may have abandoned the Captain America identity, but he's certainly not given up being a superhero. Cap has been joined by Black Widow and Falcon as an international strike-team, continuing to patrol the world and act against threats. The comic shows the trio working against a terrorist group in Syria. Intriguingly, the terrorists believe that their Chitauri-powered weapons have been secretly provided by the US Government. That kind of discovery would certainly shake Steve Rogers's belief in America, giving another angle to his "Nomad" identity.
Vision and Wanda are Meeting Together in Secret
It looks as though both the Scarlet Witch and the Vision have tried to put superheroism behind them. Wanda tells Steve Rogers that she has to meet up with "an old friend" and a single panel shows her walking arm-in-arm with the Vision. It looks as though the Vision has learned to generate a holographic disguise, as he seems to look like a normal human - albeit with an occasional shimmering gemstone visible in his forehead.
This is one of the most fascinating teases, as it suggests the Avengers really have fallen apart. Vision remained at Tony Stark's side for a while, and was even in the Avengers Compound during the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming. That evidently didn't last, and even the Vision has left Tony Stark's side.
Tony Stark is Preparing to Battle Thanos Alone
The Prelude issue closes with Tony Stark alone. He knows a threat is coming, and he believes it's more terrible than anything the Avengers have faced before. Yes, he knows that he can call Steve Rogers for help, but he fears that won't be enough. Stark's efforts to gather a new team of Avengers have failed. The Vision is gone, and Spider-Man turned down the offer of joining up.
In Stark's view, everything he's done of late has simply been a distraction. He has to prepare for "the end of all things" - and he has to do it alone. The final panel sees Stark project a holographic image of his new armor; he clearly intends this to be the most powerful yet. Fans believe this to be the "Prime Armor" from the comics, a nanotech outfit that can be used to morph into any shape - even to take the form of the new Hulkbuster unit. Hopefully the second issue will give us a sense of the suit's MCU capabilities.
Hawkeye has Retired - Again
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers were shocked to learn that Hawkeye is actually a family man. Civil War later revealed that Hawkeye retired from his superhero duties to live with his family. Perhaps unwisely, when Cap asked for help, Clint Barton answered. It all went badly wrong for the Avengers' favorite archer, though, with Hawkeye winding up imprisoned on the Raft.
Intriguingly, the Prelude comic reveals that Hawkeye has been able to return to his family. It may mean that the Avengers have kept his secret, and that the world doesn't know about the Barton's. Alternatively, it may mean that - like Ant-Man - he's under a form of house-arrest, closely supervised. The comic explores this in a single panel, so it's hard to say, but this does mean he'll be coming back for "one last job". Good luck.
The first issue of the Infinity War Prelude comic is a tremendous read. It's an important part of the build-up to the movie event of the year, and gives fans a real sense of what to expect in the film. It looks as though the Avengers really have fallen apart, and that Stark believes he is the only one left who can save the world. But Iron Man is wrong. Against the threat of Thanos, even the Armored Avenger won't be enough.
The issue ends teasing the next issue will focus on "The Cosmic Threat From Above", so expect Guardians, Thor... and the Mad Titan himself.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019