"Fine, I'll do it myself."
Thanos might talk a tough game, but when it comes down to it even universe-conquering sadistic purple-y megalomaniacs need a little help from their friends-- especially since it turns out that he's packing a whole lot more than just some fancy looking glove during his raid against Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War.
Sure Thanos has been wiping out universes as El Solo Lobo for most of his comic career, but now he's formed his own supergroup of cosmic assassins to amp up the horrors. So if you were looking for a good excuse to run and hide, the Black Order is it.
More than likely you've never heard of them until very recently, and with good reason. The Black Order are relative newcomers to the Marvel game.
However, don't mistake their short-livedness for weakness, because they will annihilate all that you hold dear with nothing but the utmost pleasure.
One part Sith Lord, one part Nazgûl, and every part terrifying, imagine your worst nightmares' nightmares come to life and then destroyed by their own worst nightmares-- that's who the Black Order are.
They are the dream team of villainery. No other group has unleashed more savagery, violence, and pain than these alien assassins. This is quite the impressive feat when you consider that they've only been around for five years.
So while there might not be a long history to catch up on, it's certainly an important one if you want to understand who these "Children of Thanos" truly are and have some basic knowledge before or after seeing Avengers: Infinity War. So let's get to it.
Here are the 20 Things Only True Fans Know About The Black Order.
20 They Are Thanos' Intergalactic Military Generals
Apparently, Thanos had been seeing what Apocalypse and Galactus were up to and realized that doing your own bidding was for schmucks, so he went out and got his own rag tag band of heralds together to do it for him.
The plucked some of the worst of the worst that the universe had to offer for his own personal super villain team.
This original Black Order lineup included Corvus Glaive, the Ebony Maw, Black Dwarf, Supergiant, and Proxima Midnight. As far as elite overpowered cosmic squads go, they are the worst.
Their main purpose while in the service of Thanos was to lead his military campaigns in obtaining universal domination.
Acting as generals to his expansive armies, the members of the Black Order would be sent out across the galaxy to find new worlds to conquer, preemptively raze their lands, and then force those left surviving to honor the Mad Titan so he could role up like a boss and reap the glories.
To make the squadron all the more ominous, they are referred to as Dreadlords. This is a very cool title to hold and basically means that the Black Order are a team of Sith Lords, only more dreadful-- and ugly.
19 They Are Actually Called the Cull Obsidian
When he first formed them, Thanos aptly named his new super-villain squadron the Cull Obsidian, which roughly translates to "Midnight Slaughter." This is definitely a fitting name considering their rap sheet.
Take for instance what happened on the planet Ahl-Agullo. Despite the Cull Obsidian having already successfully conquered the planet and razed it to ash, trimming their population from sixty milion to one thousand, Corvus Glaive returned on behalf of Thanos after word got out that they were rebuilding.
For allowing Ahl-Agullo to continue its resurgence, Thanos wanted a tribute and so sent Glaive to collect.
After announcing his presence by displaying the dismembered arm of the King's slain son, Glaive declares that he requires but a pittance showing their devotion to the Mad Titan. When he returns to his master, Glaive delivers the "pittance" -- a chest full of heads.
This is our first real introduction to the Cull Obsidian and it sets the tone for every brutal thing they do afterwards.
However, despite living entirely up to their given name as the Midnight Slaughter, Corvus Glaive revealed that they privately prefer to call themselves the Black Order.
Why? Because as a group they feel it sounds less foreboding. It turns out even violent space monsters care what others think of them. Though anyway you say it, they are still terrible.
18 They Are Very New to the Marvel Universe
Unlike most comic characters, the Black Order are relative new comers to the Marvel Universe. This is why most people will have probably never head of them prior to watching Infinity War.
It also makes it a lot easier to unpack their history and better understand their newfound role in the MCU.
Behind-the-scenes ,the Black Order was collectively created by Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, and Jerome Opeña to act as villains during Infinity -- a major 2013 crossover storyline involving the Mad Titan's siege of Earth.
The first of the team to appear was Corvus Glaive in a prologue to the main story contained within the Infinity Free Comic Book Day Special.
A few months later, the rest of the team showed up in separate panels kicking off the invasion of Earth at the end of New Avenger's #8. Finally, they made their first official full appearance together as the Black Order in Infinity #1.
Despite their recent creation, the Black Order has made the most of their limited appearances, taking part in several arcs beyond Infinity, both as a team and individually.
However, it's not clear whether they were ever intended to have a lasting place in the Marvel Universe beyond these recent instances. Be that if it may, with their appearance in Infinity War, you can be rest assured we will be seeing a lot more of the Black Order in issues to come.
17 They Are Not the Children of Thanos (in the Comics)
Thanos is all about adopting kids and then torturing them endlessly in a twisted attempt to groom them in his own sinister image.
This familial give-and-take probably all stems back to his upbringing when he was born abnormally purple. It also probably has a lot to do with his mother trying to take his life when he was a baby.
Eventually, he took his mother's life instead and went on to become the universal tyrant he is today, building a new family of his own making along the way.
In the MCU, thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy, we have already met two of his adopted kin in Gamora and Nebula. However, the buck doesn't stop there.
When the Black Order was first debuted in promotional marketing for Infinity War, they were unveiled as "The Children of Thanos."
This comes in stark contrast to their appearance in the comics, where they are never referred to as such.
Nor are they in any way related to or adopted by the Mad Titan (save for maybe Supergiant). It's just another sign of how far the movie has deviated from the source material.
Also, in case you were wondering, Thanos actually does have one biological kid in the comics.
16 Corvus Glaive is Their Leader
Corvus Glaive is the defacto leader of the Black Order and Thanos' right-hand monster. Deathlord Glaive gained favor with the Mad Titan after betraying his own to people to share in the latter's power hungry pursuits and never looked back.
Known by those unfortunate enough to have met him as the "the Merciless," Corvus is as brutal as they come.
Enhanced with super-strength and speed, Corvus is capable of taking down both Wolverine and the Hulk with ease.
His fighting ability and strategic mind is matched only by his sick sense of humor, which routinely exhibits over his total disregard for life. (As seen in the aforementioned tribute of Ahl-Agullo.)
However, what truly makes him uniquely terrifying is the namesake glaive that he wields. (Glaive being a fancy word for "sword on a pole.") Able to cut atoms with it, Corvus Glaive has used his blade to slice entire word populations in half with dangerous precision.
As an added bonus, the weapon has the distinction of making him immortal, so long as it remains unbroken.
The blade somehow houses Corvus’ life essence within itself and thus can revive the demon-like villain. He has been cut down and returned from on several occasions.
15 Proxima Midnight is Their Most Dangerous Member
The awesomely named Proxima Midnight is not only the wife of Corvus Glaive (if you ask us he got the betted end of the deal), but she is also just as ruthless.
What truly sets her apart from the rest is the spear she wields, which was forged for her personally by Thanos from a sun trapped in a distorted space-time, combining the power of supernova and black hole acting all at once.
When thrown, the weapon never misses its target. It is capable of being used as a regular ole pointy spear or turned into a net of toxic energy beams that lands with the weight of an actual star.
Capable of immobilizing anyone or thing that she desires, the toxin of Proxima's uber-lance has the added distinction of destroying pretty much everything it comes into contact with, including energy (whatever that means).
Most famously, her spear pinned down the Hulk despite his virtually limitless strength.
Like the others members of the original Black Order, Proxima Midnight's time on the team has had its ups and downs, coming to a head when Hela destroyed her using her own spear during The Unworthy Thor #5. She has since been revived, however.
14 Ebony Maw is Their Most Insidious Member
While all the other members of the Black Order are brawlers, Ebony Maw prefers a less hands-on, more traumatizing approach to destroying his enemies.
As the most insidious member of the group and arguably its most dangerous, Maw serves Thanos (and often his own needs) using the greatest weapon of all -- whispering.
Despite being a skilled martial artist and able to teleport on command, Ebony's true talents lie in his supernatural abilities of persuasion. Using nothing more than a few well spoken words, he is able to take hold of even the most fortuitous of minds and make them do whatever he pleases.
Most famously, Maw mind-tortured Doctor Strange in Mighty Avengers #2 (an episode that plays out similarly on the big screen in Infinity War).
Maw's sly tongue agonizingly forces the Sorcerer Supreme into revealing the location of the Infinity Stones, as well as summoning an inter-dimensional space squid.
When all whispering was said and done, Strange was turned into a double-agent and was sent out to aid in Ebony's further nefarious schemes.
As a cunning strategist, Ebony Maw is notably motivated primarily by his own desires rather than any outlying loyalties to the Black Order. In fact, he pretty much betrays everyone he comes into contact with, including Thanos.
13 Black Dwarf Isn't As Impressive As He Appears
As the Hulk of the Black Order and brother of Corvus Glaive, Black Dwarf might be the most physically imposing member of the original lineup, but he is also its most mediocre.
Containing super-human strength and density, Dwarf is a veritable powerhouse with unbreakable skin. Armed with a double-bladed battle ax, he should for all intents and purposes be the greatest threat.
Yet, what he has in brawn and durability, he lacks completely in fighting ability and competence, proving once again that size doesn't matter.
During 2013's Infinity storyline in the comics, Thanos sets his sights on conquering Earth and sends the Black Order there to lay siege to the planet.
Each member is sent to a different locale to subdue a key threat that might stand in their way.
However, while his fellow alien assassins were off handedly defeating the rest of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Black Dwarf got his horns handed to him by the Black Panther in a raid on Wakanda.
Thanos is so embarrassed by Black Dwarf's defeat and subsequent retreat that he promptly boots the bruiser from the Black Order.
When Dwarf is given a second chance to prove himself in a battle against the Avengers, Ronan the Accuser proves the monster's skin wasn't all that unbreakable after all and fatally smashes him with the super-charged Universal Weapon.
12 Supergiant is Their Craziest Member, But Does Not Appear in the Movie
We arrive at Supergiant, the fifth member of the Black Order and their most powerful. She is best described as a highly unstable omnipathic mental parasite and telepathic vampire, who can control, steal, and devour the mind of anyone she pleases.
She can possess her victims, making them subservient to her command.
Also, as well as being psionic, she can phase through nearly all matter and is immune to nearly all forms of physical damage.
As a child, she was found by Thanos in a space orphanage housing mentally unstable children. Obviously just the type of kin the Mad Titan would adopt, he brought her on Team Thanos and put her to work seeking out and destroying his other children as a member of the Black Order.
During their siege of Earth, Supergiant played a role in defeating the X-Men and set about blowing up the planet (along with Thanos' son who lived there).
Ultimately, she was felled by the Inhuman's pet bulldog and teleported into space along with a payload of mega-bombs, before being blown to smithereens.
Unlike the rest of the original core Black Orders members, Supergiant does not appear in Infinity War. This makes sense considering her ridiculous (and ridiculously nonsensical) power set.
11 Black Dwarf's Name Was Changed to Cull Obsidian for the Movie
Despite being a pretty bad world-conquering herald all around, Black Dwarf has still managed to find his way onto the big screen as a member of Thanos' Black Order in Infinity War. (Credit the appearance entirely to his being an OG Deathlord and not on his less than stellar résumé from the comics.)
While he appears to be just as massively powerful this time around, he looks less like a cosmic demonic berserker on steroids and more like an anthropomorphic dinosaur ripped straight out of Dinosaucers. (Anyone who grew up watching cartoons in the '80s, you know what we are talking about.) Of course, when was a talking space dinosaur ever a bad thing?
However, that is not the only distinctive difference between between Black Dwarf's film persona and his counterpart on the page.
For what we hope is obvious reasons, the filmmakers wisely decided to change the characters name from the less than politically correct Black Dwarf to Cull Obsidian.
Though apparently they didn't dig too deep into the creative pool to come up with that one, since it's the very name that Thanos used to originally refer to the Black Order in the comics.
10 They've Dominated Many of Earth's Mightiest Heroes
So you might be wondering what's so great about the Black Order. Sure they work for Thanos, have some crazy powers, and can give Marvel's greatest heroes a run for their money, but what villain can't these days?
What makes them stand out from the rest is how formidable they were in their initial siege of Earth.
Corvus Glaive nearly decapitated Hulk. Proximity Midnight held Hulk down with her spear and with a single blow reverted him back to Bruce Banner.
Supergiant took over the mind of Black Bolt and used his super sonic abilities to defeat the Illuminati. Corvus and Supergiant easily overpowered all of the X-Men at the same time. Also, of course we've already mentioned the utter humiliation of Doctor Strange by Ebony Maw.
Then there's the razing of Wakanda. Throughout history, the Golden City has withstood all forms attack from the greatest of superpowers, dating all the way back to Alexander and Napoleon. In fact, T'Challa's homeland had never fallen once until the Black Order invaded Earth.
While Black Panther was able to successfully hold back their first incursion, that was due entirely to Black Dwarf's incompetence.
Because when the rest of the team makes a second attack with Corvus commanding an army of kamikaze troops to open the city's walls and Proxima sweeping through to finish the job, which later results in her taking out Black Panther's sister, Shuri, the impossible happens and Wakanda falls.
9 They Command an Army Known as the Outriders
You can't have a group of war generals without an army for them to lead. For the Black Order, that army is the Outriders.
These genetically engineered parasite-assassins were created by Thanos to seek out new worlds to conquer and then act as the ground troops in the Black Order's subsequent raid.
Think of them as the winged Parademons from DC, only minus the wings, a lot more versatile, and now part of a far more successful franchise.
As scout, spy, and soldier all in one, the Outriders were first introduced alongside the Black Order in Infinity.
Thanks to their ability to phase through objects and probe the minds of targets, upon finding a suitable planet for conquest, an Outrider would sneak in and suck out intel about the civilization from their residents as they slept. This essentially makes them the bed bugs of the MCU.
While the Outriders are just one platoon of the many alien troops that the Black Order would employ in the their invasions, these four-armed monsters are easily the most useful.
Each are genetically bred to serve a singular purpose. When they successfully complete their intended mission they are rewarded by being eliminated, which they accept all too gladly.
8 They Were Formed to Locate and Kill Thanos' Son
Thanos' siege of Earth during Infinity was largely driven by two goals: obtaining the Infinity Gems, which had been dispersed between the Illuminati, and destroying Earth. Or at least that's what he wanted everyone to think.
However, these were just fronts for his true motivation -- taking out his biological son. The Black Order was formed to help him achieve this goal.
Thanos' son was the by-product of the Mad Titan's coupling with an unknown Inhuman woman who disappeared into obscurity while still pregnant.
Concerned that the child might one day usurp him, Thanos initiated a universe-wide manhunt with the Black Order overseeing sacrifices everywhere they went.
Prior to their invasion of Earth, Thanos and his Black Order had conquered thousands of other planets in that pursuit, disguising his efforts as a new mission of galactic conquest.
With each successful razing, Corvus Glaive would roll into town and demand a "pittance" of a tribute to honor Thanos -- the heads of all between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two (the presumed age of his boy).
Despite all the destruction that resulted, all along Thanos was concerned with only one very specific head. Everything else that followed was a minor casualty of the cause.
7 Ebony Maw Saved the Life of Thanos' Son and Destroyed the Black Order
The search for the son of Thanos, the very reason for their existence, ironically eventually proved to be the undoing of the Black Order.
The universal manhunt that saw the destruction of so many finally came to an end when Doctor Strange found the boy (whose name was Thane) hiding out in Greenland.
However, Strange was still unknowingly under the control of Ebony Maw and ended up giving the location of the boy to the villain.
Instead of passing along the valuable intel to Thanos, though, Maw betrayed his master.
Maw turned Thane against the father that sought to claim his life by unleashing the boy's latent InHuman genes.
Thane's left hand contained the "Death Touch" that could change the very economics of existence and his right possessed the ability to project an amber construct that left all those trapped by it in a state of "living death."
It was with this second power that Thane was able to defeat Thanos along with the other members of the Black Order, and put an end to the invasion of Earth. He did this by trapping them in an amber prison.
Following Infinity, Maw tutored Thane as they made their across the galaxy, with Thane eventually growing to be as dangerous as his father.
6 After Trying to Destroy the Planet, They Helped Save It
The next big crossover event following Infinity came in 2015 during the Secret Wars.
In a rather confusing mess of a plot line, parallel universes start colliding with one another, wiping each other from existence.
The Illuminati attempt to save Earth-616 from a similar fate but when they fail as a result of their morality (because destroying another planet seems wrong no matter what universe its from), Namor makes the judgement call to free Thanos, Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive from their amber prisons to do what they do best
Together, the former remnants of the Black Order form the Cabal, and were joined by Terrax, Maximus the Mad, and Black Swan. Not soon after they get to work, hopping across dimensions and gleefully destroying at least 14 parallel worlds threatening Earth-616 with a reckless abandon.
This was actually the third incarnation of the Cabal. The first iteration was originally formed by Loki in Acts of Vengeance and consisted of Red Skull, Doctor Doom, and Magneto, among others.
However, those past versions came nowhere close to the level of destruction of the one headed by the Mad Titan and his loyal generals.
Ultimately, their reign of terror became too much to bear and Namor enlisted the help of the other Illuminati to put an end to their wholesale destruction.
5 Corvus Glaive Formed His Own Black Order
After the end of both Secret Wars and the Cabal, Thanos went missing. Seizing the window of opportunity, Corvus Glaive formed a Back Order all his own, comprised of the worst criminals the universe had to offer including a mythical trio of witches known as the Coven.
Corvus set up shop in Thanos' Black Quadrant and led his newly created squad in taking over the Mad Titan's galactic kingdom.
Though short lived, Glaive's Black Order still did plenty of damage worthy of their namesake, picking up pretty much where they had left off conquering world after world.
Notably during that time, Glaive was able to capture Ebony Maw and Thane, and set about torturing them for their betrayal during Infinity.
Though true to his form, Maw ended up betraying Thane and abandoning him to his captors. (Tellingly, Ebony is the only original Black Order member to never have been destroyed... yet.)
Speaking of Black Order member's getting decimated, when Thanos finally did return from sabbatical, he was none too pleased to see what his former general had gotten up to.
If he was willing to destroy an entire galaxy's worth of children to prevent his one son from usurping him, you better believe that Thanos was not about to cede power to a former employee.
With that, the Mad Titan made quick work of Corvus, destroying the blade that gave him immortality, and rather than face the full wrath of his former master, Corvus destroyed himself with a shattered remnant of his own sword.
4 There Have Been Two Separate Black Orders Under Thanos' Rule
After Thanos reclaimed his throne in the Black Quadrant, Corvus’ Black Order wisely decided to serve the Mad Titan.
This very short lived Black Order 2.0 primarily consisted of Proximity Midnight and Black Swan and, like their predecessor, had a very specific purpose to perform for Thanos. Namely, the quest for Mjolnir-- specifically a Mjolnir from an alternate dimension that had found its way to their.
It all went down in The Unworthy Thor when a mysterious cloaked figure appeared and offered their service to Thanos in obtaining the hammer.
To ensure everything went according to plan, Thanos dispatched Proxima and Black Swan to join the mysterious figure in traveling the Collector's ship where the hammer was being held.
The trio end up running into Thor Odinson and Beta Ray Bill, and ultimately fail to retrieve Mjolnir.
Returning to their master empty handed, the last two members of the Black Order beg for Thanos' mercy. He benevolently grants it, proclaiming that he didn't really want the hammer anyway and pretty much rendering the entire five issue series a complete waste of time.
However, before any of that can sink in, the cloaked figure reveals herself in dramatic fashion to be none other than Hela, and promptly destroyed both Black Swan and Proximity Black as tribute to the Mad Titan.
Then she makes out with him for good measure.
3 Black Swan is the Newest Member
Since we've covered every other member of the Black Order, we would be remiss not to mention Black Swan. Though not a member of the original team that lay siege to Earth in Infinity, she is still a card carrying member thanks to her brief tenure with Thanos' second Black Order.
Her real names is Princess Yabbat Ummon Turru and she hails from Earth-1365, sent to Earth-616 to destroy the planet as it was it about to collide with her own.
It was this event that tipped off the Illuminati about the true nature of the colliding universes (during Secret Wars), which led to the subsequent formation of the Cabal.
Equipped with telepathy, super-strength, and destructive energy blasts, Black Swan is a formidable fighter capable of razing a world all her own.
This made her a perfect pick when forming the Cabal, of which she had no trouble joining alongside the ranks of Corvus Glaive and Thanos. She was particularly helpful in their inter-deimnsional reign of terror, as she could somehow detect when one alternate universe's planet was about to collide with another.
After a brief stint as a servant to Doctor Doom (under the guise of Rabum Alal), Black Swan was eventually enlisted by Thanos to join his new Black Order, where she remained until getting blasted away by Hela.
2 They've Appeared Outside the Comics Before
The Black Order's appearance in Infinity War won' be the first time the Midnight Slaughter have made the leap from the page to the screen.
In 2015, all five original members appeared in the episodes "New Frontiers" and "Avengers World" of the animated series Avengers Assemble.
During the show's second season finale, the Deathlords free Thanos from prison and battle it out against Earth's Mightiest Heroes only to be foiled in the end and placed in the custody of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Not surprisingly, they next appeared in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series in several episodes getting their butts kicked by Titus, getting their butts kicked by Rocket Racoon, and getting their butts kicked by the entire team collectively, respectively.
As you can tell, the animated versions of the Black Order are no where close to as powerful as their comic counterparts.
Anyone interested in seeing if they can fare better as a member of the Black Order can try playing the characters in Marvel: Future Fight for iOS and Android.
This follows 2013's Marvel: Avengers Alliance which was playable on Facebook but has since been shut-down. Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive are also playable in the fighting game Marvel: Contest of Champions for iOs and Android.
1 They All Have Been Brought Back From the Dead
As we've seen, anyone whose ever been a part of the Black Order (save for Ebony Maw) has been destroyed at one time or another. Or, in the case of Corvus Glaive, multiple times.
However, they all got a second chance at being awful during the Challenger's Contest starting in 2017's Avengers #681.
The Challenger was once one of the Elder's of the Universe and the original Grandmaster. However, he was supplanted in that role by fellow Elder En Dwi Gast (aka Jeff Goldblum) after losing "the greatest game of all"and barred from existence until the end of reality.
That was until he returned for a rematch. This time around he employed the Black Order as his pawns, bringing all five of its deceased members back from the dead (including Black Swan) and plucking Maw out of whatever corner of space he was hiding.
Pitted up against, En Dwi Gast's similarly super-villainous squad, the Lethal Legion, the two teams competed against one another on Earth in a race to see who could obtain the most Pyramoids (aka McGuffin Triangles), which had been hidden in different locations around the planet.
During the contest the Avengers annoyingly intervened, preventing either side from winning.
Though we guess the Black Order came out on top since they made it out alive to terrorize another day.
What say you? Is the Black Order the most savage team in the history of comics? Let us know in the comments!