The full trailer for Avengers: Infinity War focuses in on Thanos, the Mad Titan himself. Rightly so; he's a villain fans have been eagerly anticipating since 2012's The Avengers. But Thanos isn't alone; the trailer gave fans their first real glimpse of his servants, the Black Order, a group of characters who are lifted straight from the comics. It looks as though Thanos and the Black Order will introduce themselves by cutting a swathe through the surviving Asgardians, until Loki is brought before Thanos to present the Tesseract.
The MCU has reinvented the Black Order as the "children" of Thanos, beings whose worlds Thanos has leveled, and who he has claimed as his own. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gave a sense of just what it's like to be brought up by Thanos; Gamora and Nebula reflected on a harsh, brutal childhood in which they'd been forced to compete against one another. The Black Order may be villains, but in truth they're also Thanos's victims, just as much as Gamora and Nebula.
But, because fans are focused in on Thanos himself, they're not actually asking some crucial questions; what role do the Black Order have in Infinity War? The Black Order clearly serve Thanos, but do they do so loyally? Or is it possible that they have their own reasons for being on Earth, their own plans, and their own character arcs?
This Page: A Plot Lifted Straight From the Comics
A Plot Lifted Straight From The Comics
With the Infinity Stones in play, most fans have assumed Infinity War is inspired by Jim Starlin's classic Infinity Gauntlet series. That doesn't seem to be the case; in fact, far more elements seem to be lifted from Jonathan Hickman's 2013 Infinity event. That, after all, was the event that introduced the Black Order. It saw Thanos invade Earth in pursuit of a prize (in this case his son), and ultimately be drawn to Wakanda for battle. Even the recent revelation that the film is partly set on Thanos's homeworld, Titan, fits with Infinity; that saw Thanos stage his invasion from Titan, and the Avengers had to reclaim Titan before they could finally defeat Thanos's forces on Earth.
That raises some important questions about one member of the Black Order: Ebony Maw. Like the rest of the Black Order, Ebony Maw was created by Jonathan Hickman as part of the Infinity event. He's no fighter; rather, Ebony Maw is a thinker, a genius strategist who delights in outmaneuvering his opponents. This dangerous being excels at getting into his enemies' minds, and his words can coax his foes into doing his will. In Infinity, he took control of Doctor Strange - and successfully manipulated him into tearing apart the barriers between dimensions. We've already seen a few hints that the movie will reproduce a few moments from Infinity, suggesting Ebony Maw will plague Strange in a similar way to the comics.
Crucially, though, it's important to note that Ebony Maw was not loyal to Thanos. Thanos even knew it; he described Ebony Maw as an "irritant," but one he had learned to value. On Earth, Ebony Maw's agenda clashed with Thanos's own; he sought Thanos's objective, his son Thane, for his own purposes. "I want what Thanos wants," the one Thanos called the Whisperer told Strange. When Thane's powers finally manifested, it was Ebony Maw who found him. It was Ebony Maw who manipulated events to his favor - and to Thanos's cost.
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