The crowning glory of Phases 1-3 of the MCU, Avengers: Infinity War is set to bring Earth's Mightiest Heroes (and probably the Guardians of the Galaxy too) into battle with the Mad Titan, Thanos! Although the title of the film is Infinity War, fans have long believed that the arc will actually adapt the classic Infinity Gauntlet miniseries — a view that's just been corroborated by one of Marvel Studios's bosses!
With this nod to the popular fan theory, now seems to be the perfect time to take a look at the Infinity Gauntlet arc — and see just what a threat Thanos poses to the MCU...
The Infinity Gauntlet Miniseries
The Infinity Gauntlet miniseries was perhaps one of the most powerful comics of all time, with Jim Starlin penning a surreal adventure in which all of reality fell under the sway of Thanos. The story kicked off with Thanos already in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet itself, and burning with desire to earn the affection of his mistress Death. To give an immediate sense of scale, Starlin's narrator was a defeated Silver Surfer, who fled to Earth for help. Before the first issue was over, Thanos had used his incalculable power to literally eradicate half the life in the universe.
In the comic, the Avengers only learned of the crisis when half the people on Earth literally disappeared. They were spread thin, struggling to deal with the horror, as airplane pilots disappeared, families lost their children and parents, and even Avengers were plucked out of existence. Fortunately, the consciousness of Adam Warlock reached out to Doctor Strange, and soon the world's heroes were assembling under Warlock's lead. Unfortunately, they were too late to stop many tragedies: the second issue saw the Japanese Islands crumble beneath the Pacific, and the West Coast of the USA subside. A devastating tsunami swept across the East Coast, with incalculable loss of life. So great was the force of Thanos's rage that the Earth itself was knocked from its axis! Still, Warlock stood strong, confident in his plan — even as he sent the world's heroes to their deaths in battle against Thanos.
In all of Marvel history, there's never been an arc that more amply demonstrated the wonder of the Avengers. Perhaps the greatest moment in the whole miniseries is in the third issue, with Captain America confronting Thanos. His allies are defeated and dead, and Cap stands alone. But still he stands, assuring Thanos that so long as one opponent remains, he has not yet won. By issue five, even the cosmic avatars such as Eternity had been defeated; but Nebula managed to take the Infinity Gauntlet. Unfortunately, her mind was crumbling after months of torture at Thanos's hands, and things just went from bad to worse!
Let's be clear; Infinity War will surely heavily adapt this, just as #CaptainAmericaCivilWar did for the original "Civil War" event. With some of the Infinity Stones held by heroes (for example, we learned in #DoctorStrange that the Time Stone is in Kamar-Taj) we're likely to see Thanos take the Stones by force. Likewise, we don't yet know how comic-book-accurate Thanos's motivations will be; in an earlier post I suggested that Cate Blanchett's Hela, to be introduced in #ThorRagnarok, would take on the role of the avatar of Death. That would allow Thanos to be rendered in a remarkably comic-book-accurate way!
Perhaps the most intriguing question of all, though, is whether or not Adam Warlock — so crucial to the Infinity Gauntlet arc — will appear. We know that #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2 is set to introduce the character of Ayesha, played by Elizabeth Debicki. Although far less well-known, Ayesha's backstory is tied to the very origin of Adam Warlock, so there seems to be a good chance that Warlock will make his MCU debut soon.
So Why Is This Called Infinity War?
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There is indeed another miniseries — a sequel — that bears the title Infinity War. The problem with adapting this arc, though, is that it depends entirely on the events of the Infinity Gauntlet comic! It's true that this arc could be adapted as a cosmic sequel, but few aspects of the plot gel effectively with the MCU as it stands.
The reality is that Marvel is very, very good at marketing. As far back as 1984's Secret Wars miniseries, Marvel's marketing experts had identified that a title like 'War' had tremendous value; the word carries a sense of urgency and conflict. That's why other events have included titles like "War of Kings", "Civil War", and "Doomwar". In exactly the same way, Marvel has chosen to use the word 'War' rather than 'Gauntlet'. That changes the focus, from an object wielded by Thanos to the battle against the Mad Titan himself. It makes the plot and the conflict more important than the object.
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Infinity War promises to be the most remarkable movie Marvel has made to date; if the movie gives Thanos even a fraction of the power he wielded in the Infinity Gauntlet arc, the CGI and special effects teams are really going to have their work cut out for them! Fans are awaiting Infinity War with an incredible sense of anticipation, looking forward to seeing some of their favorite scenes lovingly rendered on the big screen. This has the potential to be a true cinematic classic, and I for one can hardly wait!
Do you expect 'Avengers: Infinity War' to be based mostly on 'Infinity Gauntlet'?
Poll Image: Marvel Comics