If you’ve just come out of the theater after seeing Avengers: Infinity War, you’re probably looking for some answers. You’re bereft, emotionally exhausted, confused. Maybe pumped for more, but if the reactions I’ve seen in theaters are any indication, most likely you’re ready to break something. ***Spoilers for the movie past this point***, but it ends on a massive cliffhanger (well, not if you’re Thanos) where half the sentient life in the universe has been turned into dust. You’re probably wondering, “what comic is Infinity War based on?” so the long wait until Avengers 4 can be tampered by knowing how it all turns out.
I’ve got some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that, Infinity War — like the rest of the MCU movies — does take some cues from comics. The bad news is that Infinity War — like the rest of the MCU movies — doesn’t even remotely follow the plan laid out in the books.
So if you’re looking forward to seeing a 2-D version of the promised Captain Marvel vs Thanos fight? Sorry. But if you do want to read some good comics, and see where some distinct visuals originated? Read on…
“The Infinity Gauntlet”
The grandaddy of cosmic Marvel comic books, Thanos is dispatched by the literal avatar of Death to destroy half the life in the universe. He does it, kicking off a fight with all the Marvel superheroes and a bunch of cosmic beings. But otherwise, the story by Jim Starlin, George Pérez and Ron Lim is very different.
There are a few touchstones:
– The conflict kicks off with the Silver Surfer crashing into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum, screaming that “Thanos is coming!” Silver Surfer is a Fantastic Four character, so technically still owned by Fox. Instead, in the movie you get to see Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in the same role.
– Nebula (played by Karen Gillan in the movie) is tortured at length by Thanos, though in the comic she’s turned into a desiccated living corpse.
– That scene of Drax (Dave Bautista) getting turned into cubes, and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) turned into ribbons? Straight out of the Avengers’ first assault on Thanos (with different characters in the book).
– Thanos kills Vision… Not for the Mind Stone, but just to be a total d–k. He rips out Vis’s innards. Another neat little Easter Egg? Vision turns grey after he’s killed in the movie, which is a shout-out to the pale, white Vision look of the ’90s.
– “The Snap.” Not just the latest dance craze, Thanos does, in fact, snap his fingers in order to make 50% of the universe’s population disappear. In the comics, everyone fades out, versus horrifically turning to dust.
– The final panel of the comic is roughly the same as the final shot of Infinity War. Thanos, alone on a planet, finally at peace. He smiles.
That aside, how about the way the conflict ends? There’s no way Infinity War 2 (or whatever it ends up being called) will have the exact same conclusion, but there is one key fact pushed throughout the “Infinity Gauntlet” comic: ultimately, Thanos always defeats himself.
Where can I get it? Good news! As of this writing, the entire series is $3.99 on comiXology.
Written by Jonathan Hickman, with art by Jim Cheung, Jerome Opeña, and Dustin Weaver, 2013’s “Infinity” is possibly even more important to the overall arc of Infinity War than “The Infinity Gauntlet.”
In the book, Hickman introduces The Black Order — Thanos’s lieutenants in the movie. You also get the template for Ebony Maw’s attack on Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and the battle for Wakanda.
There’s also a bunch of stuff that will most likely never be touched on about the real creators of the Marvel Universe. And “Infinity” has nothing to do with the Infinity Stones. But it’s a good read, and you should check it out. It’s also a good place to get a tease on what might happen when Captain Marvel takes on The Mad Titan.
Where can I get it? Seems like it’s only available on comiXology as part of their Unlimited bundle. Or you can get a paperback on Amazon for under $20.
In conclusion: if you’re asking “what comic is Infinity War based on?” the answer, surprisingly, isn’t “Infinity War.” But at the very least you’ve got some good series to check out in the long wait between now, and next May.
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