7 Comics to Read Before Seeing Avengers: Infinity War
Are you one of the millions of people who bought tickets for Avengers: Infinity War as fast as possible, leading it to beat pre-ticket sales of the past seven MCU films combined? Or maybe you're one of the ones who watched the trailer so much that it became the most watched trailer on YouTube? Or maybe you're both! Either way, there is a ridiculous amount of excitement for Infinity War right now, but if you're looking to get even more pumped, there are plenty of comic books to get you there.
Just about every major superhero movie is based on a comic book storyline, and while Marvel tends to only use the bare logline for its movie adaptations, the comics can still provide insight into what to expect. The elements of a few books can be found in Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Infinity War, while others provide a nice coloring to help you better understand the scope. Here are seven comics with almost the exact same name to help prepare for Infinity War.
The Infinity Gauntlet
This is THE Thanos comic. The Infinity Gauntlet is the chief inspiration for Infinity War but two don't share much in common other than the Infinity Stones at the center of the conflict. Written by Jim Starlin with seriously epic art by George Pérez and Ron Lim, the story opens with Thanos already possessing a full-powered Infinity Gauntlet. He wastes little time showing off his limitless power, turning the death of billions into a cosmic love letter to Death. Adam Warlock assembles every hero left to take down Thanos, plus the most powerful cosmic beings in existence. The story is dated by the characters it uses (Vision was entirely white and Drax is near unrecognizable in every way), but it's no less magnificent for it. There's such a sense of scale, and while it will likely be confusing to people whom only read this book (Starlin built up to Gauntlet with prequel stories), it's still well worth a read.
This is the most recent storyline on this list, and it's actually still ongoing at the time of this writing. Written by Donny Cates, "Thanos Wins" is a storyline in the current Thanos comic series. The plot follows Thanos, who is brought to a future where he has killed almost every living creature in the universe and his future self rules as king. This King Thanos recruits his past self to help kill the last living being in one final attempt to win over Death. Cates paints Thanos in a grandiose light, a monster who literally gets off on seeing a montage of all the heinous things he's done in his lifetime. Thanos is the end of all things and this comic sells that. To put it simply, this story is METAL. King Thanos sits on a throne made of Galactus' skull. His right-hand man is a cosmic powered Ghost Rider. If you want to get a sense of what a bad dude Thanos is, then read this story.
The Thanos Imperative
The final entry of Marvel's epic series of cosmic events stories, The Thanos Imperative forces Thanos to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in order to combat the "Cancerverse," a twisted dimension filled with monsters and evil versions of the Avengers. This story gives Thanos a bit more shades of grey, but he ultimately proves his true colors by the end, forcing two heroes to sacrifice themselves to stop him. I personally have the theory that elements of this will serve as inspiration for Avengers 4, but don't read this book because of my crackpot theory; read it because it's a high stake cosmic tale from a period when Marvel was really good at those.
Infinity looks like it's probably the second most influential comic for Infinity War. While the movie will likely not adapt any of the story material (the Avengers go off to face world-destroying space people while Thanos invades Earth looking for his long-lost son) several characters introduced in the comic will appear. The Black Order, Thanos' elite generals with badass names like Proxima Midnight, made their debut in Infinity and they've left quite the impression ever since. Additionally, the psychic parasite-assassins called Outriders first appeared in Infinity and it looks like they've been retrofitted slightly to be Thanos' new alien army.
Just who is the purple giant trying to conquer the universe? Thanos Rising tells the story of Thanos' origins, starting at the very moment he was born and following him into his adult years. The origin story explains why Thanos is so obsessed with killing, and how he came to fall in love with Death, who in the Marvel Universe, is a real person. Writer Jason Aaron has a real flair for cosmic stories, which has been proven time and time again during his long-running Thor series. There's a reason that Thanos is called the Mad Titan, and Aaron takes a psychological approach to explain the mind of the most murderous being in the universe.
The Infinity War
The comic upon which Infinity War gets his name, the 6-issue storyline will likely have nothing to do with the blockbuster arriving in just a week. However, The Infinity War is Jim Starlin's sequel to The Infinity Gauntlet, so it's worth checking out just to see where the iconic story went next. The sequel is not quite as memorable as its predecessor. The story follows Adam Warlock, who has surrendered his emotions in order to wield the Infinity Gauntlet as a totally logical being. Trouble is, that ends up releasing his evil half, the Magus, who has is own plans for the Gauntlet. Thus another battle for control of the gauntlet begins, only this time Thanos is aligned with the good guys.
The Thanos Quest
Getting tired of all the comics that have "Thanos" or "Infinity" in the title yet? Don't worry this is the last one, and ironically it's technically the beginning. The Thanos Quest is a prequel to The Infinity Gauntlet that explains how a newly resurrected Thanos acquires the Infinity Gems (their name from the comics before the MCU rebranded them as stones). Thanos journeys across the galaxy and challenges the eternal beings in possession of the gems. Through a mix of force, wits, and trickery, Thanos manages to collect all six, but it proves to be a hollow victory when Death still won't return his affections. The story is worth it if you want to Thanos beat up cosmic immortals for their jewelry.
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Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.