On May 4, 2018 while you’re busy wishing good tidings and healthy midi-chlorian counts on your Star Wars-loving friends, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will be contending with a cosmic threat that would even give the likes of the Death Star a run for its money: Thanos.
The groundwork that was first laid out in 2011’s Avengers will finally come to a climax in the epic Avengers: Infinity War, a sprawling film with enough characters to make a Game of Thrones fan’s head spin, which will pit the Avengers against Marvel’s purple-skinned, ridge-chinned Mad Titan, Thanos. Except like any villain worth his salt, Thanos won’t be attacking our pale blue dot by his lonesome; he’s bringing a cavalcade of brutes, assassins, and strategists along with him on his quest to steal the most powerful mancala beads in the universe, a sinister cabal known as the Children of Thanos.
First revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo, the Children of Thanos are a fearsome-looking bunch of foes that will undoubtedly put the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and every other spandex-clad superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through their paces before the day is won. But who are they? Why should you care? Allow me to explain on today’s episode of The Dan Cave.
Are they really his kids?
Many have asked the question “Why is Thanos such a daddy?” over the years, but the Children of Thanos aren’t actually his progeny. They’re more like his disciples or lieutenants rather than his sweet adopted murderbabies, Gamora and Nebula. To draw a comics parallel, think of Magneto’s Acolytes or Apocalypse’s Horsemen.
First introduced in 2013’s New Avengers #8 as part of the “Infinity” storyline, the Children of Thanos—also known as the Black Order or the Cull Obsidian—were created by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opeña, and Jim Cheung. The group consisted of five members who each fulfilled a strategic, tactical purpose to help Thanos as he slaughtered his way across the galaxy: Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Black Dwarf, and Supergiant. While only four of them will likely wind up appearing on the big screen, in the interest of properly nerding out as hard as humanly possible, let’s meet them all.
The brother of Black Dwarf and husband of Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive is Thanos’ right hand man, which means he’s a real mean sonofabitch. A master strategist with superhuman speed, strength, and endurance, Corvus Glaive is often seen leading Thanos’ armies into battle. Plus, he’s practically immortal so long as the blade of the glaive he wields is intact. He also had the not-so-nice job of shaking down the planets that Thanos and the Black Order conquered, forcing them to pay tribute or meet their maker.
A masterful warrior who wields a spear forged from a sun distorted by space-time that contains the power of a new star and a supernova, Proxima Midnight is among the most elite of Thanos’ warriors. When she throws her spear, it transforms into multiple arcs of light that never miss their target. And as if that weren’t overpowered enough, they’re also covered in a lethal toxin. Just how strong is Proxima Midnight? One time she owned the Hulk so hard that he turned back into Bruce Banner. Don’t mess with her.
No, this isn’t a cruel nickname for your friend who ate too many Oreos at lunch; Ebony Maw is a nefarious supergenius with a preternatural passion for manipulating others into doing his dirty work. Case in point: he made Doctor Strange summon the Lovecraftian nightmare-beast Shuma Gorath to New York City during Thanos’ invasion of Manhattan, a scene that I desperately hope we get to see in Infinity War.
Black Dwarf/Cull Obsidian
While it definitely refers to a type of star, Black Dwarf has been official renamed “Cull Obsidian” by the execs at Marvel Studios. It’s confusing, I know, because the group was once called the Cull Obsidian, but hey–that’s comics for you. This beefy behemoth has unbreakable skin and an axe larger than Kyle Hill’s Pog collection, which if you know anything about him is really saying something. (It’s enormous.) Black Dwarf kind of sucked in the comics, so hopefully he’ll get an upgrade on the silver screen. Honestly, I’m just excited to see the entire nation of Wakanda kick his ass five ways from Sunday.
Honestly, you don’t need to know anything about Supergiant because it doesn’t appear as though she is going to be in the MCU. However, for the sake of completeness, let’s talk about her anyway. Supergiant was a “mental parasite” who seizes control of other people’s consciousnesses and systematically devours them. She was eventually defeated when the Inhumans Maximus and Lockjaw teleported her and a bomb to a faraway planet, which then detonated and killed her — kind of like a more murdery version of Poochie from The Simpsons.
Okay, but why are they here?
The Black Order’s purpose was simple: while the Avengers were off-world, Thanos and his forces invaded Earth, touching down in New York City, Wakanda, and Atlantis in order to find the remaining Infinity Stones. They were also there to locate Thanos’ secret son, Thane, who was living amongst the Inhumans, so that Thanos could murder him in what has to be the worst version of “Take Your Kid to Work Day” of all time.
Unfortunately for the Black Order, after wreaking some initial havoc, they were well and truly dunked on by various members of the Avengers and the Inhumans. Then, to make matters worse, Ebony Maw betrayed Thanos by freeing Thane, who proceeded to trap his father, Proxima Midnight (and Corvus Glaive) in amber like some sort of evil fossils. Of course, most of them would later come back to life and/or regain their freedom because nothing in comics is permanent, but that’s a story for another day.
Avengers: Infinity War opens on May 4, 2018.
What do you hope to see from the Children of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War? Who should play them? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Marvel Comics
Sources: Marvel, Wikia, Comic Vine
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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @DanCasey).