Avengers: Infinity War was amazing. It was a fun thrill ride of a movie, managing to juggle countless plots and characters without ever losing sight of itself. And along the way, they managed to get the single best opening of any movie ever. So, with that in mind and the movie fresh in everyone’s minds, it’s fun to look at what moments came from the original comics (with works like Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity and a host of others).
The movie was full of references to the comics, big and small (special mention goes to the series of special moves that Doctor Strange throws at Thanos during the big final battle of the movie), and did a fascinating job of mixing entire scenes from the original stories, while still finding new ways to play out the moments. Here are 15 moments from Avengers: Infinity War that were straight from the comics.
15 The end of the Asgardians
Despite having the word Ragnarok in the title (which literally means the end of everything in the original Norse mythology), not all of the Asgardians were actually wiped out from the Marvel universe at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. But they don’t exactly last much longer beyond the climax of the movie, with the opening moments of Infinity War showing Thanos and his lieutenants just laying waste to the remaining Asgardians. While we’ve gotten confirmation that some of the Asgardians (new fan-favorite Valkyrie among them) managed to survive the assault, the attack reduced the already devastated population to an even smaller group. This isn’t the first time the Asgardians have been taken out like this either. There have been multiple Ragnarok events in the comics, the most effective one even managing to end Thor and Loki on-page in 2004. Mind you, they were all reborn just a couple of years later, but it’s a well that the comics (and now the movies) have really drawn from. Let’s hope these space Vikings finally catch a break, maybe even find a new place to live. In the comics, they even end up moving to Oklahoma and try to construct a new Asgard.
14 Showing up at Sanctum Santorum
Heimdel ends up using the last of his connection to the magic transporting power of the Bifrost to hurtle Hulk back to Earth so he can warn everyone. But he doesn’t take into account the damage he might incur by throwing a Hulk at the planet and ends up hurtling him right into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Santorum. But this moment is actually lifted straight from Infinity Gauntlet...well, mostly. See, in the original comic it’s Silver Surfer who gets blasted all the way back to Earth to serve as the warning for everyone else. But Marvel hasn’t introduced the character and doesn't even own the rights to him yet (though that will probably change with the upcoming Disney/Fox merger), so the role was changed to Hulk.
On top of it being a necessary plot change, it’s also a fun shout-out to the comics. Silver Surfer, Hulk and Doctor Strange were all actually the same team together (alongside Marvel’s more interesting Aquaman equivalent, Namor) and called the Defenders before the street level heroes ever once used that name. It’s those little nods to the original comics that get geeks like us freaking out, but the movies are good enough to always make a part of the movie itself.
13 Bleeding Edge Iron Man
The Bleeding Edge is the newest Iron Man armor to show up in the movies (remember all those times Iron Man said he wasn’t going to make any more armors? Yeah, well, okay, promise broken pretty hard there, Tony), and it’s all kinds of impressive. The nanotech armor allows him to manipulate the suit into whatever shape or tool he needs in any given moment, and it’s got the power to go toe to toe with even someone like Thanos. But it’s also been a long established suit in the comics, first introduced in 2010 during a series of stories by writer Matt Fraction.
The suit was built during a time when Tony was forced to essentially give his body and brain a hard reboot after an intense battle, and was designed as an advancement and step forward from the Extremis tech introduced in Iron Man 3.
You think it’s cool now?
At one point in the comics, it fuses with the metal used to craft Thor’s weapons and it becomes the Iron Destroyer because comics are great. Here’s hoping we get that moment in the next movie, or even the arrival of the Superior Iron Man suit, which is even crazier.
12 The Unseen
One of the biggest surprises of Avengers: Infinity War was getting the return of the long unseen Red Skull. After disappearing in the climax of Captain America: The First Avenger, fans have been asking what exactly happened to the HYDRA commander. It turns out, he was teleported to the location of the Soul Stone and made into its protector. It’s an interesting decision to make with the character, especially with how the knowledge of his black heart being unable to achieve the Soul Stone, making for a fitting and cruel irony for the character.
But interestingly enough, his new hooded and disgraced design is taken from a completely different character. It’s actually the look Nick Fury has been given in recent years. After the events of Original Sin (which saw a number of heroes having some of their darkest secrets revealed), Nick Fury is charged with the passing of a Watcher (the bald aliens seen for a split second in Guardians of the Galaxy 2) and forced to take up his mantle. Fury becomes the Unseen, adopts the look used for the Red Skull in this movie, and his role in the Marvel universe is taken up by his son Nick Fury Jr. (basically, Samuel L. Jackson's incarnation of Nick Fury).
As we’ve said before, one of the secret strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been their ability to meld different stories and concepts together for something new, and it was certainly a memorable look for the Skull.
11 The Children of Thanos
The Children of Thanos are essentially his toughest warriors, recruited from the survivors of his massacres to become heralds of his name. And to be honest, these villains are actually almost pound for pound comic book accurate. Well, three out of five isn’t bad. Although the group aren’t given the same name as they had in the comics (where they are known as the Black Order), they still serve essentially the same purpose as the ones Thanos trusts the most for battle.
Proxima Midnight (the blue spear lady), Black Dwarf (the big one with the extendo ax) and Corvus Glaive (the spindly spear guy who goes after Vision) were all incredibly close to their film versions, especially when compared to their original appearances in Infinity.
Although, Corvus Glaive was more of a hype man than Ebony Maw, but we’ll get to him.
The biggest difference from the comics group is the lack of their fifth member, Supergiant. She’s an immensely powerful telepath who actually comes the closest to ending the lives of the heroes, before being deceased herself after she’s left on an alien world with a detonating bomb by the teleporting Inhuman dog, Lockjaw. It makes sense why in an already overstuffed movie, they decided to trim her.
10 Ebony Maw and Doctor Strange
Ebony Maw is presented as something of a prophet for Thanos in Infinity War, espousing how those who pass on before them are actually great sacrifices to the peaceful universe that the mad Titan is trying to bring about. In one of the more character specific differences between the comics and the movie, Maw is a bit more manipulative and underhanded than fawning over Thanos. He even plays a major part in his eventual defeat at the climax of Infinity (which, mind you, did also include Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hulk, Thor and Hyperion—who is literally just Superman in the Marvel universe—dogpiling Thanos, which also helped).
But there is one scene in the movie that’s with Maw that’s almost directly from the original comics. In Infinity, Ebony Maw is sent after Doctor Strange and hinders him mentally. It’s done in a very similar manner to his impending torture in Infinity War, although in the movie he’s saved from Maw before he can do any damage. Unlike in the comic, where Maw is able to get valuable information out of Strange that almost leads to the destruction of the world. Good thing Spider-Man was there with his movie references.
9 Vision and Scarlet Witch
Vision and Scarlet Witch have had a long-standing romance in the comics, going back to their time together on the Avengers books of the 1970s and 1980s. The two are such a major couple in the comics that they even once had an entire series dedicated to their exploits and relationship troubles. They also even had a pair of twins at one point, who were then stolen by a demonic force that turned the magically potent children into his hands so his hands literally became screaming magic babies (comics are weird, you guys).
At the core of their relationship is a surprisingly sweet bond between two people who feel like they don’t fit in anywhere else in the world.
It's partly because of their extraordinary circumstances, and partly because they are lonely people. It was nice to see some of the runtime of Infinity War was actually taken to explore that relationship, and showcase the simple cuteness of their connection and bond over that. Even with all the moon throwing and lightning stabs, these movies are still about the heart of the character and it was nice to see them focus on that even a little with the romance between these two.
8 Meet the Nomad
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers really doesn’t count as Captain America anymore. He’s basically relinquished the role in light of the events of Civil War, becoming a runaway from the nation he loves so much. For fans of the comic, this development is a long-standing tradition with Steve Rogers, going back for over 40 years. But in the comic world, which is known for dramatic, it was treated a lot less subtly than giving Steve a beard.
He actually assumed an entirely new identity in the comics, going by Nomad to reflect his new situation. He even got a new costume to embrace his new life; one which happened to include a cape and black tights. But while the craziness of the full suit might have been dropped, elements of the crazy Nomad suit (including the color scheme and aesthetics like the buckle location and look) were used for the movie suit that Steve Rogers ends up wearing in Infinity War. Cap even still gets his new shield from Black Panther! It’s even been suggested by some fans that his smaller, triangle shaped shields are purposefully reminiscent of the shield he had in the comics before he got the iconic vibranium frisbee.
7 Iron Spider
One of the most controversial elements of Spider-Man: Homecoming (besides the frankly stupid fury some people had to Mary Jane not being cast as a white redhead) was Tony Stark giving Peter an incredibly equipped Spider-Man suit. But those people who didn’t care for the Stark Suit were just going to get angrier with his brand new outfit, nicknamed the Iron Spider.
That suit actually came about during the events of the comic book Civil War, when Spider-Man initially takes Tony’s side in the fight over registration and gets an upgrade for is troubles.
Mind you, he also ended up revealing his identity over the news in the comic and that directly led to Aunt May getting wounded, but hopefully we just skip that entirely.
Even after Peter goes back to his classic red and blue, the Iron Spider suit has been used by a couple of other characters, including Mary Jane. There’s even been a version of the Prowler, Donald Glovers’ character from Spider-Man: Homecoming, who ends up getting his hands on that suit and using it to become a supervillain, which we're really sad we didn't get to see in the first film.
6 Those reality attacks
Thanos throws some sincerely frightening moves around his battles with the rest of the heroes, ranging from standard beat downs to the more frightening tortures that he inflicts on people by using the reality stone. In the original Infinity Gauntlet, he was prone to these kind of attacks against a number of the heroes who came at him. The ribbon break down and blocky reconstruction of Nebula and Starfox (Thanos’ brother who has yet to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and hopefully never will) were instead given to Guardians Mantis and Drax in the movie.
Some of the most frightening were saved for characters who couldn’t appear in the film due to the rights. Namely, Wolverine and Cyclops are among the group that attack Thanos in the comic, and end up ruined by his reality altering powers. Cyclops has a block encased around his head, negating his optic blasts and suffocating him at the same time. And as for Wolverine, he gets his unbreakable metallic bones transformed into rubber, reducing him to a pile of flesh. Which, yeesh. The comics were more willing to go all out than the movie in general, with even Vision’s passing being more graphic and horrifying than the movie.
5 Thor's new hammer
After the events of Thor: Ragnarok, Thor found himself without his beloved hammer. No doubt, the Asgardian was going to need to get a replacement and Infinity War gave us one of the coolest possible iterations of the weapon, an incredibly cool hammer/ax that actually pulls from two separate sources in the comics, and even from characters who aren’t named Thor.
The name Storm Breaker comes from the name for Beta Ray Bill’s hammer. Beta Ray Bill is an alien warrior who eventually becomes close friends with Thor, and proves to be worthy to even lift Mjolnir (which was only just recently destroyed in the comics, unlike in the movie by Hela).
Beta Ray has yet to appear in the movies formally, but he has a cameo as one of the statues on the space gladiator world of Sakarr.
The overall design of the hammer is actually borrowed from the version of Thor’s hammer that appeared in The Ultimates. This new hammer even gets a movie only aspect, thanks to the handle being made from Groot in a very nice touch. It’s such a cool weapon for Thor! And another great example of how these movies consolidate various material into new streamlined combinations.
4 The importance of Nebula
Nebula has been one of the more minor recurring characters in the Marvel franchise, starting out as a paint-by-the-numbers villain for Gamora and the rest of the Guardians. But as she’s been established with more depth over the course of the movies, becoming an increasingly compelling counterpoint to Gamora. We also get to learn more about the kind of training/upbringing that helped transform her into the most dangerous women in the galaxy. She was even tortured in the original story, like she is in Infinity War (although her torture actually becomes increasingly horrible as the story progresses).
Now that she’s outlived almost all of the rest of the Guardians, many were wondering why she was able to make it out when so many others fades away after the snap of Thanos' fingers. In the original comics, Nebula actually survives the early events of the story to become one of the most important players in the eventual storyline. We feel like going into too much more detail might end up spoiling some stuff that could actually make it into the next movie, but suffice it to say it’s a good thing for the universe that Nebula managed to survive the reality altering effects of the dreaded Thanos snap.
3 The battle of Wakanda
The battle on the borders of Wakanda serves as a major part of the finale of the movie, and it’s a genuinely epic sequence that brings together many of the best and brightest of the Marvel universe to fight back at one of the greatest threats to ever come to Earth. And the battle is directly from the comics—outriders and the generals of Thanos included. Mind you, it’s not from Infinity Gauntlet but rather the later Infinity; however, the feeling of the scene is still the same.
The battle takes place in Wakanda, with Black Panther leading an army to fight back against the seemingly endless armies of Outriders that rush the area.
More heroes were present at the battle in the movie as opposed to the comic, so there are still some bits we missed from the original story (like a one-on-one battle between Black Panther and Black Dwarf; plus, Shuri actually joining the fight in her own Black Panther suit while also wielding a spear). But then the movie did give us Bucky spinning in circles while firing and holding Rocket Raccoon who is also firing a weapon. So, you know, that’s cool too.
2 "Come and get me!"
Thanos is one of the biggest bads in all of Marvel, the sort of cosmic threat that only an entire army of Avengers ever have the hope of actually being able to bring down. But the movie did a fantastic job of bringing him to screen, even adding layers of complexity to his quest to end most of the universe. But even with those little touches that make him more real than almost any other Marvel villain, he’s still a giant, purple dude who has fun fist fighting the Hulk into the ground.
It’s a trait shared between the two mediums, and it led to one of the quietest shout-outs to the comics in the form of Thanos yelling, “Come and get me!” at the advancing heroes. It was featured as one of the covers of the original storyline, and it was one of the best things to see the movies directly adapt into the film during the climatic battle on the remains of Titan. Seriously! As the assembled Avengers and Guardians all rush Thanos during the battle on the ruins of Titan, he actually manages to yell out the phrase before he starts punching everyone. It made us so happy, you guys.
1 The snap
So. Alright. The snap heard around the world. The bit comic nerds have been trying not to spoil, making this the Marvel comics version of the Red Wedding. This was the big moment that the story was always building to, the moment where Thanos ends the lives of countless souls across the universe with a snap of his fingers. And to be fair, it happens in the comics as well, with the same effect of forcing other characters to fade away.
But in the original story, the snap actually comes right at the beginning of the story, reducing our heroes numbers even before the heroes can respond.
While some passings (most notably Black Panther) are the same between the two, other heroes who disappeared in the comic are still alive in the movie (like Black Widow and Hawkeye) while people like Spider-Man were removed from the story before they could help save the day. Spider-Man hitting Thanos in the eyes with some well-timed webs is a factor in the story, but it’s not supposed to happen much later. But even with those small changes, the movies still heavily draw from the original stories and lift entire sequences from the comics in the most fascinating ways possible.