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Comic Book: Infinity

It will be enough... once you are no longer interested in asking that question. Once you are the god you were born to be. The supreme being before whom all life trembles. The destroyer who holds all of infinity in the palm of his hand, and isn't afraid to squeeze.
Death, Thanos Rising

Marvel Comics late Summer Blockbuster and Crisis Crossover event for year 2013, written by Jonathan Hickman. Rather than one story, it actually tells two, happening at the same time, both being natural consequence of events of Hickman's run on The Avengers and New Avengers, as well as set up to keep fans of The Avengers movie hyped for future film appearances of a certain One-Scene Wonder. It continues some plot points dating back to Secret Invasion, and despite what the name might have suggested to you, has no connection to The Infinity Gauntlet Saga outside of Thanos playing a major role.

The Builders, a powerful race of god-like multidimensional beings, have invaded the Marvel Universe. The Avengers, in one of their strongest and largest incarnations, go to space and join forces with armies of alien empires against the threat before it reaches the Earth. To their surprise, the situation will force them into an uneasy alliance with many recent and former enemies mainly the Skrulls, who, when they met last time, came within inches of taking over the Earth.

Speaking of Earth, without their strongest protectors, its defenses are weakened, making it easy prey for any invading forces. But in face of what's happening in space, who would bother attacking a lone planet when the invading Builders might bring about the death of everything?

Thanos would.

With the the majority of the Avengers off-planet, it's up to Black Panther, Iron Man and Black Bolt to organize Earth's remaining superheroes against the Mad Titan and his new generals, called Cull Obsidian, but also known as The Black Order.

The primary storyline is being told across the six issue Infinity mini-series, The Avengers & New Avengers, all written by Hickman; and true to Crisis Crossover form, is receiving tie-ins in various other titles, as well as being the impetus for the formation of a new Mighty Avengers team.

Infinity Provides examples of:

  • Aggressive Negotiations: After liberating the skies over the Kree Homeworld Hala, the Avengers and what remains of the Galactic Council inform the Builder on Hala that they want to surrender. The Builders agree only because they want to humiliate and then crush the last major force of rebellion in the galaxy with the combined force of the Kree before going on to destroy the Earth. Cap gets them to send his best negotiator... Thor.
  • Alien Invasion: Two fold; the main body of Avengers head out into space to stop one, while Thanos leads a whole different one on the planet while they are away.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the information about the Cull Obsidian — that, as long his weapon is in one piece, Corvus Glaive cannot truly die, Black Dwarf's nihilism, or Ebony Maw's Badass Normal reputation — are mentioned only on one page in the back of New Avengers #9.
  • Amazon Chaser: Quentin Quire in The Hunt, where he instantly becomes enamored by muscular girl from Wakanda.
    • Also, seems to be the case with Corvus Glaive, considering his wife is Proxima Midnight.
  • And I Must Scream: In issue 6, Thane encases Thanos and Proxima Midnight (plus Corvus' glaive) in a giant block of amber that leaves them in a state of "living death".
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Most of the issues of Avengers Assemble around the time of the arc were direct tie-ins to the story. Issue #20 is a one-off story about the Uncanny Avengers trying to help a new Inhuman who has accidentally shrunken herself and two of her neighbors.
  • Artistic License - Physics: Spacesuits worn by Avengers leave their torsos completely exposed, covered only in, mostly skin-tight, costumes. This is the easiest way to slowly freeze to death in cosmic void, yet nothing happens to characters even after they walk outside the spaceships for several minutes.
    • The Falcon is shown using his wings in space during the fight against the Builders. It's a cool visual, but wings wouldn't actually help in space, since there's no air or currents to fly on.
  • Badass Boast:
    • From New Avengers #9
      I am Black Panther. King of the dead. Soon to be your new master.
    • From Infinity #2
      ''I am a servant of my master, Thanos — a destroyer of worlds, a breaker of kings. I am one of the five, Corvus Glaive."
    • From Avengers #19
      Ex Nihila: What brought you to this?
      Captain Marvel: Well...First there was nothing, then there was eveything. Then the good Lord saw fit to bring me into the world to kick the asses of those who need it most. So get ready 'cause this day or the next, it's coming.
    • From Mighty Avengers #2
      Before. All was. I was. Before. Time was. I waited. I fed on the screaming souls of the Universes. I drank the spoiled milk of dead stars. I am the emptiness outside all understanding. I. AM. Shuma-Gorath. And this world is mine.
      • And the answer from Mighty Avengers #3
      When Humanity first looked into the night, my eyes looked back. When they learned to fear the darkness, it was me they feared. When they learned to fight for their lives and their loves and their children — I was the first enemy. Lay your claim on a thousand thousand worlds — THIS ONE IS MINE! FOR I AM THE TIGER!
    • From Avengers #22
      Falcon: If he calls, he calls. Hell, let 'em. I want Thanos to know we're coming to take our planet back.
    • From Infinity #4
      Majestor: What follows after this?
      Captain America: Now we win.
  • Badass Normal: Ebony Maw, or so he appears to be. The character supposedly keeps up with the rest of the Black Order by a combination of cunning, deception and charisma, but he's such a liar he might be just pretending to not have any powers. He does, his powers are somewhere between Compelling Voice, Demonic Possession and Living Shadow.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Thanos' son, Thane, who wants only to be a healer, gains power to kill anyone he touces.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Who will destroy the Earth first — Thanos and his generals or the Builders? How about the Alternate Universe Builders on an incurring Earth? Heck, why not throw in Shuma-Gorath too?
    • In the end The Builders are taken off the picture by Captain Universe & Star Brand, the alternate Builders destroy the alternate Earth, Shuma-Gorath is defeated by the Mighty Avengers, and Thanos becomes the final threat.
  • Big "NO!": Black Bolt gives the biggest one he can to Thanos when he makes an offer in front of him concerning his son and the tributes. It vaporizes everyone in the room except Thanos, who survives after struggling with the blast.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While both the Builder invasion and Thanos have been stopped and removed, the Incursions are still happening with only the Illuminati knowing the danger the world is still in, Black Panther is banned from Wakanda's capital after his collaboration with Namor is revealed, Thane under Ebony Maw's mentorship is said to become even worse than any of Thanos' schemes and Blackbolt's bomb has brought forth a number of new and confused super powered individuals for the Earth to deal with and the Inhumans think he and Maximus are dead leaving both the older and the newest members of the Inhuman empire without a capital city or king. The newest Annihilation Wave has been left alone to its devices on another planet added to their territory in positive space, the Shi'ar are more prepped for war than ever, ditto for the Kree...and Kl'rt the Super-Skrull is crowned Emperor of the newly restored Skrull empire.
  • Blessed with Suck/Power Incontinence: Many of the new Inhumans have trouble controlling their powers. Ren's claws make it impossible to touch people without cutting them, Alice accidentally shrinks herself (and her neighbors) to subatomic size while turning her husband into a giant, and Thane accidentally kills his entire village.
  • Blood Knight: Proxima Midnight, to the point that even Thanos is impressed by her love for slaughter.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In issue 4 the Builder that took over Hala slaps Thor across the face and then proceeds to trash talk him thinking he is just another human. To no one's surprise this doesn't end well for the first party.
  • Canis Latinicus: Aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew and Phoenician alphabets and for the purposes of the story the classification for the Builders' Killer Robot class of soldiers.
  • Cheap Costume: Ronin makes his debut in a knock-off Spider-Man suit he snagged from a costume shop. The costume even has "Spider Hero" written on the chest to avoid copyright infringement.
  • C-List Fodder: The Spaceknights. Subverted in Avengers #21 when the Spaceknights show up alive.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Many fans were wondering how superhero community can organize Contest of Champions, in which superpowered teenagers from various schools are sent to an island to compete against each other, after the same scenario has been played to tragic results in Avengers Arena. First issue of The Hunt explained, by two small nods, that Infinity and Arena are happening at the same time, so nobody knows about Arcade's game yet.
    • The Nova tie-in has nice one to The Thanos Imperative - apparently Thanos is still bitter about what took place between him and Richard Rider in Cancerverse that is, Rich punching him in the face and trapping inside dying dimension, so much he sends Kaldera after Sam Alexander only because he follows legacy of Nova Corps.
    • Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #3 takes place between issues #1 and #2 of Mighty Avengers, and features Spidey and Luke Cage's encounter with the first of the new hybrid Inhumans.
    • Avengers #22 features Kl'rt questioning the Avengers claims that the Peak, an orbital station above Earth, is as powerful as they say. Spider-Woman glibly notes that since Earth has a "persistent invasion problem," it was rebuilt to be more powerful. It's just a string of nods to Secret Invasion, as the original Peak was taken out of commission bug the invading Skrull forces, whose leader had assumed the form of Spider-Woman.
  • The Corrupter: Ebony Maw
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
  • Cycle of Revenge: In Avengers Vs X-Men, Namor ravaged Wakanda under the influence of the Phoenix. In New Avengers, Wakanda sent a devastating retaliation strike against Atlantis. In Infinity, as revenge for that, Namor told Proxima Midnight that the last Infinity Gem was hidden in Wakanda, where she then sent all of Thanos' planet-conquering fleet.
  • Dark Action Girl: Proxima Midnight and her daughter, Kaldera.
  • Dance Battler: Ren Kimura, one of the new Inhumans, fights by using a combination of dance skills and razor-sharp ribbons that shoot out of her hands.
  • Death by Irony: Corvus Glaive is unintentionally killed by Proxima Midnight's death beams reflected off of Captain America's shield.
    • Actually, this only injures him. Hyperion is the one that gets the kill.
  • Death Seeker: Not only Thanos but also his soldiers, scouts, and especially his generals.
  • Drop the Hammer: Prior to the aggressive negotiations Thor is told that he must disarm himself and he throws Mjölnir into outer space where it remains orbiting Hala's sun. After the Builder attacks him and reveals that a surrender won't save Earth Thor summons Mjölnir back impaling the Builder.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Thane was featured in Marvel Avengers Alliance before his first appearance in the comics.
  • Enemy Mine
    • The Skrulls, Kree, Shi'Ar, and the Avengers are forced into this situation when the call goes out for all possible aid against the Builders. In fifth issue of the main series, the 3 Alien races willingly join the Avengers as they attempt to take Earth back from Thanos.
    • On Earth, Caroline Le Fay has her team of female villains acting in opposition to Thanos' forces. They even rescue several of the newly-hatched Inhuman hybrids who were targeted for extermination by the aliens. Of course, Caroline is a Pragmatic Villain and has her own shady reasons for wanting the protect the Inhumans...
  • Evil Luddite: Fulmina, an Inhuman who takes advantage of the Thanos' invasion in order to try and wipe out all the technology in New York.
  • Fantastic Racism: J'Son of the Spartax displays this toward the humans, which is ironic given that he himself could pass for a human more than anyone else on the Galactic Council and that his son is half-human.
  • Five-Bad Band: Thanos and his Black Order.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: In Avengers of Assemble #20, Hana Rhee stomps Lord Gouzar after being grown to an enlarged size by Alice.
  • Godzilla Threshold: At one point with the momentum of their recent successes turning against them, the Galactic Council and the Avengers agree to let Annihilus lead a new Annihilation Wave to help against the Builders superior numbers.
  • The Grim Reaper: Corvus Glaive's design (hood, cloak, scythe-like weapon) invokes this classic look.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The new Inhumans are all seemingly-normal humans that unknowingly have dormant Inhuman ancestry.
  • Hero Killer:
    • The Builders wipe out the entire planet of Galador, long established home of the Space Knights.
    • Corvus Glaive established himself as such when he murdered the greatest hero of a planet he was sent to collect a tribute from. And then he beat Wolverine to show he's not all talk.
  • Heroic BSOD: Quentin Quire gets one in second issue of The Hunt, after witnessing new character Crimson getting killed in front of him. He gets over it after some pep-talk from Wolverine, through. Seems Finesse and Demona may be getting it in next issue, when they realize the entire idea of helping students from Atlantis lead to students getting into fight with forces far too dangerous for them to handle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice/Redemption Equals Death: After realizing the error of her ways, Fulmina apparently perishes while taking down one of Thanos' ships.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ronan preferring to die with honor against Builders, than live as a coward under their heel. When the Supreme Intelligence pointed out his honor means nothing next to the survival of the Kree Empire, Ronan struck its housing with his hammer.
  • Humans Are Special: A Builder asks a captive Captain Marvel why so many great powers have taken refuge on Earth or taken human hosts, including Captain Universe, the apparent progenitor of the Builders.
    Builder: What makes you so special?
  • Hypocritical Humor: Superior Spider-Man runs on this in Mighty Avengers. First he mocks Luke Cage for accepting payment for his superheroic deeds, despite getting full benefits of being on the Avengers himself. Then he freaks out when he sees Spider Hero, guy in cheap knock-off version of his costume, despite the fact that not only had he stolen the real Spider-Man's life and identity, but killed him to do it.
  • Implacable Man: Thanos manages to be this to Black Bolt and Thor, of all people.
  • In the Blood: Thane always feared that he would turn out just like his father Thanos the Mad Titan. His worst fears are apparently realized when the Terrigen mists released worldwide transform him thanks to his Inhuman heritage. His new form bears a strong resemblance to Thanos.
  • Made of Iron: A special case for Thanos since he manages to take multiple screams from Black Bolt up close, one of which was able to reduce the entire city of Attilan to rubble and activate the bomb that releases the Terrigen Mists. They only manage to tear apart his armor and make him bleed.
  • More than Mind Control: Ebony Maw essentially mind rapes Dr. Strange at the start of the event and has him give up the location of Thanos' son and a lost Inhuman tribe, all while making him agree that what Stephen wants is to make Ebony Maw happy.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Thanos refers to his five servants as Cull Obsidian, which means "midnight slaughter". Even they think it sounds horribly evil and prefer to be called the Black Order.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
    • J-Son, Star-Lord's father and king of Spartax basically causes the destruction of the Galactic Alliance base/refuge center 'Behemoth' by secretly trying to negotiate with the Builders. His attempt to communicate are hacked for the location which is then promptly attacked and its destruction broadcast. This broadcast causes a number of worlds to surrender including the Kree empire.
    • Namor lies to Proxima Midnight about the location of the Time Gem being in Wakanda as revenge against Black Panther. This brings down Thanos and the Black Order against the nation...and they find the Illuminati's Anti-Matter Bombs.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: Thanos fears being overthrown by one of his children, so he invades Earth to deal with the last one directly. This prompts Black Bolt to set into action the last phase of his master plan to spread the Terrigen Mists over Earth, while the most devious of Thanos' generals becomes curious and decides to find out what Thanos really wants.
  • Nonindicative Name: Black Dwarf, who actually seems physically larger than even Thanos, and Supergiant, who is a regular-sized telepath.
  • No Sell
    • Proxima Midnight gets several, first against a crowd of bystanders throwing bricks at her as she leads her forces and later against Shuri when she throws a spear trying to kill her.
    • Almost everything thrown at Thanos in Infinity #6 by Thor, Captain Marvel, Hyperion, and the Hulk.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used To Be: Superior Spider-Man defeats Fulmina by convincing her that her idealized version of the past never actually existed, and that "the good ole' days" had tons of problems like classism, bigotry, and plagues.
  • Offing the Offspring: Thanos' motive for slaughtering the children of subjected worlds.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: New Avengers #9 showed the start of a fight between Black Panther and Black Dwarf; when it cuts back, a visibly-wounded Black Dwarf and the rest of their forces are retreating with no indication how the fight got to that point.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Supergiant's backstory.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Thor delivers one to a dying Builder in issue 4.
      Builder: You don't understand...This..This means...Everything dies.
      Thor: You first.
    • Hyperion delivers one to Corvus Glaive in issue 6.
      Corvus Glaive: You cannot threaten someone...with what they want.
      Hyperion: Call it a gift then.
    • Lockjaw gives one to Supergiant in issue 6 as well after teleporting her and an anti-matter bomb far away.
      Lockjaw: Woof.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The new Mighty Avengers, who were formed by gabbing whoever was around to defend New York City from Proxima Midnight. And probably the kids from Infinity: The Hunt, if they will work together at all.
  • Rape as Backstory: Implied to be the origin of Thane.
    Black Bolt: Years ago, the descendants of one of these tribes [of Inhumans] ran afoul of Thanos and his minions at the edge of known space. Dark things in dark places occurred... and an Inhuman woman returned home with the Thanos seed.
  • Red Shirt: From The Hunt, Crimson, both literally (wears a red hoodie) and figuratively in name and ability
  • The Reveal
    • It eventually comes to light that Thanos' entire reason for attacking Earth is that he is searching for Thane, his half-Inhuman son.
    • And then later it's revealed that secret tribes of Inhumans have lived across the Earth for years, and have presumably mated with humans.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Namor tricks Thanos' forces into invading Wakanda — home to thousands of innocent people and the site of the Illuminati's supply of anti-matter bombs — just to have revenge on Black Panther, who murdered hundreds of his people as retaliation for Namor's actions in Avengers Vs X-Men.
  • Sealed Evil in a Block of Amber: The final fate of Thanos and Proxima Midnight.
  • Secret Legacy: Thousands of people who believed they were ordinary humans turn out to be Inhumans. Unfortunately, they find this out when they suddenly undergo terrigenesis.
  • Shout-Out:
    Blue Marvel: I think you're good to go, Ms. Rambeau.
    Monica Rambeau: You just saved my life, Dr. Brashear. It's Monica. Or Spectrum. If you're nasty.
    • Corvus Glaive may be named after Corvus, a Big Name Fan who runs one of the very first Thanos fansites.
    • A planet appears called "Dockrum VII", named in honor of artist David Cockrum.
  • Soul Jar: Corvus Glaive's glaive, which Proxima Midnight recovers and carries with her into her Fate Worse than Death.
  • The Starscream: Ebony Maw takes off in pursuit of Thanos' hidden objective rather than go on the search for the lost Time Gem. In the finale he goads Thane into subjecting Thanos to a Fate Worse than Death and then they depart on the beginning of a new career of tyranny.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Black Dwarf, who is beaten offscreen by Black Panther only to later hold his own against combined forces of four opponents — Annihilus, Gladiator, Ronan and Super Skrull - way above Black Panther's level each.
  • Taking You with Me: Supergiant triggers an anti-matter bomb on Earth, intending for it to kill not only the Avengers but herself, along with Thane, and Thanos.
  • Theme Naming: Members of the Black Order are named after astronomical concepts or objects.
  • Title Drop: Not in the main series, but in Jason Aaron's prequel miniseries, Thanos Rising. It's the quote at the top of the page.
  • Token Minority Couple: Ren Kimura, a lesbian Inhuman, almost immediately hooks up with Annabelle Riggs, a lesbian member of the Fearless Defenders.
  • Touch of Death: How Thane manifests his powers before being given a containment suit by Ebony Maw.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: If you want to enjoy the story without early spoilers best stay away from Marvel interviews and solicitations. Before the event was even released, Marvel already revealed the Inhuman royalty will become divided and its Terrigen Mists would be released all over the world in the pages of Infinity, leading into the new Inhuman series.
    • A contest Marvel organized where artists were invited to draw scenes from a Mighty Avengers script revealed that the new Ronin/Spider Hero is Blade. This of course happened a full eight issues ahead of the writer's original plan.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The series doesn't explain how the Spaceknights survived the destruction of their home planet.
  • Unholy Matrimony: As hard it is to belive it, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight are Happily Married.
  • Wham Episode: Issue 4: the Terrigen Mists are released over Earth, transforming anyone with Inhuman DNA in their bloodline into one of the Inhumans.
  • Would Hurt a Child: And in fact, wants to — the tribute that Thanos demands of conquered worlds is the head of every child within a certain age. It's a smokescreen: Thanos seeks to kill only one child — his own.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • The Space Knights are quickly obliterated to show how powerful the Builders are.
    • Captain Universe, the most powerful of the current Avengers, knows exactly what is going on and the one with potentially enough pull to talk the Builders down gets put into a coma in the first issue by being on the planet the Builders just wiped out.
    • In New Avengers #9, Corvus Glaive effortlessly curbstomps Wolverine.
    • In New Avengers #8 the freaking Living Tribunal was found either completely messed up or dead by Iron Man and the Watcher on the moon.
    • In Avengers #21, Annihilus and a revived Annihilation Wave are dispersed within a few pages by the Builders.
  • Written by the Winners: The Builders invoke this trope in Infinity #3 while taking on the Avengers and the remaining forces of the Galactic Council.
    Builder: Do you know what the people will say about this day thousands of years from now? What they will say about these creatures and their valiant last stand. Nothing...Because we will not tell them.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness/ You Have Failed Me: Interesting case in that all of Thanos' underlings, from the lowest scouts to the Cull Obsidian, want to die in the service of Thanos. When Black Dwarf fails him, Thanos exiles him and tells him never to return unless summoned.
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