The Black Order (alternatively known as the Cull Obsidian, or the Children of Thanos) is a Marvel Comics supervillain team created by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato, first appearing in New Avengers #8 (dated September 2013).
As the alien servants of Thanos, the Black Order helps their master however he sees fit, and were first introduced in the Marvel Universe during another hunt for the Infinity Stones, which led to their war against Earth after stranding the majority of The Avengers into space. They later showed up again as pawns in a game between the Grandmaster and the Challenger, fighting for the latter's team.
The lineup of the Black Order has shifted since their introduction, but it usually consists of master combatant Proxima Midnight, super-agile Corvus Glaive, giant bruiser Black Dwarf, and silver-tongued tactician Ebony Maw, while other members of the team have included telepath Supergiant, a trio of witches known as Coven, and genius omniglot Black Swan, while Thanos often acts with the team as well.
The Black Order appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as part of the Avengers: Infinity War & Avengers: Endgame duology, portrayed by Carrie Coon (Proxima Midnight), Terry Notary (Cull Obsidian, renamed from Black Dwarf), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Ebony Maw), and Michael James Shaw (Corvus Glaive). With the exception of Supergiant, who doesn't appear in the films, their backstory is more or less the same as in the comics, aiding Thanos as he works to complete his Infinity Gauntlet.
The Black Order appears in:
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018) & Avengers: Endgame (2019), portrayed by:
- Avengers, Assemble! (2014 — 2015), portrayed by:
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2015 — present), portrayed by:
- Kari Wahlgren as Proxima Midnight
- Jesse Burch as Black Dwarf
- James Urbaniak as Ebony Maw
- David Kaye as Corvus Glaive
- Hynden Walch as Supergiant
The Black Order provides examples of:
- Alternate Company Equivalent: If Thanos is the Marvel equivalent to DC's Darkseid, then the Black Order could be viewed as Marvel's answer to Darkseid's Elite. In fact, Ebony Maw could be viewed as an Expy of Glorious Godfrey as both are master manipulators with a Compelling Voice.
- And the Adventure Continues: Rare villain example. Most of them were dead shortly after the post-Secret Wars Marvel comics universe reboot. Then with the recent Avengers: No Surrender event, the entire group was resurrected with a new purpose, to compete in the name of an Elder called The Challenger. At the end of the event, the Avengers actually lost track of the Black Order, who had found themselves on a desolate ice planet with no real destination. That is, until the Grandmaster appears, and offers them new 'employment opportunities'.
- Antagonist Abilities: During their first outing their abilities are so powerful that it completely jobs all the heroes. Proxima in particular has a weapon that's both too heavy for the Hulk to move and capable of poisoning Monica's energy form. This is downplayed in later appearances, where they're somewhat worded.
- Co-Dragons: The five of them are the generals of Thanos' army.
- Death Seeker: All of them (except Swan). Either via Thanos or a violent enough fight, they're not terribly picky.
- Five-Man Band:
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: Three men (Corvus Glaive, Black Dwarf and Ebony Maw) and three women (Black Swan, Supergiant and Proxima Midnight).
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Their actual group title is the Cull Obsidian. Even they think that's too much, and prefer the Black Order.
- Remember the New Guy?: Infinity introduces and establishes them as Thanos' top goon squad, some of whom have served since childhood, after three decades of Thanos stories.
- The Family That Slays Together: Because the core three members of the Black Order are actually related, they are essentially a family of killers who nonetheless have sincere familial bonds (mostly):
- Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight are a Happily Married villain couple who share a mutual love of bloodshed and war-making.
- Corvus and Black Dwarf are biological brothers who both trust and respect each other greatly.
- Black Dwarf for his part was once in love with Proxima as well, but willingly stood aside in order to let his brother and her be happy together.
- Black Swan and Proxima Midnight have been shown to be good friends, while Black Swan has shown some interest in Black Dwarf.
- Ebony Maw, despite all his scheming and attempts to get Corvus killed/tortured, is always allowed back into the group as Corvus can anticipate his motives and sees him as his 'brother' of the Order despite his backstabbing.
- Theme Naming: With the exception of Supergiant, all their names refer to darkness and the color black.
- Would Hurt a Child: They're introduced hunting down Thanos' children, ranging from adolescent to young teens, and presenting their severed heads to Thanos.