|Thanos and the Black Order|
Over the last week we've seen many things comic book related drop. We had the new trailers for The Defenders, Inhumans, Justice League and Thor: Ragnarok and the D23 expo. For those who don't know D23 is the big Disney convention hosted every two years where they announce the upcoming projects for the next two years. At first I was excited that they released the new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III with a release year but then they released the models for Thanos and the Black Order for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. The Black Order is a recent edition to the Marvel universe with them making their first appearance in 2013 in the excellent Jonathan Hickman's run on New Avengers, (first appearing in New Avengers Vol. 3 #8). Today we'll look at the Black Order to see just who they are.
Who are the Black Order?
|The D23 Models left to right: Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Thanos, Ebony Maw, and Black Dwarf|
The Black Order can be considered some of Thanos' elite commanders. They serve Thanos; they are definitely not his equal. Corvus Glaive can be considered the overall leader of the Black Order with him acting as the right-hand man of Thanos. Other members of the Black Order included Proxima Midnight, (who also happened to be Corvus Glaive's wife), Ebony Maw, Black Dwarf and Supergiant. So far Only Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Black Dwarf have been announced to appear in the MCU. The purpose of the Black Order is to basically be Thanos' messengers and commanders. Corvus Glaive sends out a race of genetically engineered humanoids called the Outriders to seek out planets inhabited by weak species. Later they arrive on the planet demanding that they submit to the will of Thanos or face annihilation. However, this is not their only role. If there is something on a planet which Thanos is aware of that he wants he will send the Black Order to retrieve what he wants. In 2013 there was a large event called Infinity which caused the Avengers to have to go into space. Thanos then sent the Black Order to a largely defenseless Earth in order to retrieve the Infinity Gems, under the control of several of Earth's heroes, and Thanos' own son, Thane. Retrieving Thane was Thanos' main goal; he had been destroying worlds who refused to give him people aged sixteen to twenty-two. Thane was an Inhuman whose mother had been raped by Thanos when he was trying to destroy her Inhuman tribe. However, Thanos did not want to be reunited with his lost son. Instead he wanted to kill him to ensure that there would be no other Titan to challenge him. So when the Avengers went to space Thanos arrived at Attilan to get Thane as his Black Order attacked Earth to retrieve the Infinity Gems. Now let's look at each member of the Black Order.
Corvus Glaive is Thanos' right-hand man who was in charge in leading his master's crusade against the universe. Naturally being a homicidal alien in charge of an army for a genocidal alien he has the typical powers to lead such an army including enhanced strength, speed endurance etc. The most significant power happens to be his immortality. Corvus Glaive's immortality stems from his glaive, (hence his name), where as long as the blade of the glaive is intact he cannot die. He was even completely disintegrated but because of the blade being intact his body slowly reformed. Through comic book logic it is possible that his blade contains part of his soul. Furthermore his glaive can split atoms which means that it can cut through anything. Thanks to this his blade can cut beings whose powers prevents them from being cut like the Hulk or Marvel's equivalent of Superman, Hyperion. Finally Corvus Glaive is a master tactician. Before invading a planet he learns every form of warfare that the specific planet has ever experienced so when Proxima Midnight called him the greatest general that Earth has ever seen it isn't an exaggeration by his wife.
When the Black Order invaded Earth Thanos tasked him in finding Thane. He arrived at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, (where the X-Men are), believing that a half-Titan would be sheltered by a school devoted to helping superpowered teenagers. He left after finding out that Thane wasn't there. Glaive was smart; he knew picking a senseless fight against the X-Men was a poor idea. Instead there was a brief fight. Although the Avengers are Earth's most powerful group the X-Men are still very formidable. Eventually Thane was tracked to an Inhuman city called Orollan in Greenland. However while fighting Hyperion at Orollan he was disintegrated by the hero and his glaive was frozen in an amber construct with Proxima Midnight and Thanos by Thane. The three were later freed and he formed his own Black Order to challenge Thanos. However he was no match for Thanos who destroyed his blade so Glaive killed himself to avoid torture at Thanos' hands.
Proxima Midnight is by far the best fighter in Thanos' army which by default makes her one of the most formidable fighter in the entire Marvel universe. By being the wife of Corvus Glaive she also happens to be one of the more influential members of the Black Order with Thanos. She wields a spear which was forged by Thanos from a star distorted in a space-time paradox so it was simultaneously a star, supernova and black hole. This spear can harness all three of them making it one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel universe. It can be a projectile with constant velocity, can release an energy to immobilize targets, and contains a lethal toxin which can kill anything. Possibly thanks to the black hole which it was made of when Proxima Midnight fought the Hulk she managed to drain the strength from him, (generated thanks to gamma rays), which reverted him back to Bruce Banner. Thanks to Midnight's expert fighting skills she never misses with the spear. She is one of the greatest fighters wielding one of the greatest weapons to exist. Despite her and Corvus Glaive's formidable nature they share a genuine love for one another. In one comic they take a walk on a beach in an area that they've devastated just chatting about work as if they were just a normal workplace couple.
During the invasion of Earth she was tasked in invading Atlantis to retrieve Namor's Infinity Gem. Before she did so she invaded New York City. In the real world NYC is one of the most important cities in the USA and the world and in the Marvel universe it is even more important. Many of the Earth's heroes including the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Stephen Strange are based in New York so destroying New York could destroy most of Earth's heroes. Unexpectedly she met resistance from Luke Cage and his Mighty Avengers, as well as resistance from the citizens of New York, which caused Thanos to express disappointment in her. Knowing that if Thanos is disappointed in you in signs your death warrant she soon left for Atlantis, (after sucker punching Cage). Arriving in Atlantis she saw that it was in ruins and therefore deduced that Namor could not have an Infinity Gem. Upon meeting Namor she demanded his allegiance and location of the Gem or she would destroy Atlantis. Namor revealed that Wakanda and the Black Panther may have the Gem so she joined Glaive and Thanos in breaching Wakanda after Black Dwarf failed to do so. She later went with Thanos to Orollan and was frozen in amber. Recently Thanos tried to obtain Mjolnir where she defeated Thor but was killed by the ruler of Hel, Hella, who took her spear and killed her with it.
Unlike the other members of the Black Order Ebony Maw is not a fighter. Instead he is a tactician and an expert persuader which allows him to control even the most strongest of peoples. He was described as a 'black tongue that spreads mischief and evil wherever he goes'. We can't actually confirm if he does have superpowers. Speaking mostly in lies we cannot be certain that his claims to lack enhanced powers is accurate or not. The best way to show the extent of his powers is to show what he did during Earth's invasion. Thanos tasked him in dealing with Dr Strange. Dr Strange's magic and position as Sorcerer Supreme makes him one of the most powerful non-cosmic beings in the Marvel universe being able to warp reality. By Thanos' invasion his powers had been reduced (writers felt he had become so omnipotent that he could not be relatable), but he still remained extremely powerful. Normally mind control had no chance of remotely working on him. Maw managed to make Strange his puppet, act as a double agent to betray Earth, and also summon Shuma-Gorath (basically Cthulu). When Thane was discovered Maw got Strange to tell him where Thane was. Later he started manipulating Thane and when Thanos was frozen in amber he started instructing Thane into becoming something greater than his father. Later Thane and Maw were captured by Glaive's followers but Maw talked himself to freedom leaving behind Thane.
Like Maw Supergiant is not a fighter like many other members of the Black Order. Instead she has the ability to read and control the minds of people of any race. Naturally this makes her an invaluable part of Thanos' Black Order. Thanks to Thanos' genocidal tendencies he won't simply get her to control leaders into acquiescing to his demands. She has been described as a 'mental parasite' where she can read others minds and even devour the minds of her victims. Her psychic ability is so strong that she can control several people at a time and make them do her, and Thanos', wishes. During the invasion of Earth she accompanied Glaive in attacking the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning where she was integral in defeating the X-Men without much violence. After Black Dwarf failed to conquer Wakanda, and after Proxima Midnight had got confirmation from Namor, she was sent to control Black Bolt, ruler of the Inhumans, who had been defeated by Thanos. Black Bolt had refused to reveal Thane's whereabouts, even shouting 'No!' at Thanos, (a whisper from Black Bolt can cause an earthquake), which made Thanos pound him to a pulp. Using her powers she had Black Bolt mentally prepare the bombs placed in Wakanda's Necropolis (where the most powerful heroes were organizing). When heroes came to rescue him she used his voice to easily flatten them and then got him to activate the bombs. However, she was met by Black Bolt's brother, Maximus, and the dog Inhuman Lockjaw (who can teleport objects/people). Maximus had Lockjaw teleport Supergiant and the bombs to an unihabited planet where the bombs detonated killing her.
Black Dwarf is the Black Order's equivalent of the Hulk or the Thing. With super strength and with unbreakable skin he is the powerhouse of the group. He also happens to be the brother of Corvus Glaive. Black Dwarf was sent to destroy Wakanda when Thanos invaded. However, this was a bad move. Black Dwarf isn't a tactician like Glaive and he was sent to destroy the most technology advanced, best defended, and richest country in the world (only Latveria possibly comes close to surpassing it). Also Wakanda is defended by Black Panther and the Dora Milaje. T'Challa, the Black Panther, is an expert in countless martial arts and he himself is a genius rivaling the likes of Tony Stark and Stephen Hawking. The Dora Milaje are the Black Panther's elite bodyguards comprising of female warriors trained in virtually every fighting style in existence. With little effort Black Dwarf was defeated by Wakanda causing his expulsion from the Black Order by Thanos. However, the Titan gave Black Dwarf a rare chance at redemption. During the early stages of the invasion Thanos had taken over the Peak, S.W.O.R.D's (an organization which deals with extraterrestrial threats and relations) base, and it was under threat by being retaken by the Avengers. Ronan the Accuser, (fans of Guardians of the Galaxy will instantly recognize him), aided the Avengers and killed Black Dwarf.
My predictions on Role in Infinity War
Those who know their comic book history will know that the Infinity War story was written about twenty years before the introduction of the Black Order. We will likely see a very loose adaption like with Captain America: Civil War as Marvel currently has not properly introduced some key characters (like Adam Warlock who appeared in the post-credits scene of Guardians Vol.2), or don't own the rights to (like Dr Doom, Galactus and Silver Surfer). We do know that at least two Infinity Gems are on Earth, (the Mind Stone in Vision's head and the Time Stone in the Eye of Agamotto). I believe that Thanos sends the Black Order to Earth to demand at least these two stones. I am currently living in Edinburgh and a few months ago they were filming scenes for Infinity War just ten minutes from where I live, and several of the cast have been spotted in Edinburgh. A comic book news website also stated that a European city is destroyed in the movie. Whether that city is Edinburgh or is standing in for another city we don't know yet but I believe that the Black Order is the cause of this destruction. I believe that the Black Order arrives at this city, possibly destroys it and demands the Stones in return for not destroying other cities. The heroes refuse and fight the Black Order.