Monday, 7 May 2018

INFINITY FALLOUT: How Avengers 4 Can Fix Everything

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of the last decade’s worth of storytelling in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film, inspired by Jim Starling’s seminal 1991 comic book The Infinity Gauntlet, tells the story of Thanos and his quest to collect all six Infinity Stones, in order to wipe out half of the universe’s population. Who will stop Thanos from his nihilistic scheme? Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers… right?

If you’ve seen the film by now (and I surely hope you have, because this article will contain spoilers), you know that… that wasn’t the case. Thanos did obtain all six stones, and with just the click of his fingers, eliminated half of all life in the known universe. This moment in particular is an iconic part of Starling’s original comic book; a moment that shakes the Marvel universe to its core, and at the brink of conquest by The Mad Titan. 

Thanos; not a good bloke.
Likewise, Thanos’ actions in Infinity War causes the deaths of some of the franchises most beloved heroes (such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Bucky and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy), and leaves the remaining heroes battered and broken. Avengers 4 (currently-untitled) is due to be released early May 2019, and will hopefully resolve this epic saga, and restore the universe back to its natural balance. 

But the real question is how? How can The Avengers (with much less firepower and members than before) possibly defeat Thanos, who is now essentially a god? Well… a few explanations are offered when looking to the comic that served as inspiration to the film, The Infinity Gauntlet.

The finger snap heard around the, universe
The Infinity Gauntlet, by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim, is one of Marvel’s most iconic crossovers in history, a true event book years before they became the norm, and has had a longstanding legacy within Marvel Comics. In Issue #1 of Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos gains all six Infinity Gems, and with the click of his fingers, eliminates half of the universe, including the likes of Hawkeye, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, Luke Cage and Daredevil. 

As a result, the remaining Marvel heroes band together with cosmic hero Adam Warlock to defeat Thanos. An ensuing battle results in the deaths of more beloved heroes, such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor, The Vision, Scarlet Witch, before the Infinity Gauntlet is stolen by Nebula, who uses the Gauntlet to become omnipotent herself. But before she can exact revenge upon Thanos, Doctor Strange is forced to save the Mad Titan, who is then convinced by Warlock to help them stop Nebula. Ultimately, Nebula is defeated, all the fallen heroes are revived and Adam Warlock is placed with protecting the Gauntlet, and ensuring it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Adam Warlock, a character heavily rumoured to appear in Avengers 4
This is a massively abridged version of the classic story (which you should definitely read yourself by the way, it’s fantastic), but it’s clear that Infinity War only scratched the surface of this story. Much like the upcoming Avengers 4, Infinity Gauntlet is very much the story of how the heroes defeat Thanos, and use the Infinity Stones to undo the Titan’s atrocities. And while I don’t think it’s play out exactly how it did in the comic, there’s definitely a blueprint here that Marvel could use, while swapping out a few characters and plot points. 

For instance, Nebula being the one to take the Gauntlet from Thanos is still quite likely; she lived through Infinity War and was brutally tortured by Thanos in the film. This, coupled with the death of Gamora, sets the character on a revenge arc quite nicely, determined to kill her stepfather and claim his power for herself. As for Adam Warlock, it could either go two ways. We know that the character is coming to the MCU (as seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credit scene), but I do feel like the character showing up with next to no backstory to save the day would be a little deus-ex-machina. Instead, it’s likely that Captain Marvel will play a crucial role in the takedown of Thanos, with Infinity War’s post credit scene signposting her arrival, and her own solo movie in February 2019 introducing us to Carol Danvers before she makes her triumphant return in Avengers 4

Nebula will likely be out for blood in Avengers 4
Infinity War had a lot of twist and turns, and left many openly gasping and shocked by the film’s climax. And, while it’s highly unlikely that Marvel will allow characters such as Black Panther and Spider-Man to remain dead, it does several important things. Mainly, it allows Avengers 4 to really focus on the original Avengers team: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and Hawkeye. None of these heroes died in Infinity War, and this allows the follow up to be a true swan-song for the original team, before they likely bow out and take a back seat in the franchise, letting new heroes such as Captain Marvel and Black Panther become focal points of the universe. 

By doing this, Infinity War and Avengers 4 will truly feel like an end of an era for comic book fans, and don’t be shocked to see one of the main heroes of the series (particularly either Tony Stark or Steve Rogers) ultimately make a final sacrifice in order to finally bring down Thanos, leaving a near-untouchable mark on the future of the Marvel universe. 

Will the Avengers assemble for one last time?
There’s so much to talk about and speculate in the lead-up to Avengers 4; Infinity War managed to answer so many question, and yet ask so many more, and I for one can’t wait, to see this decade-long adventure come full circle, and likely for one last time, see our beloved Avengers assemble.

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