On Free Comic Book Day 2013, Marvel Comics released a first look into its upcoming summer event: “Infinity” by Jonathan Hickman with art by Jim Cheung. Taking place in the far reaches of the galaxy, on a planet called Ahl-Agullo, the issue not only placed Thanos squarely in the game for the lead-up to the late-summer event, it also introduced Corvus Glaive, a deadly lieutenant to carry out the will of the Mad Titan.
As it turns out, Glaive is only the first of five dangerous and lethal lieutenants who serve Thanos as the Cull Obsidian. In a three-part special feature, CBR News spoke with Marvel Comics Executive Editor Tom Brevoort about “Infinity,” Thanos and his high-ranking henchmen of the Black Order, with Brevoort and “Infinity” writer Jonathan Hickman teasing two more of The Black Order: Black Dwarf and Ebony Maw with an exclusive look at the designs by Jerome Opeña.
“When compared to the others of the Black Order, Black Dwarf seems almost normal,” said Jonathan Hickman. “Feigning joy and contentment, in reality this celestial Nihilist is simply more at peace with the oblivion Thanos seeks than the others of the Black Order.”
Jerome Opeña’s designs show Black Dwarf’s massive size, a stature in direct contrast to his name. And to go along with his physical presence is the ability to wreak chaos when necessary.
“He’s larger than Thanos, actually. On the surface, the name Black Dwarf makes you think it’s a little guy, but you’re really talking about something with the mass of a dwarf star that’s very dense and very solid,” Brevoort said. “He’s a powerhouse, certainly, and physically the most imposing simply standing there. He’s the one guy, really, that dwarfs Thanos if you’ve got all six of them standing together. He’s massive. By contrast, [he] is probably the most serene-seeming of the Thanos lieutenants. He does his business, he’s just as bad as any of the others, but he’s not as outwardly sinister or verbose or forthcoming. He’s a little bit more even-keeled because there’s just no need for him to be otherwise. He’s just so massive.”
“A thin razor of a man; not a fighter — a thinker,” is how Hickman describes Ebony Maw. “A black tongue that spreads mischief and evil where ever he goes. He seems to be the weakest of the Black Order, but in truth, he is the most dangerous of them all.”
Opeña’s designs certainly emphasize the wiry, non-physically-imposing look of the character, which is no surprise considering Ebony Maw’s true strength lies in his psychological and mental powers.
“He’s exactly what you would expect just looking at the design,” Brevoort added. “He’s not a physical character, he’s a mental character. He’s the dark tongue, he’s the seducer, he’s fundamentally much more creepy and disturbed and perhaps a little more demented than the others, but it’s all in the psychology; it’s all in the mind. He doesn’t have a need, necessarily, to strike you down physically. He gets in your head and undoes you from the inside, the psychological makeup that puts you together. Again, he needed to be somebody that looks like a thinker. He wasn’t as physically imposing as the others, and in fact, his design and outlook almost belies the fact that he’s probably the nastiest one of the bunch by far — and probably the one that the other four would think twice the longest about crossing or going up against.”
Check back Friday for CBR’s unveiling of the final two members of Thanos’ Black Order.