After seeing Thanos’ ship in the mid-credit scene of Thor: Ragnarok, we’re even more excited for Avengers: Infinity War to come out in 2018. While we can’t wait for the culmination of ten years of cinematic build-up, we’re also mentally preparing ourselves to see some of the greatest Marvel heroes die on screen in brutal and unusual ways. The inevitable (if not permanent) deaths of the Avengers and other notable heroes originate from the six-issue miniseries, The Infinity Gauntlet, by writer Jim Starlin and artists George Pérez and Ron Lim.
Apart from showcasing Thanos and the six gems of the Infinity Gauntlet, these comics are marked by an overabundance of deaths. These deaths total more than half the population of the universe and include mass deaths sweeping across the universe, deaths of random characters no one really cares about, and deaths of some of the most beloved characters in all of Marvel. Some deaths are quick and painless, while others are downright horrifying and just a little weird. To give you a frame of reference for the movie, we’ve taken 15 of the Infinity Gauntlet deaths from the comics and ranked them from least painful and horrifying to outright savage.
15. HALF THE UNIVERSE
The only reason Thanos had the Infinity Stones in the first place was to eliminate half the universe’s population for Mistress Death. Once he gains the power of all six stones though, he becomes more powerful than Death and seeks to win her love. After building a palace in her honor, he finally keeps his promise and eliminates half of all life everywhere with just a thought.
Hawkeye, Daredevil, Dagger, the Fantastic Four, and a whole host of other Marvel superheroes are among those who vanish from existence. The event happened without warning, and while it freaked out those affected, there appeared to be little to no pain involved. Now, it happened to half of the universe, so it was devastatingly terrible. But for individual experiences, there were certainly worse ways to go.
14. DEATH’S MINION
Before he wipes out half of the universe, Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet to get rid of a nameless, undead lackey. The minion had been speaking to Thanos on behalf of Mistress Death, and his comments had been less than encouraging. Not being the most patient titan in existence, Thanos causes the goon to explode, and demands that Death speak to him directly (she still doesn’t say anything to him, but you can’t blame a guy for trying).
The explosion was powerful, and any remains from the body appeared to disintegrate. Death didn’t shed any tears over the goon, and exactly how alive an undead servant is questionable. He was definitely gone though, and showed that Thanos was ready to kill at the slightest annoyance.
13. CAPTAIN AMERICA
Not that we want a hero to have a horrifying death or anything, but Captain America’s death is nothing if not anticlimactic. Presumably, the plan was to distract Thanos; Cap gave a classic “As long as there’s one of us left standing” speech, and while Thanos is busy breaking Cap’s shield and talking about death, the Silver Surfer swooped in to grab the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos.
The Silver Surfer missed, and with all hope of victory over, Captain America punches Thanos in the face. Thanos then decided he’d played around long enough and hit Cap with the back of his hand, killing him instantly. No blasts of unlimited power, no blood or disfiguration, just smack — and he’s gone. It’s not nearly as bad as what other heroes suffered, but it’s not quite how you’d expect a seasoned Avenger like Cap to go down, either.
After Thanos’s battle with the heroes, he battles the gods of the universe and then Eternity, the embodiment of the Universe. Thanos then leaves his physical body to embody the universe itself, the way Eternity did before Thanos trapped him. This leaves the Infinity Gauntlet unmanned, and Thanos’ “granddaughter” Nebula picks up the all-powerful gauntlet.
She returns Thanos to his body and then casts him and Terraxia into space. Thanos is unharmed, but Terraxia, whom he did not create to exist in the depths of space, doesn’t last long. While she was certainly strong enough to take out Spider-Man and other heroes, she was no match for lack of oxygen, decompression, boiling blood, and all the other fun stuff associated with the vacuum of space.
Spider-Man is one of the heroes who died at the hand of Terraxia, the woman Thanos created to make Mistress Death jealous. After webbing Thanos’ mouth shut, Spidey tries to take on Terraxia. Of course, Thanos wouldn’t make himself a girlfriend that couldn’t hold her own in battle, so she wins the fight pretty quickly. We only see a couple panels of the encounter, and only in the background of Thanos fighting off the other heroes.
In the end though, without any announcement, last words, or acknowledgment from any of the other heroes on the battlefield, Spider-Man lies dead on the ground, beaten to death Thanos’ significant other. While not the most horrific of the Infinity deaths, it was certainly a painful one and by no means instantaneous.
During the first battle with Thanos, Cloak manages to get Thanos under his cloak and transport him to the Darkforce dimension. Had he been able to hold the titan there, this would have drained Thanos’ life force until he finally died. But after Thanos is gone and there is a momentary lull in the battle, Captain America asks Cloak if he thinks he will be able to hold the enemy there. And with a look of utter dismay, Cloak realizes he cannot.
The hero explodes, and when the smoke clears, Thanos is back and ready to kill everyone else. This wasn’t an ordinary explosion — this was Cloak straining his power to bar an infinitely powerful being’s passage across dimensions, until the struggle was too overwhelming and he exploded.
Early on in the battle, Vision is able to blast Thanos from behind while the Titan is preoccupied with shrinking the Hulk down to a few inches. Near the end of the battle with only a few heroes remaining, Vision attempts to attack him from behind again. This time, Thanos is ready for him, and drives his hand into the androids’ chest, pulling out a mass of wires.
This death has an eerie similarity to how Vision normally attacks. One of Vision’s signature moves was to put his intangible hand into an enemy, and increase his density slightly to render the victim weakened or unconscious from the pain it caused. Because Vision had to exercise extreme concentration and control to keep from killing enemies like this, it makes his death in a similar matter that much worse.
8. SCARLET WITCH
On the subject of dying from your own powers and abilities, the Scarlet Witch suffered a similar fate to the Vision. While Cyclops attacked Thanos from one side with his laser eyes, she attacked from the opposite side with her probability-altering hex power. Thanos turned to deal with her first, and pushed her hex power back onto her.
While counted as a one of the fallen in the battle, Dr. Strange (in typical comic book fashion) is able to transport the Scarlet Witch’s essence away, and is then able to reconstitute her before the final battle. Still, the sight on the battlefield is so horrifying that Thanos’ brother Eros, a helpless observer during the entire fight, looks away to avoid being traumatized by the incident.
After the Scarlet Witch dies, Cyclops continues his attack with new vigor — that is, for the few seconds that he remains standing. Thanos quickly turns to Cyclops and surrounds his head with a block of sheer force. Not only does the barrier keep his laser vision from reaching Thanos, but it also blocks off all oxygen, and the hero slowly suffocates.
Captain America rushes over and tries to help him, but it’s impossible to free him from the force surrounding him. Even after he falls to the ground dead, the force block remains around his head, and it stays there until Thanos clears the area of bodies and debris after the battle. Not the nicest way to go, but his body was still intact, which is more than we can say for some of the others.
6. IRON MAN
Directly following the Scarlet Witch’s death, Iron Man blasts Thanos with his repulsor rays. Thanos reels back from the blast, and in retaliation, Terraxia tackles the armored Avenger. The struggle goes unseen for several panels, and when the two reappear, Terraxia is on top of Iron Man, tugging at his helmet. We then see the helmet by itself as if it was tossed away, but it is moving to fast to tell if the helmet came off in the struggle, or if something more deadly happened.
Terraxia puts any doubts to rest by formally presenting the helmet to Thanos, where the blood dripping from it indicating that Iron Man’s head is still inside it. As far as natural deaths, Iron Man’s is the most gruesome of the fight. When you can bend reality to your will though, there are worse things you can do.
Thor (actually Thor’s stand-in, Eric Masterson, but we’ll call him Thor for simplicity’s sake) marks the point where the deaths start getting unnaturally creative. Initially, Thanos flung Thor from the battleground, which separated him from his hammer. By the time he made it back to Death’s palace, he had turned back into his mortal form and nearly suffocated.
He regained Mjolnir just in time and went to face off with Thanos again. This time, Thanos turned him into glass and then punched him into countless shards. Thor was revived after the battle by Dr. Strange and the Scarlet Witch by gathering up the shards and reciting some powerful incantations in the birthplace of the Asgardians, but his death was still a cruel display of Thanos’ power.
Nova’s death was similar to Thor’s, and ranks higher because he actually stayed dead. After spending a good deal of the battle flying around, Nova swooped in to attack Thanos to protect Thor from being smashed into a million glass fragments. While delivering a solid punch to the jaw, he declares that “No one’s busting up Thor while Nova’s around.”
Thanos replies with “Not round. Square,” and proceeds to turn Nova into a pile of colorful cubes “Like a child’s toy blocks.” And just to make sure that he’s really dead, Thanos stomps on a few of the blocks for good measure. We can’t attest to whether or not the ordeal was painful for the hero, but it was a pretty terrible death, all the same.
Quasar (referred to as the replacement for Captain Marvel) is one of the last heroes to fall in the first battle with Thanos. He had stayed out of the conflict until Thor died, and when he finally revealed himself, Thanos refers to him as the “Reserves.” Quasar attempts to attack Thanos with his Quantum-bands, but Thanos causes them to explode before he can use them.
This leaves Quasar’s hands in a smoking, mutilated state, which Thanos let’s him appreciate before he blasts him with energy beams from his eyes, which incinerates the hero completely. The incineration was about on par with one that killed Death’s minion, but THE hand disfiguration was explosive, painful, and downright brutal. Together, they make for a terrible way to end life.
2. SHE-HULK AND NAMOR
She-Hulk and Namor are some of the first heroes to attack Thanos, and are the first ones to fall. All Thanos does is touch them, and from the spot where he came into contact with them comes some brown life forms that begin to grow on the two heroes. They struggle helplessly against them, but the organisms cannot be stopped, and they quickly engulf She-Hulk and Namor completely.
The two heroes are either suffocated or eaten alive by the brown things. Both outcomes are unpleasant, and are made more so by the fact that they had to struggle against the creatures as they grew over their entire bodies before they died. Nothing says savage quite like mysterious, suffocating/consuming organisms. Nothing, except for one other thing.
Out of all the deaths in the Infinity Gauntlet, Wolverine’s is by far the most savage. In the middle of the battle, Wolverine attempts to sink his claws into Thanos. This proves ineffective, and without so much as a menacing laugh or a threat of death, Thanos turns Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton into rubber. The X-Man collapses into a distorted, writhing heap, and at some point, dies from the complications of a skeleton with no support.
Just how long his mutant healing powers kept him alive in this state is not known, as his actual moment of death is not announced. In the end, he is cleared away with the rest of the dead, but Wolverine went through far more than the other he disappeared with.
Which of these is the most brutal to you? Let us know in the comments!
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