The wait is over! Avengers: Infinity War is upon us! The film may have a run time of 2 hours 40 minutes, but it's really a culmination of 10 years worth of movies starting with Iron Man back in May of 2008. Certainly fans will enjoy the movie, but the time for watching it and simply enjoying it is over! We now must dissect the film, analyze each moment, and compare the cinematic opus to its comic book forebears to see what was lost or modified in translation. For example, Avengers: Infinity War is actually an adaptation of the comic books Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet... kind of... with many, many other, newer comics intertwined within it, as well as some original ideas. But is it a perfect storm?
In the comic book version, just how successful was Thanos? Who originally had the Infinity Stones in the comic books? What was the real motivation behind Thanos wanting to eliminate half the universe's population? Will you be able to recognize the comic book versions of Drax, Hulk and Thor? You may be interested in seeing Avengers: Infinity War multiple times, so if you do, we definitely recommend reading this article to connect the comic book world to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are the 20 biggest differences with Infinity War on-screen and in comics!
SPOILERS AHEAD! DON'T SAY WE DIDN'T WARN YOU!
20 THE REAL INFINITY WAR
Avengers: Infinity War is an evocative title and makes the reader take notice, which is probably why Marvel opted to not use the more appropriate name Infinity Gauntlet. For those not in the know, Infinity War was actually the sequel to Infinity Gauntlet, and the movie that everyone and their dog is going to see contains more or less the plots to the Marvel events known as Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet. In Thanos Quest, Thanos -- all by himself -- collected the six Infinity Gems (later referred to as stones) necessary to wipe out half the Marvel Universe.
With the Gems assembled on his Infinity Gauntlet (hence the name), those remaining Marvel heroes go to attack Thanos, including such heavy hitters as the Celestials and Galactus. Eventually Thanos is thwarted by Nebula (which might provide a hint to the plot of Avengers 4) and the gauntlet falls into the possession of Adam Warlock, who in order to be a fair God, dispels the good and evil from his system to try and remain neutral in his decisions. The evil portion of himself became the Magus, who went on to create evil doppelgangers of the Marvel heroes to take over the Universe -- that becomes the plot of the comics Infinity War. What happened to the good portion of his personality? That became the Goddess, leading us up to Infinity Crusade... but that's enough Infinity for one discussion.
19 DIFFERENT ENDINGS
At the end of the film Infinity War, we see Thanos in a modest hut in the most literal sense of the term chillin' like a villain. He smiles as he watches the sun set on the planet he's on. This mirrors the ending of Infinity Gauntlet; in the comics, he's taken his iconic costume, turned it into a scarecrow, and has taken to a peaceful life of farming. However, he took to tilling fields because he had lost his godhood and was taking his loss with dignity. In Avengers: Infinity War, he is in a plain hut out of choice and satisfied that his plans came to fruition; there's nothing left for him to do.
Also in the comics, his granddaughter Nebula (yup, pretty different history there) played a key role in his demise. After Thanos became one with the living universe, Nebula managed to sneak over to Thanos' physical body, pull off his gauntlet, and undo all of the damage that he did to the universe. The robotic appearance of Nebula also doesn't occur until much later in the character's history in the comics. In the MCU, Nebula's body parts would be replaced after losing fights to Gamora. In the comics, Dr. Mandibus turned her into a cyborg in order to remove her from a catatonic state.
18 REJECT THANOS
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos revealed that on his home planet of Titan he was considered to be an outcast because he proposed that half the population be killed in order to relieve the burden of the planet being overcrowded and lacking necessary resources to survive. Clearly anyone that proposes planet-wide genocide is going to be labeled as psychotic and removed promptly from people's Christmas card list. But there are other reasons why Thanos was an outcast on his home planet.
In fact, learning about the origins of Thanos gives us a glimpse into the man that he would later become.
Although Thanos is a member of the Eternals, he also carries the Deviant gene and at birth resembled less an Eternal and more like a member of the Deviants. Deviants are mostly considered to be visually repugnant and upon seeing her newborn son, his mother tried to kill him. Growing up, Thanos did not show the evil intentions that his adult counterpart exhibited; in fact, while at school, Thanos was non-violent to the point of being considered an introverted pacifist. Schoolchildren mocked him over his appearance and Thanos eventually became obsessed with nihilism and death. Seeing how his character originated from pain and hatred certainly gives us an understanding of the trajectory his life would take him.
17 THANOS SMASH
There's a very good reason to be afraid of the Hulk. He's an engine of destruction. His base power level is Class 100, meaning he can lift 100 tons, and that's before he gets angry. Whereas most combatants tire out, the longer Hulk fights, the angrier he gets; and the angrier he gets, the stronger he becomes. In Thanos Quest, Thanos fights a guy that calls himself The Champion of the Universe who spends his time going from planet to planet looking for good fights. The Champion leaps at Thanos and Thanos teleports away, but his impact shatters and literally destroys the planet they were on. While fighting the Champion, Thanos remarked to himself that he imagined this is what fighting the Hulk must be like and that is a fight that he has sought to avoid.
In the opening 15 minutes of Avengers: Infinity War, not only does Heimdall and Loki get easily dispatched, Thanos also takes on Hulk in hand to hand combat. Keep in mind that Thanos already retrieved the Power Stone from the Nova Corps, so his strength and lack of fear may have come from the fact that he had an Infinity Stone in his possession. Thanos thrashes Hulk soundly, to the point where later in the film, Hulk prevents Banner's transformations into the Hulk, so that he doesn't have to be seen again.
16 THANOS MOTIVATIONS
In Avengers: Infinity War, the maniacal plan for Thanos to kill off half the universe's population is in the name of efficiency, preventing overpopulation and the taxation of limited resources. This makes Thanos almost seem like Galactus, whose consumption of whole planets is viewed as a universal balancing act. Whereas most villains have crazy plans to forward their own personal agenda, Thanos does to at least in his own mind seem to have somewhat good intentions for his actions.
However, in the comic book version of the movies, his reasoning for galactic genocide is a little simpler and a lot more perverse.
From a young age, Thanos worshipped Death. Also in Marvel, Death is an actual entity the way that space (Eternity) and time (Infinity) are. Thanos legit falls in love with the embodiment of Death and spends a good portion of his existence trying to woo her. His main reasoning in the comics to do away with half the universe's population isn't about a fear of overpopulation: he's doing it to impress Death. Whereas most people would buy a box of chocolates or flowers, Thanos assembles the Infinity Gauntlet and kills every other being in existence as a way to show Death that he's got a sweet spot in his dark heart for her.
15 DRAX ORIGINS
Dave Bautista's performance as the strong and (sometimes unintentionally) hilarious Drax was one of the highlights of Guardians of the Galaxy. Besides Nebula and Gamora, Drax's origins have extremely close ties to Thanos. In the Guardians of the Galaxy, we find out that his family was killed by Ronan the Accuser and in a deleted scene we learn that his body is covered with tattoos that tell a narrative explaining substantial elements in his life. Although quite poetic and cinematic, these elements are not present in the comics, and with the exception of his green skin, the comic and cinematic versions are quite different.
In the comics, Drax is a human named Arthur Douglas. While driving with his family, his car is destroyed by Thanos and everyone is killed. Douglas is resurrected by several Eternals (one of them being Thanos's father) and turned into Drax The Destroyer, whose sole purpose is killing Thanos. Whereas the movie depiction of Drax makes him look like an assassin, the comic version has him sporting a cape and a giant WWE championship-sized belt. The movie version of Drax takes people literally, leading to humorous misunderstandings. The comic book version was quite dumb, and during the attack on Thanos, Drax inexplicably attacks Hulk.
If you have the powers of God, are you guaranteed to win in a fight? If you have the Infinity Gauntlet the answer is probably yes. In the comics, Thanos went on to fight Galactus, the Celestials, and even the embodiment of the entire universe, but before that he was tempted to take on the armada of heroes that were swarming in to attack him. Thanks to the convincing of his vizier, Mephisto, Thanos depowered himself enough to give Earth's heroes a fighting chance. After a few close calls Thanos comes to his senses and ends the fight once and for all.
In Avengers: Infinity War the battle had Thanos fighting less foes but they give him a more significant challenge.
It would be accurate to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of characters are significantly weaker than their comic book counterparts. This is also the case for Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet. Even without de-powering himself in Infinity War, while wielding most of the Infinity Stones he almost lost his gauntlet to the Avengers that attacked him on Titan, and then was almost killed by Thor's weapon Stormbreaker while in Wakanda and possessing his full might. If he had difficulty defeating Iron Man and Doctor Strange, how would the MCU version of Thanos fare against Galactus? How about a cosmically-powered Doctor Doom?
13 NO MEPHISTO
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos has the Chitauri army working with him along with his elite troops called the Black Order, consisting of Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian. In the comics, there's another member named Supergiant, as well as Black Dwarf, with Cull Obsidian actually being the alternate name for the group. Although the Black Order and Chitauri are powerful allies to Thanos, he has no equal or anyone that he can call a partner. In the comics, however, he had a right hand man: Mephisto. As his image implies, he is Marvel's version of the devil.
Some versions show Mephisto as a horrific demonic creature, but this version looked like a guitarist from a 1980s glam metal band.
Mephisto was the literal devil sitting on Thanos' shoulder (with no corresponding angel in sight to be on the opposite shoulder). Mephisto would offer council, serve as somewhat of a sounding board for Thanos, and was Thanos' sycophantic "wing man" in his attempt to romance the entity known as Death. Thanos kept Mephisto around, even though he knew that Mephisto would eventually stab him in the back... which he of course did. Why keep around someone that you know is going to betray you? Because it's lonely at the top!
12 STRANGE FIGHTING
Although we see Benedict Cumberbatch cast spells against Dormammu and Kaecilius, Avengers: Infinity War is the first time where we really see Doctor Strange really cut loose. Strange assaults Thanos with a variety of awe-inspiring spells. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, none of Strange's spells are verbal incantations, so it's difficult to determine what he was doing, but Strange magically duplicated himself, tapped into the mirror universe, and even used binding spells that may have been the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak. As impressive as this was, it was not true to the comic, because in the comics Strange had a different role to play.
In the comics, Earth's heroes go head to head with Thanos and the results are quite bloody. Although Doctor Strange with all of his mystical knowledge, would be able to give Thanos by himself a run for his money, Strange is tasked with doing rescue and repair. Those that fought Thanos and were wounded, but not mortally, were ushered off the battlefield, healed/repaired, then sent back to fight against the Mad Titan. Was this the best tactical strategy against Thanos? Should Strange have instead gone on the offensive? Are there any sound strategies against a madman with the power of God?
11 NO BLACK ORDER
In Avengers: Infinity War, The Black Order consisted of Corvus Glave, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, and Cull Obsidian. Thanos used the Order to help him obtain all six of the Infinity Gems. There were times, however, when Thanos didn't need their help at all. For example, when Thanos fought and defeated the Hulk aboard the Asgardian ship the Black Order merely watched from the sidelines. Even during the climactic battle with the Avengers on the planet Titan, the Black Order was nowhere to be found. The Black Order did give the Avengers a well-fought battle on Wakanda over Vision's Infinity Stone, but again, in the end, it was taken off of him by Thanos himself.
Is the Black Order more effective in the comics? Yes and no.
For one, the Black Order doesn't appear in Thanos Quest (when he first retrieves all of the Infinity Stones), The Infinity Gauntlet (the comic book that the third Avengers sequel is based off of) or even Infinity War (the sequel to Infinity Gauntlet that has almost nothing to do with Avengers: Infinity War). The Black Order does appear in the series Infinity, but the plot involves the search for Thane, the son of Thanos. In the comics the Black Order has additional members that didn't make it to the screen: Supergiant and Black Swan.
10 YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS
In the Guardians of the Galaxy, while visiting the Collector, his assistant Carina grabbed the Power Stone and she is so overwhelmed by power that she explodes. During the climax of the movie, Ronan The Accuser's weapon containing the Power Stone is destroyed by Drax, and Peter Quill is able to catch the stone with his bare hands. Quill meets his father in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Ego remarks how amazing it was that he was able to handle an Infinity Stone. The Marvel Cinematic Universe makes it clear that even making physical contact with the Infinity Stones could be extremely deadly.
In the comics, the stones seem to be a bit more user friendly.
After the Infinity Gauntlet saga, the Infinity Gems were given to Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch. Some members sported the gems on their forehead, whereas there was a running gag on where Pip the Troll was hiding his, with the implication that he was a fan of Christopher Walken's performance in Pulp Fiction. Eventually the Stones made their way to the Illuminati, which consisted of such powerhouses as Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Namor and Professor Charles Xavier to name a few. These men had no problems physically holding the stones even though each one possessed immense power.
9 SPECIAL GLOVE
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos traveled to Nidavellir to have the Asgardian dwarves construct a glove for him that would allow him to tap into the power of the Infinity Stones. After the dwarf king Eitri helped in the Infinity Gauntlet's production, Thanos killed the rest of the dwarves and covered Eitri's hands in metal so he couldn't create anything else. As luck would have it, Thor also arrived at Nidavellir in order to produce a new weapon to fight with. Eitri told Thor about what Thanos had done, and he helped Thor craft a new weapon called Stormbreaker. In the comics, as powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet was, it had a different origin.
The Infinity Stones in the comics are quite powerful, but can be handled and touched without the fear of being harmed. Interfacing with the stones requires special ability, and such Stone wielders as Adam Warlock and Moondragon wore the stone in the center of their forehead and tapped into its potential. At one point Reed Richards even wore the Infinity Gauntlet and utilized its power. In the comics, Richards simply wore the Gauntlet and didn't require any additional means to utilize its power. The Gauntlet was merely one of the gloves that Thanos wore.
8 A DIFFERENT THOR
On the side of Thor's hammer is written "Whosoever holds this hammer, if (s)he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor." This has always been misleading given the fact that Thor is a person, not a power. However, over the years Marvel Comics has treated Thor's power as something that people can possess. Recently, Thor Odinson was found unworthy to pick up his own hammer and instead Jane Foster became the new Thor. In Avengers: Infinity War, after forging his new weapon, Thor returns to Earth to defend Wakanda and mortally wounds Thanos. In the comics, Thor's fate was quite different.
Although Thor was present on the battlefield in Infinity Gauntlet, it wasn't the Son of Odin behind Mjolnir.
At the time of Infinity Gauntlet, the person wielding Thor's hammer was Eric Masterson. He looked like Thor except some variations to his outfit, including a full beard and a helmet covering his eyes. He had Thor's strength but lacked his confidence and battle experience, and was basically just a man in a god's body. That didn't stop Masterson from directly attacking Thanos, though. He had nowhere near the success that Thor had in Infinity War; in the comics, Thanos uses his powers to turn Thor into glass, then shatters his body with a swipe of his hand.
7 STONES VS. GEMS
Ok, so what are these things called again? At one point, they were all referred to as the Soul Gems, with the first gem making its appearance in Marvel Premiere #1 in August 1972. The Power and Time Gem made their first appearances in Marvel Team-Up #55 in 1977 and all six gems appeared in Avengers Annual #7 also in 1977. In future issues of Silver Surfer, Thanos would refer to them as the Soul Gems collectively but once he started his mission in Thanos Quest to collect all of the gems, he decided to rebrand them as the Infinity Gems. It was later the Marvel Cinematic Universe that would rebrand them as Infinity Stones, with the comics recently making a change to match.
It's not the first time that the comics have made changes to match its cinematic counterparts. After Iron Man made its debut in 2008, the comic book version of Tony Stark would soon find an energy reactor embedded in his chest instead of an electromagnet. After Sam Raimi's Spider-Man premiered in 2002, Peter Parker in the comics would ditch his web-shooters once he evolved so that he could shoot organic webbing from his wrists. Given that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that the deaths in Avengers: Infinity War were going to stick, does that mean we'll see similar demises for the comic book counterparts?
6 SILVER SURFER
In Avengers: Infinity War, the Earth is warned about he coming of Thanos thanks to the selfless act of Heimdall. Before Heimdall is killed, he transports Hulk via the bifrost back to Earth. Either by luck or by design, Hulk crash lands at the one place he probably needs to go to most: the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange. Hulk crashes through the front of the building and through the main stairs, reverting back to Banner while he was laying amongst the rubble of his landing. This scene from Infinity War is borrowed directly from Infinity Gauntlet but the major difference was a different character crashed through the Doctor's home.
In the comics, it's the Silver Surfer, former herald of Galactus, that crashed into Dr. Strange's home.
In Silver Surfer #50, the Surfer does battle with a stone golem version of Thanos. The Mad Titan probed the Surfer's mind and we find out a great deal of personal information when Surfer was Norrin Radd, including the suicide of both his parents. Surfer is able to flee Thanos and crash lands on Earth at 177A Bleecker Street where the Sanctum is located. His warning is similar to that of Hulk in Infinity War: Thanos is coming!
5 WHO'S THAT MINOTAUR?
In Avengers: Infinity War, we see Wong battling alongside Doctor Strange while he's on Earth. Audiences were introduced to a different Wong from the comics in the 2016 film Doctor Strange. Instead of being Strange's manservant fetching him tea and his robe from time to time, Wong was also a magic user who wasn't afraid to defend the Sanctum Sanctorum, as well as the Time Stone. When Strange meets Iron Man and Spider-Man, he asks if Spidey is Tony's ward. In the comics, Strange does have a disciple but it's not Wong... it's a giant green alien minotaur.
Around the time of Infinity Gauntlet, Dr. Strange's main student was an alien from the planet R'Vaal named Rintrah. He looked like a giant minotaur and scared the heck out of anyone that saw him. Rintrah was a magic user who eventually was given Strange's former Cloak of Levitation (a less cool blue version) and an Amulet of Agamotto (unlike the full-fledged Eye of Agamotto that Strange wore). In the comics, Wong actually betrayed Dr. Strange after the Doctor was unable to save his love interest, Imei. Also in the comics Wong has, in the past, been able to cast spells but not as intensely as his movie counterpart.
4 WHO HAD THE INFINITY STONES?
In the past 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've been seeing the Infinity Stones appear in a variety of films ranging from Guardians of the Galaxy to Doctor Strange. In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos enacts his master plan and along with the Black Order goes about collecting the Stones from all of those in its possession. This plot borrows from the Marvel comic series Thanos Quest, in which Thanos by himself collects the Infinity Stones to form the Infinity Gauntlet.
Those holding the stones in Infinity Gauntlet in the comics were a very different collection of people than in Infinity War.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Asgardians had the Space Stone, The Collector had the Reality Stone, the Nova Corps had the Power Stone, the Vision had the Mind Stone, Doctor Strange had the Time Stone. Infinity War revealed that the Soul Stone was on the planet Vormir under the watch of The Red Skull. In the comics, the stones (referred to as Gems) are primarily in possession by members of a race called The Elders of the Universe. The Soul Gem was being held by the In-Betweener. The Power Stone was used by The Champion of the Universe and the Time Gem was held by the Gardner. The Collector had the Reality Gem, The Runner had the Space Gem and the Grandmaster had the Mind Gem.
Thanks to the Nidavellir blacksmith Eitri, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon, Thor was able to forge a new weapon to replace Mjolnir. His trusty hammer was destroyed by his sister Hela in Thor: Ragnarok and Thor knew he needed a mighty weapon to take down Thanos. Groot's sacrifice of an arm provided the handle for Stormbreaker, Thor's new weapon that he used to fight the Outriders attacking Wakanda and ultimately used against Thanos. The Marvel Cinematic Universe did some cherrypicking when it came to Thor's new weapon, because it's a combination of several weapons that have been seen in the comics.
In the comics, Thor has wielded other weapons besides Mjolnir, but never Stormbreaker. That weapon belonged to Beta Ray Bill, a cybernetic horse-looking alien who gained an Asgardian hammer after defeating Thor in combat and managing to lift Mjolnir, himself. Beta Ray Bill made a "cameo" of sorts in the MCU; a statue of his head can be found in the Grandmaster's Tower in Thor: Ragnarok. Stormbreaker in Avengers: Infinity War looks like a cross between Jarnbjorn, a weapon that Thor wielded before he was worthy enough to hold Mjolnir, and the Ultimate Thor's Mjolnir. Ultimate Mjolnir was also wielded by Volstagg when it crossed into the main Marvel universe, where it empowered him as the short-lived War Thor.
2 FEMALE THANOS
Both Infinity Gauntlet and Avengers: Infinity War feature Earth's heroes fighting a hopeless battle against Thanos. In Infinity War, Thanos was able to hold his own against such powerhouses as Hulk, Doctor Strange and Iron Man, thanks to the Infinity Stones that were in his possession at the time. Who's to say, but even without the untimely anger outburst of Peter Quill, Thanos probably would have triumphed against the Avengers without anyone's help.
In the comics, Thanos did have "help" so to speak in the form of his female self.
It can be lonely at the top and in the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos had Mephisto as his sidekick, of sorts. Using the power of the Infinity Gauntlet, however, Thanos created a female consort (who, weirdly, looked like a female version of himself) named Terraxia. She had superhuman speed, strength, and could shoot blasts of energy. When the heroes attack, Terraxia defends Thanos by brutally murdering Spider-Man with a rock and decapitating Iron Man with ease. In the comics, Nebula wrests the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and ejects Terraxia and Thanos into space. Although Thanos can survive in the cold vacuum of space, he created Terraxia without giving her that ability, and she dies.
1 EBONY MAW
In Avengers: Infinity War, Ebony Maw, along with Cull Obsidian, arrive on Earth to take the Time Stone from Doctor Strange. Maw is unable to remove it due to protection spells cast by Strange, so he kidnaps Strange and brings him aboard Maw's ship. Doctor Strange is tortured (but only for a short time) by Maw and is rescued by Iron Man and Spider-Man, who eject the Black Order member into the coldness of space. Maw's time with Strange is short but memorable. However, in the comics, the relationship between Ebony Maw and Doctor Strange played out quite differently.
In the Marvel event Infinity, Thanos is looking not for the Infinity Stones but for his son Thane. This is where Thanos uses the Black Order to help him in his search to find his offspring. Ebony Maw came to Earth and was able to mentally control Doctor Strange without his knowledge. Maw used Strange to find Thane's location in Greenland, then was able to make the Doctor forget that he ever performed the search in the first place. In the comics, the confrontation between Strange and Ebony Maw was not as physical as in Avengers: Infinity War and fans were somewhat disappointed to see that the battle pass so quickly.