With the approximately 134 characters in Avengers: Infinity War (it’s awesome…read our review here) it would make sense that the big, climactic villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos, would bring help. For this, the movie’s creative team tapped The Black Order, a group of relative newcomers to the comics, but each with a very cool look and an interesting power set.
But who are Thanos’ Black Order? Why should the Avengers be worried about these folks? We’ve got the goods for you right here.
The Black Order
The first appearance of the full team was a part of Infinity, the first big crossover of Jonathan Hickman’s epic run. They were Thanos’s generals, sent to Earth at the head of his invasion force to find the Infinity Gems and also his illegitimate son. They are a collection of super badasses, who decimated the forces remaining on Earth (who, to be fair, were not necessarily a massive collection of the biggest guns in the Marvel Universe, but they at least had the Illuminati heading the crew).
In the comics, they were also known as the Cull Obsidian, though that’s been changed for the movie. In the film, they’re being referred to as the Children of Thanos. That’s an interesting shift: both considering they were sent to kill Thane, Thanos’s son, in the comics; and because Thanos already has a couple of “children” in Gamora and Nebula.
We’ll see how that change impacts their backstories and Thanos’s.
Glaive is the leader of the Black Order, Thanos’ most trusted general. The only member of the Order co-created by Jim Cheung, he is a cruel, vicious bastard with enhanced strength, speed, agility and endurance, and is functionally immortal as long as his signature glaive is unbroken. He’s married to Proxima Midnight, and a brother to Black Dwarf.
Glaive led the charge to find Thane on Earth during Infinity, and was eventually nearly destroyed and trapped in amber at the end of the miniseries. He was eventually freed and became part of Thanos’s Cabal, destroying worlds to protect the 616 from Incursions, until Secret Wars, where he escaped to Battleworld along with the rest of the bad guys. Upon the multiverse’s resurrection sans Thanos, he reformed the Black Order, only to give up leadership with extreme prejudice (he committed seppuku) following Thanos’s return.
He is currently back alive again in the weekly New/Uncanny/Classic Avengerscrossover, “No Surrender.”
Proxima Midnight is a killer. She was created by Hickman and Jerome Opena for Infinity. Seen above conquering Atlantis after basically one page of existence, she has all the powers of her husband, Corvus Glaive, but her spear can turn to light and it almost never misses.
She survived the end of Infinitywith Thanos and Glaive, i.e. trapped in amber. She then joined them in the Cabal, rampaging across the multiverse until they escaped to Battleworld, where she promptly killed a Thor. Upon the restoration of the multiverse, she rejoined Thanos and teamed with Hela to try and bring the Ultimate Universe’s Mjolnir to him as a tribute in the pages of The Unworthy Thor.
She failed, got killed by Hela, and resurrected by the Grandmaster for “No Surrender.”
Black Dwarf is functionally invulnerable. Created by Hickman and Opena, Black Dwarf is super dense (in a packed matter sort of way, not in a thick headed moron way) and has unbreakable skin, and yet he was still defeated trying to invade Wakanda. He retreated, and as a punishment for his failure, was expelled from the Order and sent to capture The Peak, S.W.O.R.D.’s orbiting base, ahead of the return of the Avengers army and the collected unified universal forces who were just finishing battle with the Builders. He failed there too, and had his head caved in by Ronan the Accuser.
He was also resurrected for “No Surrender,” where he’s had a similarly nondescript and failure-ridden career. In the film, Black Dwarf is apparently undergoing a name change to Cull Obsidian, which was the team’s alternate name originally.
Ebony Maw is a slippery bastard. His true power, as presented by Hickman and Opena in Infinity,appears to be “lying.” He has manifested no physical abilities: just the ability to manipulate anyone and anything into doing what he wants, like making Dr. Strange summon Shuma Gorath in Harlem (that happened).
He was the member of the order who found Thane. Once there, he talked Thane into wearing a containment suit to stop his powers, then summoned Thanos and the rest of the Order. He then decided he’d rather just see what happens with Thane, so he convinced the boy to freeze the remainder of the Order in amber, and the two left. He rejoined the team for “No Surrender” earlier this year.
Check out his creepy movie look…
The one member of the Order not making it into the movies is Supergiant. She’s an omnipath, a psionic ghost who can control or possess or psychically consume anyone she comes into contact with. She spent some time during Infinityscrewing with the X-Men before heading to Wakanda to set off Black Bolt’s Terrigen bomb. When she did, Maximus the Mad, who held the trigger, had Lockjaw teleport her and the bomb to an uninhabited planet where she was apparently killed. Like her colleagues, she was resurrected for “No Surrender.”
Check out the whole skeevy squad in the movie…
For more on the Black Order, Thanos, or Avengers: Infinity War, stick with Den of Geek!