10 Clever Marvel Comics References Hiding In Infinity War

We’re going to be talking full spoilers for Infinity War. If you’ve managed to avoid them by now, well, maybe consider buying a lottery ticket.

The plot of Avengers: Infinity War doesn’t have lot in common with the comic storyline that shares its name, but that doesn’t mean Marvel’s latest blockbuster doesn’t take heavy inspiration from the source material. Several moments from Infinity War are straight from the comics, and others have been slightly altered to fit the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s show you what we’re talking about.

1. Doctor Strange gets an unexpected visitor at the Sanctum (but it’s not necessarily Bruce Banner)

After getting the green beat out of him by Thanos, Hulk reverts to his puny human form just in time to crash land at Doctor Strange’s sanctum. Bruce Banner acts as the harbinger for the villainous Grimace, and his warning begins the Earth side of the story in earnest.

The Infinity Gauntlet comic begins in much the same way, as Doctor Strange is surprised to have a new guest along with a new hole in his ceiling. But instead of Banner, the doomsayer is none other than the Silver Surfer.

Of course, as of the filming of Infinity War, Marvel Studios did not have the rights to the character, so you can see why they went with another, more recognizable option. Banner replacing Surfer’s role might have been for the best, since introducing an incredibly powerful hero only for them to do nothing the rest of the movie would have been a real bummer.

2. Familiar fight scenes

Part of the reason that superhero comic books translate so well to the big screen is how each panel captures a perfect moment in time. Now, comics can do so much more than act as glorified storyboards for movies, but sometimes the compartmentalized structure means that it’s easy to pick and choose bits and pieces to put on the big screen. Above you can see Thanos getting thwipped in the face by Spider-Man’s web in The Infinity Gauntlet comic, which no doubt inspired a very similar moment in Infinity War.

Not every scene has such a direct one-to-one correlation. There’s no scene in the comics that directly mirrors the bit where Doctor Strange busts out the red laser ribbons (aka the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak) on Thanos, but you can bet the production team took some notes from pages like these:

Other references are somewhere between direct and indirect. At one point in The Infinity Gauntlet comic, Thanos and Scarlet Witch get locked into an anime-ass beam struggle, much like they do near the end of Infinity War. Only uh, Cyclops is there.

Like Silver Surfer, it’s probably for the best that the X-Men weren’t crammed into Infinity War. The Dust Buster is pretty full as it is.

3. In retrospect, Vision’s placement of the Mind Stone was probably a mistake

You’d think that someone with all the powers of the Mind Stone would be smart enough not to put a bullseye on their forehead. But Vision isn’t alone in his oversight.

Before The Infinity Gauntlet comic, Thanos Quest followed the Titan on his journey to collect the his cosmic jewels like so many Dragon Balls. Over the course of a couple of issues, Thanos meets a series of space chumps and violently shakes them down for their fancy rocks. It’s easy enough to spot these marks, mostly because they’re all wearing their gems right on their foreheads.


It didn’t go well for these folks. In retrospect, we probably should have seen Vision’s fate coming. Much like another dude holding a stone…

4. Thanos gains control over reality in the comics and the movie, all thanks to the same bozo

The Collector has been milling around the MCU for the last few years for two reasons. 1) His living museum is a good source of easter eggs and background references, and 2) He was keeping the Reality Stone warm until Thanos could come over and curbstomp him.

In Thanos Quest , the title character receives the Reality Stone from the Collector as part of a trade (one that doesn’t go so well for the dude who gave away a powerful artifact).

Yes, Thanos technically gives Collector a golden baby as part of his side of the bargain, and no, we don’t have time to explain that.

5. Drax and Mantis’ temporary destruction is straight from the page

Throughout Infinity War, Thanos seems more fond of toying with the Avengers than outright killing them. He doesn’t even permanently kill Drax and Mantis on Knowhere, despite transforming them into chunky locks and a coil of ribbons, respectively. That was kind of just for fun. Turns out, Movie Thanos is a lot like Comics Thanos in this way.

See, Thanos pulls a similar non-fatal move in The Infinity Gauntlet comic, only his targets are different. On the page it’s Nebula (who is already being tortured, stuck in half-zombie form) and Star Fox, Thanos’ brother (again, we don’t have time for backstory). Of course, in this context Thanos is doing this in an attempt to impress Death. It doesn’t work. Maybe he should have tried for more bubbles.

6. Vision’s demise looks a little familiar, too

Leaning a bit more towards the indirect side of things, Vision’s death in The Infinity Gauntlet is a bit similar to how he goes out (well, the second time) in Infinity War. Only here, Thanos skips the brain and goes straight for the heart.

Vision is all white here because at this point in the comics, the character has been essentially “reborn” with a new personality. I can’t help but wonder if Shuri kept a back-up of Vision in Wakanda, we might see this version of the character sooner than later.

7. Thanos’ small conscience makes a return

Though she’s dead in the “real world,” it’s tough to shake the feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Gamora. The appearance of her younger self just after Thanos’ snap tells us that she’ll be haunting her father for some time. The “large purple man with judgmental child” motif plays out in the Annihilation series of comics (which are rad, by the way), but in a slightly different context. See, in this case, Gamora is still around, and it’s Death herself that takes the form of a girl accompanying Thanos.

This run of comics is what directly inspired the Guardians of the Galaxy that movie fans are familiar with, so it’s not a stretch to say that Marvel Studios may have been inspired by more than just the talking rabbit.


8. That time Thanos wanted to make Death jealous so he made a sexy woman clone of himself

Wait, this didn’t happen in Infinity War? Huh. Never mind.

9.The effects of The Snap are almost as traumatic in the comics as they are in the movie

On a structure level, most of Infinity War seems to hew closer to the Thanos Quest comic than The Infinity Gauntlet, since the movie follows the villain as he collects powerful objects. In Gauntlet, the now-infamous snap occurs at the outset of the story, setting up the stakes early.

Captain America watches in horror as Hawkeye disappears from view. Spidey actually survives the initial purge on the page, but he’s forced to watch the chaos unfold on the streets of New York. It gets pretty heavy pretty quick.

I’m not saying that I want a Leftovers-style TV show set in the post-snap Marvel Cinematic Universe, but why is no one making that?


10. Thanos retires to a farm

Thanos seems pretty damn content at the end of Infinity War. Smiling at the sunrise on an unknown planet, he revels in what he feels must be a grateful universe. Look closely and you can see Thanos has tossed his armor on the ground. He’s done fighting.

The same thing happens in The Infinity Gauntlet comic, except there Thanos loses and retires to a farm in failure. Seems like this was his fallback plan no matter what happened.

The next time we see Thanos, he might still be on his farm. Maybe at some point during his adventures in agriculture, he’ll start wondering whether he should have just made more food with the Infinity Gauntlet instead of murdering half the universe. I wouldn’t bet on it.

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