So Sayeth the Odinson: The Comics that Inspired the MCU: The Infinity Saga: Part 2 of 4

Greetings from the Odinson,

The Comics that Inspired the MCU: The Infinity Saga: Part 2 of 4

Check out the comics that inspired the MCU: Phase I – HERE.

Phase II (2013-2015)

After the triumphant finale to Phase I, our heroes are riding high, confident, and at the height of their powers and alliances.  However, Phase II of the MCU is a true second act as our protagonists are derailed with new obstacles, new revelations about the world around them, and powerful gut shots to their egos and morale.  By the end of Phase 2, the Avengers are teetering and the seeds are planted for the eventual Disassemble on the horizon. 

Iron Man 3 – This is not the best nor the worse MCU entry, but it is arguably the most uneven.  It’s written well, the acting is good, but some of the narrative choices are a bit perplexing, not the least of which was the twist with the film’s supposed antagonist. 

This film completes Tony Stark’s character arc begun in the first Iron Man film, and even though Iron Man 3 seemingly ends with Tony closing the door on his superhero ventures, it leaves our hero tempered and ready to do what needs to be done in his eyes – put a suit of armor around the world.   

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Extremis – The plot of this modern day classic about Nano-tech that can transform ordinary people into nigh unstoppable super soldiers, but at a great cost, was used as the driving force for Iron Man 3.

Tales of Suspense #50 – Though the actual Mandarin does not actually make an on screen appearance, the looming threat of arguably Iron Man’s greatest foe is felt.

Dark Avengers – James Rhodes turns in the War Machine armor for the Red, White, and Blue armor of the Iron Patriot.  This armor was first donned in the comics by Norman Osborn during the infamous Dark Reign era of Marvel Comics when the bad guys were in power.

Iron Man #174 – It is absolutely impossible to watch the final battle in Iron Man 3 and not think about this classic cover by Luke McDonnell.

Thor: The Dark World – Even though this second film starring the thunder god cherry-picks heavily from the Thor run by Walt Simonson, my personal favorite Thor run, this is easily the weakest of the three Thor films made so far. This story is pivotal though, as its events substantially weaken the vanguard that is Asgard, leaving the fabled home of the gods vulnerable for what comes next in Thor: Ragnarok, and the MCU as a whole susceptible for the final phase of the Mad Titan’s master plan, which is the driving force for Phase III of the Infinity Saga.

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

The Mighty Thor #345-348 – Just like his very first appearance in the comics, the machinations of Malekith the Dark Elf sets in motion the events that will lead to Ragnarok.

The Mighty Thor #363 – Kurse, the Dark Elf that was transformed into a juggernaut of wanton destruction makes an appearance in this film.

The Mighty Thor #118 – The fabled Odinsleep where once a year for 24 hours the All-Father enters a trancelike state of slumber to replenish his nigh omnipotent power.  During this 24 hours, Asgard is at its most vulnerable to its enemies and it is usually during this 24 hour cycle that they strike.

The Collector – During the end credits, the movie-going audience is introduced to Taneleer Tivan the infamous Collector, a cosmic elder that…well, he collects.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Though it is not my personal favorite film in the MCU, I will acknowledge that Winter Soldier is arguably the best film in the Infinity Saga.  The narrative, the acting, the structure, everything about this film transcends just being referred to as another “comic book movie.”  Like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight before it, Winter Soldier is first and foremost a great film.   

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Winter Soldier – This is, of course, the instant classic from Ed Brubaker that inspired the film, and of all the MCU movies, this one probably comes the closest to being an actual straight adaptation of the source material.

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier – The outfit Cap sports in this film was inspired by the uniform his comic book counterpart wore in this series. 

Captain America and the Falcon – When I very first began reading comic books oh so many years ago, the title of my favorite comic was not Captain America at the time, but actually it was called Captain America and the Falcon.  Like in the comics, in this film, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson become partners and best friends.  Falcon has always been one of my favorite characters and it is awesome to see him portrayed so greatly on the Big Screen. 

Batroc the Leaper – One of the Odinson’s favorite Captain America sparring partners shows up here.  He even comes back during the Falcon and the Winter Soldier Disney+ series.  Which made me happy.  That is until the unceremoniously killed him off for no good reason.

Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD – 100% all the spy drama/cloak and dagger and 3-D chess going on between Fury and the clandestine organization known as Hydra in this film was inspired by classic Stan Lee and Jim Steranko tales. 

Guardians of the Galaxy – Easily one of the most enjoyable and funniest films in the MCU, Guardians features a wonderful cast of C-List heroes and villains that have endured in the pages of Marvel Comics for decades and become some of the most beloved by fans of the comics and the movies. 

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Guardians of the Galaxy (The Modern Era Incarnation) – I grew up with the original 31st Century Guardians that were featured in such classic Marvel Comics as The Korvac Saga and the criminally underrated Jim Valentino run from the 90s.  Marvel Studios decided to adapt the motley group of war heroes from the pages of Annihilation that had only been assembled in the comics a few short years before this film’s release, and by Odin, it worked!

Fantastic Four #65 – With the Kree and Ronan the Accuser, this film also introduced the Kree Empire to the MCU, one of the most important intergalactic players in the Marvel Comics.  Which in turn sets up the coming of Captain Marvel.

The Avengers #260 – Fans of the MCU also get to meet Nebula, the malevolent daughter of the Mad Titan, whose debut in the comics played out in the Legacy of Thanos story arc. 

The Nova CorpsGuardians Vol. 1 also features the Marvel Universe’s answer to DC’s Green Lantern Corp.  Though, albeit, they are not as super as they appear in the comics.  Nova: The Human Rocket series from the 70s was one the Odinson’s favorite comic books back when he was a little Odinson.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Though this film does have great moments, it is easily the weakest of the Avengers films so far.  I felt they dropped the ball when it came to the design of Ultron, one of my favorite Avengers villains, and though I never felt like the cast was too big, I do not think it was not juggled as efficiently as it could have been.

On the positive side, the money shot and the opening where the Avengers are working as a well-oiled machine is beautiful and is a perfect juxtaposition of the heights they have reached and the lows they will fall after the events of the upcoming Civil War.  Plus, the great James Spader knocks it out of the park and, of course, gets an A++.  I would not expect less from one of the greatest onscreen villains in the history of cinema. 

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Age of Ultron – The only relation between the film and this comic tale is the use of the titular villain and that title of the comic itself. 

Ultron Unlimited – Arguably the greatest Ultron tale to date, this film drew heavy inspiration from this Kurt Busiek/George Perez classic.  The final battle in the film was a great spectacle for sure, but the fact that Thor never said – “Ultron, we would have words with thee.” – is a crime. 

The Avengers #16 – Pretty early on in the comics, the roster of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes added new recruits to the team, two reformed villains, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. So it makes perfect since that in the second Avengers film, these super powered siblings start off as adversaries, but end up as allies.  Plus, Hawkeye bonding with them is a nice nod to this era of Avengers comics as well since he was the third new recruit of this time.

The Avengers #57-58 – In the comics, Vision was created by Ultron as the perfect weapon to destroy the Avengers.  But the super android turned against his cruel master and has been a stalwart member of the team ever since.  Age of Ultron does an adequate job adapting this important chapter in Marvel Comics History. 

Ant-Man – Though I am a little perplexed why they didn’t go with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne as the leads, I was very happy to see the great Michael Douglas portray the classic Marvel Comics character.  This is another really fun MCU movie and I cannot believe I actually saw a movie based on Ant-Man.  ANT-MAN?  And I actually liked it.  Paul Rudd is a made man. 

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Tales to Astonish #27 – Not only did we get to see this amazing imagery on the Big Screen, we got to experience what it would be  like to venture inside an anthill as the camera followed our hero through the tiny world beyond our sight.

Marvel Premiere #47 – The film captures the fact that Scott Lang is a loving father with a criminal past who just wants to do what’s right and provide for his daughter.  However, Lang in the film is not nearly as brilliant as he is in the comics where he’s an engineer, and though not on Hank Pym or Tony Stark’s level, he is a pretty darn smart guy.

The Avengers #59 – In the comics, Yellowjacket is an alternate, arrogant, unstable personality of Hank Pym.  While in this persona, Pym’s less than stellar behavior gets him kicked out of the Avengers, divorced from his wife, the Wasp, and lands him in jail.

The Astonishing Ant-Man #12 – In the film, Yellowjacket is the villain Darren Cross who in a bit of reversal becomes the villain Yellowjacket in the comics after his appearance in the film. 

Though Captain America: Civil War would have made a perfect cliffhanger for Phase II, it actually kicks off Phase III.  So, tune in next week as we cap off our look at the Comic Books that Inspired the MCU Infinity Saga with Phase III.

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell

NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE.  Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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