So Sayeth the Odinson: The Comics that Inspired the MCU: The Infinity Saga: Part 3 of 4

Greetings from the Odinson,

The Comics that Inspired the MCU: The Infinity Saga: Part 3 of 4

Be sure to check out The Comics that Inspired the MCU Phase I and II – HERE and HERE.

Phase III: Chapter 1 (2016-2018)

Most of the major players have been introduced, heroes and villains, and things really kick into high gear here as we build toward the grand finale of the epic decade-plus-long story that kicked off back in 2008 with Iron Man.  The action, the drama, the stakes, everything kicks up a notch and the catalyst that starts it all  is the film that will fracture our core group of heroes and put them at their lowest point in the overall narrative.

Captain America: Civil War – Though Captain America: Civil War would have made an amazing cliffhanger ending for Phase II of the MCU, its impact on the overall narrative moving forward is still felt. 

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Civil War – Like I stated before, of all the films in the MCU, the Captain America films – The First Avenger, Winter Soldier, and Civil War – come the closest to being straight adaptations of any particular source material.  In both the film and the comics that inspired it, a horrifying tragedy demands drastic measures to be taken, but the ramifications of this reaction causes a schism in the ranks of the heroes.  Battle lines are drawn as half the superheroes side with Iron Man while the other half side with Captain America.  

Allies become enemies, friendships are shattered, and even romances are fractured as two sides, both with legitimate stances, refuse to back down.  In both the film and the comics, Spider-Man plays a pivotal role in the conflict.  Plus, a beloved hero (Goliath in the comics, War Machine in the film) pays a terrible price for the escalation of the conflict.

The Initiative – Iron Man, backed by the government takes a more proactive role in policing the world and enacts an initiative where all super powered beings and masked crime fighters must register with the U.S. government and submit to their dictates.  You know, that very thing the X-Men have been resisting for like, ever.  

New Avengers – In the aftermath of the comics and film, a small band of Avengers who still oppose the Initiative go underground and become outlaw heroes. 

Fantastic Four #52 – This is the issue that introduced the world to T’Challa, King of Wakanda and a mighty champion of justice that will go on to become a stalwart ally of both Marvel’s First Family and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. 

Breakout – The Raft, a maximum security prison built in the ocean was introduced in this storyline.  It’s seen in the film when Steve Rogers shows up to break his allies out of jail.

After the events of Age of Ultron and Civil War, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are torn asunder, divided, and scattered to the four corners of the universe.  The Avengers are Disassembled and at their weakest and nowhere near ready for the coming of the Mad Titan.   

Doctor Strange – Like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange has never been a particular favorite of the Odinson and I never thought I’d see or enjoy a movie based on him, and yet Marvel Studios made it work.  Watching the Master of the Mystic Arts and his mind-blowing world come to life on the Big Screen was a good time at the movies.

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Strange Tales #110-111 – The great Steve Ditko and Stan Lee introduced the world to Doctor Stephen Strange, an arrogant surgeon who after an accident seeks refuge in the Tibetan mountains and meets the mysterious Ancient One who trains him in the mystic arts and prepares him to become the Sorcerer Supreme.  He also meets Wong, his loyal confidant, and Baron Mordo, the man that would become one Strange’s most tenacious enemies. 

Strange Tales #126 – The introduction of the Dread Dormammu, ruler of the Dark Dimension and one of the most feared evildoers in the entire Marvel Universe.  One of the details I liked about the film is how powerful Dormammu was portrayed.  More times than not, in the comics as in the film, Doctor Strange must outsmart the Dread One because overpowering him is next to impossible.

Strange Tales #130 – Features the debut of Kaecilius, a follower of Mordo and the main antagonist in the film. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – One of the most interesting things about the Guardians movies is that Marvel Studios has taken these B-List characters and not only carved out a spot for them in the MCU where they can grow and expand on their own as their adventures add many new layers to the landscape, but these adventures also affect the overall driving narrative of the greater scope of the MCU. 

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Marvel Preview #4 – Peter Quill’s origins (albeit a bit altered) are explored and this wise cracking, sometimes shallow man with the potential to be a hero begins to show flashes that he will someday play an even more important role in the cosmic events of the universe. 

The Mighty Thor #132-133 – Ego the Living Planet is one of the primordial beings of the cosmos, an Elder of the Universe, and a rival to even the world-devouring might of Galactus himself.

The Avengers #112 – The seductive and deceptively manipulative Mantis is introduced.  From the pages of Avengers to the star-spanning adventures of the Silver Surfer, this seemingly minor character has played major roles in many tales set in the greater Marvel Universe.

 Fantastic Four #66-67 – The end of the film shows the distinct cocoon that will birth Him, the golden-hued man that will one day evolve into the hero Adam Warlock.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Spidey is in the MCU!  Was this the best Spider-Man film?  No.  But it was far from the worst one we’ve seen.  One of the best things about this film is that probably better than any Spidey film before it, it captures that youth and those all-important high school years feel of the early Lee/Ditko issues. Also, I did not have to sit through his origin story yet again.

Plus, I cannot say enough about the great Michael Keaton and what he brings to the table.  That scene at the house and in the car when we watch as the hero and villain slowly figure out who each other is so great and tense and arguably the best dramatic scene in any MCU film to date.

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

The Amazing Spider-Man #2 – The high-flying Vulture is one of Spidey’s oldest and most dangerous adversaries.  One thing I’ll give Spider-Man movies credit over any other super hero franchise is the fact they are willing to explore more than just one or two villains.  This a testament to just how great and deep the roster to Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery runs. 

The Amazing Spider-Man #20 and 46 – Proving my point about the depth of Spidey’s enemy pool, both Mac Gargan (a.k.a. the Scorpion) and Herman Schultz (a.k.a. the Shocker) both make appearances in this film and they aren’t even the main bad guys. 

Damage Control – Damage Control are the people that show up and clean up the mess after the big battles between super beings ravages the city.

Thor: Ragnarok – Hands down, Ragnarok is, without a doubt, the Odinson’s favorite Marvel Studios movie to date.  It is so fun, so Jack Kirby, so Walt Simonson, it is everything I could ever want from a movie based on one of my All-Time favorite characters.  It is fantastic and fantastical.  It never takes itself too serious but at the same time gives the feeling of real stakes.  It is very reminiscent of the 1980 film Flash Gordon, an All-Time classic.

Thor: Ragnarok is funny, thrilling, and gorgeous to look at.

The Comics that Inspired the Film:

Ragnarok n Roll – So many great Easter eggs are cherry picked from the exalted run of the legendary Walt Simonson, not the least of which is the primordial titan Surtur threatening to rise from the fiery pits of Muspellheim and bring about the end of Asgard. 

Planet Hulk – The Hulk blasted to the far side of the universe where he is forced to fight for his life in a gladiator arena against the deadliest beings in the galaxy.  Check.  The Hulk winds up being part of a revolution to overthrow the ruling class.  Check.

The Mighty Thor #337 – You know I could not talk about this film without a shout out to the Easter egg for my boy Beta Ray Bill.

The Mighty Thor #354 and 361-362 – Hela the Goddess of Death comes for Odin only to find Thor in his stead.  She curses him so that his wounds will not heal and his bones are brittle which leaves the thunder god scarred after battle.  In the film, she takes his eye.  Thor and his allies battle the armies of the underworld and the giant wolf, Garm.  And, Skurge the Executioner’s last stand and his affinity toward mortal weaponry is paid homage to. 

Contest of Champions – The Elder of the Universe, the Grandmaster, a major player in the machinations of the cosmos, and the title of one of the most famous Marvel mini-series is paid homage to in the film. 

Dark Wars – When Hela so casually and shockingly destroyed Mjolnir it was very reminiscent of the time Thor faced the might of Perrikus the God of Power!

Myth Conceptions – This tale saw the Hulk run afoul of the Goddess of Death and the giant wolf Garm.  Just like in the film.

The end of Ragnarok leaves the fate of our heroes uncertain and sets the table for the second chapter of Phase IIII which includes Black Panther, Infinity War, Captain Marvel, the grand finale Avengers: Endgame, and its coda, Spider-Man: Far From Home

Tune in next week as week take a look at the comics that inspired the films. 

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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