Subtitles prepared by human
Infinity War is arguably the darkest moment in all of the MCU, but all things considered that's a pretty low bar to clear. After all, Marvel's typically known for being upbeat, silly and colorful fun, especially when compared against the grim and self-serious backdrop of the DC Universe. But don't let that fool you, when push comes to shove in front of a moving train, Marvel knows how to get dark with a capital "D". Here are five times that Marvel Comics made Infinity War's ending look like... ...picking daisies in the park. Or something else that's easy, unless you have a... You know, bad allergies in which case that's, that's hard and, you know like, I've be- I-I-I've been there. So, my sympathies. Number one: Thanos Wins. H-Hey, just like in the movie only... not. Infinity War's final snap might have been surprising in the moment, but I don't think that I need to explain why the deaths of those cinematic billions are just a temporary setback. In the storyline "Thanos Wins", things go quite a bit further. There is no part two to fix things up, Thanos wins full stop.
It's important to note that the comics version of Thanos has a bit different motivation than in the MCU. Instead of having vaguely altruistic concerns about population control, comics Thanos has a cosmic schoolboy crush on the living embodiment of death, and he's trying to win her favor. He'll do anything to get the attention of that popular girl, including ending the frickin' universe. Which is exactly what happens in "Thanos Wins". But things don't go... a hundred percent smooth. The story follows a younger pre-extermination Thanos being teleported to the future at the behest of the universe decimating King Thanos, who rules the desolate future atop a throne made out of Galactus' head. There remain a few survivors including a goofy cosmic Ghost Rider and a feral Hulk on a rope, but soon, young Thanos learns that he's been summoned to the future by old man Thanos, so they could lead a tag-team smack-down on the Mjolnir-wielding Silver Surfer. But dos Thanos make quick work of them. You'd think that young T would be stoked on this future seeing his empire of wreckage come to pass. But it's actually kind of the opposite, the thought of seeing himself as a weak old man who has to wear, you know...
Space-age adult diapers and beg his younger self for help, bums him out so bad that when he returns to the past, he decides to make this whole future never come to pass. As it turns out, even when Thanos winds up the literal last person in the universe having killed off everyone else... He still decides he could have done better. Number two: An intra-Avengers squabble claims the life of the best of them, the early aughts brought about the "Ultimate Marvel Universe", which included the title "The Ultimates" this universe's version of The Avengers. This team had some good time on the page together before they disbanded and reformed as an edgy black ops team, once again. this was the early 2000's. Team members Blade, Punisher and a merciless Captain America gathered under Nick Fury and took up the Avengers mantle, but a splinter group calling themselves the "New Ultimates", became an opposing force. Obviously these two groups of good guys had to fight each other in a fashion most brutal, I mean, this is, you know it's still a comic book. So, normally these things would end with a couple of boo-boos and a newfound appreciation for the art of tactical communication in lieu of punching your friends in the face until they're spitting blood.
but this fight pushed things a bit further than normal. In this case, Spider-Man's tingle-o meter jumps into the red zone when Captain America and Nick Fury are kicking the living shit out of each other on a bridge. So Spidey swings down into the danger zone and throws himself at Cap, only to swallow a bullet the size of a trash can with his ribs. The shooter is, of course, The Punisher. Surprise! The one guy who uses guns to murder people-ohh-whoa. Frank Castle is bummed to have blown a 10-inch diameter hole in Peter Parker and you know instead of trying to kill someone else. And he tries to commit suicide as a cop as an act of guilty penance. But luckily War Machine blows up the bridge, buying them some more time for everyone to just, you know, fight eachother. Except for Spidey, who isn't dead quite yet. He's got to take his new spider hole to fight the Green Goblin, who in this Ultimate Universe is an unkillable fire shooting monster. It doesn't go great. Spider-Man dies, Cap gets slapped in the face and the Avengers have a: "Gee, shucks, that was a goof moment before everyone lives happily ever after." Except Spider-Man, who has a dump truck sized bullet wound and is super dead...
just... super dead. Number three: The gruesome deaths of Marvel heroes. Ultimatum isn't just one of the darkest Avenger stories, it is one of the darkest stories in comics, period. If you couldn't guess from the title, this is also set in the Ultimate Universe and kicks off with Magneto having just lost all of his children and having gained Mjolnir. And no, he doesn't battle two Thanos', he does something even more ridiculous. He uses the hammer and his own magnetic powers to reverse the Earth's polarity, creating a series of tidal waves that engulf multiple major cities including New York, which as it so happens is the home of a tiny handful of Marvel characters. The casualty list for Ultimatum is enormous. Nightcrawler, Beast, Dazzler, Daredevil all bite the dust or, water as it were, if that wasn't bad enough, Magneto is teamed up with a bunch of other super villains, including the Blob who takes advantage of the chaos to... uh... eat... Wasp. The Blob is quick to learn that it's a bad idea to eat someone close to Ant-Man, who uses his size changing powers to return the favor, and this is just the tip of the iceberg and it's an iceberg that's made out of dead bodies.
Dormammu pops Doctor Strange's head like a grape, Wolverine gets vaporized, Magneto gets his head blown off by Cyclops who in turn gets his head blown off in the epilogue. Meanwhile, Doctor Doom has gone unpunished despite being responsible for the events that started Ultimatum, that is until The Thing makes a trip to Latveria and Doctor Doom... well... Yikes. It's a bleak comic. One in which the heroes don't win, the villains don't win, mostly just a bunch of people's heads get ruined in horrible and very graphic ways. Number four: Warren Ellis bums everyone out forever, because you know, it's Warren-it's Warren Ellis. The limited series "Marvels" by comics titans, Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek, was a seminal moment in comics, the widely regarded series introduced us to everyman photographer Phil Sheldon, who watches the events of the Marvel Universe unfold in a unique grounded perspective. It was really cool! But then, Warren Ellis decided that he'd like to do a so-called parody series called "Ruins". The perverse take of Ruins reframes the Marvel Universe to better reflect the rules of our own actual reality,
and every one is worse because of it! Captain Marvel is dying of cancer in an internment camp, Peter Parker is a radioactive cancer-ridden stalker and mutants are locked up in a prison where Wilson Fisk orders power nullifying surgeries on them. Cyclops loses his eyes and psychics lose something even a little more crucial, gamma blasted Bruce Banner isn't doing so hot either. Instead of being turned into the super-strong Hulk He's warped into a giant hideous tumor monster. Elsewhere, Wolverine is sloughing off his skin in chunks because his body rejects the Adamantium. You must be starting to see the pattern here, Johnny Blaze sets himself on fire and dies, the Fantastic Four? Uh, they're-they're dead. The Black Panther? Well, uh, he's in jail, Hawkeye's executed, Bucky-Bucky's a cannibal. Bucky's a cannibal, really? Yeah, he is. You might say: "Wow, lucky for our mini-series protagonist Phil Sheldon, who was not destroyed as a result of his own powers, right?" No! No, happy endings here. He dies alone in an alley after Spider-Man gives him cancer. Of course, HA-POW! Ha!
Nothing says hilarious parody like flesh falling off in wet clumps and a terminal illness. Thanks Warren. Number five: The good guys kill off an entire world to save their own. The name "Illuminati", doesn't typically have positive connotations. It usually evokes: "Shadow government controlling the world from a dark bunker under the Denver Airport" and not: "Cool group of fun Superheroes." But in the Marvel Universe, that spooky term is used to describe a gang of super geniuses including Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Black Panther, Beast and Namor. They're the good guys, sort of... It becomes particularly questionable in the Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting's "New Avengers", in which the Illuminati discovers that the universe's of the multiverse are all... colliding with Earth, smack dab in the middle as the point of incursion. This means that one Earth is gonna appear up in the sky and slam together with another Earth like so many, balls of a metal stress doodad at a Sharper Image store, not great. Normally, this is where the Avengers might step in to save the day, but the Illuminati isn't gonna let those hotshots take all the credit, if they can stop this inter-dimensional annihilation by themselves.
But their plans aren't exactly as neat and tidy as you might hope. In one case they let Galactus eat a planet on an incursion path, in another attempt, Stephen Strange ends up turning into a demon and killing all of the alternate Earth's heroes, and after that, Namor sets off a bomb on the alternate Earth, killing everything on it, joke all you want about Namor. The dude murdered an entire Earth. The whole thing. In a fun twist, it turns out that the incursions are actually unstoppable and every single bad deed that the Illuminati and associated heroes did, including destroying an entire planet... all for nothing. And if that's not a punch in the gut, the Illuminati ends up teaming up with Thanos. Once again friends become foes and Tony Stark and Captain America end up punching each other to death... as the final two versions of the multiverse end. So yeah, if you thought Infinity War's ending was rough. Try this one on for size, good guys gathering to commit indefensible, inter-dimensional genocide, only to discover that their war crimes were for nothing. Then turning against each other in a death battle, only for the world to end in one sullen ghastly fart.
It may not be Spider-Man dying in Iron Man's arms, but it is... Much, much worse.
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