Marvel Comics’ big summer event kicks off this week in the pages of Infinity Wars. Following the critically acclaimed prelude event of Infinity Countdown, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Deodato Jr. are finally ready to tell the story of what happens when all six of the Infinity Stones are assembled on Earth once again. Based on everything that has happened so far and early rumors swirling around the series, it is bound to shake the Marvel universe to its core and leave at least a few heroes fallen.
While it would be nice to recommend that all interested readers catch up on Infinity Countdown, we also understand there are only so many hours in a day and dollars in a paycheck. If you’re looking to read this big event, we don’t want you missing out. That’s why we’ve assembled a quick guide of the essential players in Infinity Wars. These are the most important heroes and villains who are either holding an Infinity Stone or connected to them. If you know these names and faces, then you know everything you need to check out Infinity Wars #1. So keep reading and get ready for the biggest superhero comics event of the year.
1) DOCTOR STRANGE
Created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee
First Appearance: Strange Tales (vol. 1) #110
Infinity Wars #1 kicks off with Doctor Strange assembling a new version of the Infinity Watch, a team of powerful individuals who each hold one of the six Infinity Stones. Strange himself possesses the Time Stone (just like in the movies) and is motivated to keep all of them separated, protected, and, preferably far away from Earth. In addition to being the Master of the Mystic Arts now with complete control over time, it’s also worth noting that Doctor Strange is being hunted by Kang the Conqueror, who seeks the Stone for his own purposes.
Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan
First Appearance: Marvel Preview #4
By the end of Infinity Countdown Star-Lord obtained the Power Stone, but it also resulted in the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now Peter Quill is holding unlimited power and is only accompanied by Rocket and Groot, as both Drax and Gamora left the team due to his decision to protect the Power Stone himself.
3) CAPTAIN MARVEL
Created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan
First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes (vol. 1) #13
Captain Marvel has been in possession of the Reality Stone for some time now. While she has continued to protect Earth in space and battle the Kree, this immensely powerful Stone has seen relatively little action in the story so far. That may change in the first issue of Infinity Wars though.
4) ADAM WARLOCK
Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee
First Appearance: The Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #66
Adam Warlock has resumed his role as the protector of the Soul Stone. During Infinity Countdownit was made clear that the Stone had become corrupt and that it posed a risk to the entire universe, although the exact nature of that risk remains unclear. Warlock is also accompanied by Iron Lad (a younger version of Kang) and Drax the Destroyer. Drax joined Warlock in order to protect the Soul Stone from Gamora who now hunts it for her own purposes.
5) BLACK WIDOW
Created by Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense (vol. 1) #52
The Space Stone returned to comics in the hands of Wolverine, but he passed it to his longtime ally Black Widow in Infinity Countdown. Not much more has been seen of Black Widow or her full capabilities with the Stone since then, but she is bound to put its transportive abilities to deadly use.
6) TURK BARRETT
Created by Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, and Gary Friedrich
First Appearance: Daredevil (vol. 1) #69
Turk Barrett is the oddest member of the new Infinity Watch, a longtime street thug and Daredevil enemy who gained immense power for the very first time in his life (if you don’t count stealing the Stilt-Man suit). Turk has used his ability to read and control minds in order to make himself the new Kingpin of Crime and has many of the top villains in Marvel Comics serving as his henchmen now. He is the closest thing there is to a true wildcard in this collection of heroes.
Created by Jim Starlin
First Appearance: Strange Tales (vol. 1) #180
Gamora was last seen abandoning the Guardians of the Galaxy to pursue her own quest to obtain the Soul Stone. She believes that a piece of herself is trapped within the Stone and that she cannot be whole without it. Drax left the team to protect the Stone from Gamora after realizing the risk of any individual unleashing what is inside of it. Gamora is the deadliest woman in the galaxy, which makes her pursuit of the Stone a real threat to Adam Warlock and his allies.
Created by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Larry Lieber
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery (vol. 1) #85
Loki has also been on a quest related to the Infinity Stones. He is concerned about both the nature of his universe and his place within it, leading him to manipulate several current members of the Infinity Watch and pursue some Stones for himself. It is unclear what Loki’s endgame is, but he’s bound to play a big role in Infinity Wars.
Created by Jim Starlin
First Appearance: Invincible Iron Man (vol. 1) #55
Until the release of Infinity Wars Prime, it has been assumed that Thanos would be a key villain in the series. He is one of the only beings to ever assemble and wield all six Infinity Stones before. However, he was decapitated and left for dead in the issue directly preceding Infinity Wars #1 by a seemingly new character: Requiem.
Created by Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato Jr.
First Appearance: Infinity Wars Prime #1
Requiem is likely to be an existing character, but nobody knows what is beneath their hood quite yet. Whoever it turns out to be, it is already clear they are incredibly powerful (based on their efficient execution of Thanos) and interested in obtaining the Infinity Stones. Requiem appears to be all set as the big villain for this big summer event.