But THIS… Does Put A Smile On My Face!! (Or, Let’s Talk About the Infinity War Trailer!!)

Thanos Infinity Gauntlet

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t do many trailer reactions on this site, primarily because we’re mostly about gaming in general, and Heroclix specifically. Also, while some folks manage to publish genuinely entertaining reaction videos on YouTube (The Ecomog #StruggleNation guys and Emergency Awesome are some of my personal faves), most are just schlubby guys staring slightly below the camera while shouting “Wow!” and “Oh S—!!” over and over again.

But while we are assembling our Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls Top Ten (I’ve heard some people call it “Joker’s Wild” with funner Primes and Chases, but really–no, wait, that’s pretty much it), I thought I’d break from tradition and embark on a little story time about why I wanted to talk about this particular trailer, what exactly seems to be going on with the movie’s story, and maybe even why the Colossal Thanos on the Throne of Death is the default masthead for this blog! 

So, without further ado… on with the show!]

Infinity War poster.jpg

Marvel finally dropped a trailer for Infinity War today. This is the movie I’ve been waiting for ever since I was a little kid, and one that I never thought I’d ever get in my lifetime.

I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life. Grew up just outside of Detroit. For most of my childhood my family would drive up to Lexington, Michigan at least once during every  summer month (after school had let out). Lexington was about 90 minutes away from Detroit, and my grandparents had a small cottage there near Lake Huron.

Now Lexington was (and pretty much still is) the epitome of a small, Midwestern town. It had a Main Street, a few restaurants, a General Store (where, after much petulant badgering, my grandmother would break down and buy me DuckTales stickers and baseball cards) and an indoor bazaar/flea market that, at least in my memory, was always filled to the brim with dusty, undiscovered treasures.

My father was never one to pass up a garage sale or a flea market, so whenever he would head into town, my brother and I always got up early to go with him, particularly because every time we went to that indoor market, someone would be selling… comic books.

In 1992, I was 11 years old, and while I had a general idea who Batman, Superman and Spider-Man were, I was really just discovering the broader range of comic book characters that were out there. That was also the time in my life when I had started earning my own money through delivering newspapers and mowing lawns, so it was not uncommon for me to hit the comic stands with $5, $10 or sometimes even $20 (for our younger readers, you’ll have to trust me–this seemed like a small FORTUNE to 11-year-old me!).

Now I always had to examine the covers of all the comics that were for sale, and my gosh, if I saw a cover advertising a guest appearance by another hero, well, that comic was probably going home with me (I mean, what’s better than getting TWO heroes for the price of one comic?!).

Daredevil 306

I think I still have this issue in my basement somewhere. It came out the same month as Infinity War #1, I think. And it had Daredevil AND Spider-Man!! 11-year-old me was most impressed.

Well, later on in the Summer of 1992, I saw this:

Infinity War 1

A double-sized comic that pretty much had ALL the heroes in the MCU. This blew my mind! I eagerly devoured all six issues of Infinity War; then, the following year, I did it all over again with the sequel, Infinity Crusade.

When I got a little older and I could drive myself to the local comic shop on Wednesdays after high school, I was able to track down bits and pieces of Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet (but, frustratingly, never the whole thing–finding those issues, or even a TPB, became sort of my white whale. Especially because this was before eBay and Amazon).

But the ending of Infinity Gauntlet, where Adam Warlock had to sacrifice his peaceful afterlife in the Soul Gem to literally take on the responsibility of the entire universe while Thanos lost universal omnipotence but gained a mantle of inner peace stuck with me.

Infinity Gauntlet ending

I can still quote the last line of Infinity Gauntlet decades later. “Somehow I feel that, in the long run, Thanos of Titan came out ahead in this particular deal.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Starlin does not get nearly enough credit for all the concepts and characters he introduced into the Marvel Universe. He has had a brilliant career, but he’s never mentioned in the same conversations as his contemporaries like Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Watchmen and DKR are brilliant, but Starlin did something arguably harder; he told an all-time great story that took place IN CONTINUITY. This is incredibly difficult to do. How many crossovers have come anywhere close to Infinity Gauntlet’s brilliance? Very few… And while we’re at it, when it comes to drawing Thanos, there’s Ron Lim, and then there’s everyone else. Period.]

It was such a powerful ending; I finally realized that sometimes the good guys don’t completely win, and sometimes the bad guys aren’t gonna get punished. And yet, from there, Thanos develops from a villain into more of an anti-hero who is eventually entrusted with the Reality Gem and actually helps save the universe during future Infinity catastrophes (and Keith Giffen even wrote a marvelously fun and complex Thanos 12-issue series back in 2003-2004 that continued this redemption arc in unexpected ways).

Fast forward to 2012. I can’t believe that Marvel movies that don’t have Spider-Man or an ‘X’ in the title are actually succeeding at the box office. My childhood is coming to life before my eyes. “Avengers” hits and its everything everyone wants it to be. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and nothing like it has ever been attempted at the level on which “Avengers” was executed. It’s a gigantic hit.

Also that year, I met a girl. My third date with her also happened to be my birthday. “Avengers” was our first date, and she’d been madly interrogating my friends in order to figure out what she should get me. Then, in front of a bunch of my family members who she’d only just met that night, my girlfriend handed me a gift bag. This is what was inside:

Infinity Gauntlet TPB

We were married in 2015.

Coincidentally, that was also an “Avengers” year.

I relate all this so that you know that when I hit “Play” on YouTube this morning to watch the “Avengers: Infinity War” trailer, I wasn’t just carrying 10 years of MCU movies with me; I was sitting there with memories of some of the happiest times in my life swimming around my head, waiting with giddy anticipation.

So you can probably guess that I liked it.

It could have been two minutes of a static, black screen and I would have called it “boldly understated” or something. But it wasn’t two minutes of a black screen. It was colorful; vibrant; thrilling; scary; nostalgic; bold; smart; new and surprising and familiar, all at the same time.

In two minutes and twenty-four seconds, this trailer brought together virtually every dangling thread from every Marvel movie in history. Somehow the writers have seamlessly blended the storylines of “Infinity Gauntlet” and “Infinity” (the talented Jonathan Hickman’s magnum opus from 2013) not only with each other but also woven them into the altogether different continuity of the MCU. This is such a complicated structural endeavor that it boggles the mind anyone would even attempt such a thing.

And that’s before you remember that Marvel can’t use the Fantastic Four, Galactus or the Silver Surfer (my God, Surfer was probably the fourth or fifth most important character IN Infinity Gauntlet!!) and that they are CHOOSING not to use Adam Warlock until the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie (or, at least, we assume this to be so).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I feel like this hasn’t been discussed enough. Again, to make this clear… ADAM WARLOCK IS THE #$&^#(! PROTAGONIST OF INFINITY GAUNTLET!! This would be like a producer going up to Peter Jackson in 1997 and saying, “Look, we’re gonna give you a green light on this Lord of the Rings thing, but only if you lose those weird Hobbit characters. Especially that Frodo guy.“]

This should be an impossible task. But then you watch the trailer, and Black Panther says “Get this man a shield!” and Cap steps out of the shadows to help defend Wakanda against an Outrider invasion, and I’m about frothing at the mouth to find out the earliest date I can pre-order tickets for this movie.

It’s like Kevin Feige and the screenwriters had a workaround for everything.

WRITERS: “Uh, Infinity Gauntlet basically starts with Silver Surfer rushing to warn Earth after a run-in with Thanos and crashing into the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Surfer Crashes

FEIGE: “And?”

WRITERS: “Annnd… we can’t use Silver Surfer.”

Doc and Wong

FEIGE: “Great. So, now the Hulk will be the one to crash into the Sanctum.”

WRITERS: “Uh… he’s not even in space.”

FEIGE: “He will be.”

Hulk Sanctum

Kevin Feige is an absolute stone cold gangster. I’m convinced of this. He saw the possibility for this whole cinematic universe when all anyone else saw was B- and C-list characters with no film potential at all. That’s what I love most about the MCU. Feige and his team just plow ahead.

–Don’t have the rights to Spider-Man or the X-Men? Guess what. We’re focusing exclusively on the Avengers. And we’re gonna do that so well that Sony will be begging us to take over Spidey from them.

–Natalie Portman doesn’t want to come back for Thor 3? Great. We’re not gonna set it on Earth anyway. We’re gonna get Tessa Thompson to play a Valkyrie and it’s going to get the best reviews of any of the Thor movies. Bye Felicia.

–Our original stars are now ten years older and want gobs of money? Great. We’re gonna give it to them for now, but we’re also going to create the next generation of heroes on screen to eventually replace them. And the audience is going to f-ing love every minute of it.

I’m amazed at how many times Marvel has reinvented what a “superhero movie” can be.

For all the reasons I just described, I loved, loved LOVED this trailer, and I can’t wait to take my wife to go and see it in a theater.

Look, I haven’t even really touched on the story of “Infinity” and how it relates to this production, but this probably isn’t going to be the last time I talk about this trailer or this movie, either. But I think I’ll leave it right here for now.

Excelsior.

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This set Ragna-rocks (A list of the Top Ten Pieces in the Mighty Thor set)

The Mighty Thor Greg Horn

Honorable Mentions:

5. TMT042 Tyrannus (65 points) – When you absolutely positively need to fill the board with bystanders. This guy has almost zero offense and not much built in defense, but he generates a new bystander token every turn. Even if you never move the pogs you generate, they block line of fire and their plasticity stops opponents moving past them. Don’t think of them as bystanders, think of them as sticky blocking terrain tokens he generates each turn.

4. TMTG007P Frost Giant (20 Points) – As a retaliator he doesn’t have a high attack, but he can do 3 damage to your opponents whole team if you happen to roll well. The real reason he made this list is his low point cost and the fact that he can give any adjacent character an action token every turn whether or not he hits. Great in multiples.

3. TMT002 Loki (75 points) – He’s an army of illusions in one 75 point package. He doesn’t do a lot on offense, but if you roll well on your shape change rolls he will just keep multiplying until you are out of figures to place. I’ve had 6 in play at once. Others online report having a lot more.

2. TMT053A Hela (150 points) – She is not meta unless you really a build a team around her trait. See my previous article. She’s a lot of fun and very hard to put down with her defenses and healing abilities.

1.TMT104 Captain America (50 points) – For 50 points he gets 19 defense for most of his dial (thanks to his free TMTS102 Asgardian Shield) and he has a stop click! On offense he’s got steady attack values and his powers allow him to deal more than his printed 2 damage on every click.

My Top 10:

10. TMT013B Red Leader (50 points) – His special power allows him to use outwit and a special perplex that allows him to increase a single stat by up to 3! If you build your team with some other Thunderbolts on it, you can turn him back to click 1 instead of losing him the first time he is KOed. I’d recommend keeping a Thunderbolt thug in your starting area for that.

9. TMT022 Jane Foster (30 points) – Her ability to heal while either she or the target is based is unheard of. On top of that she has a trait that makes her untargetable to anyone 75 points or over. Even better if your opponent KOs any friendly adjacent figure (even a bystander) she can transform into TMT017 Thor and there is a 1 in 6 shot that she will be on her top click! It’s hard to go wrong turning 30 points into 100 points. Also of note, she (naturally) pairs really well with TMT049 Thor Odinson.

8. TMT062 Thunderstrike (115 points) – He’s an extremely efficient package for his low 115 point cost. His stats are well above average for his points, he can destroy equipment when KOed, adjacent friendly characters get +1 damage when attacking, and his free weapon is arguably the best in game because of the ability to heal the character using it.

7. TMT106E Hulk (50 points) – He has an extremely short dial at this point level, but the game has never seen a piece quite like him anywhere near his cost. He’s got a 12 starting attack, 4 damage, and the ability move his full movement value and still make an attack (with knockback)! He’s not even a slouch on defense with 18 defense and impervious.

6. TMTG006R Mangog (150 points) – Even though his colossal retaliation power is quite good, you’re going to want to play him at his 150 point level. And even though he’s a pretty good 150 point attacker you’re not going to want to attack with him, at least not right away. Playing him creates a mini game within your normal game of HeroClix. Your opponent needs to KO Mangog before he reaches their starting area. Otherwise they will end up facing a 400 point 16 click long Mangog – plus the other 150 points of army that you brought along.

5. TMTG001P Surtur (25 points) – He’s the best single target retaliator in the game. He ignores defense while attacking and then does an additional automatic 1 penetrating damage to every opposing character within 2 of himself. With a single perplex to his damage he could take out a TMT058R Uni-Mind including the stop click. With 2 perplexes to damage he can take a TMT058R Uni-Mind and KO all of the eternals that spawn.

4. TMT061 Thor (160 points) – He is unfortunately very vulnerable to outwit. But, if you can protect him from outwit, or if your opponent isn’t playing outwit, then you are golden. At that point you opponent will need to deal with a figure protected by invincible that can hit with a heavy object from 12 squares away (charge + 6 range) thanks to his free weapon Mjolnir. And the next turn Thor can do it again with the second object he was holding.

3. TMT049 Thor Odinson (175 points) – With hypersonic speed, 12 attack, and 3 great title character abilities this Thor is the best ever made. His first character ability allows him to make a second ranged attack in a single turn and the damage depletion modifier no longer exists. His 3rd character ability will just about cripple opposing forces if you can manage to pull it off. However, it’s his second ability that really has me excited. It gives him the ability to teleport over Asgardians to his side and they can act immediately. So Jane Foster could teleport across the board to heal him, or Fandral could appear and charge at a stealthy character, or a frost giant could show up to give an enemy a token, or Loki could teleport to Thor and block line of fire. You imagination and the Asgardian keyword are the only limits.

2. TMTG004P Carnage (10 points) – The ROC national finals proved that 10 points for a retaliator that generates an awesome bystander every time it retaliates is obscene. You can retaliate, drop a bystander, have it attack, and then walk carnage away from the fight in the same turn to do it all over again later.

1. TMT058R Uni-Mind (165 points) – There is not much I can say about this guy that you don’t already know. His ability to perplex pieces he calls in is arguably better then even using his perplex on himself. He’s the piece to beat right now and if you want to go to a competitive tournament then you need to have a plan for this guy.