The Black Order are shaping up to be a talented group of vicious assassins.
A proper villain is only as good as his henchmen. When Darth Vader didn’t have the time or the energy to scout the universe for Han Solo, he had his dog Boba Fett play fetch. Dracula was a master manipulator dangling eternal life in front of Renfield so that he had a servant to schlep his carcass around during daylight hours. Goldfinger kept his hands clean by allowing Odd Job to sever the necessary heads.
One of the more pleasant surprises regarding Avengers: Infinity War is that The Russo Brothers are making time for the second and third tier soldiers in Thanos’s army. While we’ll still get a horde of disposable creatures for the Hulk to smash, Infinity War looks to have crafted a boss level structure for the rest of The Avengers to complete. Now we’ve also learned that these henchman will have a little star power of their own to back up their diabolical nature.
As reported by Variety, Carrie Coon is voicing Proxima Midnight while Tom Vaughn-Lawlo and Terry Notary provide both the mo-cap performances and voice work for Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian. Coon has been stealing attention for her stellar work in The Leftovers and Fargo. Notary served as movement coordinator for Avatar, Jungle Book, Warcraft, and a half dozen other films. He also played Rocket in the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy and had a rather memorable moment as a terrorizing performance artist in The Square.
That’s some proper talent right there, but who the hell are these creepily monikered cosmic assassins? For the longest time in the comic books, The Mad Titan (Josh Brolin) was a one-man galactic tyrant. Sure, he would partner up occasionally with Adam Warlock’s evil doppelgänger or trick Terrax into siding with his mission to woo the very personification of Death, but Thanos usually embodied the mantra of “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”
When Jonathan Hickman took over writing “Avengers” and “New Avengers” in 2013, he was eager to develop a supporting cast around the genocidal maniac. The Black Order are a band of homicidal aliens sworn to uphold the rule of Thanos. While half of our mightiest heroes went off to space to battle another universal threat, Thanos sent The Black Order to Earth to collect the Infinity Stones as well as their master’s long lost Inhuman son. Based on the trailers we’ve seen so far, their cinematic counterparts appear to be faithful to the source material.
Proxima Midnight is a vicious fighter, bolstered by inhuman strength and a lance shaped from pure energy. When others failed to conquer Wakanda, Thanos put her at the front of the line to get the job done. She is the wife of Corvus Glaive, the closest being Thanos has to a right-hand man (more on him later).
Ebony Maw is that creepy pale-faced freak we saw tormenting Doctor Strange with mind daggers in the last Infinity War trailer. He loves to hop around with a teleportation device, but his most diabolical trait is his mastery over persuasion (i.e. mind control). The Russo Brothers have stated in interviews that Ebony Maw steals the show.
Cull Obsidian is named Black Dwarf in the comic books. He’s a monster of size, and could easily stand toe-to-toe with the Hulk. His skin is dense to the point of impenetrable, but he’s also the first member of The Black Order to perish within Hickman’s story arc. He’s the guy who couldn’t take down Wakanda.
We’ve heard no word as to who is voicing Corvus Glaive, but the speculation seems to be focusing on Peter Dinklage. We didn’t get confirmation on his involvement with Infinity War until the official poster listed him in the credits. As the former hand of the king in Game of Thrones, Dinklage feels like the perfect fit for Glaive. His voice would offer sweet rage to fuel The Mad Titan on his quest for Infinity Stones.
Whatever the case, The Black Order are shaping up to be quite memorable opponents for Tony Stark and the gang. Just as villains are only as strong as their henchmen, those henchmen are only as worthy as the talent that backs them.