|Infinity #1 cover by Adam Kubert|
By Brett White
On Wednesday, August 14, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will take to the stars in INFINITY #1, plunging forward into the biggest event of the year.
The Avengers stand as the last line of defense for Earth against the Builders, an ancient and powerful interstellar race bent on judging civilizations and razing those found wanting. Taking a pro-active stance, Captain America selects an elite group to head the threat off before it can reach our world.
Before INFINITY kicks off, get to know the Avengers who will stand on the frontlines with in-depth bios informing of both their histories and present state, with additional insight provided by Marvel Unlimited.
Nothing lasts forever, but in INFINITY, the Builders will learn what it takes to face an Avengers World.
The son of wealthy industrialist Howard Stark and his wife Maria, Tony Stark inherited Stark Industries at the age of 21 following his parents’ death. Later, while in Afghanistan, Stark triggered one of his own landmines, riddling his chest with shrapnel; terrorists captured Tony and forced him to build weapons for them. Instead, he constructed a suit of armor that prevented the shrapnel from entering his heart and provided him with a means to escape. Upon returning to New York City, Tony fully developed the Iron Man armor, complete with flight capability and a wide array of weapons.
Iron Man squared off against threats like the Crimson Dynamo and the Mandarin before forming the Avengers alongside Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp. As his armory grew to include dozens of different suits, so did the severity of the threats he encountered. When faced with a villain possessing a modified genetic code, Stark injected himself with the Extremis serum, which altered his biology and merged aspects of his Iron Man armor to him genetically.
During the confrontation with the X-Men over the destructive cosmic entity called the Phoenix Force, Tony used his engineering skills to build a weapon capable of killing a god. Instead, the device split the force into five parts, each hidden inside of an X-Man where it slowly corrupted them from within. It took the combined might of Hope Summers and the Scarlet Witch to defeat the Phoenix.
A bit taken aback by these events, Iron Man threw himself into his Avengers work, executing the idea that the team had to get bigger in order to face upcoming challenges. Such a threat arose when the alien Ex Nihilo launched evolution bombs at Earth. A vast team of heroes converged on Mars' surface to defeat Ex Nihilo and take his homemade human, Adam, home with them to Avengers Tower.
To find answers to his problems, Stark took to the stars and accepted an offer to join the spacefaring adventurers called the Guardians of the Galaxy.
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Dubbed a "universal shaper" after discovering his powers, Eden Fesi sought guidance from the mutant teleporter known as Gateway. Fesi learned how to properly utilize his control over space and time, honing his ability to open portals to distant locations large enough to teleport himself and others.
The former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, traveled all the way to Gateway's remote Australian location to extend an offer to Eden; Fury wanted Fesi for his group of Secret Warriors, code-named Team White. After blessings from Gateway, Eden eagerly enlisted in the war against S.H.I.E.L.D.'s enemy, the terrorist organization HYDRA.
In his first mission, Fesi teleported his team into the middle of a firefight between Fury's old Howling Commandos squad and the combined forces of HYDRA and Norman Osborn's H.A.M.M.E.R.; the Warriors' arrival turned the tide in Fury's favor. Eden continued using his powers to aid the team, until the HYDRA leaders took him out in the middle of what Fury intended to be a quick, decisive blow against the organization and left him in a coma.
Fesi woke up to find the battle won and his team disbanded, with his teammates Phobos and Hellfire dead and team leader Quake promoted within S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ranks. He retreated back to Australia, where he greeted Captain America and Iron Man with skepticism when they showed up to recruit him for their expanded Avengers roster. But Captain America expressed his faith in Eden, convincing him to join the team.
Taking on the codename Manifold, Eden teleported the large team to Mars' surface to rescue the captive Avengers and beat back Ex Nihilo and Abyss. He followed that stretch of his teleportation abilities with a trip across the galaxy to the Shi'ar Galactic Rim, where he and the Avengers aided the Imperial Guard against an attacking force.
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Shang-Chi's father, secretly a villainous mastermind obsessed with world domination, groomed his son to become his greatest weapon. Upon learning whose side he really fought on, Shang betrayed his father and became a secret agent for the British intelligence agency MI6.
As a secret agent, Shang-Chi traveled the world and encountered superheroes like Spider-Man, Iron Fist and the Thing. His travels eventually led him face to face with his evil father for one final confrontation—one that he walked away from victorious. The martial arts master then retired to China to live as a fisherman.
Shang-Chi came out of retirement at the request of Captain America to join the Secret Avengers team. There he learned that his father still lived, and that the Shadow Council sought to resurrect the evil mastermind permanently by taking Shang-Chi's life force. The covert team put a stop to those plans, and with evil defeated, Shang from the team, promising to return should they ever need him.
Iron Man called in that favor and Shang-Chi assembled alongside a small army of Avengers to rescue their captured teammates from their prison on Mars' terraformed surface. There they stalled the alien beings Ex Nihilo and Abyss' plans to remake the Earth by destroying everything on it.
Worried about the all-powerful mystery member in their midst, Shang-Chi worked with Captain Universe to discern her true motivations. He did so by breaking through the consuming Uni-Power and speaking to the woman inside, Tamara Devoux. He helped her piece together her final memories pre-possession, and learned why the Uni-Power chose her.
Shang-Chi traveled to Hong Kong with a small group of Avengers to stop A.I.M. from purchasing a deadly weapon. While his teammates tried more covert methods, Shang put his new Stark Tech nunchucks to work against the mysterious Chimera and his ninjas.
Marvel Unlimited Spotlight: SECRET AVENGERS (2010) #6
The title of Smasher has been bestowed upon a number of worthy and courageous members of the Shi'ar Empire's Imperial Guard. The Smasher uses a pair of goggles called Exospex that can download one of many accessible superpowers—like super strength, super speed, enhanced durability, x-ray vision and energy blasts—for the wearer to use.
Isabel "Izzy" Kane did not know of this legacy when she stumbled upon a broken pair of Exospex on her Iowa farm property. The young woman had recently moved back home from college in Colorado, where she studied astronomy. Her grandfather's health had worsened; with her mother dead, she took on the responsibility of caring for him. This angered her grandfather, who wanted Izzy to live out her dreams, not watch over him.
But then Izzy found the Exospex, leftover from when a previous Smasher crashed on Earth seeking to help the X-Men. A mental message urged her to put the glasses on, which she obliged and became consumed by a Smasher uniform and power set. She instinctively took off to the Shi'ar throne world Chandilar, where she became a Subguardian in the Imperial Guard. Upon returning to Earth, the new Smasher's grandfather used his final breaths to introduce her to his old war ally, Captain America.
With the Avengers looking to expand their roster, Captain America invited Smasher to join the team. With her help, the large Avengers team took out the threat posed by Ex Nihilo and Abyss and rescued their captive teammates.
Now firmly a member of the team, Izzy had a whole group of heroes to call upon when she intercepted a distress signal from the Shi'ar Empire. She rushed to their aid, with the Hulk, Falcon, Captain America, Wolverine and Manifold at her side. The squadron fought back the invasion, and Izzy received a promotion from Subguardian to Superguardian. Izzy Kane became the first human member of the Imperial Guard.
Smasher's next mission took her to the Canadian city of Regina, where one of Ex Nihilo's evolution bombs had been deployed. Inside the blast zone, Smasher experienced an unspeakable horror, one that led their Department H agent to commit suicide in front of the Avengers.
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Next week, get caught up with Spider-Woman, Star Brand, Sunspot and Thor