|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.
Jessica Drew's journey to becoming Spider-Woman started even before her birth, when lasers containing DNA traits from numerous spider species bombarded her mother's womb.
Her father mysteriously disappeared, leaving Jessica to be raised by her mother and nanny. HYDRA, a terrorist organization, kidnapped and brainwashed Jessica at a young age. They turned her into a special agent, where she used her abilities for evil.
Jessica developed several powers, including super strength and agility, superhuman reflexes, and the ability to stick to surfaces. She also possessed power venom blasts capable of putting down any opponent, and strong pheromones that could be used to frighten enemies. Drew attempted to use these powers to assassinate Nick Fury for HYDRA, but the high-conflict mission broke her mind control.
Jessica saved lives as Spider-Woman until a mystical encounter left her powerless. After years without her special abilities, she became desperate to get back into the action and accepted a deal to spy on S.H.I.E.L.D. for HYDRA in exchange for her powers. When Nick Fury learned of this, though, he enlisted Jessica to feed HYDRA false information about S.H.I.E.L.D. on his behalf.
Before her triple agent career could take off, Spider-Woman found herself replaced by the invading shape-shifting aliens called the Skrulls.
While her lookalike joined the Avengers and led a full-scale attack on Earth, Jessica remained locked away on a Skrull warship with other captives. Iron Man freed the prisoners, bringing them back to Earth. Now on a planet that associated her face with destruction, Jess felt adrift until offered a place on the Avengers.
Since her return to Earth, Spider-Woman has become a stalwart member of Earth's mightiest heroes. She's stood by them against the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror, and helped defeat the criminal mastermind named the Hood. She even started up a relationship with Hawkeye that has been rocky from the start.
Captain America and Iron Man immediately included Spider-Woman in their plans to expand the core Avengers team outwards. She rescued her teammates from Ex Nihilo's clutches on the surface of Mars and stopped A.I.M. from exploiting the Savage Land for their own personal gain. Most recently she journeyed with a small team to Hong Kong, where they stopped A.I.M. from purchasing an army for their own nefarious purposes.
Marvel Unlimited Spotlight: SPIDER-WOMAN (2009) #1
No one ever noticed Kevin Conner. The seemingly average college student watched as those around him did remarkable things he never thought himself capable of. That all changed with the White Event. The cosmic occurrence hit Earth for the first time, granting a select group of humans unimagined power. Kevin Conner became the bearer of the Star Brand, a title that came along with an identifying star-shaped mark on the palm of his hand as well as infinite, reality-warping powers.
But the transition from college student to god-like super-being did not go smoothly. Ex Nihilo's attempts to raze the Earth and build it up anew had damaged the Superflow, the one device used to regulate White Events. With a broken Superflow, the White Event passed through unchecked and picked unworthy recipients for the limitless power. Kevin Conner should not have received the Star Brand, and his unexpected transformation utterly destroyed his entire college campus and everyone on it.
The Avengers arrived at Star Brand's birth site, ready to take on whatever threat he posed to Earth—or so they thought. With his new power, Star Brand easily defeated the full combined might of the assembled Avengers team. Luckily, the heroes came with Captain Universe, their own cosmically aware super being. Captain Universe introduced Star Brand to Nightmask, the artificial human created by Ex Nihilo that the White Event transformed into a superior being.
Nightmask took Star Brand away from Earth to Mars, where Ex Nihilo had set up base. There, Ex Nihilo and Nightmask revealed the Star Brand's origin to Kevin, with the former clarifying that he had attempted to make the Earth sentient with his evolution bombs. Nightmask took Kevin to one bomb's crash site in Croatia, where the duo found Earth's newly formed brain. When the brain attacked Nightmask, Kevin had no other choice but to kill it to save his companion. The action left the Earth brain dead. The Avengers arrived and took Star Brand out, a feat accomplished by the combined might of Hyperion, Thor and the Hulk. The team then imprisoned Star Brand and Nightmask in Tony Stark's Dyson Sphere.
Marvel Unlimited Spotlight: STAR BRAND #1
Roberto da Costa's powers emerged in his teenage years. Unfortunately, his ability to absorb solar energy into his cells, giving him super strength as well as cloaking him in black energy manifested itself on the soccer field. This public eruption dashed his dreams of playing on the Olympic team and disgraced his father, a wealthy businessman. His future destroyed, Roberto became a student of Professor Charles Xavier and member of the New Mutants.
Using the codename Sunspot, Roberto went on many adventures and grew close to his teammates, particularly his best friend Cannonball. Over the course of his time with New Mutants through their transformation into X-Force, Sunspot's powers evolved to include concussive energy blasts and flight.
Following years of heroics with the New Mutants and X-Force, Roberto spent a lengthy period of time away from the numerous X-Men teams. He returned to active duty following Cyclops' decision to move the world's dwindling mutant population to an island off the San Francisco coast called Utopia. Sunspot helped the X-Men fight off the Skrull invasion in San Francisco and performed missions for Cyclops.
When his former teammates Karma and Dani Moonstar were placed in jeopardy by the dangerous mutant Legion, Cannoball reformed a New Mutants squad to rescue them. Following that mission, the team of old friends stayed together. Roberto remained with the team even after Cannonball left the team to follow Wolverine and his group of X-Men to the Jean Grey School. The New Mutants moved off of Utopia and into a house on Mission Street in San Francisco. There they tracked down and tied up loose ends for Cyclops.
Despite not being on Utopia when the Avengers confronted the X-Men over the impending arrival of the all-powerful Phoenix Entity, Sunspot and the New Mutants still found themselves involved in the war. When the battle ended, an exhausted Sunspot retired to a beach with his similarly wiped-out Cannonball. The two vacationed until they got a call from Captain America to join the Avengers.
The expanded Avengers roster, including Sunspot, took out the threat posed by Ex Nihilo on Mars' surface. Sunspot then responded to the birth of the Star Brand following its destruction of a college campus, and he journeyed with a small team to Hong Kong to prevent A.I.M. from buying an army for mysterious reasons.
Marvel Unlimited Spotlight: NEW MUTANTS (2009) #4
Before becoming one of the Avengers' most powerful members, Thor resided on the other dimensional planetoid called Asgard with his father, Odin, and his foster brother, Loki. Odin presented young Thor with the mystical hammer known as Mjolnir, which would be ready for him to wield when he proved himself worthy. This inspired Thor to become a champion of Asgard, vanquishing threats until he proved himself ready to lift the mighty hammer. After finally doing so, the thunder god's ego ran unchecked, leading him to recklessly risk war with the neighboring Frost Giants. As punishment for his arrogance, Odin banished Thor to Midgard—or Earth—where he had to live as a mortal.
In the form of Dr. Donald Blake, Thor learned humility and slowly won back Odin's trust, eventually allowing Thor to have his Asgardian identity back. Now possessing an affinity for humanity, as well as his old powers—super strength, invulnerability and command over the elements—Thor charged himself with Earth's protection. Loki tested him a number of times, with his evil deeds proving dangerous enough to assemble all of Earth's super-powered beings. Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp banded together, thus forming the Avengers.
Thor stayed with the Avengers for years, becoming an important fixture in the team while still attending to affairs in Asgard. But he could not prevent Ragnarok, the end of his homeland. Using powerful magic, the Thunder God rebuilt Asgard over the small town of Broxton, Oklahoma. The scattered Asgardian gods flocked to the floating city, reclaiming it as their home.
Recently, Thor joined Captain America's Avengers Unity Squad, which combined mainstay Avengers with a group of mutant X-Men. While working with this team, Thor learned that the time-traveling conqueror known as Kang stole his old ax, Jarnbjorn, and gave it to the Apocalypse twins, who used it to murder cosmic Celestials.
Thor also found himself captured alongside his fellow Avengers following their initial assault on Ex Nihilo's Mars base. Captain America rallied the expanded troops and led a rescue mission. Back on Earth, Thor traveled to the Savage Land where one of Ex Nihilo's evolution bombs had created a new species of genetically resilient children. There, he bonded with Hyperion, his fellow godlike hero who suddenly felt a connection with this new species.
Marvel Unlimited Spotlight: THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #1