Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of 10 years of blockbuster filmmaking, the fusion of more than a half-dozen separate sub-franchises with their own lead heroes. Before it hits screens, you might need a recap on all of that history.
Or, you might just want to know where all the main characters are right now, without all that baggage. Fortunately, Marvel has released a duo of comics called Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Prelude, which shows us what (almost) every Avenger has been doing in their downtime.
Let’s take a look.
Where’s Bucky, the Winter Soldier?
When the credits rolled on Captain America: Civil War, audiences were shown that Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, was going to be (voluntarily) locked in cryostasis in Wakanda. He’d have to stay in suspended animation, just like Cap in his block of ice, until Black Panther’s scientists could undo the subliminal triggers in his mind that allow anyone to transform him into a mindless killer. With both Black Panther and Infinity War partially set in Wakanda, either movie had the opportunity to return to Bucky’s story — and Infinity War shows Bucky clearly present and awake in trailers.
Black Panther included that crucial follow-up in its end credits scenes, and Infinity War Prelude gives us even more context: Shuri was on the case. She developed an algorithm that scrubbed Bucky’s trigger words right out of his brain without damaging his personality. And there’s even more good news:
Take that, Tony. Thanks to an end-credits scene in Black Panther, Bucky will be ready to go when Infinity War starts.
Where are Captain America, Black Widow and the Falcon?
Why, they’re infiltrating terrorist cells in order to divest them of chitauri weaponry, and they’re definitely not telling Tony about it at all.
Glad to see somebody’s still doing superhero stuff around here.
Where are Hawkeye and Ant-Man?
After Captain America sprung them from the Raft — the supermax, superhero ocean gulag in Civil War — Clint Barton and Scott Lang went home to be with their families.
And either all charges were dropped or they’re being very sneaky about it.
Where are Scarlet Witch and the Vision?
Having a nice European vacation, apparently.
Great disguise, Vision. You absolutely, 100 percent pass for a human being. Hang on — you’ve just got something on your forehead ...
Where’s Iron Man?
Tony Stark does not seem to have recovered from the ominous vision he received in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which predicted the Avengers’ doom. In Infinity War Prelude, he’s designing a new Iron Man suit and resolving that he can’t ask anyone else to help him. “If I’m gonna prepare for the end of all things,” he says in a narration box, “I’ll have to figure out how I can do it alone.”
Where’s Doctor Strange?
Our good Doctor is in essentially the same place that we saw him in Thor: Ragnarok: helping to protect Earth from extra-dimensional threats as the planet’s Sorcerer Supreme. However, Infinity War Prelude establishes that Strange’s order knows all about the Infinity Stones and where most of them are. Basically, they know almost as much as the audience does about them.
Where are Thor, Loki and the Hulk?
Thor, Loki and the Hulk are in space, after escaping the destruction of Asgard. It’s not clear that they’ve had any adventures of their own in the interim, but it does seem awfully likely that Loki pilfered the Tesseract, or Space Stone, from Odin’s armory before they left.
Where are War Machine, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy?
Just like Team Asgard, we’ve got no indication of what Iron Man’s buddies War Machine and Spider-Man, as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy, have been doing since they last appeared. The Guardians last dealt with a major threat to the galaxy that was completely unrelated to the Infinity Stones, and Spider-Man is presumably still in school in New York. We haven’t caught up with War Machine since Captain America: Civil War, in which a stray shot of friendly fire from Vision’s beam ability fried his suit and sent him plummeting to the ground. He was last seen using a Stark-manufactured assistive exoskeleton to relearn how to walk.
We’ll have to wait for the movie to get an update on them, but at least we won’t have to wait long. Avengers: Infinity War will be released on April 27.