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Ebony Maw is a member of the Black Order, a team of alien assassins and conquerors who served Thanos. His preference for strategy over violence makes him the most dangerous of them all.[1][2]


Butcher Squadron[]

Ebony Maw began his life as a servant of Thanos in the elite team of killers named the Butcher Squadron. Like all the other pirates, soldiers and mercenaries Thanos gathered to form his crew, Maw and the Butcher Squadron lived in the space station Zero Sanctuary. In his time there, Maw started observing Thanos in order to better understand him. He noticed that the Mad Titan gave them orders whenever someone of his crew mysteriously disappeared, correctly guessing Thanos was behind it.

Ebony Maw (Earth-616) from Thanos Vol 3 1 001

Ebony Maw during his younger years

After the Butcher Squadron slaughtered the Zen-Whoberis to prevent the Magus from converting them into members of his Universal Church of Truth,[3] Thanos took the only remaining member of their species, a girl named Gamora, as a prisoner. Seeing as the girl was somehow important to Thanos, Maw planned to let her out of her cell in the hopes that he could ingratiate her to the Butcher Squadron, but she ran away. He then convinced the other members of the Butcher Squadron to help him find her so he could return her to Thanos. That way, Maw intended to show Thanos that his own underlings could take his new obsession away from him, which would in turn make the Mad Titan look vulnerable in front of the rest of his crew. However, Thanos found her first and killed one of their own, Infesti Macera, for their negligence.[4]

When the other servants of Thanos began to question him, Maw took advantage of the situation to influence them into helping him kidnap Gamora, planning to use her to get what the Butcher Squadron wanted from Thanos:[5] Zero Sanctuary. That plan didn't work out, however, as Gamora was able to defeat her captors and return to the space station safely. Not knowing the Butcher Squadron was behind Gamora's kidnapping, Thanos ordered them to take her captors to the brig while she accompanied them. Seemingly taking Gamora for a baby, the Black Squadron talked about their plan of taking over Zero Sanctuary right in front of her, prompting her to go after Thanos to tell him all about it. They tried to intercept her before she could do so, even going as far as to start a full-scale mutiny on Zero Sanctuary, but failed. Instead of dealing with the situation at hand, Thanos abandoned the space station in order to confront the Magus, leaving Gamora surrounded by enemies.[6]

After Gamora fought her way out of Zero Sanctuary, resulting in the apparent death of Ballista Grim,[7] Maw and Proxima Midnight discovered Thanos' plan to launch it on the Universal Church of Truth's fleet and fled. Months after the destruction of Zero Sanctuary, Maw and Midnight met with Thanos aboard Sanctuary I, where the Mad Titan congratulated them for getting the jump on him and turned them into the first members of his Black Order.[8]

Attacking Ego[]

Years later, Ebony Maw and the other members of the Black Order served Thanos against Ego the Living Planet, whose very existence was an offense to Death. Their battle ultimately ended in a stalemate. Unbeknownst to Thanos, Maw had commissioned an alien named Trynka, whose race was capable of recording experience within their D.N.A., to record the whole ordeal for posterity.[9]


After the Avengers had left the Earth to fight the Builders, one of the factions in the incursions, Thanos and the Black Order targeted Earth as their next planet to raze.[10] Ebony Maw was dispatched to deal with Doctor Strange.[11] Using his abilities to gain control over Doctor Strange, Maw forced him to summon Shuma-Gorath,[12] and serve as a double-agent for him when he reunited with the Illuminati. When the Illuminati headed to numerous locations around the world to find Thanos' son, Thane, Doctor Strange found the boy in a hidden Inhuman town named Orolla in Greenland. Maw remained in the location, and forced Strange to forget about the discovery and leave, now freed from his control.[13]

After Black Bolt detonated a Terrigen Bomb which unleashed a compound close to the Terrigen Mists upon the entire face of Earth, Thanos' son, Thane, underwent Terrigenesis. The manifestation of his powers annihilated the entire town.[14] Posing as an ally, Maw offered Thane a suit to control his powers, but also captured him in a containment field, followed by Maw alerting Thanos to the location of his son.[15] When the Avengers arrived in Orollan in order to defeat Thanos, Ebony Maw tested Thane by freeing him. Thane could escape, or could fight Thanos and become what he had avoided his entire life. The boy agreed and embraced his true nature as the son of Thanos by fighting his father. Using the power of his right hand, Thane trapped Thanos and his ally Proxima Midnight in an amber construct which left them in a state of "living death." Upon the defeat of Thanos, Ebony Maw started disciplining Thane into becoming something greater than Thanos and or anyone else.[16]

Leading Thane[]

Infinity Vol 1 6 Generals Variant Textless

In order to germinate nihilistic madness in Thane, Ebony Maw took him to the planet Malady to show his father's murderous handiwork through the psychic flashes of Trynka. In the process, Maw mentally manipulated Thane into believing he was part of his imagination, having died in the battle against Ego.[9] When J'son approached Thane to offer him the chance of magnifying his power via the Black Vortex, Maw convinced Thane to follow the man to steal his power for his own.[17] While Thane was able to amplify his power by submitting to the Black Vortex,[18] he failed to steal it due to the interference of Gara.[19]

Thane's journey of conquest eventually led him to reach the Black Quadrant, a territory of Thanos which had fallen into the hands of Corvus Glaive, one of Ebony Maw's former teammates at the Black Order. Having taken the necessary precautions, Glaive enlisted the help of the mythical trio of witches known as the Coven to strip Thane of his power, leading to his and Ebony Maw's capture. During the following eight months he spent apprehended, Thane believed that Ebony Maw would rescue him; however, at some point during that time, Ebony Maw had managed to talk his way out of captivity and fled.[20]

The Challenger's Contest[]

Ebony Maw was brought back into the reassembled Black Order by the Challenger, an adversary of the Grandmaster whose champions were set to fight the Grandmaster's own Lethal Legion as part of a contest of cosmic scale.[21] Before the game's start, both teams were teleported to Earth to survey it, since it had been chosen as battleground. Following a brief skirmish that was cut short by the gamemasters since the contest hadn't started yet,[2] the Black Order decided to attack the Avengers Mansion, exploding it by surprise to prevent its heroes from becoming obstacles. The Avengers survived, however, as they had been teleported to safety by Voyager at the last second.

When the first round started, Ebony Maw was among the half of the Black Order dispatched to Cusco, Peru, where one of the two Pyramoids placed on Earth by the gamemasters was located. The confrontation between the forces of the Black Order and the Lethal Legion was interrupted by the arrival of a group of Avengers.[21] Since the other Pyramoid had been seized by Black Dwarf,[22] the round ended after the Human Torch of the Avengers touched the Pyramoid in Cusco. Both were teleported to the Grandmaster's Cosmic Game Room, though in a way it seemed like they had been disintegrated.[23] The following round, the remaining members of the Black Order in their entirety traveled to Antarctica to take possession of one of the two new Pyramoids deployed. They were attacked by the Avengers,[24] and in the process Ebony Maw was knocked down. Following Corvus Glaive's death at the hands of Rogue, the remaining members of the Black Order that were on their feet, Proxima Midnight and Black Swan, decided to retreat.[24]

The Grandmaster's Wager[]

Following the end of the contest and the Avengers' victory over the Challenger, the Black Order regrouped and escaped to the planet Angargal, where they were approached by the Grandmaster with an offer:[25] to bring down the Sinnarian Empire by destabilizing the worlds under its rule. Thinking this would be a worthy challenge, the Black Order accepted. They were apprehended days after initiating their mission and put in jail to await their execution.[26] During this time, Maw accepted to become a spy for Attican in exchange for the death of Corvus, as he planned to take over the Black Order as well as the Black Quadrant after that.[27] The Resistance later broke the Black Order out of prison because of their shared goal and informed them about the Bow of Gabriel, a cosmic weapon of the empire capable of bringing entire planets to heel in a matter of hours. Wanting to restore the Black Quadrant to its former glory and expand its reach to the entire universe, the Black Order started planning a way to steal the weapon instead of destroying it like the Resistance wanted.[28]

After the location of the rebel base was compromised by Maw, the rebel leader Peacemaker sent the Black Order to intercept a ship transporting an ultra-rare metal called Onducium, which was needed to forge the arrows for the bow. Despite the attack of a mind-controlled Nova, they were able to secure the metal. Maw revealed himself to be the spy by disappearing soon after revealing the location of the new rebel base to Attican, resulting in the capture of Peacemaker.[29] He then manipulated Attican into lowering Sinnar's defenses, giving him the opportunity to steal the bow and reunite with the rest of his team, abandoning his original plan to get Corvus killed. Corvus used the bow to turn everyone present, except for the Black Order, into twisted monsters. With their task complete, the Grandmaster arrived and explained he had bet with the emperor that his empire based on fear could be brought down by only five individuals. Having finally won his bet, he claimed the bow and left the Black Order to their next business.[30]



Persuasive Voice: As a whisperer,[31] Ebony Maw's true talents rely on his supernatural persuasive abilities. He is able to take hold of a person's thought process and make them serve his own goals with nothing but his words. Even the strongest minds, like that of Doctor Strange, have fallen prey to his machinations.[1]

  • Psychic Link: Ebony Maw has some type of omnipresence in people who fall for his persuasive abilities and can appear whenever he wants in the form of an illusion which only his victims can see.[13][17][32]

Telekinesis: Ebony Maw can use telekinesis for various purposes, such as lifting objects.[33][6]

Teleportation: Upon being attacked by the Blood Brothers, Ebony Maw shifted out of their way to safety with ease.[2] He can also teleport other people with him at interstellar distances.[28]

Fire Generation: Ebony Maw can conjure fireballs with his hand.[3]


Super-Genius Class Intelligence: Ebony Maw mostly demonstrates his intelligence with his highly skilled abilities of manipulation, being described as a "black tongue that spreads mischief and evil wherever he goes."[1]

Martial Artist: Ebony Maw was able to hold his own (albeit temporarily) against the martial artist Ferene, suggesting he is a skilled fighter.[21][22]

Multilingual: Ebony Maw is able to speak 97 different languages.[6]


Ebony Maw once claimed that pain, blaster wounds, and inept medics have a tendency to dampen his persuasive abilities.[28]



Ebony Maw seemingly has access to a variety of alien technologies, including a class one defense shield he wore to protect himself from Thane's destructive powers.[15]


Blast weapons[3]




  • Ebony Maw was designed by Jerome Opeña.[34]
  • It has been suggested that Ebony Maw's lack of super-powers might be false, as "most things about him could be a lie."[1]

See Also

Links and References