Mind Control Alert! (The, Um, Good Kind)

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As you may be aware if you, um, participate in popular culture in any way, shape or form, we are just five short days away from the release of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the latest tentpole-of-tentpoles movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is going to be the culmination of a lot of ongoing plotlines that they’ve been threading through the Marvel movies to date (or at least as much of a culmination as a movie that’s already got a release date for its sequel can be) and will deal much more heavily with villain Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones.

(For those of you who aren’t following the movies: Thanos wants to kill half the population of the universe because he thinks we’re violating some sort of ‘cosmic balance’, and the Infinity Stones give their holder complete mastery over an aspect of existence – Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Power, and Reality, respectively.)

So obviously yes, we’ve got the Mind Stone in play, and it seems very likely that at some point during the film, Thanos will get hold of this artifact and gain potentially complete power over every mind in the universe. Presumably it requires at least a little more skill in wielding it than he possesses in order to do that, or the movie would be pretty short after that. But that’s not the only big mind control thing involved.

See, Thanos has a group of henchbeings called the Black Order that he sends out to do his busywork, a bit more like having an executive assistant to fetch you coffee than a serious thug to beat down your enemies. They mostly do scouting and mop-up work, and occasionally act as his emissaries when he’s busy elsewhere (and one of them, Supergiant, tends to have the job of taking it on the chin from superheroes to “test their defneses”) but the one who’s very relevant for our purposes is Ebony Maw.

Ebony Maw has the power of “superhuman persuasion”. He doesn’t fight his enemies; he does the whole, ‘whoa, whoa, I’m not here to fight you’ shtick, then talks very reasonably to them until by the end they’re entirely convinced that betraying humanity and serving Thanos is the right course of action and they don’t know why they hadn’t thought of it sooner. In the comics, Ebony Maw turned Doctor Strange into a spy and double-agent for the Black Order within the heroes’ ranks, essentially mind-controlling one of the strongest-willed Avengers into servitude with nothing more than his charm and wit.

Doctor Strange is in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. So is Ebony Maw. I’m just saying that if you’re a mind control fan with a thing for Benedict Cumberbatch, you might get a very nice surprise in a few days.

EDIT TO ADD: No spoilers of significance, but they changed Ebony Maw somewhat for the movie. He does not have superhuman persuasion, but instead is telekinetic. So, um, this one’s more for the bondage fans, maybe?

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