Asian superheroes aren’t usually something one considers when balancing the universe, but it’s important to note that the highly-anticipated AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (a.k.a. The One With ALL The Marvel Superpeople) features a number of Asian actors (granted, two of them are playing aliens) and oddly enough, the Marvel Asians stand a pretty good chance of standing up against Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet. Whereas most of the other Avengers, practically speaking, should be quickly annihilated. As per comics lore, the Infinity Gauntlet gives its bearer omnipotent powers, and is not susceptible to being punched, smashed, webbed, laser-eyed, or any of those type of conflict-resolution techniques. Nor can the Gauntlet be computer-virused, IDGAF what Jeff Goldblum says. So the question is, who will step up when godlike Thanos is capable of disintegrating everyone by mere whim? I’ll argue that based on their power sets and circumstances, only a few heroes stand a teensy chance of saving the day, and they happen to be the Asian ones.
Played by: Pom Klementieff (of Korean and French parentage)
Powers & Abilities: Empathy, telepathy, getting where Drax is coming from
How she would beat Thanos: sneaky brain powers
Mantis, along with Drax and Gamora, is one of the Aliens of Color on the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you’ll remember, at the end of GotG VOL 2, the Guardians fight Ego, an entire planet possessed by Star-Lord’s dad.(Star-Lord has cosmic powers at this point, but so does his dad, so in an NBA matchups sense, they kind of cancel each other out.) Mantis is the only Guardian with (exhibited) telepathic-empathic powers, so, practically speaking, she is the most qualified to pull an upset. She attempts to mind-meld Ego into submission, which doesn’t work, but the point is, it’s a valid tactic to try when faced with an overwhelming force. As long as the force has a brain, telepaths have a way of sidestepping physical confrontation. Again, the Guardians’ skillsets mainly involves head-bashing and blowing things up, and it’s unlikely that Rocket assembles a gun big enough to dent the Infinity Stones.
Played by: Benedict Wong (British-Chinese)
Powers & Abilities: Magic!
How he would beat Thanos: mystic arts trump cosmic rocks
Wong’s mystical abilities are comparable to Dr. Strange’s, and magic is one of those things that gets to circumvent godlike powers, because who knows how the hell magic works, really? As we know from the trailers, Dr. Strange probably gets captured early on, likely because Team Thanos knows he’s an existential threat…which opens up the chance for Wong and his glowy runes to serve as the secret weapon! Within the hazy metaphysical rules of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘twould be fully plausible for Wong to turn Thanos into a bunny, or a pot of petunias, or some more-manageable villain like, say, Paste-Pot Pete. Wong probably won’t, but that don’t make it…right.
DRAX THE DESTROYER
Played by: Dave Bautista (Filipino-American)
Powers & Abilities: Super-strength, lack of irony
How he would beat Thanos: destiny
Drax is the sentimental favorite to trounce Thanos, because Drax has a longstanding vendetta against Thanos, based on some Marvel storyline that I don’t even wanna look up right now, but it goes deep (see also: Gamora and Nebula). It would be a high-drama, Inigo Montoya vs. Count Rugen type convergence of vengeance and destiny….but would be over in a second, because Drax would be disintegrated, nipples and all.
So yeah, it’s unlikely that any of these scenarios will happen. Just as it’s unlikely that Spider-Man’s friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) plays a big role in fighting Thanos, unless he elevates his Guy-In-The-Chair game to MODOK levels. But, I highlight our possibly-doomed Asian Marvel heroes here to stress the point, or rather the conundrum that’s bugged me since the INFINITY WAR film was first announced, which is: How exactly are these Avengers going to get out of this one? You cooooould make a case for Dr. Strange’s supreme sorcery, Star-Lord’s unquantified ego-powers, or Wakanda’s Vibranium tech as plausible foils for the Infinity Gauntlet. But the rest of the Chrises, I mean, the Avengers, pretty much just beat people up, and that’s not going to fly in this situation.
Unless there’s like some unannounced surprise guest hero…someone whom I’m not even thinking of….?