Ebony Maw was a member of Thanos' Black Order, not a fighter, but a dangerous thinker of the Mad Titan's army. When Thanos targeted Earth as the next planet he would raze, Ebony Maw was dispatched to deal with Doctor Strange. Ebony Maw used his abilities to gain control over Doctor Strange and forced him to summon Shuma-Gorath, 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, Doctor Strange found the boy in a hidden Inhuman town in Greenland. Ebony remained in the location and forced Strange to forget about the discovery, and to leave, now freed from Maw's control.
After Black Bolt detonated a Terrigen Bomb which unleashed a compound close to the Terrigen Mists upon the entire face of Earth, Thanos's son, Thane, underwent Terrigenesis. The manifestation of his powers annihilated the entire town. 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. When the Avengers arrived to 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.