ByAndrew Newman-Anderson, writer at
I read Marvel, some DC, Cosplay, love movies, play video games and go to cons. Oh and I'm black.
Andrew Newman-Anderson

Thanos the powerful

Thanos the mad

Thanos the wise

Thanos the villain

Thanos the great

Thanos of Titan

I Don’t like to post that often. I’m more of a reposter or reblogger kind of guy. I believe the Spanish word for it is “Lazy”. The point being if I write it myself I REALLY want to talk about it. This brings us to one of my favorite characters in the comic universe: The Mad Titan Thanos, a melancholy, brooding individual, consumed with the concept of death.

I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, partially because of the [Marvel](channel:932254) movies but also because how much he has shown up lately in comics. He is in two or three story lines a year now, which in my opinion is why to many for such a good character. Notice I said character and not villain. Not to say he isn’t a great villain, because MY GOD he is a great villain. He is one of the best out there. Maybe even the best out there. But Thanos is such a well rounded character that I would be a fool to put him in just one box… or hat. Yeah hat is a better Idiom. That being said Thanos would look horrible in a hat…maybe a fedora…maybe… “Private investigator Thanos and the case of missing gems” OK I’m getting side tracked. The point of this is to explain why I think this guy is cool. I’m split it up between from characters that are better for interacting with him and my five favorite Thanos related stories of all time. He may not have been the star of all of these stories or even the full interaction with him but without him they would have been a lot less worth reading.

5) The Thanos Imperative

This is the story line that wrapped years of space based comics for marvel that started with “Annihilation” ( later on the list). Following the launching of the T-Bomb by the Inhumans of Earth-616 and its subsequent detonation during a battle between that universe's Black Bolt and Vulcan, a breach, known as the Fault, was formed in Earth-616, creating a bridge to the “Cancerverse“. A universe where "death was defeated" (they said that a little more than they needed to), the Cancerverse is a reality where nothing dies and life has expanded exponentially, resulting in a universe-wide living corpse. Eternal life fueled by the unseen "many-angled ones", every living being in this universe has seemingly been corrupted and turned to their servitude…. So kind of a big deal.

They really hit the floor running with this one. The kickoff of Thanos involvement at the end of [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) 2008 run, where the first thing he does is kill Phyla-Vell, which is a pretty crazy way to start a story that Thanos isn’t even the bad guy(... well not the worst guy) is pretty intense. Before this happens Thanos is dead and that is exactly how he and man obsess with Mistress Death likes it. You know how there are those people who are cranky in the morning because they haven’t had there coffee yet and they would rather just be in bed still? Well waking Thanos from his eternal rest got everyone on that planet killed and it took a comic cube to just knock him out. Don’t forget this is just the prelude to the actual story!

Upon discovering the vast room to expand in this universe, the forces of the Cancerverse have launched a campaign to invade Earth-616 and rid it of the abstract entity and very concept of Death. There are a lot of cool things about this story. Theres the crazy assortment of space based characters who have to work together (Beta Ray Bill to Nova to the Inhumans to Galactus), evil versions of classic marvel heroes as the villains, the rag tag Guardians trying to keep ahead of it all. Plus it really ups the ante on the situation partially because it doesn’t have even one major hero in it.

No fantastic four getting a distress call to help. No X-men who just happen to be on a space mission. No avengers… well at all really. Well really a lot of avengers, just all on the run from the law or actually evil pretending to be good. You have to remember this was going on during the civil war – siege era of super heroes. They were still getting there shit together while the rest of the universe was united. Side note how sad is it that Captain America and Ironman can’t get along but the silver surfer is working with Galactus? Dude eats planets but they still found a way to make it work. The point being is this was not your typical group of hero coming to save the day. This was a survival story. This tells you how dire the situation is. They brought back to life a guy who almost single handedly destroyed the universe more than once!

Which makes this a great Thanos story because he is working with the guardians. Remember this started with him KILLING one of there teammates. It’s not like they were on good terms with out that happen. So you know have classic “forced to worked together for the greater good “situation mixed with a little “fish out of water” Not only do they have to learn on there feet on how to defeat this unknown enemy, but they have to try not to kill each other as well (I’m looking at you Drax). Thanos does a great job of the ‘cooler heads will prevail’ well interacting with a variety of characters we have not seen him work with before. You get to see how thanos would be if he could “play well with others” ranging from conversations with star-lord accessing the situation, to quickly connecting to an ISAAC computer form a different universe, thanking Drax for murdering before all this, to telling the Cancerverse’s scarlet witch that she would need to sacrifice herself to help them to even a interesting with his rival Captain Mar-vell. But what most makes this a good storyline is the show of intelligence that Thanos shows as the story go on. He is the only character that can look like he knows how everything will go down as the story goes on… well except the end at which point he does not take well, but I won’t ruining that for you.

The only downside to this story is that with so many people involved you don’t see that much of Thanos himself, which is odd since his name is in the title. He is more of a tool for the story than anything else much like the next title on my list….

4) Infinity Gauntlet

Now this is THE essential Thanos story. If there is a story that EVERYBODY talks about when it comes to Thanos, it’s this one. It’s such a be epic story that it starts After the villain has the power! Arguably one of the greatest Marvel mini-series events ever, Thanos is at the center of a story that in my opinion is love story… a weird, demented, twisted love story that starts with the death of half the universe. To impress Death, Thanos casually eliminates half of all living things with the power of the Infinity Gems. Let me say that again: Thanos killed have of the universe to IMPRESS A GIRL.

Unfortunately Death was not impressed. Well actually she was a little insulted, because she had asked him to do it in the first place. Not so much the fact that he did it but the HOW he did it. If he had grab one or two gems and started killing people off she would have been find, but because he obtain the power to control the universe thus putting himself above her station, she needless to say did not take it well. It would be like if you asked the temp to get you a cup of coffee and couple of hours later he came back with a coffee machine for your office because he became CEO. But Thanos being the odd ball loner he is doesn’t see that and ends up taking it the wrong way which starts him done his path of doom.

Now while all that is going on the rest of the universe is scrabbling to figure out what they are going to do to stop him. They are being lead by Adam warlock who manages to Corral what’s left of earths heroes and beings such as Love, Hate, the Stranger, Epoch, Chaos, Order, and Galactus. Remember when I said you know it’s bad when you can get powerful beings who don’t work with anyone ever? This was pretty much the last time it happens. But despite the assembled forces, Thanos was able to defeat all and imprison or kill them… some of these death are the worst (poor spidey) one I’ve seen and I read marvel zombies AND the [insert name] kills the universe.

But again aside from the cosmic mayhem and murder this is a love story and one of the more interesting parts is how Thanos takes rejection. Death rarely speaks aloud; its presence alone can usually convey its message. But since Thanos is obsess with death strong silent only goes so far. Now back in the day she used to have a lackey who would speak for her so during some of this they are conversing, unfortunately once he gets the gems she’s just nag, nag, nag “you’re my boss now”. So it does not go well for him. After he is gone its nothing but the silent treatment for the rest of the story.

So to this he reponse the way any guy who has unlimted power and control over the universe: he makes his perfect woman…. Who looks like him…ew.

Terraxia the Terrible. Classic guy move. Can’t get the girl you want than flaunt your wild slutty girl in front of her, no matter how fugly she is.

Now at this point Thanos has everything he wants: a woman who adores him, all his enemies trapped or dead, and of course power and ultimate control of the universe. Should have lead with those last ones. But we don’t still live in a Thanos run universe (I think) so he ends up losing it. I’m not going to focus on that but instead what happen after, which is Thanos is forced to join the same people he spent kicking the shit out of, to save the universe from someone else. But before this Thanos have a quick heart to heart about why Thanos always loses his power.

Real talk son

The story at this point is pretty straight forward. Small group of guys trying to save- you know what? Lets go back to the battle when Thanos was in control. I don’t think we covered how bad this fight went for the good guys who were just cannon fodder. This is how they described the issue on “Wolverine, broken! The Scarlet Witch, incinerated! She-Hulk and Namor, buried alive! The Vision ripped apart! Thor shattered! Iron Man, beheaded! Cyclops, suffocated! When Earth's heroes attack, Thanos takes the kid gloves off -- but leaves the god-making Infinity Gauntlet on!” That’s how they described how about half of them die. He doesn’t just kill them, he decimates them each in a unique way of there own! I mean wolverine has killed a lot of people but we can guess how about 95% have died (5% due to cuddling to hard). Ok I’m ready to get back to it.

Most of the final issue is showing you how hard it is to have that much power and while being just a regular person. It easily will make you insane and as your mind goes so does the universe with it. Not great ideas to have your mind wander while you possess a reality gem. Moving past the last battle of this series, we see a new status quo (something that is said ALL the time in comics.) which leads into a new series called the infinity watch. But what’s great about the ending is you get to see Thanos reflex on not just everything that has happen but on himself and who he is now.

Rarely do you see a villain take the time to think about what he has done (which is weird since heroes say that almost every time they drop them off to jail.)

Better because: Adam warlock

Adam warlock is an odd character. Very smart, very powerful, but mostly because he is so boring on his own. He is a guy who needs people around him or you would fall asleep watching him save the day. That why his crew is so zany: Gamora the most dangerous women in the galaxy and pip the troll. He had to have sex appeal AND comic relief to cover the natural NyQuil that was his personality.

But in this story seems really cool and mysterious because while Thanos is bitch slapping the universe, he is the man with the plan who knows just what he needs to take the titan out. It’s kind of like to be right he had no time to have a personality. That being said his best moments are when people are reacting to something he did or said, while he just acts like its nothing. This kind of attitude only works some of the time and really only in the most dire of situations… like the end of the universe.

3) Annihilation

This is not a Thanos story. At least not in the beginning. He is not the main villain. He’s not the hero. Hell he starts off as a side character in the silver surfer mini-series before the big event (not the first time he plays while the surfer ran around not knowing what was going on). But since it’s a not his party you get a rare look at how he interacts with people who are above and below his station.

If this was a doctor doom story he would have probably taken Annihilus head on or betrayed him as soon as they capture Galactus, because Doom does not take lip from anyone. But Thanos is sly enough to bide his time and make sure he isn’t missing anything first. Thanos not only willingly offers to work for Annihilus (with a suggestion by Death. Still hung up on her) but doesn’t lose his cool when the head bug gets mouthy… Have you’ve seen his mouth? And the dude only speaks in screams. Imagine someone who only screams than starts try to raise their voice? It’s like chalk on a megaphone. Don’t get mistaken Thanos doesn’t just sit there and take it; he just tells it how it is while getting results. That being said he’s not taking lip from EVERYBODY. After kidnapping Moondragon (daughter of Drax the destroyer sworn enemy of Thanos) and keeping her as his slave it can be understandable that she isn’t gunning for employee of the month (slave of the month?), but with just a few smart ass comments (which for Moondragon is like SUPER light. Check out how she talks in her captain marvel run and those were her friends.) Thanos uses the bugs controlling her to rip the skin off her arm(just read it easier to understand). Unfourntaly thanos does not get to see how this story ends.

But don’t worry he we see him again in number 5 on the list!

Better because: Drax the Destroyer

Quick history: After he and his family were killed by the super villain Thanos, Arthur Douglas was recreated as an Eternal known as Drax the Destroyer by Mentor and Kronos, with the sole purpose of destroying Thanos. Drax is the father of Moondragon, a Titan priestess and former Avenger. OK! Got that out of the way! Now the fun stuff!

Drax was made to be the arc-nemeses of Thanos, but was never as popular as other people who took on the titan like captain marvel. In the 90’s he got a physical and mental make over. Got hulk like big, dumb, was basically a cartoon. BUT in 2006 he got another make over and this one was interesting. He slimmed done lost his ability to fly, actually he lost almost all his powers, but traded them for some bad ass fighting skills and cool tattoos. Basically a frat kids wet dream. But what could have gone badly turned into his most popular form. Not just because he switch from being”space hulk” to “space wolverine”. But because he went a lot more basic in his purpose. He didn’t just have a strong will to kill Thanos. He had a compulsion to do it. Sure if he could do other things like help fight in the Annihilation war but it was all for one purpose: find and kill the titan. He became this strong, meticulous, killing machine who played the game sixteen moves ahead. Which was finally a adversary to go up against Thanos. People may have stopped Thanos before but it was always reactive which left room for the titan to have a exit strategy. This Drax only had one plan: kill Thanos and take out anyone in his way to doing that. Didn’t matter if it was his own daughter trying to stop him he was not to be swayed. This is the Drax we have been waiting for. Since the movie came out he has been a little stupid but hopefully he swings back to his ultimate badass days.

2) “The Rebirth of Thanos” Silver Surfer #34-38

Thanos is reborn!...again. How many times will they bring him back to life before he gets the point? She using you bro! any who. So this is the story that leads to infinity gauntlet. What’s so cool about this story is it’s pretty straight forward. Silver surfer is task with stopping Thanos, so the titan manipulates the situation so that he gets the surfer off his tell. Most of it is Thanos putting the surfer into crazy situations that where he learns a life lesson about the universe. Otherwise known as

Now most the storyline is silver surfer flying around trying to find where and more importantly who Thanos is. He stops by earth and titan has a run in with the impossible man and Drax from his dumb days. But when he final meets thanos he is ready… or at least thinks he is. If there is one thing about thanos people don’t talk about much, its his power chair. He whoops more ass sitting in that chair than most villains do in a week.

Thanos knowing he has to grt the surfer off his tail thricks him into thinking he has out smarted the titan and has ended a the threat to the universe. Why so he can head on to …

1) Thanos Quest

This is THE thanos story. This shows how smart, cunning and ruthlessness to one by one take on and defeat the Elders of the Universe, a powerful group of interstellar beings who have achieved near-immortality through their single-minded pursuits of individual obsessions.

I honestly don’t want to ruining this story for you so I’m just going to tell you to go out and but it. If you want to bulk up on how great this character is before we see him in the movies READ this book!


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