A few years back, I was introduced to Thanos, the Mad Titan, in a short run series Marvel put out. It was probably done for guys just like me: somewhat familiar with the Marvel Comic Books but not highly aware of this soon-to-be big baddie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know, I know—I’m not the most educated of Marvel readers. Loved Spidey as a teen, Punisher, too; my interest was renewed with Iron Man and now I’m all in. So a short series on Thanos was just right for me. Out of duty, I bought the trade paperback of Infinity Wars and now I’m at least better versed with the background of this seemingly unconquerable villain.
So it was with great interest that I approached Marvel’s new title, Thanos #1. Would it fall into the same territory as past series? Would they reboot the character or just retell an already known story? I am glad to report that none of that is true; Thanos #1 is a new storyline and acts as a good introduction to what should be a fun ride.
Thanos has been busy. He’s left his kingdom behind in an attempt to control the dealings of Man and Earth. Like all kingdoms, when the cat’s away, the previously powerless minions will try to take the cheese. Corvus Glaive, previously such a minion, has tried to fill the void left in Thanos’ absence, and things seem to be going very well for him. Until the Cat comes back.
One of my big complaints about some villains is that we really don’t get to see how powerful or despicable their character truly can be. Darth Vader is like this…so many films that talk about how horrible he was, but we really don’t get to see it. Even in Revenge of the Sith, they cut away from his Jedi Temple purge. (Maybe the promise of a truly brutal Vader will surface in Rogue One?) Artist Mike Deodato gives us a glimpse at how threatening Thanos can be as he takes on Glaive’s army and barely breaks into a sweat…or so we think. His other panels tend to focus on the main action in the foreground of the story, and yet the subtle backgrounds still come through with enough detail to enhance the action. Maybe it is the purple of Thanos’ skin, but I really enjoyed the color choices by Frank Martin. The pinks and purples he uses in non-Thanos panels seem to hint that the Mad Titan is looming behind the scenes and ready to assume his role as the One to be Feared.
The issue sets up what will become the balance of the story’s arc—Tryco Slatterus, the “Champion” of the Universe has been hired to find Eros, aka Starfox, by a child looking to supplant his father. It seems that Thane, son of Thanos, has fallen under a spell. Is it one of his own doing? Or is it a spell his own father has fallen under before?
I would recommend this comic to anyone that wants to pass the time before the monster release of Avengers 3: Infinity Wars Part 1 & 2 (and 3 & 4?). There are some new characters that help to fill out the Marvel Space World, and I feel like we’ll learn a lot about Thanos and his ambitions, strengths and weaknesses in a way that could make that MCU story line more satisfying. As a book on its own, it feels like that already.