Movies & TV / Columns

Looking at Thanos’ Must-Read Stories

May 29, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Thanos Infinity Gauntlet

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Batman and the Outsiders #1, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Boba Fett #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we discussed our Thoughts on the Future of Marvel’s X-Men.. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Carl Rood: “In a few years, some math wiz will notice that if they add the numbers of the original run to the current run, they’ll hit a number ending with two zero’s and set the numbering back. It’s not about creative story telling; it’s about marketing. Don’t insult our intelligence by stating otherwise.”

Jeremiah Ashcroft: “To kick off their new big plan they’re cancelling everything and just running two titles. Only for 12 weeks. After that they are introducing a slew of new titles again.
This is not a new or innovative idea. This is Marvel/DC post 2010.”

Robert Stewart: “Anticipation level is 1/10 because they reboot X-books more often than the average American gets fast food.

And I have yet to enjoy anything written by Jonathan Hickman.”

Gary Warren: “This is kind of the reason I gave up on comics…cancelling titles and starting new titles just so there can be a number 1 issue and then eventually going back to the old titles in a huge move. I was always crazy about the way I filed my comics and all the different cancelling and new number 1s and then going back to the original numbers just really screwed with my OCD about it all.”

Cami: “I’m pretty excited about the X-Men reboot. Mostly beacause I loved Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four.”

To read all of last week’s comments go HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we share our…

Must Read Thanos Stories

Avengers: Endgame is still making headlines and impressing everyone as being one of the biggest cinematic events ever. Endgame is close to breaking Avatar’s all-time gross, it will fall short of Star Wars: The Force Awakens domestic total.

According to Box Office Mojo, Avengers: Endgame’s weekend earnings puts the movie at $2.683 billion worldwide with Avatar sitting at $2.788, $105 million ahead of the film. Domestically, however, Endgame is at $803.6 million domestically, which is $133 million short of The Force Awakens’ $936.6 million.

Not a bad situation to be in .

With the movies popularity, plenty of general audience members left the theater asking, “Who is this Thanos dude?” Let’s take a look at the Mad Titan and some of his must-read stories.

Thanos made his first appearance back in 1973 in the pages of Iron Man #55. The great writer/artist Jim Starlin had created Thanos during college psychology classes. As Starlin described:

“I went to college between doing U.S. military service and getting work in comics, and there was a psych class and I came up with Thanos…and Drax the Destroyer, but I’m not sure how he fit into it, just anger management probably. So I came up to Marvel and [editor] Roy [Thomas] asked if I wanted to do an issue of Iron Man. I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks. So they got jammed into it. Thanos was a much thinner character and Roy suggested beefing him up, so he’s beefed up quite a bit from his original sketches…and later on I liked beefing him up so much that he continued to grow in size.”

Yes, Starlin also admitted the character’s look was influenced by Jack Kirby’s Darkseid.

Before we jump into things, I wanted to point out that I’m focusing on stories that really showcase who Thanos is. You won’t see The Death of Captain Marvel on here because while Thanos makes an impact in the story, his appearance only has weight if you know the relationship he and Captain Marvel had over the years.

I could make an entire list on Thanos related crossovers alone. While I may reference a few, I’m trying to keep it to stories that have stood out and stood above.

One crossover that I wasn’t a big fan of is ‘Infinity’. I’ve never been able to really click with stories that introduce a child into a scenario. Yes, we’re talking about comic books but Thanos doesn’t need to be “humanized” with having an offspring, an Inhuman-Eternal hybrid son, Thane.

I will give recognition to Infinity Gauntlet #1-6. Perhaps the best crossover that introduced so many cool elements by Starlin accompanied by amazing art from George Perez, Ron Lim and Joe Rubinstein. It’s bold, epic, and it’s a story that I still can go back and enjoy.

While Infinity War and Infinity Crusade had their highlights, they never reached the same level of excellence ‘Infinity Gauntlet’ had. Make no mistake, both are great stories that set up Thanos as a major threat and one who is passionate about destruction.

By the way, you’ll be seeing Starlin’s name a number of times on here. No one writes Thanos like Starlin does. He gives each appearance a sense of importance and weight.

If you’re looking for a well done prequel to Infinity Gauntlet, pick up Thanos Quest #1-2. Starlin pits Thanos against the current holders of the Infinity Gems and gives us an ending filled with dread of what’s to come.

Taking it back, Strange Tales #178-181 and Warlock #9-11 compose what is known as the ‘Magus Saga’. Written and penciled by Starlin, this storyline brushed the dust of of Warlock and introduced Pip the Troll and Gamora to the Marvel Universe. It also gave us Magus, an evil version of Warlock, which forced him to team up with Thanos.

Captain Marvel #25-33 gave us ‘The Thanos War’. Again, Starlin and and Mike Friedrich introduce Thanos’ obsession with mass carnage and death. In this story he tries to use the Cosmic Cube to do so with Captain Marvel and friends standing against him.

Starlin’s Silver Surfer had plenty of great moments with Thanos. The first, ‘The Rebirth of Thanos’ in issue #34-38 actually set up the Infinity Gauntlet.

In Silver Surfer #45, Thanos got center stage and we were treated to a battle of wills and skills between him and Mephisto.

Starlin gave Thanos an “end” in ‘The Final Threat’ Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2. A great wrap up between Thanos and Warlock that wouldn’t last.

Issues #1-6 of the Thanos series, presents Thanos vs Galactus along with a well balanced supporting cast. The story is largely underrated but gives a nice look at a different side of the Mad Titan.

A number of times Thanos finds himself on the side of angels, and this is the case in Marvel Universe: The End #1-6. Like everything else, Starlin introduces us to the Egyptian Pharaoh, Akhenaten, and his quest for absolute power. Thanos joins with the Defenders, with interesting results.

While I said I wouldn’t delve into crossovers, I would be remiss without mentioning ‘Annihilation’, ‘The Thanos Imperative’, and ‘Thanos Rising’. All worthy of tracking down and enjoying.

What about you? What’s your favorite Thanos story? Comment below!

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!