Thanos

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Not to be confused with Thanos as an abbreviated version of the proper name Athanasius. See Athanasius (disambiguation).
Thanos
Promotional cover art by Mark Bagley for Avengers Assemble #7 (September 2012).
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Iron Man #55 (February 1973)
Created by Jim Starlin
In-story information
Species Titanian Eternal (Mutant)
Place of origin Titan
Team affiliations Infinity Watch
Secret Defenders
Annihilation Wave
Cull Obsidian (The Black Order)
Cabal
Notable aliases The Mad Titan, Avatar of Death
Abilities Superhuman strength, stamina, durability, longevity, and intelligence
Energy manipulation
Telekinesis
Teleportation

Thanos is a fictional comic book supervillain that has appeared in books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Iron Man #55 (Feb. 1973) and was created by writer-artist Jim Starlin. Debuting in the Bronze Age of Comic Books, the character has been featured in over four decades of Marvel continuity and a self-titled series. Thanos has appeared in other Marvel-endorsed products, including animated television series, arcade and video games, toys, trading cards and a non-speaking cameo at the end of the 2012 film The Avengers; Josh Brolin portrays Thanos in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos was ranked number 47 on IGN's top 100 comic book villains of all time.[1]

Origin[edit]

Writer-artist Jim Starlin originally conceived of Thanos of Titan during college psychology classes. As Starlin described:

Starlin has admitted the character is influenced by Jack Kirby's Darkseid:

Publication history[edit]

Thanos' first appearance was in an extended storyline that spanned Iron Man #55 (Feb. 1973), Captain Marvel #25-33 (bi-monthly: March 1973 – Jan. 1974), Marvel Feature #12 (Nov. 1973), Daredevil #107 (Jan. 1974), and Avengers #125 (July 1974). He returned in an extended storyline that spanned Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb.–Aug. 1975), Warlock #9-11 (Oct. 1975 – Jan. 1976), Marvel Team Up #55 (March 1977), and the 1977 Annuals for Avengers and Marvel Two-in-One (Thanos does not actually appear until the end of Warlock #9). He was also featured in a short backup story in Logan's Run #6 (June 1977) and had a small role in the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel (April 1982).

The character was revived in Silver Surfer vol. 3 #34 (Feb. 1990) and guest-starred until issue #50 (June 1991), while simultaneously appearing in Thanos Quest #1-2 (Sept.–Oct. 1990) and Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July–Dec. 1991). Thanos had a recurring role in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1-42 (Feb. 1992 – Aug. 1995). This was followed by crossover appearances in Infinity War #1-6 (June - Nov. 1992), Infinity Crusade #1-6 (June - Nov. 1993), Silver Surfer vol. 3 #86-88 (Nov. 1993 - Jan. 1994), Warlock Chronicles #6-8, Thor #468-471 (Nov. 1993 - Feb. 1994), Secret Defenders #11-14 (Jan.–April 1994), Cosmic Powers #1-6 (March–July 1994), and Cosmic Powers Unlimited #1 (May 1995).

Thanos appeared in a connected storyline in Ka-Zar vol. 2 #4–11 (Aug. 1997 - March 1998), Ka-Zar Annual (1997), and the X-Man and Hulk Annual (1998), before featuring in Thor vol. 2 #21–25 (March – July 2000) and the 2000 Annual. The character was next used in Captain Marvel vol. 4 #17–19 (June–Aug. 2001), Avengers: Celestial Quest #1-8 (Nov. 2001– June 2002), and the Infinity Abyss #1-6 (Aug. - Oct. 2002).

In 2004 Thanos received an eponymous title that ran for 12 issues. In 2006, the character played an important role in Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4 (June - Sept. 2006) and Annihilation #1-6 (Oct. 2006 - March 2007). The character was re-introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #24-25 (April–May 2010) and played a major role in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition (June 2010) and The Thanos Imperative #1-6 (July–Dec. 2010).

The character returned in Avengers Assemble #1 (March 2012).[4] A mini-series titled Thanos: Son of Titan by Joe Keatinge was planned for publication in August 2012, but was cancelled.[5]

The character's origin was expanded in the five-issue Thanos Rising miniseries by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi which was published monthly beginning in April 2013.[6] Later that same year, Thanos played a central role in the Infinity miniseries written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Jim Cheung, Jerome Opeña, and Dustin Weaver.

In May 2014, Jim Starlin and Ron Lim worked together on the one-shot Thanos Annual, which is a prelude to Thanos: Infinity Revelation, an original graphic novel set to be released in August.[7][8] The character is also set to reappear in New Avengers beginning with issue 24 in September 2014.[9]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Thanos was born on Saturn's moon Titan, and is the child of Eternals Mentor and Sui-San. Thanos was carrying the Deviants gene, and as such shared the physical appearance of the Eternals' cousin race. At birth, his mother attempted to kill him. During his school years, Thanos was a pacifist[10] and would only play with his brother Eros (Starfox) and pets. By adolescence, Thanos had become fascinated with nihilism and death, worshiping and eventually falling in love with the physical embodiment of death, Mistress Death.[11] As an adult, Thanos attempts to create a new life for himself by starting a family. He is visited again by Mistress Death, for whom he murders his family.[12]

Cosmic Cube & Soul Gems[edit]

Thanos battles Spider-Man and the Thing on the cover of Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (1977). Art by Jim Starlin.

Wishing to impress Mistress Death, Thanos gathers an army of villainous aliens and begins a nuclear bombardment of Titan that kills millions of his race.[13] Seeking universal power in the form of the Cosmic Cube, Thanos travels to Earth. Prior to landing, his vessel destroys a nearby car as a family witnesses his arrival.[14] Unbeknownst to Thanos, two of the family members in the vehicle survive: the father's spirit is preserved by the Titanian cosmic entity Kronos and is given a new form as Drax the Destroyer while the daughter is found by Thanos' father Mentor and is raised to become the heroine Moondragon. Thanos eventually locates the Cube, and also attracts the attention of Mistress Death. Willing the Cube to make him omnipotent, Thanos then discards the Cube. He imprisons Kronos and taunts Kree hero Captain Marvel, who with the aid of superhero team the Avengers and ISAAC (a super-computer based on Titan), is eventually able to defeat Thanos by destroying the Cube.[15]

Thanos later comes to the aid of Adam Warlock in a war against the Magus and his religious empire.[16][17] During this alliance Thanos cultivates a plan to reunite with Mistress Death, and secretly siphons off the energies of Warlock's Soul Gem, and combines these with the power of the other Infinity Gems to create a weapon capable of destroying a star. Warlock summons the Avengers and Captain Marvel to stop Thanos, although the plan is foiled when Thanos kills Warlock. The Titan regroups and captures the heroes, who are freed by Spider-Man and the Thing. Thanos is finally stopped by Warlock, whose spirit emerges from the Soul Gem and turns the Titan to stone.[13][18] Thanos's spirit eventually reappears to accompany a dying Captain Marvel's soul into the realm of Death.[19]

The Infinity Saga[edit]

Thanos is eventually resurrected,[20] and collects the Infinity Gems once again.[21] He uses the gems to create the Infinity Gauntlet, making him nigh-omnipotent, and erases half the living things in the universe to prove his love to Death.[22] This act and several other acts are soon undone by Adam Warlock.[23] Warlock reveals that Thanos has always allowed himself to be defeated because the Titan secretly knows he is not worthy of ultimate power. Thanos joins Warlock as part of the Infinity Watch and helps him to defeat first his evil[24] and then good[25] personas, and cure Thor of "warrior Madness."[26]

Other adventures[edit]

Thanos later recruits a team of Earth-bound super-villains and puts them under the field leadership of Geatar in a mission to extract a robot containing the knowledge of a universal library.[27] Thanos uses information from the robot to battle Tyrant, a failed creation of Galactus.[28] When trapped in an alternate dimension, Thanos employs the aid of the brother of Ka-Zar, Parnival Plunder[29] and later the Hulk[30] to escape, although both attempts are unsuccessful. Thanos is eventually freed and comes into conflict with Thor, aligning himself with Mangog in a scheme to obtain powerful talismans which will allow him to destroy all life in the universe,[31] and during their battles Thanos decimates the planet Rigel-3.[32]

Thanos then uses the heroes Thor and Genis-Vell (Captain Marvel's son) against the death god Walker, who attempts to woo Mistress Death and then destroy the entity after being rejected.[33] Thanos then devises a plan to become the All-Father of a new race of Gods created by himself. Thanos, however, finds himself opposed by the Avengers' former member Mantis and her son Quoi, apparently destined to be the Celestial Messiah. Thanos abandons this plan after having to unite with Mistress Death to destroy the "Rot", an aberration in deep space caused by Thanos' love for Death.[34] Thanos also once conducted extensive research on genetics, and after studying many of the universe's heroes and villains cloned them and gene-spliced his own DNA into the subjects. Although he later abandons the project, five clones survive, being versions of Professor X, Iron Man, Gladiator, Doctor Strange, and Galactus respectively. A sixth and unnamed version of Thanos also appears, and it is revealed the incarnations of Thanos encountered by Thor and Ka-Zar were his clones. The true Thanos — with the aid of Adam Warlock, Gamora, Pip the Troll, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and Dr. Strange — destroys the remaining clones.[35]

Thanos wearing the Infinity Gauntlet on the cover of the Infinity Gauntlet collected edition (Aug. 1992).
Art by George Pérez.

When an ancient Egyptian pharaoh called Akhenaten uses a source of cosmic power to seize power in present-day Earth (killing most of Earth's heroes in the process), Thanos uses a time-travel stratagem to defeat him. Thanos then uses the artifact to reverse Akhenaten's actions and also correct a flaw in the universe. Changed by the experience, Thanos advises confidant Adam Warlock he will no longer seek universal conquest.[36]

Thanos decides to atone for the destruction of Rigel-3, and agrees to aid a colony of Rigellians in evacuating their planet before Galactus can consume it. During the course of this mission Thanos learns Galactus is collecting the Infinity Gems in an effort to end his universal hunger. Thanos later learns Galactus is being manipulated into releasing a cosmic threat known as Hunger, which feeds on entire universes. Despite opposition from Thanos, Galactus frees the entity, although when the entity's intentions are revealed the pair team to destroy it.[37]

En route to the Kyln, an intergalactic prison, Thanos meets Death, who for the first time speaks to the Titan. Death claims it is worth wooing, but that he must offer something other than death. At the Kyln Thanos encounters Star-Lord and the Shi'ar warrior Gladiator, who are both prisoners, and the Beyonder, who has been rendered amnesiac by its choice to assume a mortal female form. Thanos battles the Beyonder and causes its mind to shut down, leaving its power trapped within a comatose mortal body. Thanos then instructs the Kyln officers to keep the Beyonder on life support indefinitely in order to prevent the entity from being reborn.[38] Thanos departs the Kyln in the company of Skreet, a chaos-mite freed from the prison. Thanos then meets the Fallen, a former Herald of Galactus. Thanos defeats the former Herald and places him under complete mental control.[39]

Annihilation[edit]

Main article: Annihilation (comics)

During the Annihilation War Thanos allies himself with the genocidal villain Annihilus. When the Annihilation Wave destroys the Kyln, Thanos sends the Fallen to check on the status of the Beyonder, whose mortal form he finds has perished. Before the Fallen can report back to Thanos it encounters Tenebrous and Aegis: two of Galactus' ancient foes. Thanos convinces Tenebrous and Aegis to join the Annihilation Wave in order to get revenge on Galactus, and they subsequently defeat the World Devourer and the Silver Surfer. Annihilus desires the secret of the Power Cosmic and asks Thanos to study Galactus. Once Thanos learns Annihilus' true goal is to use the Power Cosmic to destroy all life and remain the sole survivor, he decides to free Galactus. Drax the Destroyer kills Thanos before he can do so but discovers that Thanos had placed a failsafe device to allow Silver Surfer to free Galactus in the event that Annihilus betrayed him.[40] During a climactic battle with Annihilus, Nova is near death and sees Thanos standing with Mistress Death.[41]

The Thanos Imperative[edit]

Main article: The Thanos Imperative

A cocoon protected by the Universal Church of Truth is revealed to be hiding Thanos, who has been chosen by Oblivion to be the new Avatar of Death.[42] Resurrected before his mind could be fully formed, Thanos goes on a mindless rampage before being captured by the Guardians of the Galaxy.[43] Thanos pretends to aid the Guardians against the invading Cancerverse, and after discovering its origin kills an alternate version of Mar-Vell, the self-proclaimed Avatar of Life. This causes the collapse of the Cancerverse, with Guardians Nova and Star-Lord sacrificing themselves to contain Thanos inside the imploding reality.[44]

Avengers Assemble[edit]

Thanos returns to Earth seeking an artificial cosmic cube and forms an incarnation of the criminal group Zodiac. He is defeated by the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and remanded to custody by the Elders of the Universe.[45]

Infinity[edit]

Main article: Infinity (comic book)

Thanos soon invades Earth again after being informed that most of the Avengers have temporarily left the planet.[46] He launches an assault on Attilan, which he offers to spare in exchange for the deaths of all Inhumans between the ages of 16 and 22. Black Bolt later informs the Illuminati that the true purpose of the invasion is to find and kill Thane, an Eternal/Inhuman hybrid that Thanos had secretly fathered years earlier.[47] Thanos is trapped in a pocket limbo of stasis by his son.[48]

Return[edit]

Thanos was freed by Namor and was among the villains that joined his Cabal to destroy other worlds.[49]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Thanos is a mutant member of the race of superhumans known as the Titanian Eternals. The character possesses abilities common to the Eternals, but amplified to a higher degree through a combination of his mutant Eternal heritage, bionic amplification, mysticism, and power bestowed by the abstract entity, Death. Demonstrating enormous superhuman strength, stamina, and durability, Thanos can absorb and project vast quantities of cosmic energy and is capable of telekinesis, telepathy and matter manipulation. Thanos is an accomplished hand-to-hand combatant, having been trained in the art of war on Titan. Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet ranked the Living Tribunal's power as the highest in Marvel's regular multiversal hierarchy.[50]

Thanos is a genius in virtually all known fields of advanced science and has created technology far exceeding contemporary Earth science. He often employs a transportation chair capable of space flight, force field projection, teleportation, time travel and movement through alternate universes. Thanos is also a master strategist and uses a space vessel called Sanctuary II as a base of operations.

Other versions[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel imprint title Ultimate Fantastic Four features an alternate universe version of Thanos who is the ruler of Acheron (and has a son called Ronan the Accuser, who is in possession of a Cosmic Cube[51]), a vast empire consisting of thousands of worlds that exist in another plane of existence.[52]

In the alternate universe limited series Earth X, Thanos dwelled in the Realm of the Dead with the entity Death.[53] It is revealed his mother was a Skrull and Death used her secret to make him believe that Death was his mother. When the deception is revealed, he uses the Ultimate Nullifier on Death.[54]

Thanos features in the limited series Marvel Zombies 2, set in the alternate universe of Earth-2149. Having been "zombified", the character is killed by the cosmic-powered Hulk after an altercation over food.[55]

During the 1996 Amalgam Comics crossover between DC Comics and Marvel, Thanos merged with Darkseid to become "Thanoseid".[56]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Thanos features in the animated television series Silver Surfer, voiced by Gary Krawford. Due to Fox's broadcast standards, Thanos is depicted as a worshiper of a female personification of chaos (referred to as Lady Chaos) rather than Death where Thanos is seen with a statue of Lady Chaos on his ship.[57]
  • Thanos is featured in Avengers Assemble.[58] At the end of the episode "The Final Showdown," Thanos is revealed to be Red Skull's master as Red Skull gives him the Tesseract.

Film[edit]

Damion Poitier (top) as Thanos in the end credits of The Avengers and Josh Brolin (bottom) as Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Joss Whedon stated that Thanos would not be the villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron.[65] Feige has implied that Thanos will be the villain of the third Avengers movie, which would be based on the Infinity Gauntlet storyline.[66]

Video games[edit]

  • Thanos has a cameo appearance in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Uatu the Watcher mentions in the future part of the ending that Thanos will plot to invade Earth in the near future when it comes to the player's choice of freeing Odin from his dark magic confinement. If Odin is freed, his intervention will prevent Thanos from enslaving Earth. If the player doesn't free Odin, the Earth will pay a heavy price as Odin will refuse to aid Thor in battling Thanos, who will end up enslaving Earth for centuries before it is liberated from Thanos' tyranny.

Toys[edit]

  • Thanos is included as a collectible figure from the board game Heroscape featured in the Marvel crossover set.
  • Five Thanos figures exist for the Heroclix miniatures game (Infinity Challenge, Supernova, Galactic Guardians (x 2) and Infinity Gauntlet Limited Edition set).

Collected editions[edit]

A number of the stories featuring Thanos have been collected into trade paperbacks:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Thanos is Number 47". IGN. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  2. ^ "Jim Starlin". Adelaid Comics and Books. Archived via the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  3. ^ Cronin, Brian (2010-06-24). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #266". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  4. ^ Meylikhov, Matthew (2012-05-09). "The Big Bad of Avengers Assembled Revealed". Multiversity.com. 
  5. ^ Marvel Cancels Thanos: Son of Titan miniseries, www.bleedingcool.com, 27 July 2012
  6. ^ Sunu, Steve (16 January 2013). "Aaron and Bianchi Explore "Thanos Rising" in April". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Thanos Annual #1, Inside Pulse, May 28, 2014 (accessed May 28, 2014)
  8. ^ Jim Starlin Has an "Infinity Revelation" for Thanos, Comic Book Resources, January 3, 2014 (accessed May 28, 2014)
  9. ^ Meylikhov, Matthew (May 30, 2014) "Thanos Joins the New Avengers in September," Multiversity Comics (accessed June 19, 2014)
  10. ^ Thanos Rising #1
  11. ^ Thanos Rising #3, Iron Man vol 1 #55
  12. ^ Thanos Rising #4-5
  13. ^ a b Avengers Annual #7 (1977)
  14. ^ Captain Marvel #30 (Jan. 1974)
  15. ^ Captain Marvel #33 (July 1974)
  16. ^ Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb. – Aug. 1975)
  17. ^ Warlock #9-11 (Oct. 1975 – Jan. 1976)
  18. ^ Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (1977)
  19. ^ Death of Captain Marvel (1982)
  20. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3 #34 (Feb. 1990)
  21. ^ The Thanos Quest (1990)
  22. ^ The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (July 1991)
  23. ^ The Infinity Gauntlet #6 (Dec. 1991)
  24. ^ The Infinity War #1-6 (1992)
  25. ^ The Infinity Crusade #1-6 (1993)
  26. ^ Thor #470-471 (Jan.–Feb. 1994); Silver Surfer vol. 3 #88 (Jan. 1994); Warlock Chronicles #8 (Feb. 1994); Warlock and the Infinity Watch #25 (Feb. 1994)
  27. ^ Secret Defenders #11-14 (Jan. - April 1994)
  28. ^ Cosmic Powers #1–6 (March - Aug. 1994)
  29. ^ Ka-Zar vol. 2 #4–11 (Aug 1997 - March 1998), Annual 1997
  30. ^ X-Man and Hulk Annual 1998
  31. ^ Thor vol. 2 #21-25 (March–July 2000)
  32. ^ Thor Annual (2000)
  33. ^ Captain Marvel vol. 2 #17-19 (June–Aug. 2001)
  34. ^ Avengers: Celestial Quest #1–8 (Nov. 2001– June 2002)
  35. ^ The Infinity Abyss #1–6 (2002)
  36. ^ Marvel: The End #1-6 (May-Aug. 2003)
  37. ^ Thanos #1-6(Dec. 2003 - April 2004)
  38. ^ Thanos #7-9 (May 2004)
  39. ^ Thanos #10-12 (July - Sept. 2004)
  40. ^ Annihilation #4 (Jan. 2007)
  41. ^ Annihilation #6 (March 2007)
  42. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #24 (May 2010)
  43. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #25 (June 2010)
  44. ^ The Thanos Imperative: Ignition July 2010; The Thanos Imperative Aug. 2010 - Jan. 2011
  45. ^ Avengers Assemble #1-8 (March - Oct. 2012)
  46. ^ Infinity #1
  47. ^ Infinity #2
  48. ^ Infinity #6
  49. ^ New Avengers Vol. 3 #23
  50. ^ Thanos Annual #1 (2014)
  51. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #42 (May 2007)
  52. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #35 (Dec. 2006)
  53. ^ Earth X #0-12, X (Mar. 1999 – June 2000)
  54. ^ Universe X Issue X
  55. ^ Marvel Zombies 2 #1 (Dec. 2007 – Apr. 2008)
  56. ^ Bullets and Bracelets #1 (1996)
  57. ^ "Interview with Larry Brody". Marvelite.prohosting.com. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  58. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2014/05/22/thanos-avengers-assemble-exclusive/9436619/
  59. ^ "Kevin Feige Avengers Spoiler Podcast". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  60. ^ "The Avengers has two post-credit scenes, mystery actor revealed". IFC. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  61. ^ Ford, Rebecca (May 30, 2014). "Josh Brolin Voicing Thanos in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  62. ^ Lussier, Germain (April 11, 2014). "‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ Connects to ‘Avengers 3;’ Plus New Image". /Film. Archived from the original on April 11, 2014. 
  63. ^ James Gunn Reveals His Brother’s Roles in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
  64. ^ Weintraub, Steve (July 22, 2014). "Kevin Feige Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, THOR 3, CAPTAIN AMERICA 3, DOCTOR STRANGE, Casting Josh Brolin as Thanos, Comic-Con Plans, and More". Collider. Archived from the original on July 22, 2014. 
  65. ^ Nicholson, Matt (August 5, 2013). "Joss Whedon on Thanos in Avengers 2". IGN. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  66. ^ Outlaw, Kofi (November 11, 2013). "Marvel's Kevin Feige Talks 'Avengers 2 & 3', Thor 3, 'Guardians' & More [Video]". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  67. ^ LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Video Game Pre-Order Bonuses

External links[edit]