Who is Thanos?
Who is Thanos? Really? You have the stones (no pun intended) to ask me about Thanos, the unusually chinned scourge of all things living, breathing, and incessantly texting while eating? The purplish, genocidal maniac who murdered 50% of the universe with a casual, singular finger snap?
The impenitent throne-warming jack-hole who impressed his girlfriend, Death (and no, she’s not Goth – she’s legitimately the embodiment of anti-life), by murdering at least 98% of his planet with a relentless nuclear bombardment?
Fine. You want to know who Thanos is, I’ll tell you EXACTLY who Thanos is: he’s a (**BLEEP**)-ing (*BLEEEEP**)-hole. What, not enough history for you? Fine. I’ll elaborate on why he’s the galaxy’s – no, the universe’s – biggest, most gratuitous (**BLEEP**)-ing (*BLEEEEP**)-hole.
(And I’ll do so by referencing the beloved source material – the glorious volumes of classic Marvel Comics.)
You Can’t Beat Good Genes
Thanos, you see, is a descendant of the Eternals. What’s an Eternal? Good question:
An Eternal is a nearly immortal super-being who was made both nearly immortal (and super) through experiments rendered by the Celestials. Who are the Celestials? Good question:
They’re a race of rather massive and well-armored space-gods who visited countless worlds and experimented on/manipulated the genetics of budding indigenous populations.
Millenia ago, the Celestials arrived on Earth and altered the genetics of proto-man—this resulted in the creation of super-attractive, super-intelligent, human-but-godly Eternals and the misshapen, always shrieking Deviants.
After the two quarreling tribes rendered much of the Earth uninhabitable, a sect of Eternals fled Earth and took up residence upon Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
Thanos: The Wonder Years
Thanos was born on Titan to Mentor, leader of the Titan colony, and his wife Sui-San. Unfortunately, Thanos carried a bit of the Deviant gene, so his appearance was remarkably unseemly compared to the gorgeous, forever happy and frolicking Eternals. His “unexpected” appearance shocked Sui-San to such a degree, she attempted to kill him. She failed, of course, and now the universe suffers.
On top of a mother’s disappointment, Thanos’ brother, Eros (aka, “Starfox”), was one of the most attractive, alluring Eternals whose tales of womanizing were legendary. And because being ridiculously attractive wasn’t enough, he had the supernatural ability to incite insatiable desires in others. Some folks are just born with it, I guess.
Regardless of these physical – and familial – “disadvantages”, young Thanos was actually quite the pacifist who enjoyed playing with this bother and various housebound pets. But by adolescence, an unhealthy obsession grew within the boy – an obsession with death.
His One True Love
As Thanos grew older, he became – as previously mentioned – obsessed with Death, specifically, the physical embodiment of Death, Leady Death. Yes, nihilism and life’s glorious entropic decay filled his pseudo-godly mind with sick delights and varying visions of mass destruction.
Although he attempted to supplant his murderous wiles and live a normal life – going so far as to start a family – he couldn’t diffuse his maddening obsession. When Lady Death came to him and demanded fealty, Thanos – in her name – murdered his family.
To prove his newly-expressed fealty, Thanos amassed an alien armada and relentlessly pummeled Titan with nuclear weapons. The result? A nearly successful first attempt at complete and utter genocide.
The Quest, the Gems, and the Gauntlet
There was a great cosmic imbalance that saddened Mistress Death – there were more beings alive than collectively dead in the universe. According to Mistress Death, this imbalance would lead to pestilence, war, and famine. In the 2-issue comic series Infinity Quest (1990), Thanos took it upon himself to salve Death’s woes: he searched for – and acquired -- the six infinitely powerful Infinity Gems. With their powers combined, Thanos could easily murder 50% of the universal population to restore balance.
After acquiring each stone from the likes of the In-Betweener and several Elders of the Universe (including the Champion of the Universe, the Gardener, the Runner, the Collector, and eventually, the Grandmaster), Thanos affixed them to a golden, indestructible gauntlet and prepared to finally prove his worthiness to his perpetually dismissive mistress.
The Main Event
In the 6-issue miniseries The Infinity Gauntlet (1991), Thanos – now virtually god-like – utilized the ‘Infinity Gauntlet” to effortlessly murder half the living population of the universe.
Adam Warlock recruited Earth’s remaining heroes to thwart Thanos, but Warlock’s makeshift army suffered greatly at the hands of a murderous god.
But when one becomes a god, one gradually dismisses mortal concerns.
As Thanos’ mastery of the Gauntlet grew, he began evolving. Spiritually. Leaving the gauntlet unprotected while exploring higher planes of existence, Thanos’ granddaughter, Nebula, stole the gauntlet and attempted to wield its power. Thankfully, Adam Warlock and the remaining heroes defeated her, and Adam utilized the Gauntlet to undo the unfettered death and destruction caused by Thanos.
Thanos Goes to the Movies
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Thanos is very much like his comic book counterpart – a merciless warlord committed to causing death and destruction through the utilization of stones/gems/ingots possessing the ability to flat-out drop-kick reality.
According to a message intercepted by NASA, Thanos already has the Infinity Gauntlet and airtight intel regarding Infinity Stone resting places. And…uh….one of these resting places is right here, on Earth.
And when Thanos shows up, he’s not going to ask nicely. Nope. He’s going to take them – out of cold, dead hands and from the foreheads of sentient androids, he’s going to take them. And no one – not even Iron Man and his government-sanctioned Avengers – can stop him. No one.
Thanos is coming. Tell your family you love them and say goodbye to your issue of Black Panther #1 graded 9.8 by the CGC.