Thanos Annual #1 (Comics Review)

As a prelude to last year’s Infinity event, Marvel released a 5-issue mini-series focusing on Thanos the Mad Titan, one of the most pivotal Marvel villains to date. From the avengers to the Silver Surfer and Galactacus, Thanos has faced every threat the universe can throw at him and he’s always come through, in one form or another. I began reading Thanos comics in 2012 with Jim Starlin’s excellent Infinity Quest and it “culminated’ last year with reading Thanos Rising and Infinity. And I came to really like the character. He was different to most other villains and that uniqueness won me over.

Now, to celebrate the release of the upcoming Thanos: The Infinity Revelation original graphic novel, Marvel last week released Thanos Annual #1, bringing back the Infinity Gauntlet creative-team of Jim Starlin and Ron Lim. Having enjoyed The Infinity Quest and being halfway through The Infinity Gauntlet, I have to say that Jim Starlin’s portrayal of Thanos is pretty consistent and authentic. He is, after all, the writer who seems to have really changed around the character, and that has value, going in to this new annual issue. And Ron Lim’s art is pretty damn good too, which was a welcome bonus.

Thanos Annual 001There is a hell of a lot that happens in this issue and it all seems to hew very close to the classic feel of comics, i.e., comics of the 90s. But then, that shouldn’t be surprising since that was indeed when writer Jim Starlin was at his best. Or so my understanding goes, especially after reading Infinity Quest and Infinity Gauntlet. In the span of this one issue, we see Thanos fight a major battle against the Avengers, Captain Marvel and Drax the Destroyer. We see Thanos confronted by Mephisto himself. We see Thanos confront his own past/future self and have many secrets of his existence revealed to him. And in the end he makes that one choice that can never go wrong for a being like him: conquest, more glorious and bloody than ever before.

At present, Thanos is having a really bad day at work. His efforts to invade Earth during the Infinity event backfired on him quite spectacularly and now he’s locked in time by some of the biggest superheroes of Earth, and is kept in that state somewhere on Earth itself, if I remember correctly. So in that vein, this issue isn’t a follow-up to that event, but is instead (seemingly) a recounting of Jim Starlin’s previous work with the Mad Titan as he explores the character’s psychology and motivations and even gives him a leg-up on certain things, thanks to an alternate Thanos traveling in time to meet with him as he is about to be reduced to ash by none other than Mephisto.

There is a hell of a lot to like here. Jim Starlin’s writing is pretty damn good and the story moves along at a really brisk pace, touching on several different important moments in Thanos’ life and creating a discussion about Thanos’ own nature, among other things. Additionally, Thanos Annual #1 also seems to be a lead-in to The Infinity Revelation, and that part, towards the end has gotten me really excited about the original graphic novel since I was rather ambivalent about it at the start. But now my thinking is changing, and for the better I believe, since Thanos is a character that I love and Jim Starlin is definitely the man to write him.

Best part about this issue: Thanos of the story and Thanos of another timeline talking about the differences between their universes and how many of the things around them have changed irreversibly. Easily the highlight of this issue.

We have Ron Lim from The Infinity Gauntlet as the artist here with Andy Smith as inker, Val Staples as colourist, and VC’s Joe Caramagna as the letterer with Dale Keown and Ive Svorcina doing the cover art. Its been a while since I’ve read Infinity Gauntlet so I can’t say for sure if Ron Lim’s pencils are similar to his work on those issues, but I definitely loved his work here. Plus, Andy Smith’s inks and Val Staples’ colours give this entire issue a very 90s feel, which when combined with Lim’s pencils, easily makes this one awesome issue. No complaints at all.

A fantastic lead-in to the upcoming graphic novel, and definitely a must read.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Thanos: Thanos Rising.

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Posted on June 2, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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