Sep 12, 2008

[Comics] The Thanos Quest

The Thanos QuestI always figured that if DC Comics had the New Gods, then Marvel had figures like the Eternals on Titan. They have nothing to do with the Titans of popular mythology and are instead known that way given they live on the moon Titan around the planet Saturn.

One of the more (in)famous Titans of Marvel lore is Thanos, sometimes known as the Mad Titan. His many run-ins with the heroes of the Marvel Universe certainly make him a unique enough villain to ever grace the comic book pages. To some extent, I have to admit that I've instinctively liked him ever since he hit the scene given his interesting view of the universe and the lengths he'll go for his love of his mistress, Death.

ThanosImage via Wikipedia The Thanos Quest was a 2-issue limited series written by Jim Starlin, who created Thanos as a character to begin with. The story is simple enough on paper - in an attempt to accomplish his goal to destroy half of all creation, Thanos decided to seek out the 6 Infinity Gems given what he had learned about their true powers by gazing into the Infinity Well.

To acquire the gems, he had to defeat the conceptual being The In-Betweener along with five of the Elders of the Universe. Each had their own obsessions that defined their powers and abilities - they were the Gardener, Champion, Runner, Collector and Grandmaster.

What makes this story so unique is how Thanos begins with nothing but his powers and abilities and in time manages to devise highly creative ways to defeat each of the bearers of the Infinity Gems. While most of them truly appreciated the powers that their gems granted, they were still rather formidable as individuals and it was a challenge in itself to defeat one, what more all five of six of them.

Even Thanos' quest was a disturbing one - trying to accumulate such power if only to please Death and kill off half of the universe. It was purely in the pursuit of his own fascinations with nihilism and Thanos remained very single-minded in the pursuit of this particular goal.

The end result was interesting and surprising enough on its own - great writing indeed. And of course the events here marked the beginning of a much greater story - The Infinity Gauntlet - and truly cosmic Marvel crossover. It was this story that marks a period of some of my favorite Marvel stories and developments and certainly an interestingly unique time in Marvel history.


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