In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.
Today, just in time for Thanos’ latest plan to unfold in Marvel’s latest crossover, Infinity, we take a look at how Jim Starlin took the opportunity to retcon about five years’ worth of Thanos stories in one fell swoop.
In Mark Waid, Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang’s Ka-Zar run, there was a mighty figure hiding behind the scenes, plotting with Ka-Zar’s evil jerk of an older brother for control of the terraforming machine that created the Savage Land. Eventually, we discover that this figure was Thanos (although Mark Waid originally intended it to be someone else disguised as Thanos. Click this old installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed to find out who Waid originally intended it to be).
Thanos was a bit out of sorts at the time because of his connection to the terraforming energies of the machine, so when Ka-Zar fought him in Ka-Zar #11, Ka-Zar was able to sort of hold his own…
So obviously, Waid made a point of there being extenuating circumstances around how Ka-Zar managed to not be killed by Thanos.
In 2000, Dan Jurgens, John Romita Jr. and the late, great Dick Giordano had Thor face off against Thanos in Thor #25, and through some aide from Odin (who gave Thor a bunch of weapons and armor blessed with the Odin Force to give Thor greater power to handle Thanos), Thor was able to kick Thanos’ ass…
Finally, in 2002’s Avengers: The Celestial Quest by Steve Englehart, Jorge Santamaria and Scott Hanna, Thanos is involved in some plot against Mantis and in the end, he must sort of team-up with the Avengers to defeat the destructive Rot, which is sort of the offspring of Thanos and Death…
So those were Thanos’ three most notable appearances of the late 1990s/early 2000s.
Jim Starlin was not a fan. So just mere months after the conclusion of Celestial Quest, Starlin debuted Infinity Abyss, a mini-series that revealed that Thanos had created an army of clones and it was actually CLONES of himself that appeared in the above issues, as he points out in this double-page spread (which you can click on to enlarge)….
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that! This was also basically the same approach used to redeem Prometheus in the DC Universe (as seen in this old installment of Abandoned an’ Forsaked).
That’s it for this week!
If YOU have a suggestion for a notable comic book retcon, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org