Thanos, often referred to as the Mad Titan, is one of the most powerful and feared villains in the entirety of Marvel Comics. Heralding from the race known as the Eternals, Thanos was something of a mutant to his kind. The deviant gene within him changed his physiology and granted him abilities beyond anything previous Eternals possessed. Fashioning himself into a cosmic juggernaut, Thanos became infatuated with Mistress Death. Ever since the Mad Titan was a boy, he yearned to appease her and quested to destroy everyone he could just to gain her approval. He continues that trend to this day so he can receive a glance of affection from her.
To that end, Thanos has experimented on and augmented himself, boosting his power to new heights. With this tremendous power, there are few beings in the whole universe that can, or want, to challenge him. However, once he learned about the Infinity Gauntlet, that’s where Thanos’ legend truly began and his name became feared for all time. Yet, because of the multiverse the Marvel Universe inhabits, there is a wide range of alternate versions of Thanos. Today at CBR we’re looking at some alternate versions of Thanos and seeing which iterations are the stronger and weaker of the bunch.
15 STRONGER: ULTIMATE THANOS
The Ultimate Universe is notorious for having its characters be substantially weaker than as seen in the regular Marvel Universe. Thanos proved a rare exception to the rule. This Thanos was on the cusp of godhood and nearly conquered the universe 30,000 years earlier. Flash forward and it’s left to the Fantastic Four to deal with him.
Despite their own immense powers, they’re nothing before Ultimate Thanos. Still thirsting for unlimited might, this Thanos has a great range of abilities, including vast super strength, cosmic awareness that lets him see events happening several star systems away, and mind control; he could use the victim to channel his powers until his mind killed the host body. Additionally, Thanos had energy blasts, could resurrect himself whenever he wanted after dying, and would always come back more powerful depending on how long he’d chosen to stay dead.
14 WEAKER: THANOS CLONE
Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, has lead a pretty interesting life. The cousin to Bruce Banner, the Hulk, after she received a blood transfusion from her family member, she discovered she too could hulk out. A lawyer by trade, when she’s not righting wrongs in court, she’s taking to the streets, or the universe, and battling it out with superpowered miscreants. In She-Hulk #13, Jennifer found herself battling a clone of Thanos.
There’s a lot of build up and exposition, but what matters is that this isn’t the real Thanos, but a synthetic duplicate. This false Thanos came with falsified memories he tried to use to get the Avenger Starfox in trouble. Ultimately, She-Hulk fights, and defeats, the Thanos clone. Though the clone was mighty in its own right, it wasn’t quite as powerful as the real deal.
13 STRONGER: AVENGERS THANOS
With so many versions of Thanos, you’d hope at least one of them would fight for the good guys. In Thanos #10, that’s exactly what happened. In the only instance he joined the Avengers without having to slay someone to get the position, Thanos was purposefully sent to this alternate reality so he could live out his days as a hero, the opposite of everything he genuinely desires.
In the aforementioned issue, Thanos is considered one of Earth’s greatest champions and is actually pretty happy about his station in life. Alas, it doesn’t take long for the Mad Titan to realize he’s in a fictional reality that was constructed by the The Sisters of Eternity. In a moment akin to, and yet opposite to, It’s A Wonderful Life, they offer Thanos a life as a hero in exchange for his power. Thanos declines and wills himself back to reality.
12 WEAKER: THERMOS
If you’ve been a villain in the Marvel Universe for as long as Thanos, then chances are you’re going to be made into a gag character. Granted, it’s not especially difficult to mock someone who spends the majority of their time worshipping Death and sitting on a funky space throne, so leave it to the brilliant minds over at Marvel to figure out some super weird versions of the Mad Titan. Presenting the version of Thanos known as Thermos.
In no way is Thermos supposed to be taken seriously. First appearing in Marvel’s parody comic What The–?!, certain villains and superheroes were given Mad Magazine style makeovers, and were turned into parodies of their original selves. Thanos became “Thermos.” In this wacky alternate reality, Thermos sought the “Infinity Mitt” so he could to barbecue the Marvel heroes on a massive grill.
11 STRONGER: POISON THANOS
The Poisons are tiny little monsters with a penchant for devouring symbiotes (like Venom) and their hosts, and then turning them them into extra powerful versions of themselves that become part of their Hive. In this alternate universe, Thanos was essentially combined with Venom and then put out to pasture by the Poisons. Now under their sway, and more powerful than ever before, Poison Thanos possesses all the might and fury of both villainous characters.
First appearing in Edge of Venomverse #2, the Poisons planned to use their infected victims to invade neighboring realities so that they could spread and acquire even more power. Though they keep getting thwarted, their thirst for dominance knows no bounds and they remain a threat to this day. The leader of the Poisons is the corrupted version of Thanos, which makes sense, considering even the regular Thanos is all about ruling/ending the universe.
10 WEAKER: DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE THANOS
In all the Marvel Universe, there are two beings you shouldn’t get on the wrong side of: Thanos and Deadpool. While one might appear more intimidating than the other, the Merc with the Mouth is deadly beyond measure. We know Thanos’ capabilities, but rarely have we seen Deadpool fully unleashed. With nothing holding him back, there’s no telling what kind of carnage Deadpool could cause.
Which brings us right to Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe. After having his hold on reality accidentally realigned, Deadpool starts eliminating every hero and villain in the Marvel Universe. Though Thanos might be thousands of times stronger and have a will of iron, Deadpool is clever and found a way around all that. Deadpool first murders the Fantastic Four villain Puppet Master, and then uses the criminal’s puppets to control Thanos and other cosmic beings into making them destroy one another.
9 STRONGER: THANOSEID
Back in the ‘90s Marvel and DC Comics got together for one of their first, and only, crossover events. First they published DC vs. Marvel; while that was going on, they kicked off their Amalgam Universe. Amalgam boiled down to a failed PR stunt to boost sales. While it lasted, many fan favorite heroes (and even a couple villains) were mashed-up. You had Captain America and Superman, the Flash and Ghost Rider, Batman and Wolverine, etc. Thanos was combined with his DC equivalent, Darkseid, bringing forth Thanoseid.
With both the powers of Thanos and Darkseid, Thanoseid was one of the most powerful characters in any comic book universe. Ruling the planet of Apokolips with an iron fist, he yearned to destroy the Amalgam Universe, using the Ultimate Anti-Life Nullifier, so he could earn Lady Death’s love. His plan failed and Thanosied hasn’t been seen since Amalgam ended.
8 WEAKER: SUPER HERO SQUAD THANOS
Thanos inspires the type of fear that sends most civilizations running for the hills. There’s hardly a more threatening force in the universe than the Mad Titan. With incredible levels of power and zero reluctance to use it in his desire to appease Death, Thanos is the living embodiment of destruction and sadism. On the other hand, if you’re holding out for a cuddlier version of Thanos, than look no further than the Super Hero Squad Thanos.
This Thanos tends to cry a lot, especially when things don’t go his way...which is all the time. The main antagonist of the happy-go-lucky Super Hero Squad cartoon, this Thanos isn’t scary, but just kind of silly. It’s always fun to watch Thanos in a recliner, but if you want Thanos at the peak of his power, it’s best to look elsewhere.
7 STRONGER: OMEGA
It takes a rare breed of person to go out and create your own set of clones willfully. Well, Thanos isn’t like your average Joe. Dissimilar to folks like Spider-Man, if anyone is going to clone Thanos, it’s going to be Thanos! In Jim Starlin’s Infinity Abyss, a power-hungry Thanos decides to clone himself by combining his DNA with the DNA of some of his enemies in something of a thought experiment.
Out of all the clones, the most powerful and feared one, wielding more power than Thanos sans Infinity Gauntlet, is the Thanos clone mixed with Galactus. Things didn’t go as planned; the clones escaped, and Galactus-Thanos, or Omega, tried to destroy the universe. He would’ve gotten away with it too, if not for Thanos teaming up with a motley crew of heroes and villains to defeat the superior version of himself.
6 WEAKER: THANOSCOPTER THANOS
Sometimes if you want to take over the world with the help of the Cosmic Cube, you have to roll up in a vehicle that will strike fear in the masses. For Thanos, the genocidal Eternal was of the strong conviction that all he needed to accomplish his plan was a helicopter. Choosing to go with a tiny, yellow helicopter with his name plastered on the side, Thanos made sure everyone knew who was flying about
This Thanos and his Thanoscopter first appeared in Spidey Super-Stories #39, where Spider-Man and the Cat (or Hellcat) battled Thanos over possession of the Cosmic Cube. Thanos was able to steal the Cosmic Cube and get a small lead on our heroes with his goofy flying contraption, but it didn’t matter since he created a small earthquake that ended up defeating himself.
5 STRONGER: CANCERVERSE THANOS
It shouldn’t be terribly surprising to learn a place named “Cancerverse” isn’t actually a popular vacation spot. The Cancerverse is an alternate reality of the mainstream 616 universe. It’s horrifying, disgusting, and is a place where death was defeated. Since nothing ever dies, things only become horribly corrupted by the Many-Angled Ones. Turning the entire universe, and all every living creature, into an undying, practically mindless, army, their end goal is to attack their neighboring universe. Among the fallen, is Thanos.
The Cancerverse version of Thanos is radically different from Thanos as we know him. Even though he possesses the same powers as regular Thanos, Cancerverse Thanos comes with the added bonus that he cannot die. If anything, because of the corruption he experienced, Cancerverse Thanos is likely much more powerful than his uninfected self.
4 WEAKER: ZOMBIE THANOS
Marvel Zombies kicked off when a bolt of pink lightning crashed in the heart of New York City. The heroes who rushed to the scene were unlucky enough to meet a zombified version of the Sentry. In short order the world’s heroes get turned into superpowered cannibals. Eventually, after the undead heroes kill Galactus and the Silver Surfer, they acquire cosmic powers and take their hunger to the stars.
While there, they snack on pretty much everyone and anyone they come across; no one is safe from their teeth. That includes Thanos. Somehow he didn’t get eaten but instead became another zombie. Unlike the other heroes, Thanos didn’t receive a power-up. So, when in-fighting erupts in regards to a startling lack of food (because they ate everything in the universe), Zombie Hulk annihilates Zombie Thanos’ with a single punch to the head.
3 STRONGER: "THANOS WINS" THANOS
What if Thanos fulfilled his dream of universal destruction and successfully wiped out every living thing? In the Thanos series as written by Donny Cates, the Mad Titan succeeds at just that. After making his way to Earth, Thanos finally destroys all of Earth’s heroes (except for one or two), annihilates the planet, and then moves on to the cosmos. Throughout his journey, he kills literally every cosmic being in the Marvel Universe, all in the name of trying to get a word out of Lady Death.
Even Galactus is no match for this version of Thanos, and gets wiped out relatively easily. Finally, the only threat left is a powered-up Silver Surfer with Thor’s hammer. Yet by now, Thanos has brought his younger self to the future, and the two dispatch the Herald with little trouble.
2 WEAKER: PET AVENGERS THANOS
Unless you’re on the level of Adam Warlock, Thor, or Galactus, it’s probably best to leave the Mad Titan alone. Even then, you’re chances of taking him down are rather slim. That said, alternate versions of Thanos don’t garner the same level of respect, and find themselves facing some truly humiliating defeats. In this case, we’re talking about the Pet Avengers.
As their name suggests, the Pet Avengers are the pets of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Because the Avengers were busy elsewhere, the Pet Avengers went looking for the Infinity Gems, which lead them into conflict with Thanos. The Mad Titan wanted the gems, they refused, and so everyone fought. The Pet Avengers hold Thanos off until Lockjaw combines his teleportation abilities with the power of the gems and throws Thanos to another dimension.
1 STRONGER: YEAR 20XX THANOS
Before Thanos began his quest to attain the Infinity Gauntlet and all it’s magical gems, he sought after the Cosmic Cube. The next best thing, especially in scope of power, the Cosmic Cube is one of the mightiest artifacts in the Marvel Universe. It can rewrite reality at the drop of a hat and do nearly anything the wielder thinks of.
In the series U.S. Avengers, we get a flashforward several years from now to what became known as Zero Day. It is here that Thanos killed half of Earth’s heroes in one cataclysmic battle, all in the name of sending a message to the universe that he had returned in a big way. He was able to carve a path through the world’s superheroes by crafting a pair of Cosmic Cube Iso-Gauntlets; essentially gauntlets with little cosmic cubes in them.