SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Thanos #16 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Antonio Fabela and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
When one Thanos isn't enough to conquer a galaxy, just bring in a second. This is the crux of the story arc in Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw's current Thanos run, where the Mad Titan is plucked from the timestream by his future counterpart, King Thanos.
The reason King Thanos looks for backup is that he needs help defeating the Fallen One -- who we've learned is the Silver Surfer, after being consumed by the Annihilation Wave. Though Thanos #16 spends a good amount of time on the Cosmic Ghost Rider's origin, the second half of the story delivers confrontation between the Rider, Thanos and King Thanos battling the Surfer's Annihilation army.
The outcome of this massive battle shows the lengths Norrin Radd has taken to end King Thanos' reign of destruction. It also reveals the new God of Thunder and wielder of the enchanted Asgardian hammer, Mjolnir.
Something Hellish This Way Comes
Just as the bugs of the Annihilation Wave start to get the better of this unlikely trio, current-day Thanos calls for the Cosmic Ghost Rider to stop playing with his guns and unleash Hell on their opponents.
Remembering that the Cosmic Ghost Rider is, in fact, Frank Castle, his choice of weaponry is understandable. But after selling his soul to Mephisto, Frank gained the powers of the Spirit of Vengeance, which includes the Ghost Rider's hellfire.
The explosion wipes the landscape of their enemies, leaving King Thanos a bit too confident, believing the Silver Surfer was eliminated as well. However, our Thanos realizes it can't have been that easy. His intuition is proven right, as the Silver Surfer sends King Thanos back with his flying board.
This would not be the only surprise that the Silver Surfer had in store for King Thanos.
The Future God Of Thunder Is...
Believing the Silver Surfer will die this day, there is only one question on King Thanos' lips for Norrin -- after eons and eons of doing battle with one another, why did he wait so long to now decide to die?
Being a man of few words, Norrin replied that he was not waiting... he was working. The answer to what Silver Surfer was waiting and working on comes from a rumble that shakes the planet, and we bear witness to an object flying into Norrin Radd's hand. The Silver Surfer was working on becoming worthy of lifting Mjolnir, making him the future God of Thunder.
As you may be aware, only those who are deemed worthy can lift Mjolnir. After suffering unimaginable pain and anguish at the hands of King Thanos, it's apparent Silver Surfer plotted out the most effective strategy to defeat the Mad Titan. Part One of his plan appears to be the Annihilation Wave, and obtaining Mjolnir was Part Two.
Having one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe on your side of a fight definitely can't hurt your chances of success, but will Mjolnir be enough to win the day? Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Thanos will drain every ounce of desperation in an individual.
Also, we can't forget Silver Surfer has two Thanos' to contend with, as well as a cosmically-enhanced Ghost Rider. For who comes out on top of this winner-take-all battle royal, we'll have to wait for Thanos #17 to arrive on March 21.