WARNING: This issue contains spoilers for Thanos #17 by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, in stores now.
Marvel would have you believe that Colossus and Kitty Pryde's upcoming wedding is the nuptial event of the year, if not the century. But the truth of the matter is, another wedding is coming in the Marvel Universe -- one that is much bigger than the X-Men's wedding in every single way. To make things even more interesting, it's coming in the unlikeliest of places: Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw's Thanos.
The story of Marvel's Thanos is nothing short of brutal, but it might just be on the cusp of introducing some joy to the cosmic despot's life -- or something that sort of resembles "joy." In his self-titled series, the Mad Titan has been taken millions of years into the future by a time-traveling Cosmic Ghost Rider, a future where the cosmos is nearly void of life and a much older King Thanos reigns supreme as the ultimate conqueror. This is a future where Thanos has won, and yet for all of his success, for all of his victories and conquests at the end of time, this future Thanos still needed the help of his younger counterpart. Why? Well, to win back the favor of the only person they both have ever loved, of course -- the Lady Death.
Over the course of Cates and Shaw's run, we've learned that King Thanos had extinguished almost all life in the universe in Death's name. There was still one who eluded him, however, one enemy so powerful that two Thanoses were required to defeat him: the Fallen One. King Thanos believed that only then, only when the Fallen One was dead at his feet, that Death would return and be his bride for all eternity.
The problem was, the "Fallen One" wasn't the identity of just one person, but rather a title worn by the Silver Surfer and a horde of vengeful aliens. And to make matters worse for Thanos, the Surfer had a pretty massive weapon to fight with: Thor's mighty Mjolnir, which the Surfer of the future is worthy to fully wield.
Issue #17 picks up on that fight, and delivers one of the most brutal and shocking moments of 2018 when he strikes down his mortal enemy. With Thanos and the Cosmic Ghost Rider at his side, King Thanos manages to emerge out of this final fight victorious, but there is no celebration to be had by the bearded conqueror. He simply stares off into the distance, in utter disbelief. "Shut up and look, boy..." he tells his younger self. Now that all life in the universe has been smothered, now that King Thanos has given Death everything, after going unseen for thousands of years, she finally manifests herself on the horizon.
The caption informs us that she watched, laughing, as King Thanos massacred the Silver Surfer and his army. But Death has not only returned... she is also wearing a wedding dress, as black as her heart.
At first glance, Death looks ready to take her special bond with Thanos to the next level. The two characters have been tangled in a push-and-pull dynamic ever since Thanos first made his presence felt in the Marvel Universe in 1973's Iron Man #55. It's his love for her that pushed him to assemble the Infinity Stones (then Infinity Gems) in 1991's The Infinity Gauntlet and seek to annihilate half of all life in the universe. It's this undying devotion that has driven him all his life, from his fascination with death at a young age in Thanos Rising to the end of everything, millions of years into the future.
However, Death has turned her back on Thanos many times before. Throughout the years, he has never really managed to win her favor -- until now. Now, Lady Death is ready to marry the Titan who has spent an eternity trying to make her happy. It's a dark love story to be sure, but also one that has spanned eons. A love born of unending devotion that has lasted much, much longer than Kitty Pryde and Colossus' relationship ever could.
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