SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Thanos” #1, which is on sale now.
Since his surprise big screen debut in the mid-credits scene of 2012’s “Marvel’s the Avengers,” the Mad Titan Thanos’ role in the Marvel Universe has risen considerably. And that’s not to say he wasn’t an A-list character and one of the most dangerous supervillains in Marvel Comics history before his big screen turn; he’s just somehow become an even bigger bad over the last four years. His major roles in the “Infinity” and “Civil War II” events over the last few years have led him to this moment right now and the launch of his first ongoing series in over a dozen years.
“Thanos” #1, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Mike Deodato, places all the pieces on the cosmic chessboard, readying them for the high stakes game that’s about to unfold. The issue starts out in the Black Quadrant, home world of Thanos’ Black Order. But while Thanos concerned himself with recent Earthly matters, as seen in “Civil War II,” his former underling Corvus Glaive has taken control of the throne, the Black Order and the Black Quadrant. Unfortunately for Glaive, Thanos returns home — and takes back his throne after forcing the minion-turned-king to kill himself.
But Thanos hasn’t just returned home to rule. While his motivations are left vague, we do learn one surprising thing about the seemingly unkillable supervillain: he’s actually dying.
The reveal comes on the final page, after Thanos settles into his old throne and takes off his helmet. He then begins bleeding profusely from his nose, the purple liquid running into his hands.
While this event, Thanos’ slow death, is unthinkable to everyone that has ever crossed the villain’s path, there’s one person that knows it’s happening: Death herself. In the issue’s other storyline, Death and Thanos’ son Thane work towards gathering a team to kill Thanos once and for all.
Thane is the son of Thanos and an Inhuman woman, kept secret from the mad Titan for years until his emergence in the “Infinity” event. Now he’s partnered with the cosmic embodiment of Death — the woman Thanos has spent his life trying to impress with his acts of murder — to kill Thanos.
Thane and Death aren’t alone, however. They recruit to more people to their cause during the course of the issue: Thanos’ brother Eros and the Tryco Slatterus, the warrior also known as Champion. Slatterus recruited the reluctant Eros, the former Avenger codenamed Starfox, while he was… relaxing… on a space station.
The Champion convinced Starfox to come along with him, informing him that Thane requested his presence on the ruined moon Titan. Considering the role he’s playing here, it looks like the Champion is poised to play a larger role in the new “Thanos” series than he has in any series in, well, almost thirty years.
Tryco Slatterus debuted in 1982’s “Marvel Two-In-One Annual” #7 where he challenged a string of super strong superheroes to an intergalactic boxing match. It’s since been revealed that the Champion is one of the Elders of the Universe — a.k.a. one of the oldest beings in existence. Tryco had a recurring role in the late ’80s in “Silver Surfer” and even crossed Thanos’ path more than once (Champion was the keeper of the Power Infinity Gem for a while). He popped up in a 2010 arc of “Deadpool Corps” and has had a few one-off appearances in recent years, but “Thanos” seems to be positioning him to be a major player moving forward as he and Eros make their way to Death and Thane.
And with Thanos apparently vulnerable due to an unrevealed weakness, their plot to kill him seems more plausible than ever. “Thanos” #2 arrives in stores on December 7.
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