Death is rarely permanent in comic books, so when a creative team pulls off an impactful end for a character in the medium, well, that’s a moment to take note of. Such a moment was recently penned in Infinity Wars Prime #1, which included the death of the Marvel Universe’s biggest bad, the Mad Titan Thanos, at the hands of his own adoptive daughter, Gamora. The moment was the culmination of an arc that stretches all the way back to the ‘70s, making it both an impactful and meaningful event for Marvel readers. This week, though, Thanos Legacy #1 undoes much of that impact.
The issue reveals that not only did Thanos know his death was coming, but that he had effectively allowed it. He knew the moment Gamora touched down on Chitauri Prime, and even heard her footsteps as she approached his throne, ready to get to decapitating with her Power Stone-infused sword. The entire thing was part of a grand plan by Thanos, which is interesting in its own right but does a disservice to Gamora, who has longed to kill off her adoptive father for years -- and for good reason, too.
Gamora’s story is one comic book fans are likely already familiar with. Stolen away by Thanos after one of his many genocidal campaigns, Gamora was raised to be a ruthless killer by the Mad Titan. Readers get a glimpse of Gamora’s early travails in a short at the end of Thanos Legacy #1, which sees the villain deploy Gamora to an alien world to kill one of its inhabitants. When Gamora fails to bring back a worthy prize, Thanos engages in a bit of tough, fatherly love by making an example of the alien planet, destroying it while a young Gamora looks on in horror.
It would take quite some time for Gamora to realize Thanos’ way of doing things was, to put it lightly, outright insane, but by that time she was already the “deadliest woman in the universe.” Gamora wouldn’t truly rebel against her father until she discovered Thanos’ plan to sacrifice countless lives to appease the enigmatic Death. She tried to stop Thanos but failed. The Mad Titan slew her for her betrayal. Eventually, Adam Warlock happened upon Gamora and, taking pity on her, drew her soul into the Soul Stone. Adam Warlock would soon suffer a similar fate, and the two would live for many years inside the stone in a utopian state of undying.
At the time, this was depicted as a pretty cool thing. The Soul Stone was a peaceful place and those ensnared within would never again know hunger, despair or anger. Recent events have proven this perception of the Soul Stone to be… problematic. In recent years, the stone has become unstable, corrupted by some unknown force. The utopia is gone, but something has been reaching out from the inside. An older version of Gamora, one who was never able to escape the stone’s grasp, has been calling to the younger version of herself, and, understandably, Gamora wanted that piece of herself back. Thus, the quest to assemble the Infinity Stones and off the only person who could possibly stand in her way -- Thanos.