WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Thanos #14 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Antonio Fabela and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
There is one name in all of infinity that strikes fear in the hearts of heroes and villains across the Marvel Universe: Thanos. Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Mad Titan has become a household name in our universe as well, as the purple-skinned figure has been looming in the background and is poised to take center stage in Avengers: Infinity War.
Thanos has been a big deal in the comics for decades, of course. After coming close to death and feuding with his extended family at the start of his self-titled series, Thanos is back to full strength and conquering ways. Nothing can stop Thanos… except a version of himself from a million years in the future.
But why has King Thanos from the future summoned a space-faring Ghost Rider to retrieve his young counterpart? And what does it have to do with Thanos’ true birth name?
Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Antonio Fabela and Clayton Cowles dedicate a good portion of Thanos #14 to the villain’s backstory, including his birth on the planet Titan, his many confrontations with Earth’s mightiest heroes, Infinity Crusades, Annhiliation Wars and more. The juiciest images are courtesy of a look to the future, as Thanos lays waste to Namor and Atlantis; the X-Men and Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters; the Sentinel of Liberty Captain America; King Thor; the Guardians of the Galaxy; the Shi’ar Royal Guard; and the Maestro Hulk.
We’ve witnessed Thanos victorious in the past (He did eliminate the majority of the heroes in the Marvel Universe during The Infinity Gauntlet, after all.), but here he is a one-man wrecking machine. Also, extra props to him for doing it all without a single Infinity Stone.
After erecting himself a temple built from the bones of slain Celestials, Thanos is prepared to live out the remainder of his life in silence. However, two Thanos (Thanii?) are better than one, even if the younger incarnation is a tad friskier.
This might not come as much of a surprise, but Thanos doesn’t appreciate being humiliated by being chained and dragged through the timestream. But what’s a genuine surprise to the Mad Titan is hearing Old Man Thanos utter the word, “Please.” After all, Thanos also never asks for help.
King Thanos, of course, has had enough of being questioned and doubted by his younger self. To make young Thanos a believer, the elder incarnation offers up a one-two combination of the power cosmic… and the name their mother Sui-San had chosen for them before she was driven mad: Dione.
In another life, where Thanos wasn’t born a mutant deviant, he might have lived a peaceful existence on Titan as simply “Dione.” You may even have a friend or family member that goes by that name. It’s enough to make you wonder what could have been, and wonder whether there is any additional significance to the name aside from proof that King Thanos is indeed who he claims to be.
With this real name business out of the way, King Thanos reveals why he needs young Thanos’ help. Apparently, he lost Death, the only entity in the galaxy that the both of them ever cared for. Lady Death has played a delicate game since the Thanos series launched, first making the titular character ill, and then manipulating his son Thane, all in an attempt to lure Thanos back to her. The villain, of course, is no one’s puppet, and rejected Death.
What must have changed for King Thanos to need his one and only true love again? Is it as simple as being lonely? Also, current-day Thanos recently developed an alliance with Hela in Unworthy Thor, which hasn’t been followed-up on. It wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to have Hela and Death fighting over Thanos. In any case, we’ll have to wait and see if Thanos #15 offers up a reason for the unholy union between the Diones.