SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Thanos #18 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Antonio Fabela and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
The creative team behind Marvel's Mad Titan have entertained readers with fresh, new takes on established characters in Thanos. From Ghost Riders to Galactus heralds to Gods of Thunder, "Thanos Wins" has consistently demonstrated exactly why the villain is a force of nature in the Marvel Universe's present... and future.
But now Thanos and future King Thanos have vanquished their foes, bringing forth their beloved Lady Death. As "Thanos Wins" reaches its finale, the story ends in a matter fitting of two Mad Titans -- in a life-or-death battle for, well, Lady Death.
A Thanos At Peace
After defeating the new God of Thunder, aka a Mjolnir-wielding Silver Surfer, present-day Thanos and future King Thanos are greeted by Lady Death in a black gown. King Thanos is almost speechless at the sight of her, but his younger counterpart demands to know why she doesn't come closer. After running down every dirty deed committed in her name, Thanos finally realizes: the specter of the afterlife wants him to kill his future self.
Of course, this was King Thanos' plan all along, and the reason he sent the Cosmic Ghost Rider to fetch Thanos in the first place. In order to be with Death, King Thanos must die. And if anyone is going to kill a Thanos, it's going to be another Thanos.
Clash Of The Titans
Before the fisticuffs start to fly, King Thanos decides to reveal a sentimental side to his otherwise terrifying demeanor. Though he had Frank Castle's Cosmic Ghost Rider as his Black Right Hand, King Thanos still lived a nomadic existence. Granted, it's entirely of his own doing since the Mad Titan wiped out all sentient life, but it goes to show even murderers can get lonely.
Thanos has decided he's heard enough of this mushy talk and lets loose an energy blast from his eyes. "Do you want to talk or do you want to die?" he asks King Thanos. From there, it's page after page of a bloody battle between Titans. Our Thanos has the advantage of youth on his side, as he systematically takes apart his older self. However, he stops short of actually killing King Thanos when he recognizes fear in the old man's eyes. Once the word "please" is uttered in King Thanos' request, current-day Thanos slowly walks away and reminds him, "Kings do not beg."
And with that, Thanos uses the allegedly deceased Cosmic Ghost Rider -- whose voice appears to be laughing in the background -- to charge the Time Stone and head home. Once he's returned, Thanos will set out to never become the groveling embarrassment that King Thanos has become.
After a few moments have passed and time hasn't been erased, King Thanos believes he's truly won. However, Lady Death isn't dressed for a wedding -- no, it's revealed she's dressed for King Thanos' funeral, as everything begins to disappear into the black void of nothingness. Though Thanos' disappointment is palpable, this twist makes sense. After all, he's come close to winning Death's heart before, only to be spurned at the last second every time. Plus, Death's got her own thing going on in Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider right now, and there's that whole never-fully-resolved affair with Deadpool...
So in conclusion, Cates and Shaw remind us that our story -- and the Marvel Universe's -- ends as every other story before and after it does... with Death.