At this point, I’m not entirely sure if “The Thanos Imperative” is temporarily replacing Marvel’s “cosmic” books, if we’re going to just get a series of mini-series events, or if this is the end for the time being. I’m hoping it’s not the last, but that said, I think I’ll be happy if “The Thanos Imperative” is the way they go out.
The reason why, is because Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning seem to be pulling out all the stops for this story. We’ve got an invasion from the Cancerverse where death no longer exists, and horribly twisted versions of Marvel characters that look like they’ve been hanging out with Cthulhu and his tentacled elder god friends. (Come to think of it, they probably have.) We’ve got the Guardians of the Galaxy using just about every single ounce of their firepower to destroy the bad guys, and using increasingly vicious tactics. There’s even the revival of subplots from “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Nova,” such as the return of Namorita. In short, they’re throwing everything in along with the kitchen sink.
What makes it all work, though, is that with each new chapter the scope of “The Thanos Imperative” has grown. Things have gotten more dangerous, more daunting, and more crazy. This issue opens with one of the best groups of reinforcements the Marvel Universe has ever seen, and ends with a perfect counter-attack against those same troops. Abnett and Lanning seem to be determined to top everything they’ve done, from the lead-ups to this mini-series, to the prologue issue, and now with each individual issue. That’s the way one should write a big “event” mini-series, and I’m pleased with how they’re handing it.
The only thing I’m not entirely sure on yet is Miguel Sepulveda’s art. It’s not bad, but it’s a very different look than I’d expected for this mini-series. Where Sepulveda shines is when it comes to the big moments, like the arrival of the reinforcements at the start of the issue, where he (and painted colorist Jay David Ramos) makes everything appear that much more massive and awe-inspiring. On the other hand, some of the smaller fight scenes look a little muddled because of this art choice, and there are some strange poses aboard Mar-Vell’s ship. They also draw one of the odder-looking depictions of the Silver Surfer that I’ve seen, almost as if he’s composed of water rather than looking metallic. Still, that final splash page looks fantastic, and I suspect that with additional time I’ll warm even more to this overall look.
Marvel’s cosmic books are probably the best books you’re not reading by the company right now. They may be down to just this one mini-series, but it’s well worth your while. I’m not a big fan of resurrecting dead characters just for a little shock value; with that in mind, so far “The Thanos Imperative” has convinced me that bringing Thanos back from the dead was a great storytelling decision. Clearly, they’re doing something right, here.