Thanos. The Mad Titan. Dione. However you know him, you know that this powerful purple people puncher is a force to be reckoned with. Whether he is trading blows with the likes or Iron Man and Thor with his considerable super strength, or he’s threatening the very universe itself with the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is a threat on a scale that the heroes of Marvel rarely encounter. Menacing the galaxy since 1973, Thanos is, hands down, one of the scariest beings to inhabit the universe. But that’s not to say that every iteration of the Mad Titan is on the same level of terrifying as the OG.
In fact, there have been plenty of alternate reality versions of Thanos to grace Marvel comics over the years, and many of them are just downright weird. From iterations that lost fights to a superteam of pets, to a Thanos that makes his getaway in his “Thanos-copter,” there have been some downright odd alternate reality Thanoses. So strap in as CBR takes a look back through the years and brings you 15 weird alternate reality versions of Thanos!
15. CANCERVERSE THANOS
A name like “Cancerverse” doesn’t exactly make you envision puppy dogs and daffodils. No, the Cancerverse is gross and terrifying, functioning like the infected scab of the 616 universe. In the Cancerverse, Death has been defeated and Lovercraftian gods dubbed the Many-Angled Ones have corrupted the living, turning the entire universe into an undying army. The Many-Angled Ones even managed to enlist Thanos, turning the Mad Titan into an infected soldier.
The Cancerverse version of Thanos is radically different from the Thanos feared throughout the Marvel universe. This Thanos is completely mindless and lives in eternal servitude to his disgusting gods. Sporting a gaping, toothed wound on his chest, with eyeballs peering out from his limbs, this alternate reality Thanos is truly a repulsive sight to behold.
14. POISON THANOS
Here’s a terrifying combination of words: Venom Thanos. Yes, combining the unbridled might of Thanos with the blood-thirsty, animalistic nature of the Venom symbiote would make for one scary combo. Turns out, such a monstrosity exists in an alternate reality, and he is dedicated to destroying the 616 universe.
As revealed in Edge of Venomverse #2, a race of symbiote-consuming alien creatures called the Poisons existed in an alternate reality. These creatures would infect a host, imbuing them with newfound symbiote powers gained from eating the gooey aliens. A cabal of the strongest poison-infected heroes and villains, dubbed the Hive, soon made plans to invade neighboring realities to seek greater power. While the invasion was thwarted, the poison would return to report to their leader: a poisoned Thanos. Yikes. Better hope this weird Venom/Thanos hybrid never makes it back to the 616.
13. MINI MARVELS THANOS
Thanos! The very name causes heroes of the Marvel Universe to quake in their boots. A bloodthirsty, take-no-prisoners warmonger, Thanos will stop at nothing to achieve what he sets out to do. Now take this terrifying intergalactic threat, give him adorable widdle arms and a cutesy-wutesy big head, and you have Mini Marvels Thanos, the most darling little breaker of men you have ever seen.
Yes, the big purple guy himself made the jump to Marvel’s Mini Marvels, a cute all-ages comic that takes fan favorite Marvel characters and turns them into kiddie-fied super-deformed miniatures. In this alternate reality. Thanos trades puns and groan-worthy jokes with the likes of Spider-Man and Wolverine, which is a far cry from the Thanos fans know and love. An adorable, pun-happy Thanos? Now that is one weird alternate reality Thanos!
12. CAPTAIN AMERICA THANOS
Thanos has never been much of a team-up guy. In fact, he’s happier destroying teams than he would be joining up with one. But Thanos is nothing if not pragmatic; could there be a situation in which Thanos could be convinced to join a team? Writer Joshua Williamson explored this very idea, and it lead to the creation of Captain America Thanos.
In What If? Infinity Thanos, Emperor J’Son of Spartax convinces the Avengers to team with the villainous Thanos in an attempt to thwart the Builders, an ancient race of aliens that want to “evolve” the universe through war. Eventually, Captain America discovers that Thanos was using the Avengers to free his son from the Builders. With his ruse revealed, Thanos kills Captain America and tells the Avengers that Cap died in battle with the Builders. The Avengers come to trust Thanos, and the Mad Titan, now wielding Captain America’s signature shield, is made the leader of the Avengers.
Ah, the Amalgam Universe. Only in the ’90s could Marvel and DC set aside their differences to come together and mash-up their characters into bizarre new ones. Wolverine was combined with Batman to make Dark Claw, Captain America and Superman became Super-Soldier, and Thanos was combined with his DC equivalent, Darkseid, giving birth to the comically powerful Thanoseid.
Wielding the powers of both Thanos and Darkseid, Thanoseid ruled the planet of Apokolips with an iron fist. Thanoseid plotted to destroy the Amalgam Universe using the Ultimate Anti-Life Nullifier, which the power-mad warmonger hoped would win him the favor of Lady Death. During the events of Amalgam, Thanoseid teamed with Doctor Doomsday (a combination of Doctor Doom and Doomsday) to destroy the universe, but the insidious duo ultimately failed. Thanoseid has been M.I.A. since the Amalgam line ended, which is probably for the best, as the Marvel Universe might not survive a villain so powerful.
10. WHAT IF? THANOS
The Infinity Gauntlet! With this highly sought after weapon, the fabric of the universe itself becomes but a plaything. That is why Thanos seeks it out, in hopes of using its impossible power to snuff out life in the universe to win the hand of Death. But in one truly bizarre alternate reality, Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet for another reason: to bring back Elvis. Kinda.
In What If? volume 2 #34, Thanos devised a way to rid the universe of Galactus, thus allowing the Mad Titan to conquer the cosmos: use the Infinity Gauntlet to turn Galactus into Elvis Presley. With his memory wiped, Galactus/Elvis is deposited in Kansas, where he begins a career in rock ‘n roll. When Adam Warlock defeated Thanos, he gave Galactus the choice to resume planet eating or stay Elvis, leading to Galactus opting to stick with rock and roll.
9. DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE THANOS
Thanos kneels for no man. The Mad Titan considers himself superior to all beings, and sees the universe, and all that inhabit it, as mere stepping stones to win the love of Death. What we’re saying here is that Thanos is not one to do the bidding of others. But leave it to Deadpool to not only devise a way to get Thanos to work for him, but to do it in the most ridiculous way possible.
In Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #4, a murder-happy Deadpool is killing his way across the Marvel U. Realizing that mere guns and swords would not be enough to take on cosmic threats, Deadpool concocts a ridiculous solution: the motor-mouthed mercenary murders the D-grade Fantastic Four villain Puppet Master, uses the criminal’s puppets to control Thanos and pals, and makes the group slaughter each other. Yes, Thanos, the Mad Titan, experienced death by puppet.
8. SUPER HERO SQUAD THANOS
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more intimidating intergalactic threat in the Marvel Universe than Thanos. Unspeakably powerful, dedicated to the destruction of all things, and merciless, Thanos is a force to be reckoned with. Thanos is terror incarnate, and those that cross him should pray for a swift death. Now take that character, get rid of all of the things that make him scary, and make him toddler-friendly, and you have Super Hero Squad Thanos.
Appearing as the main antagonist of the second season of this kiddy-friendly cartoon, this incarnation of Thanos was less “terrifying” and more “wacky.” Thanos traded jokes with the Soul Stone, took to yelling “Yeah baby!” when winning, and watches his enemies from a recliner. Fans were less than enthused when it came to The Super Hero Squad Show, but this alternate reality Thanos was not well received by Marvel faithful.
7. PET AVENGERS THANOS
Thanos is one of the most formidable foes in the Marvel Universe. Through sheer power alone, the Mad Titan has managed to kill the likes of Adam Warlock, War Machine, and many others. To fight Thanos is to seek death. But that doesn’t mean every alternate reality version of Thanos has the same track record of wins. In fact, one alternate reality version of the Big T managed to net one of the most humiliating losses in all of Marvel-dom.
The story goes like this: the Pet Avengers are on the hunt for the Infinity Gems, which of course leads to the team running afoul of Thanos. The Mad Titan confronts the pets and demands the Gems they have collected, leading to a fight. In the ensuing fight, Lockjaw combines his teleportation powers with the power of the gems and shunts Thanos to another dimensions, trapping the villain. Talk about an embarrassing loss.
6. ZOMBIE THANOS
Phillip James Bailey once said “The sole equality on Earth is death.” Whether you were a power-hungry purple Titan or a regular joe, death comes for us all. Well, Phillip James Bailey clearly never stopped to consider super-powered zombies. Yes, when Marvel’s super-powered heroes and villains join the legions of the un-dead, they are far from equal. Case in point: Zombie Thanos.
In Marvel Zombies, a team of zombified Marvel heroes gains cosmic power after devouring Galactus. They take to the stars to seek new prey, and team up with a zombified Thanos along the way. After picking the universe clean of beings to eat, in-fighting erupts in the group, leading to Hulk and Thanos arguing over food. Frustrated, Hulk pops Zombie Thanos’ head with a single palm clap, putting an end to this weird alternate reality Thanos.
5. LEADER OF THE AVENGERS THANOS
Remember earlier when we discussed an alternate reality version of Thanos that took Captain America’s shield and became the new leader of the Avengers? Good times. Well, turns out this wasn’t the only time Thanos became a member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In fact, Thanos was once sent to an alternate reality to live out his days as a valued member of the team he despises.
In Thanos #10, Thanos finds himself fighting as an Avenger, with the Mad Titan defeating a rampaging Abomination and receiving a hero’s celebration for his act of bravery. But Thanos discovers this is simply an alternate reality constructed by the Three Sisters of Eternity, who have offered Thanos a life of contentment as a hero in exchange for his power. Thanos declines in the most Thanos way possible: by popping Captain America’s head like a grape. Now that’s the Thanos we know and love.
4. THANOS CLONES
Thanos is truly one of a kind. This massive, purple-skinned, wrinkle-chinned warmonger from beyond the stars may have children, and he may have family, but there is no one that can match Thanos. But it turns out that Thanos wasn’t satisfied being the only Thanos around; in fact, the Big T once tried to clone himself by meshing his DNA with the DNA of his foes, leading to some truly ridiculous Thanos clones.
In Jim Starlin’s Infinity Abyss, a power-hungry Thanos decides to clone himself to test the capabilities of his enemies. The Mad Titan would subsequently mix his DNA with the DNA of Tony Stark, Professor X, Dr. Strange, Galactus, and Gladiator to create a team of super-powered clones known as the Thanosi. Despite being empowered with the might of Thanos and the powers of his greatest foes, Thanos deemed the clones a failure and sealed them away, only for them to escape, attempt to destroy the universe, and subsequently be destroyed. Remember kids, super-powered clones are a responsibility, not a right.
3. THANOSCOPTER THANOS
A brilliant tactician, Thanos prides himself in always being two steps ahead. He has plans, back-up plans, and back-up plans for his back-up plans. Point is, Thanos has never been one to go into a battle half-cocked. Thanos always ensures his plans are foolproof. Which makes us wonder how the Thanos of Earth-57780 thought it was a good plan to fight Spider-Man and Hellcat with the aid of a big yellow “Thanoscopter.”
In 1979’s Spidey Super Stories, Thanos is using his patented “Thanoscopter” to pursue Hellcat and the Cosmic Cube. When Hellcat drops the Cube, Thanos opts to pitter away in his Thanoscopter to search for the ancient intergalactic weapon. Cue the Cube being found by a young skateboarding boy, a story filled with hijinks, and Thanos ultimately being arrested by the police. The Thanoscopter, and the lame alternate reality Thanos driving it, haven’t been seen since.
When you’ve got a villain as serious as Thanos, it can be hard to see the character in any other light. After all, this is a bad guy who spends his time brooding, plotting the death of the universe, and trying to bone Death. He’s a serious guy! But leave it to Marvel to take this very serious character and his very serious stories and turn the character on its head, giving us… Thermos.
In Marvel’s parody comic What The–?!, heroes and villains were given Mad Magazine style make-overs, becoming ridiculous parodies of the characters fan know and love. The Hulk became “The Inedible Bulk,” Thor became “Sore,” and the dread Thanos was rechristened “Thermos.” In this wacky alternate reality, Thermos sought the “Infinity Mitt” and threatened to barbecue the Marvel heroes on a giant grill. This is definitely one of the weirdest alternate reality versions of Thanos around.
Remember earlier when we said that Thermos, the Infinity Mitt-seeking parody character, was one of the weirdest alternate reality versions of Thanos? Good times. Well, to beat a character named “Thermos” in a Thanos weird-off, you would need to be extra super weird. Which leads us to Thighnos.
Yes, Thighnos, the gloriously thighed Mad Titan. Also originating from Marvel’s screwball What The–?!, there wasn’t much to Thighnos’s character. In fact, Thignos really only made background appearances in the comic from which he spawned. But what few appearances he made, he managed to make them memorable. This is because Thighnos’s defining characteristic was his massive thighs. which were further highlighted thanks to his itty-bitty waist. As Marvel readers might struggle to make sense of a version of Thanos who’s whole shtick is “has like really big thighs,” Thighnos has been M.I.A. since the end of What The–?!, which is probably for the best, as this weird alternate reality Thanos is just too far too weird.
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