Everyone is afraid of the big, bad Thanos! He has snapped his fingers and killed off half of the universe. He is obsessed with Death and nihilism, a philosophy which requires extreme skepticism against anything in the world really existing. With these things in mind, Thanos has made it his mission to impress Death by committing atrocity after atrocity to gain her love and embrace. It is a lifelong goal that never seems to work out for the Mad Titan as his relationship with her is often one-sided, but it isn't like he hasn't gone against her wishes.
Thanos is a native of Titan, a satellite that orbited around Saturn and was the home to a race of Eternals named Titanians. It was obliterated by nuclear devices that Thanos set off on the satellite and killed many Titanians, including his mother. Now he's about to make a big splash in the MCU in the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. He is seen without any armor, but he does bear the Infinity Gauntlet with a couple of Infinity Stones already in place. While the power of the Infinity Gauntlet makes the Mad Titan hard to defeat, Thanos is already biologically predisposed for conquest, thanks to the following little known facts about his weird, weird body!
- Skull art in feature image-- "Thanos: Destroyer of Worlds" -- by Michael Crutchfield.
15 BIONIC AMPLIFICATION
Thanos is considered to be the most powerful Titan to ever exist, which he made sure of when he decided to destroy his home world with some nuclear devices. He was young, but relentless and sociopathic as he blew up the planet, with his own mom still on it. The Mad Titan was always interested in power, so he decided to enhance his body by giving himself bionic improvements to his already very strong frame.
This gave him the strength to fight off heroes like the Hulk and Odin. He's even fought Galactus and held his own against the world devourer, recently decapitating him with a casual wave of his hand. Thanos' bionic amplifications helped him fight off Thor even when the God of Thunder possessed the Power Gem in Silver Surfer #88. He's even punched away the Hulk using only his brute strength against the green giant. Oh, and he did it with one hand.
14 TURNED TO STONE
When Thanos fell in love with Death, he formulated a plan to win "her" affection by giving her something that no other being living being had. He wanted to annihilate every living being in the universe just for "her." For Thanos to attempt this feat, he researched through the histories and minds of an innumerable amount of civilizations until he came upon the Soul Gems. He didn't know it at the time, but this would be his reckoning.
He obtained the five (soon to be called) Infinity Gems and needed to get the power of the Soul Gem, which could (as the name subtly implies) steal souls. Unfortunately for Thanos, Adam Warlock possessed it (without touching it directly, mind you, because he feared he'd lose his soul). Thanos siphoned its energy and started extinguishing stars. He was eventually thwarted by the soul of Adam Warlock, released from the Soul Gem after his death by Lord Chaos and Master Order, who turned him into stone.
13 ODDLY PROPORTIONED
The Mad Titan is an unforgiving being that wants to grab the universe and return it to a vast nothingness for Death. He is infatuated with her, but she might be toying with him because of how weirdly proportioned he is (just kidding). Obviously, she admires his power, philosophy, and love he has for her, but the Mad Titan is physically odd as his height is 6'7'' and weight is 985 lbs according to Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2.
Thanos is around the height of the average NBA player according to a survey of the NBA rosters in 2017-18. It doesn't seem like the height of being that has put the fear of death into an entire universe. Also, at 985 lbs., it's hard to see how the Mad Titan is capable of moving that weight without the proper height to distribute it. Thank the cosmic gods that he had those bionic enhancements done!
12 WITHSTANDS BLACK BOLT'S SONIC SCREAM
During the Infinity event, Thanos went on a galactic conquest with his newly formed group of followers named The Black Order. They went around destroying planets as well as demanding that each society give them their offspring between the ages of 16 and 22. In Infinity #1, Thanos and his crew noticed that Earth was currently unoccupied by Avengers (they were off fighting the powerful cosmic entities known as the Builders), so they went to raise some hell.
Thanos had hidden motives behind his new conquest, of course. His real goal was to find his Inhuman-descendant son and kill him, but he didn't know his location or identity. When Corvus Glaive had no luck getting the youth tributes from the Inhumans, Thanos paid Black Bolt a visit on Attilan. They fought in an evacuated area of Attilan. Black Bolt decimated the area they were in with a sonic scream to kill Thanos, but he rose from the rubble unharmed.
11 SPINE REMOVED BY DOOM
Another Hickman event titled Secret Wars had the Mad Titan face a foe that would literally remove his spine from his body. After the events of the final Incursion that happened during the Time Runs Out arc, Thanos survived with the Cabal and the Maker, an alternate universe's Reed Richards, on two Life Rafts. These vessels were used to save people from both Earth-616 and 1610. It landed on Battleworld, a patchwork planet filled with remnants of other realities controlled by an omnipotent Doctor Doom.
After Thanos was banished to the Deadlands, a place inhabited by superpowered zombies, he convinced the living creature that made up the Shield, a wall that separates the three deadliest domains of Battleworld, to rebel against Doom. He decided to take advantage of the civil unrest to fight Doom, but as Thanos gloated, Doom flippantly, almost surgically removed his spine from his body.
10 CAN HARBOR THE POWER OF THE INFINITY GEMS
Thanos didn't always have the Infinity Gauntlet to use the Soul Gems (as they were called at the time), but he doesn't need it to be able to possess them. In the MCU, the Soul Gems, aka Infinity Stones, are shown to be so powerful that a mere mortal may not withstand any of them, let alone all of them together. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the power stone is seen to obliterate any mortal who touches it. Its contact seems to create an explosion of energy that decimates the area, or even an entire planet!
However, when Thanos is shown in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, he is already donning the Power Stone in his gauntlet. He's also seen touching the Space Stone with his bare hand as he puts it into his gauntlet ready for war. It's evident that Thanos can touch and most likely use the Infinity Stones without worrying about their power doing him much, if any, harm.
9 IMMORTAL (FOR A WHILE)
After Thanos decided to search for the vast warehouse of knowledge referred to as The Oracle, he was met with a cruel curse from the embodiment of Death he loved. This spiraled from a meeting with the former herald of Galactus, the Silver Surfer. The Silver Surfer had been having visions of Death, which made him seek out the Mad Titan because he knew it was Death who was plaguing him with these visions.
Thanos immediately understood why Death was terrorizing the Silver Surfer with these images. He knew she wanted him to be her new consort. This made Thanos seethe with rage and kill the Surfer. He brought his body to Death who Thanos believed was unappreciative of his offering. He revived the Silver Surfer, which made Death mad. She cursed him temporarily with immortality, so Thanos would never feel Death's embrace.
8 HEART RIPPED OUT BY DRAX
During Annihilation, Thanos was no longer in charge of the next universally devastating event. He was an underling of Annihilus, which confused a lot of people. He later explained to Moondragon that the reason he decided to play a smaller role in during the Annihilation Wave's attack was that he was tired of watching the life cycles play out and wanted only to observe how a new radical shift in the universe worked out this time.
It seemed like it was all a set up for the incident that followed him and Drax, the Destroyer. When Thanos realized that Annihilus wanted to destroy the universe as well as the Negative Zone, he decided to release Galactus who he recently captured. Before Thanos could, Drax punched right through the Mad Titan's chest with his heart in his hand, effectively killing him.
7 HIS BODY CAN SUMMON DEATH IF SEEMINGLY KILLED
Thanos was resurrected after having his heart ripped out of his chest by Drax. Death returned him to life while also making the Mad Titan unkillable as an addition to his resurrection. Then, he and Death along with some heroes made their way to the Cancerverse, a place where Life finally "beat" death. They went there to defeat the lord Mar-Vell of that universe since he was the avatar of Life there.
Thanos fought that lord Mar-Vell and pretended to submit to him. Mar-Vell struck his sword through the Mad Titan and believed to have killed him, but he didn't realize the dire consequences that would follow. This only summoned Death who then killed Mar-Vell and other inhabitants of that universe. After, Thanos pleaded with Death to take him as well, but she denied him and he became enraged, vowing to destroy the universe (once again).
6 DNA IN CLONED HEROES AND VILLAINS
Jim Starlin's Infinity Abyss produced a set of clones created by Thanos who were called Thanosi. This occurred following the events of Infinity Gauntlet when the original Thanos gave up his views on nihilism and plans for genocide and created these clones. He spliced his DNA with possible allies, both heroes and villains, that he would bring with him to test against the death god Walker.
There were seven of them created, with three of them sharing DNA with Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Professor X. Each one had various traits of the heroes one, of which Thanos referred to as X who had all of Professor X's psychic abilities. Thanos also had villains' DNA that he used to make clones such as the Galactus/Thanos hybrid named Omega. They were all killed by Thanos when they were deemed too powerful with nihilistic views of the universe.
5 LIMITED EFFECTS WHEN UNIVERSE JUMPING
The Marvel Universe is actually a multiverse with each one having different versions of similar events and heroes. It is how we got characters like Miles Morales eventually ending up on Earth-616, which is considered the main universe. There are also other universes like the Cancerverse where Life had "won" and finally beat Death, but it is a place that's filled with deformed creatures and desolate planets.
Thanos is a being who has jumped multiple universes and somehow has had limited to no effects because of it. During the Thanos Imperative, he traveled to the Cancerverse without facing any physical repercussions from entering that atmosphere, but he had difficulty keeping his "mental composure." He was seemingly unaffected by when he was cast out of the Multiverse after it was restored after Secret Wars. He grew to appreciate the nothingness while somehow surviving it.
4 DEVIANTS SYNDROME
When Thanos was born, his physical appearance came as a shock to his mother because he looked deformed in comparison to her other son, Starfox. Thanos is a Titanian, but the reason he looked so different from others of his species is that he carries the Deviant gene. This is referred to as the Deviant Syndrome which is a mutation that occurs in Titanians.
Currently, the gene isn't known to be only inherent to Titanians or if it affects all Eternals. Those who share the Deviant gene will look more closely to a Deviant than a Titanian. Thanos is the only known individual to be affected by this syndrome. It's what gives the Mad Titan his purple skin, odd physical proportions, and most likely his furrowed chin.
3 POISONED BY DEATH
After Thanos bargained for his freedom with corrupt Nova Corpsmen who were transferring him over to the Kyln, he went on a rampage back the Black Quadrant which was now ruled by Corvus Glaive. He killed Corvus' Black Order and then had Corvus kill himself on the broken piece of his own Glaive. Soon after, he discovered he was ill.
He then found his father, A'Lars, to help find a cure for his recent discovery. Thanos even blackmailed his father by menacing those who lived on the planet Gilgrath. His father informed him that his biology was too complex to find a cure in the few weeks the Mad Titan had left. Thanos killed his father after he stated that he wished Thanos was never born. When Thanos returned to the Black Quadrant, he was met with a Phoenix-powered Thane and Lady Death, who he realized had made him ill.
2 NOT MUCH CAN HOLD HIM (BUT THESE CHAINS CAN)
After Thanos restored his powers at the God Quarry and defeated his Phoenix-powered son, Thane, the Mad Titan returned to his true purpose of conquering other planets. He went to Chitauri Prime hoping to find a fight that challenged him, but instead he killed off many Chitauri, including their king. He was left unsatisfied and sat down on the throne of Chitauri Prime.
Soon, he was told about a god that was killing off Chitauri that the recently beaten down species believed to be someone associated with Thanos. The Cosmic Ghost Rider showed up and tried to convince Thanos to come with him. Thanos proceeded to punch him in the face. Then, The Rider wrapped the Mad Titan in chains made from the bones of Cyttorak, a powerful being that was both a god and demon, and Thanos could not break free!
There has always been a slight resemblance between Thanos and Darkseid. Okay, it's uncanny how the two resemble each other in their physical appearance and attitudes to their respective universes. Jim Starlin has stated that Thanos is influenced by Jack Kirby's Darkseid, but he originally had the character look more like Metron until Roy Thomas suggested they make Thanos look more like Darkseid.
It seemed inevitable that the two characters might meet in a crossover between DC Comics and Marvel, but we got less of a meeting and more of a transfiguration. The two villains combined into one powerful being named Thanoseid who shared the abilities and philosophies of both of them. Thanoseid wanted to destroy the universe except for Apolkolips, to be in Lady Death's good graces.