Thanos is easily among the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe. He is the avatar of death, and has successfully taken over the Universe at least once (even if only briefly). And yet as far as I know, his origin story has never been explored. We don’t know what drove him to be the evildoer that he is today, but you could argue that we didn’t need to. Regardless, this mini-series is Thanos’s origin story.
This was a decent start to Thanos Rising. It starts off with Thanos’s birth, and his mother’s almost immediate distaste for this purple baby with glowing eyes. Interestingly enough, Thanos starts off as an innocent young man. Young Thanos hates the very idea of violence, to the point where he can’t even dissect an already dead lizard.
As a young man, he is sometimes ignored by his father, but he has plenty of friends. He also has a brilliant scientific mind and an artistic side. His descent into madness starts toward the end of this issue, and it’s a fascinating sequence of events that leads to his first act of violence. The writing is solid throughout, especially in the scene where young Thanos tries to talk with his mother.
With all that said, this comic isn’t without problems. For one thing, ancient Titan culture feels a bit too much like our own. In some ways, the story feels a bit too similar to the Star Wars prequels. It doesn’t help that there’s a girl tempting his way into darkness. Sure, she’s delightfully creepy, but her role is almost identical to Palpatine’s in, well … the Star Wars prequels.
The art is good for the most part, but it feels a bit inconsistent. It has a simplistic, almost cartoonish feel to it, with expressive faces and atmospheric backgrounds. Despite that, there’s a bit of a gritty feel to it as well thanks to the slightly muddy colouring. This mix fits perfectly with the themes of a good boy turning evil. There are some panels that lack detail though. Also, I’m not sure if this is a misprint or not, but in my copy there’s one panel where Thanos is completely white and missing any kind of detail, while his surroundings are drawn and coloured in full.
Personally I enjoyed this comic, but not everyone will. The writing is solid enough, but the concept is problematic and it feels a bit unnecessary. If you were interested in this mini-series, read it before you buy it. If you’d rather just read about Thanos’s awesomeness without learning where he came from, skip this.