The Thanos Imperative

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The Thanos Imperative is a six issue miniseries that includes two one-shot comics, one for a prologue and another for an epilogue. This series stars the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos as they try to stop an invasion from another reality where death does not exist. The ruler of this “Cancerverse” is Lord Mar-Vell who leads the Revengers, a Lovecraft inspired team of Avengers. A lot of the biggest cosmic characters are in this event as they all try to survive against the invading forces.

Thanos Imperative is the last big event by the team of Abnett and Lanning who have created the biggest cosmic events in the modern age of Marvel from Annihilation to Realm of Kings. Having only read Annihilation this comic does a good job keeping you up with previous events as the Ignition one-shot provides some context while advancing the story by introducing our villain. I really was surprised to see Lord Mar-Vell as the villain and the explanation for how he turned into one in his universe is very interesting as it’s unexpected. Unfortunately he falls into the generic side of villains as he does cliché things like killing his own subordinates for no good reason.

This story has a whole lot of characters and while that can be a strength as they’re obviously trying to tell this space epic, it can bog down things. The Inhumans and their drama with some other ruler is very irrelevant and just seems petty for them to argue at this time when everything is in danger. My favorite character in the comic was Cosmo and that’s because he’s a funny space dog who actually trash talks Thanos and does a lot to help the team. Nova and Star-Lord are the two main heroes here as they try and escort Thanos into the Cancerverse. They’re a good team and they have similar personalities that gives them good lines and jokes. The rest of the Guardians and the Cosmic beings don’t stand out much as they all play backseat to Thanos himself.

In this comic, for the first time, Thanos started to annoy me. There’s a lot of scenes of him and Drax just fighting and scenes of characters saying how great Thanos is. Having read all these comics about him, his scheming has just gotten old. Starlin himself criticized the constant deaths and rebirths of Marvel characters but here it just keeps happening with Thanos. There’s a lot of death in this comic and all of it now has been reversed so it’s hard to buy into the stakes of the event.

The Thanos Imperative has a few negatives but the positives outweigh them. The art is very good, the characters who are important are cool and have funny lines, the basic idea of the Cancerverse is something I’ve never seen before, and the Lovecraft inspired heroes are visually interesting villains.

Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Artists: Miguel Sepulveda and Brad Walker

Rating: Full Price

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Thanos #1-12

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In 2003, Thanos starred in his first ever solo series written and drawn by his creator, Jim Starlin. After the first six issue arc the creative team of Keith Giffen and Ron Lim took over the title for the last six issues. The story takes place a while after the events of The End (Which is non-canon so I don’t really understand why it’s mentioned in this canon story.) Thanos decides to atone for his previous actions and helps out a small planet a clone of his had attacked a while ago. What starts as a simple mission to help becomes something bigger as Galactus becomes involved and something else that may be even bigger than him. After this arc Thanos joins up with some space cops at the edge of the universe to stop the Maker, a now female Beyonder.

So for the first time Thanos stars in an ongoing comic and now he’s become an anti-hero. While he does kill some people he tries to justify it every time and here he is truly just trying to help and make amends. This is a big change for the character as he’s spent a long time hanging around the edge of being an anti-hero. The first arc of this series “Hunger” is pretty good as Thanos fights against an unknown entity trying to invade this universe. It starts a little slow as Starlin sets up what Thanos is doing now and we get a recap of what has been happening in the past comics. It starts to pick up when Galactus shows up and there’s good fight scenes with him. The true villain is actually a new character and I wish it had showed up again as it was a little more unique than the usual invading alien. Starlin does the art for his issues and as always it’s very well done. My only other complaint with this arc is that characters just kind of pop up when they’re needed and then just disappear. Moondragon shows up for one issue and then is just thrown out once she’s served her purpose.

The second arc “Samaritan” doesn’t hold up as well as “Hunger.” There’s a lot going on in Samaritan as we are introduced to this prison called the Kyln and there’s a bunch of new characters being introduced. The problem though is that these characters seem to have a lot of background and history but we don’t really get told about them. The Omega Core characters are just some generic cops who banter a lot, Mynx is a generic cat like villain, and Skreet is an annoying pixie girl who Thanos lets join him for some reason. The other villains, the Maker and the Fallen One are just too confusing and that makes them uninteresting to me. The best part of this arc is the team of Gladiator and Star-Lord, making his first appearance here. They have an actually good banter and there’s some mystery as we hear about something awful that Peter Quill did that makes him give up the Star-Lord name.

The main focus of the comic though is Thanos and here Thanos is still written pretty well. Both writers keep a consistent character with him as he tries to atone for his sins but he still has some bad tendencies. Thanos, especially in the Hunger arc, shows off his intelligence and planning against a stronger foe while also being dismissive of people below him like Pip and Moondragon. I still wish the character had just died off in The End but Hunger wasn’t bad and I’d definitely recommend it for fans of Thanos. However, Samaritan is a pretty weak arc and since it’s half the story this comic is going to be dead in the middle in terms of rating.

Writers: Jim Starlin, Keith Giffen

Artists: Jim Starlin, Ron Lim

Rating: Buy for a Bargain

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