The origin of Thanos, the Mad Titan continues with Thanos Rising #2.
Last issue could have been called Thanos: Revenge of the Nerds if you were grasping at straws and wanted to make a completely insipid joke in an introduction; still, Thanos was a little dorkier and milquetoast than anyone expected. This issue follows young Thanos as his inner darkness grows and his curiosities become more and more morbid. Is It Good?
Thanos Rising #2 (Marvel Comics)
A few pages in and we can see that dorky, prepubescent Thanos from last issue is already beginning to sprout a purple pair. He rolls out of his final exam in “terrestrial biology” because he’s already done by the time the professor finishes with instructions. The prof. shows some protest, but Thanos ain’t got time for his BS.
We proceed to Thanos’ laboratory, where we see what the young lad has been doing with his free time. Namely going Dr. Giggles on various animal specimens. Live ones, it would seem. Well, alive for a little while at least.
Got my Thanos on Titan and he going gorillas, huh
Thanos’ actions in this issue remind me of a poem by Wordsworth, “The Tables Turned.” Primarily the following stanzas:
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:–
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Basically, sometimes its better to bask in the beauty of nature and its constituents rather than dissecting them to figure out their inner workings and scientific details. Nice touch by Aaron in exemplifying this grim flaw of Thanos’.
I’ve always found the crucial choices and paths which certain tragic figures choose to be fascinating: What if Macbeth had chosen not to believe the witches’ prophecy? What if Captain Ahab had been able to quell his obsession? What if Han Solo had actually fired first? (Yeah, that’s right.)
Aaron presents us with an important crisis of conscience for Thanos: Thanos’ morbid curiosity is becoming more and more prevalent and the temptations and peer pressure from his mysterious female friend (Gee, I wonder who she could be) have elevated in commensurate fashion.
(Highlight for spoilers) Thanos exhibits remorse and seems apologetic for the actions he’s taken in this issue. At one point he even wants to abscond with the girl as she’s the “only one who understands him. Who even bothers to try.” He’s rejected of course but it makes one wonder what course Thanos might have taken had he a true mentor in his corner and not a treacherous advisor. We see Thanos’ present day situation of unrequited love with Death beginning to burgeon here. Poor guy. All he wants is a hug: is that so much to ask?
Come issue’s end we can see that Thanos is determined to find the answers about himself and life in general. And he believes his latest captive may hold just answers he’s looking for. The reveal is pretty shocking and what not, but on a whole I’m still not quite sold on the suddenness of Thanos’ heel turn. Sure, he has a lot of goading in his corner and despite his vast intelligence is easily impressionable because of his lack of friends… but still — if the complaints last issue were that Thanos was too timid and incongruous with the Thanos of the present, here it’s that the motives behind his actions aren’t entirely believable or understood.
One other problem I have with this issue — earlier on we’re given the following panel:
Why not show us more of that brilliance Jason Aaron, instead of just telling us? This is Thanos we’re talking about here. Sure, we don’t need him destroying Droid Control Stations in the Battle of Naboo and exclaiming “Yipee” while doing it — but the scope of what is going on here feels too limited. It’s only issue two, sure, and there’s still plenty of time for Aaron to prove me wrong, but we need to see more of Thanos than him mulling around with surgical instruments talking about how he needs to find himself. (One more scene like this and I’m going to start rooting for Thanos to start self-cutting his wrists with his scalpel.)
- Bianchi’s art works here.
- More development for Thanos.
- Don’t get that “Boom, this is Thanos” feel yet.
My sentiments from the first issue, namely “slap any generic cosmic overlord into this issue, even ones who haven’t taken on the entire Marvel Universe or slain galaxies, and you wouldn’t find much out of place,” still ring true here. Besides a few noteworthy lines, we aren’t given much more here to differentiate him from less memorable villains in this issue either.
Some comic fans may hate on Simone Bianchi’s non-splash page art for being too inconsistent and muddled at times, but I think it works just fine here. Remember, we are dealing with what is essentially a long flashback here and a morose one at that — as a result there’s no overwhelming need for the clean pencils of say, a Ron Lim or Mark Bagley here. (Although Lim does draw an awesome Thanos.)
Is it Good?
A little better than last issue as a lot more transpires and there’s some key character development for Thanos, but the overarching feel doesn’t yet exude “This. Is. Thanos.” quite yet. Not to say Aaron can’t get us there, but we need to see a bit more from the series than what we’ve been given thus far.
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