Forget the fact that Thanos is going to be the main bad guy in the biggest two part comic book movie ever and simply ruminate on the fact that this is a villain who outmatches so many heroes he’s in a league of his own. He’s so damn powerful that the only reason he isn’t ruling the universe is because he doesn’t want to. So infatuated with Death herself, Thanos’ only weakness is his undying love for her. He’s a character that’s hard to relate to and yet fascinating because of it. I check out Marvel’s original graphic novel released April 6 to ponder the question: is it good?
Thanos: The Infinity Finale OGN (Marvel Comics)
This is actually part of an OGN trilogy written by Jim Starlin with art from Ron Lim, inks from Andy Smith, and color from Guru-eFX. I popped into this series starting here (the third book), and it’s safe to say this is a very self-contained story. The official Marvel Comics summary reads:
After Revelation and Relativity comes a grand Finale! Desperate times called for mad measures. Facing checkmate in his latest grand game of cosmic chess, Thanos took himself off the board – violently. Yet for the paramour of Death, oblivion is so often temporary. Now the Titan is back — but the galaxy has been ravaged in his absence. Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone, is stronger than ever and harnessing the godlike power of Adam Warlock to wage genocide across the posiverse. Only a handful of heroes, and one or two villains, still stand. Will those few that remain choose between two evils and ally themselves with Thanos? They would form one of the mightiest assemblages ever witnessed. But even that may not be enough to avert the total annihilation of everything there is. And this time, the obliteration of all time and space may truly be the end. Builder and destroyer of universes Jim Starlin (Infinity Gauntlet) presents an epic conclusion to his new Infinity trilogy, featuring art by Ron Lim!
Why does this book matter?
Why Thanos is great owes a lot to Jim Starlin who has written plenty of stories about the Mad Titan. Combined with comic great Ron Lim, this is as classic as modern comics can get, but it’s also coming at you in a hardcover format that allows for a solid story from beginning to end in one sitting. If you’re at all interested in building up your knowledge of the character for the movies this is a great book as you see different facets of the Thanos character in action.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There were times while reading this book I felt like I was reading something as compelling as The Matrix (the first film, not the sequels). The book is philosophical and epic in more ways than one, including action and thought-provoking moments. With multiple Adam Warlocks floating about, Thanos literally moving heaven and Earth to save the universe, and the Marvel heroes we know and love fighting to their deaths, the book is incredibly epic. Instead of The Matrix, maybe I should liken it to the battles Thanos put the Marvel heroes through throughout the years because Lim and Starlin manage to bring the old school quality back. Crack this book open and know you’re in store for a story that is truly cosmic, going above and beyond to capture a story that is, by all intents and purposes, awesome.
It opens with Thanos waking from the dead and entering a room of heroes and villains who don’t know what to do as Annihilus is close to killing everything in the universe. The heroes and villains are milling about not knowing what to do, which sets the stage that the stakes are pretty darn high–though a villain, he’s their only hope. He devises a plan to attack Annihilus which involves cutting open a much beloved hero’s head open, and to war they go. From there the story takes some twists and turns you may not have seen coming and involves Thanos thinking his way to victory. As a hero’s journey, it begins and ends well.
Hopefully he’s well rested.
The fact that there’s really no indication when this story takes place, or even if it takes place in the 616 does not hurt the read in the slightest. The characters are wearing their more modern looks, but as an elseworlds tale it suitably reads as if it all could happen. Characters speak as they should and act as they should too. They act though as if they were in a Marvel event series, which is good because that feel is required of a thicker volume such as this.
Lim shows no rust with the art on this book, with some fantastic full page spreads and some inspired cosmic art to go along with it. There’s not enough credit given to getting Thanos to emote and Lim does a great job conveying frustration, thinking, and even happiness. Since Thanos’ eyes are cast in shadow, much of the emoting goes on in the mouth and hand gestures. Considering how stone-like his face is, Lim does a great job keeping the reader in tune with what Thanos is thinking and feeling.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I was a bit shocked nobody cared about Thanos cutting a hero’s head open! It seemed a bit out of character of them to be okay with it, but given the stakes I suppose it makes sense. Plus this is Thanos’ book after all, so more power to him doing terrible things to heroes.
I wasn’t a fan of Pip the Troll’s part in the story, but this may be due to not reading the previous volumes. He plays an important part in the story for sure, but his appearance almost reads like filler since he’s simply skulking around for much of his part.
“Well you did hit snooze eight times…”
Is It Good?
This is by all accounts a comic book story that will bring you back to the heyday of Marvel Comics. Thanos’ journey is a fun one as he fights with his fists and his mind, and must use every part of his prowess to make it all the way to the end. This story is by every definition awesome.
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