Thanos is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Comics Universe. While not nearly as popular or as well known as many of the other Marvel bad guys, Thanos is arguably the most evil, power hungry, and dangerous beings in the entire Marvel U. In fact, Thanos represents a being that is so powerful that entire civilizations and galaxies fear him, and many have been wiped out of existence by Thanos himself. Simply put, Thanos is a bad ass of epic scale and strength.
Origin of Thanos
There are a lot of exceedingly detailed, exceedingly lengthy explanations of Thanos’s origin out there on the web. This is not one of them. I’ll do my best to hit the high points, with the goal of this post to provide a basic introduction into who Thanos is. For those looking for a more detailed accounting of his back story, I highly recommend checking out the official Thanos wiki over at Marvel.com.
Thanos was born as one of the Eternals, a group of highly-evolved and peace loving beings, a group of whom has colonized Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. Born horribly disfigured and malformed, Thanos grew up considering himself an outsider and became obsessed with the concept of Death. Growing more and more nihilistic in his actions and outlook on life, he was eventually exiled from the Eternals and their colony on Titan. The exact reasons behind this exile are shrouded in mystery, but it is clear that by the time he was kicked out, he was one sick and disturbed individual. In fact, Thanos has admitted to murdering and then dissecting his mother in an attempt to better understand himself and why he was so different.
As Thanos traveled the Universe, he gradually developed into someone that was both highly feared and despised. Driven by his death obsession, Thanos was also extremely power hungry and had a very dim outlook on all forms of life, his own included. Eventually, Thanos met up with Death itself, who appeared to him in the form of a female reaper. Awed by this encounter, Thanos became hellbent on accomplishing something so great that Death would fall in love with him. As you can imagine, once someone decides that they need to impress the Grim Reaper, it can only lead to very, very bad things.
At this point, I’ll take a quote directly from the Marvel Thanos wiki, as it does a really nice job of summarizing what happened next…
With an army under his command, he nearly destroyed his former home of Titan, declaring himself its ruler. He then sought out the powerful Cosmic Cube, and a number of Earth’s heroes assembled to confront him. With the Cube’s power, Thanos made himself unto a god, and he easily fought back Captain Marvel and the Avengers. However, Captain Marvel managed to convince Thanos that he had drained the Cube of its power, and the mad Titan discarded it. This allowed Mar-Vell to grab the Cube and restore the universe to its rightful order and drain Thanos of his power. Thanos was shunted back to where he had first launched his bid for power, and was rescued by his starship, Sanctuary II.
So, after this run in with the Avengers, Thanos realized that as powerful as he had become, he was still not the most powerful being in existence and not yet ready to earn the respect and love of Death. Going back to the drawing board, he eventually came into possession of the Infinity Gauntlet. One of the most powerful weapons ever created, the Infinity Gauntlet gave whomever wielded it god-like powers. Armed with this awesome power, Thanos became even more dangerous. How dangerous? Imagine being able to take on both Thor and the Silver Surfer, at the same time, and come out at the winner. This is the type of power that Thanos was wielding.
At this point, shit hit the fan. Armed with the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos decides that its up to him to snuff out all life in the Universe and he knows he has the power to do exactly that. Again quoting from the Marvel wiki, here’s what happened next…
With a mere thought, Thanos was able to wipe out half of the universe’s population of living beings, and once again he had enough power to make himself an omnipotent being. Many of Earth’s heroes and heroes from around the galaxy came to oppose him, and they were joined by other abstract entities who knew Thanos’ new powers made him a threat to all existence. Thanos again defeated them all. Ultimately, however, Death spurned him, as Thanos’ powers had placed him at a level beyond. Thanos was distraught, and this momentary lapse allowed Nebula, who Thanos was toying with for having assumed to have been related to him, to gain control of the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos was forced to join with Warlock and the other heroes, and Warlock ended up with the Infinity Gauntlet, restoring the universe to its natural state before Thanos’ interference, and Warlock divided the Gems among various guardians who became the Infinity Watch.
The story of Thanos doesn’t stop here, but for our purposes, this is actually a pretty good place to stop, I think. With the revelation that Thanos is about to become a very big deal in the Marvel movie universe, there’s obviously quite a bit of interest in the character. As I mentioned above, this isn’t meant to be an all encompassing history of Thanos, just an introduction. That being achieved (hopefully), we’ll part here as friends.
However, before you go, be sure to share any of your thoughts or questions about Thanos in the comments below. Also, for those of you who are really motivated, feel free to use the comment section to add to this basic overview of Thanos and provide some of the many, many details that I omitted for the sake of time and simplicity.
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