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Am I not Thanos?! Did I not butcher the woman who gave me birth, who forced me into this hell called life? Is not the wake of my passing crimson with the blood of my enemies and allies alike?! Death is with me every second of the day!
—Thanos, The Infinity Gauntlet #2
Going out the week of San Diego Comic-Con and telling a bunch of Superhero aficionados that Thanos is Badass is kind of like walking into a Star Trek convention and announcing that Vulcans have pointy ears. No shit, Professor X, why don’t you tell us something we didn’t already infer telepathically just by looking at a comic book panel depicting a giant, beady-eyed muscle-bound behemoth backhanding Captain America to the turn with one hand while simultaneously head-butting a structural tear in the fabric of the universe with his wrinkly purple forehead?
—Ben Thompson, Badass of the Week
As I have anticipated, you came to this article, seeking knowledge about Thanos of Titan. How predictable. As you probably have noticed, I implanted several memetic viruses that will make you browse through this website, refusing to stop, eat or sleep, until your demise or I find a use for you. But do not despair, as I, Thanos, am not without mercy. To ease your suffering, I will grant your desire and share my secrets with you. You will know the story of Thanos, the Mad Titan, servant of Mistress Death and one of the most threatening villains in Marvel Universe, as well as one of the most iconic, comparable perhaps only to Doctor Doom and Magneto.
I was born on Titan, moon of planet Saturn, home to the Titans, fraction of Eternals that left the Earth thousands of years ago. I was one of two sons of wise ruler Alars, also known as Mentor, and his wife, Sui-San. Unfortunately I was born a mutant, which condemned me with appearance closer to Deviants, the Eternals' sister race and sworn enemies. That made my life miserable, giving others reason to bully me, while my brother, Eros, was loved by all. It was some small mercy that my mutation granted me vast strength and durability, far greater than any of my kin; my ability to wield cosmic energy was likewise second-to-none.
Alone and bored, one day, at the age of eight, I killed my first victim. This was the moment that I saw my love, Mistress Death, for the first time. It became my obsession to see her again and I discovered new ways to kill and perfected already known ones, in order to achieve this goal and win her black heart. When it was finally discovered by others, I tried to kill my father and usurp his throne, but I was defeated and forced to exile.
For many years I traveled through the Universe, claiming all power within my reach. I had finally returned to Titan after my exile, and let it taste my nuclear revenge, claiming the lives of all but a bare few Titans; my mother was not one of the survivors.
When I had built a base on the Insignificant Little Blue Planet called Earth, my ship was possibly spotted by a human family, which I killed. But my father saved the still living human child and asked the god of time, Chronos, (also our ancestor) to create a weapon to fight me. The girl grew up to become known as Moondragon, and Chronos has reanimated her father into Drax The Destroyer, both of whom became my sworn enemies.
It was because of Drax that I encountered heroes of planet Earth for the first time – when I imprisoned him in my hideout on Earth, Iron Man has answered his calls for rescue. That was when Jim Starlin introduced me to the fans of Marvel Comics. In the pages of Iron Man vol. 1 #55 (February, 1973). Since then the name of Thanos, The Mad Titan, has been known and feared among Terran superheroes. It was also Earth that had created Adam Warlock, one of my greatest enemies and yet perhaps my only true friend, and had acted as a sanctuary for the Silver Surfer and Captain Marvel (not that one, mind you). It was Mar-Vell who stopped me from claiming the power of the Cosmic Cube and it was he and the Avengers who stopped me from using six the Soul Gems to destroy all of the stars in the galaxy, as a gift to Mistress Death. And it was Warlock who briefly returned from the death. I granted him to slay me in return.
I was not dead for long, however (from 1977 to 1990, as your universe measures time; mine, as you may be aware, measures time rather more slowly). I was resurrected by Mistress Death as her thrall, with increased power, on a mission to kill half of the sentient life on the Universe, in order to keep the balance between life and death, which she felt had recently tilted too far in life's direction.
Let none say that my mistress is not kind; she sought this goal so that those who remained would live lives that were not haunted by the spectres of overpopulation, starvation, and extreme environmental damage. This also guaranteed that some would survive to give her more souls under her power. The imminent universal population crash that she feared would leave none alive to die.
However, I did not want to be her mere servant, but equal. I gathered the six Soul Gems again, renaming them the Infinity Gems, as I realized they have the power to grant one omnipotence. As wielder of such power however, I found myself superior to Death, who rejected me out of spite for surpassing her, and claimed that showing affection to me would be rising above her station. Driven obsessed to impress her, I used my new Infinity Gauntlet to prove myself worthy of her love and defeating all, who tried to stop me, including the strongest forces in the Universe; even her counterpart, the embodiment of the universe's life force known as Eternity. Alas, she at last openly attacked me, and I was forced to defeat her too. I then usurped Eternity's place as personification of the Universe. It was a fatal mistake on my part, as I gave up my body to do so; I did not pay proper attention to it, and that allowed the Gauntlet to be stolen.
After that I gave up my old ways, seeking peace and even aided Adam Warlock against his evil and good sides – Magus and Goddess. For years I have been both hero and villain, until my second death, this time at the hands of Drax, when I joined Annihilus in his war against the Universe, just out of intellectual curiosity to see what would happen. I was brought back to life yet again, this time to save Death from threat of Many-Angled Ones, gods of the corrupted world known as the Cancerverse, where nothing can die. When I managed to kill all life in this Universe, Death--whom I had just saved--rejected me yet again. Enraged, I then battled Nova and Star-Lord who sacrificed themselves to keep me in this dying dimension. But I assure you, Thanos had not said his final word. They have already announced my return in the near future.
I am aware that my fame has preceded me with the Terrans' dramatizations such as in the animated series, The Silver Surfer and The Superhero Squad Show. However, while I am above being annoyed by a children's parody with the latter, the sight of my love being Bowdlerized as Lady Chaos in the former is quite irritating.
However, I am pleased that the Terran Joseph Whedon has created a supremely successful entertainment recording that has me as the true power behind that self-important fool, Loki, for his little tantrum/errand on Earth. Following this rather unexpected appearance, I quickly made a name for myself as the Bigger Bad of the first three Phases of Marvel Cinematic Universe, dubbed the Infinity Saga due to my goal of seeking the Infinity Stones. After I succeeded in acquiring all six of the Stones in Avengers: Infinity War, I was beheaded by that Asgardian brute, unable to understand the necessity of the Snap or the need to destroy the Infinity Stones. A past version of me assumed the title of the True Final Boss in Avengers: Endgame, rightfully furious at the Avengers' desire to subvert my life's work, but alas, his underestimation of the Terrans proved his undoing, dying via the power of the Stones. Alas, it seems that Earth-199999 was not worthy of understanding the gift I had given them, though my posthumous influence is still felt.
My actions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have led to me being the Trope Namer for Thanos Ensues, though I will note that the acts of my Earth-199999 self, while ensuring that Nothing Is the Same Anymore, do not neatly fit into how you define this. Ah the ignorance of the Terran race.
Notable comics with Thanos:
- Thanos Quest
- The Infinity Saga:
- The Infinity Gauntlet
- Infinity War
- Infinity Crusade
- Infinity Abyss
- Marvel Universe: The End
- Celestial Quest
- Thanos (12-issues limited series)
- The Thanos Imperative
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Thanos provides examples of:
- Above Good and Evil: Those who impede my plans or endanger my universe will feel my wrath, be they hero, villain, or even cosmic entity.
- Achilles Heel: The only weakness I could ever possess... is myself. Try as I might, I cannot seem to overcome my streak of self-defeatism...
- Actually a Doombot: Every time Thanos has tasted defeat, it was really just one of my clones. Including that time when Squirrel Girl defeated one and The Watcher has appeared to confirm it's the real Thanos. My clones are good enough to fool even him. And that writer who claims I'm lying and it was real me who tasted the defeat at her hands does not know what he is talking about. Of course, even he goes back and forth on this...]
- Adaptation Species Change: In the printed page of Earth-616, I am a Deviant-Eternal hybrid, hailing from Saturn's moon Titan. My counterpart of Earth-199999 however is from a race known as the Titans, from an extrasolar planet of the same name. Going forward, it seems that most new versions of me found across the multiverse share this heritage.
- Adaptational Heroism: I do not conform to your Terran standards of morality. But, if for nothing but posterity, I will note that my Earth-199999 lacks my desire to court Death herself or conquer the universe. For all his brutal acts, he seeks only to save the universe from overpopulation. Quite noble I will confess.
- What your philosophers would deem as a particularly noble version appeared in a variation of Earth-199999's timeline in the second instalment of What If?..., having been convinced by the local Star-Lord, the Terran you otherwise know as the Black Panther, to abandon warfare and seek a more peaceful path to balancing the universe.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- My counterpart on Earth-1610 is a disturbingly brutal being, lacking my code of honor and conquering only for conquest's sake.
- Most animated versions that you Terrans consume expunge all of my more noble traits and cast me more as a Generic Doomsday Villain driven by simple megalomania and powerlust, even going so far as to ignore my love for Death herself.
- Do not get me started on how I am interpreted by those Earth-199999 fanatics who enjoy giving Loki what you deem as the Draco in Leather Pants treatment.
- Adaptational Wimp: Though I will confess to understanding this. If your Terran scribes were exposed to the full scope of my great power, their minds would likely melt. Though be warned, simply because my counterparts do not possess my more esoteric abilities, they should not be labelled as weak.
- A God Am I: When I had took the power of the Cosmic Cube, and then later the Infinity Gauntlet. it was what I had become. And once again, when I tried to become All-Father of my own pantheon.
- And I Must Scream: After I was resurrected, the only reason I didn't kill the Guardians of the Galaxy in the first place was because Rocket Raccoon threatened me with eternal life and separation from death.
- Anti-Villain: On my more peaceful days I may blur the lines with types I through III.
- There is also the rare occasional times as type IV and V of Anti-Hero.
- Arch Enemy: For Drax the Destroyer, Moondragon, Captain Marvel and sometimes, Adam Warlock. Possibly the Silver Surfer too, though he has learned well not to cross paths with me, and I have proven to be such a dangerous entity that many consider me to be this to the entire Marvel Universe... fortunately for you all, though, my true Arch Enemy is myself.
- Badass Boast: "You address omnipotence. Tread carefully."
- Bigger Bad: I am one to Loki in The Avengers, thanks to the Sequel Hook. Six of your years later, I assumed the role of Big Bad in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Breakout Villain: Jim Starlin only intended for me to appear in one issue of Iron Man. The ignorant fool should have known that Thanos cannot be contained.
- Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Both my doppelgänger and Ahkenaten became butterflies after I slew them.
- The Chessmaster: I am known as this on a universal scale.
- Death Is Cheap: Sadly, I have come back from realm of my beloved twice. One can not stay dead if she needs him alive.
- Death Seeker: I will find a way to be once again with Mistress Death and nothing will stop me from it.
- Enemy Mine: Several times have I allied myself with my foes against common threat.
- Enemies with Death: Who is one, has an enemy in myself. Many-Angled Ones have discovered this the hard way. So did Death-God Walker, who desired to take her role.
- Energy Absorption: A trait common to all the Eternals of Titan, placing us above the Eternals of other worlds. I, however, have masterd this power to a level beyond that of even my kin.
- Enfant Terrible: My father has had a slight mental breakdown, and believes that as a child I slaughtered and dissected my mother, although this in no way fits into my previously established life history (though this has not stopped me from boasting of it).
- Evil Genius: I have mastered every science in the universe from an early age, and have centuries of experience dabbling in the occult. In addition, I am a strategist on a level that not even the Grandmaster, an immortal Elder of the Universe who devoted his life to strategy and games, can compete with (as he learned to his cost), to say nothing of my mastery of the combat. One of my lesser achievement was unlocking the DNA of Galactus, a cosmic entity, and making a hybrid clone of he and myself, just to show that I could. What mind can compare to the mind of Thanos?
- Evil Plan: I only seek to impress Mistress Death and earn her affection. This has lead me to plot wide spread destruction on many an occasion.
- Expy: Some of your Terrans compare me to the warlord of Apokolips, Darkseid from the DCU. While true, he and I share a certain physical resemblance, I would appreciate that you do not compare us any further. Personality wise, he is more of my Shadow Archetype. My goals are much more noble than that Generic Doomsday Villain. If anything, my personality is more akin to DC's Metron.
- Eye Beams: One of the most potent ways I channel cosmic energy; not even The Thing or The Mighty Thor can withstand them.
- Genius Bruiser: No other mind can match my intelligence, nor can any other body match my strength.
- Fairy Companion: For some time I have been tolerating the presence of Skreet The Chaos Mite, who has been serving me as this. We parted ways once I had been killed by Drax.
- For the Evulz: I had once orchestrated a situation where my brother has been held for trial, and sent my clone with modified memories to convince everybody it was he who made me fall in love with Death, thus making him responsible for all my crimes. She Hulk traveled into the clone's mind to discover it was a lie and that I did all of it not because of revenge, but for pure entertainment.
- Friendly Enemy: Time and time again, Adam Warlock has thwarted my plans... nevertheless, he is perhaps the only friend I have.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: I will ally myself with and consider myself both a force of good and evil, depending.
- If I Can't Have You: I admit being jealous of Death's other paramours. Jealous to the point that, after discovering she had developed feelings for another, I cursed him with immortality. He will not steal her from me.
- Irony: In relation to the above as I made Deadpool immortal, so did Death made me. Temporarily.
- Mad Scientist: To those lesser minds who call me "The Mad Titan". My scientific acumen, of course, is second to none. The mind of Thanos is his greatest weapon.
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Yes, I partook in that melee of crossover fighting games, albeit with only 4 of the Infinity Gems and my moveset greatly reduced from the earlier Marvel Super Heroes. I am also displeased that I did not make the cut for the 3rd game and its updated version. Seth Killian and Ryota Niitsuma, you have made a grave error.
- They decided to make a card of me in their "Heroes and Heralds" mode which grants the players to ability to parry. Parrying infantile attacks? I am much more capable than that. If I was truly in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, I would show that fool Wesker the true meaning of godhood and its costs.
- Mighty Glacier / Nigh Invulnerability: I am not the fastest or most agile combatant in the cosmos...but few can hit as hard, and even fewer can withstand blows as well. Thor's own father, Odin, was unable to keep me down in our battle.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: My name is Greek for 'death'.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: For years I was a nihilist, until abandoning this philosophy.
- Omnicidal Maniac: On my days as wielder of The Infinity Gauntlet and prior to them.
- Pet the Dog: I must confess to some fondness for my adopted daughter, Gamora.
- Story-Breaker Power: On paper, I should crush anyone in my path. Practically however, I will note however that I have a tendency to become Drunk with Power and make small mistakes that lead to my defeat.
- Super Strength: I have faced The Mighty Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The Thing and the The Incredible Hercules in a battle of strength at the same time. And my reaction to their feeble efforts was only rage for the insult that they dared call themselves strong!
- Thanatos Gambit: I enjoy this.
- Ubermensch: No creature in the universe can compare to me.
- Villain Ball / Idiot Ball: Several times I had suffered from this at the verge of absolute victory. As Adam Warlock theorized, I had let myself be defeated, because subconsciously I had not found myself worthy of the absolute power I tried to claim.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Certainly not I, who desires nothing more than to die and reunite with my beloved.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Another thing I'm known for.