'Thanos' #1 Review: A Fresh Take on the A-List Villain

It's no secret that Thanos is one of the most celebrated villains in the entire Marvel mythos. [...]

It's no secret that Thanos is one of the most celebrated villains in the entire Marvel mythos. Despite a stellar run that just wrapped up by Jeff Lemire, Donny Cates, and company, the Mad Titan has yet to receive an adequate origin that expands on how the character became the murderous monster fans know him by today. Enter Tini Howard and Ariel Olivetti.

One issue in on this new Thanos miniseries and it's pretty apparent the team has constructed a meticulous, thought-out origin tale of sorts for Thanos. Not just that, but they dip their toes into the pool that will expand on the relationship between Thanos and Gamora — but more on that in a second. It should be noted that though this story arc appears to be an origin story per se, it doesn't go back to the character's very beginnings. We don't find out why he has such a fascination with Lady Death, or how he amassed the biggest armies in the universe — and that's OK, for now.

(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Sure, this issue includes a little action here or there, but it's not a panel-bursting, page-turning action thriller by any means. Rather, it takes a slow, intricate approach into diving into the Mad Titan's rise to power, playing with the character's strategic strengths. There are a few moments throughout that really allow the character's insanity to shine, showing how much a lunatic Thanos really is and letting reads realize that oh, he's never "right."

There are a couple of instances where the comic takes a straight-up horror turn, as Thanos doesn't think twice about slaughtering some of his top lieutenants. Combine that with the fact that he goes on not one, but two, world-ending rampages throughout one issue, Howard does a great job at portraying just how brutal this character can be.

As for Gamora, you might be disappointed to hear that she doesn't play too large of a role in the story just quite yet. She does serve as the narrator for the story but in the story itself, she doesn't show up until the end. At the very least, it sets up a promising future as the mini-series pushes forward. In addition to some other Black Order cameos, fans of cosmic Marvel may be thrilled to see the new antagonist opposite Thanos, especially the fans of Starlin's early-'90s cosmic runs.

This Thanos run may not be a blood-pumping affair from the get-go, but it has definitely laid the groundwork for a promising miniseries in the months ahead. It reminds you there's a brilliant mind at work behind the brutal, rough exterior. At the very least, it's an all-new take on the Mad Titan that's both intriguing and promising.

Published by Marvel Comics

On April 24, 2019

Written by Tini Howard

Art by Ariel Olivetti

Colors by Antonio Fabela

Letters by VC's Joe Caramagna

Cover by Jeff Dekal