Should a villain ever get his own comic series from a superhero publisher? That’s a good question. Superhero stories tend to be if not kid friendly than at least something open to most, and the good guys usually win. Villains tend to lose, and Marvel doesn’t have a bigger villain these days thanks to the MCU than Thanos.
But they tried anyway, so here we are with the first volume of the series, subtitled Thanos Returns.
Yes, after the events of the last couple Marvel mega-crossovers, Secret Wars and Civil War II, events that make Jimmy Impossible start twitching at the mere mention, Thanos returns to the sector of space he used to call his own to reclaim it. He does so without too much trouble, but there are some bigger issues at play here. First, Thanos’ son Thane, who for all I know was last seen in the Infinity crossover, has fallen in with Thanos’ old love Mistress Death (quite talkative here) and is gathering a team that includes Nebula and Thanos’ brother Starfox. Why? He wants to kill his father.
Meanwhile, Thanos himself seems to be dying on his own.
Thanos creator Jim Starlin always gave the Mad Titan a distinctive voice, but he doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the series. Instead, writing duties fell to Jeff Lemire, and you could do a lot worse than Lemire. He knows his way around the genre and manages to add a lot of Marvel’s space-based characters to the story, many of whom may have never appeared in a Thanos story before like the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. To say what Thane has planned for his father would be telling, and the series was actually quite good. Sure, it isn’t Starlin’s Thanos, and if and when he ever returns to Marvel, I am sure his Thanos will somehow disown this series, but it was still quite the ride, even if it ended on a cliffhanger of sorts for Thanos and the others. Nine out of ten board games with Elders of the Universe.