March 2, 2024

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Comic Review: Silver Surfer Epic Collection Volume 6 (Thanos Quest)

Thanos decides to get himself some Infinity Gems...

Avengers Endgame opens this week, so let me see about getting a week of Infinity Gem-related comic reviews.  Most of them will cover last year’s Infinity Wars material, but there was one thing I found that makes for a nice prologue of material I hadn’t read before.

That would be a thick collection of Silver Surfer reprints, but in the middle of the nearly 500 pages of material was something else:  Thanos Quest, the story where Thanos first put the Infinity Gauntlet together in the first place.

I’ve said many times that no one can write Thanos quite as well as his creator Jim Starlin.  As it is, Starlin wrote or co-wrote most of this volume save one really crappy “filler” issue included for no clear reason.  Even from the beginning, we see the Silver Surfer telling various allies that he had to kill Thanos in recent combat, but this whole book is for the most part a big prelude to the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series.  Heck, some of the stuff the Surfer talks about in the first issue or so of that mini happen in this book.  As it is, the Surfer’s adventures are stories that prominently feature Drax the Destroyer and set up the return of Adam Warlock.  The first half of these Surfer issues show him dealing with what he thinks is the aftermath of Thanos’ death, and the back half show the Surfer dealing with a Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet on his hand.

But around the halfway point there’s Thanos Quest, originally a big, two-part storyline written by Starlin and drawn by Silver Surfer regular artist Ron Lim…and whatever happened to that guy?  He was one of those few artists who could turn out good work at a steady pace to the extent he could probably draw two different monthly comics at the same time.

At any rate, Thanos Quest does show what made Thanos what he is.  Returned to life stronger than before by Death herself, Thanos has been charged with wiping out half the life of the universe, and he knows he can get it done quickly if he just gets himself the six soul gems…or, more accurately, the six Infinity Gems.  The six are currently being held by different Elders of the Universe, and Thanos knows what they can do better than they do.  That becomes something of a theme.  Thanos knows what these things are and goes about collecting them.  And the best part is he collects them in a specific order and using different tactics depending on whom he needs to get the Gem from.  And heck, he even has different feelings for different Elders, dismissing the arrogant as fools and even showing pity for a harmless one.  True, he overcomes all six, but he does so in widely different ways by simply being smarter than all his opponents.  And in the end of his quest…he doesn’t even get what he really wants of being Death’s equal instead of her servant.  All these things carry on into the Infinity Gauntlet story, but it sure was nice seeing Starlin lay the tracks.

Anyway, this was a nice volume, even if it does include an oddly-colored print of what was probably originally one of those 90s chrome covers on paper.  That was…less nice.

8.5 out of 10 references to Adam Warlock before he even shows his face anywhere in the volume.