*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.
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Thanos 101: Intro to The Mad Titan (Part 2)
last week’s required reading appear a little...tired. Admittedly, it was a hefty chunk of material to read, but I’m sure it was very much worth the effort. That said, this week is not quite that extensive, but I would be lying if I said we still don’t have a lot of ground to cover. We continue our dive into the seminal comics of Thanos and Adam Warlock by auteur Jim Starlin. So, pour yourself a Thirsty-Two-Ouncer of cold brew coffee and take out your syllabus; we got some reading to do.
Thanos: Redemption(Written and illustrated by Jim Starlin, published in 2003 by Marvel Comics)
After the success of the highly enjoyable and relatively successful Marvel Universe: The End, Starlin returns with a new series devoted to the Mad Titan himself. This time, Thanos faces a new threat: the dreaded Hunger. Not only do we have a new adversary that is a viable threat, we also get guest appearances by my favorite character Adam Warlock and big-time heavy-hitter Galactus. Starlin’s run only lasted six issues before being handed off to Keith Giffen and Ron Lim, but those first six issues are pure space opera goodness that all Starlin fans need to seek out...and you will have to seek them out, as the issues are somewhat of a rarity, and the collection is currently out of print. I’m not sure why Starlin left the book, but I can hazard a guess it had something to do with our favorite “villain” getting wrapped up in the latest event (which at the time was Annihilation, and although Starlin was not involved, it is still a dang-fine event in its own right).
Thanos vs. Hulk(Written and illustrated by Jim Starlin, published in 2014 by Marvel Comics)
Okay, I have to admit, I have not read this four-issue miniseries. I know, I know, but it is my vow that I will have read this series before next week’s class. What I do know is that it is a prequel to a prequel that pits ol’ purple puss against ol’ jade jaws, with Pip the Troll mucking things up and bringing both Annihilus and Blastaar to the fray. I’m as curious as you are to see how it all plays out.
Thanos Annual #1(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Ron Lim, published in 2014 by Marvel Comics)
After a decade-long absence, Starlin returns to the character he co-created and made into one of Marvel’s most complex and imposing villains. Best strap in, because this is the prelude to what is to become the first Thanos trilogy. Here, he must square off against The Avengers, Mephisto, and even himself before setting off on a devastating course of events.
Thanos: The Infinity Revelation(Written and illustrated by Jim Starlin, inked by Andy Smith, colored by Frank D’Armata with Rachelle Rosenberg, lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna, published in 2014 by Marvel Comics)
This is what I’m talking about, Denizens. This is everything I want in a Thanos/Warlock book. First, though, we have to look at the form factor. This is an oversized, 112-page, hardcover original graphic novel. The book exterior is matte with spot varnish on the front, back, and spine, with beautiful type family and an impressive title. To put it bluntly, from a design standpoint, I was sold before I even opened the book. Inside, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation—and all of the subsequent Thanos OGNs for that matter—we have a return to what I loved most from those early Warlock comic days (see The Avengers Versus Thanos): Thanos and Warlock working together to solve an abnormality in the cosmos; grand, complex, and just plain weird circumstances brought to life by Starlin’s imaginative and, at times, psychedelic art; blurred lines between good and evil with driven characters who operate beyond the scope of other superheroes. Starlin also brings these cosmic key players into modern continuity with the current lineup of The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Annihilators, and some of the most powerful cosmic entities in the Marvel U. Be prepared to be confused for more than half of the book as visual clues begin to catch your attention and leave you wondering what is happening. And then the answer comes, only to cruelly leave you hanging until…
Thanos: The Infinity Relativity(Written and illustrated by Jim Starlin, inked by Andy Smith, colored by Frank D’Armata with Rachelle Rosenberg, lettered by Travis Lanham, published in 2015 by Marvel Comics)
I’m not going to be able to say much about the next two OGNs or the bridging miniseries, as doing so might spoil some critical plot points. What you need to know is that you simply have to read them all, especially if you love Thanos: The Infinity Relativity as much as I do. I will warn you that some of the threads from Thanos: The Infinity Revelation don’t get picked back up until after this book. What I will tell you is that Annihilus returns as a major threat, the Guardians of the Galaxy play a key role, and if you thought the end of the first book left you dangling, then boy howdy you ain’t seen nothing yet!
The Infinity Entity(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Alan Davis, published in 2016 by Marvel Comics)
The Infinity Entity is a four-issue miniseries that focuses on Adam Warlock as he discovers how he and Thanos have contributed to the maladies of the universe. A mysterious character from Thanos: The Infinity Relativity makes his true nature known (this was spoiled for me by the fantastically stupid variant cover to issue #4 that I received...don’t seek it out), and after this impressive miniseries, you will be desperate to read…
Thanos: The Infinity Finale(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Ron Lim, inked by Andy Smith, colored by Guru-eFX, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published in 2016 by Marvel Comics)
After the brutal cliffhanger of Thanos: The Infinity Relativity, we finally see how…a decision—sorry, still not going to spoil—plays out. The situation is, of course, dire and we are treated to some stunning battle sequences and some honestly horrific things being done to some of our favorite Marvel heroes. It’s up to Thanos and Warlock to save the day, that is if they themselves can survive the multiple threats that surround them. Thanos: The Infinity Finale more than pays off in both grand story and in Lim’s beautiful art which is the next best thing if Starlin is not illustrating. The ending leaves a few openings for other stories that hopefully play out in Starlin’s next OGN trilogy, beginning with…
Thanos: The Infinity Siblings(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Alan Davis, inked by Mark Farmer, colored by Ciane Dusk, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published in 2018 by Marvel Comics)
This is the start of a new glorious Starlin OGN trilogy! Although I was a bit dismayed to find barely any Adam Warlock in this volume, I was pleasantly surprised to see what Starlin had managed to do with Thanos’s brother Starfox: namely make him a credible player in this epic space opera, and to provide an interesting and albeit disturbing twist to Starfox’s character. Hunger, Kang the Conqueror, and Pip the Troll make prominent appearances. This book kicks off nicely into…
(Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Alan Davis, set to be released in November 2018 by Marvel Comics)
Thanos: The Infinity Conflict
No idea what this is about other than Warlock should feature more prominently, and that I will be eagerly awaiting its release way way way too long from today. Man, this can’t come soon enough!
That’s it for the Thanos 101 reading schedule for this week, class. Be sure to get reading, as I am now fired up to reread the original OGN trilogy and the bridging mini. When we next check in on Thanos, it will be with some choice reads from creators other than Starlin, who, despite the odds, have done some pretty cool things with the character. Until next time.