Page 45 Review by Stephen
I am reliably informed that old craggy-chops is destined to become the next villain in the Avengers film franchise.
If you want a Recommended Reading List concerning Thanos to date then I am more than happy to oblige at the tail end of this review. You lucky things!
If you want a quick history lesson, however, this will serve you well for within Thanos' opponents reminisce on what fun he was at school (they don't; he wasn't) before taking advantage of the fact that he is, for once, feeling a wee bit peaky. After slamming seven shades of shit out of the Titan (he literally does come from Saturn's moon Titan), they lock Thanos up in the most secure prison in the universe.
Yes, I laughed when I read that line too.
Also intent on taking advantage of Thanos feeling under the weather are: his thankless child Thane, his bacchanalian brother Eros, spaceship burglar Nebula, a big bloke I've never heard of... and Death. Thanos and Death have had a complicated relationship over the years. Oh yes, all the jokes!
Unfortunately one of them is being Donald Trump about their true objective, and Theresa May about the truth.
There is one excellent sequence of storytelling which opens chapter two following an exquisite cover by Deodato. The cover is of an ancient tree under starlight, at the base of which stands the squat powerhouse that is Thanos, holding up his thick mitt towards a flame-coloured butterfly.
Inside we hear of the planet Nulla which has an unbroken history of tranquillity and - rich in natural, medicinal resources - has long been a haven for the ill and the needy: serene and majestic etc. Inside we see the planet Nulla, first from space, then from ground-level as an Arcadian idyll, its pastures bathed in an early sunset haze as less familiar, more exotic winged insects with translucent sapphire-blue wings dart amongst its feathered fronds. Only gradually and gently does a single dissonant note start to appear in the art which otherwise maintains its hazy, golden glow through crinkled leaves.
In other words, the pictures and the script subtly stop agreeing. Ever so Jon Klassen, that.
Otherwise, Mike Deodato's art is always a joy to behold when you need something sturdy, sombre and ominous (see Ellis's THUNDERBOLTS and Bendis' DARK AVENGERS), and Thanos at his best is all three. Deodato also does pulverised wear and tear very well, and there is plenty of that on offer, from first-to-face impact to white-hot-laser-beam prison-wall endurance. Lots and lots of Letratone (or its computerised equivalent) too: very bold!
Eros is played like a British aristocratic ("my dear") which works well for me - he was ever the self-pampering sybarite - but Lemire fails to convey his fabled powers of persuasion at a crucial juncture. Yes, I can quite see that suspicions need be aroused eventually when delays deplete his dwindling options, but before he runs out of steam surely we should first hear such eloquent oratory designed to distract, fitting that renowned reputation? Nope...? Okay, just a lazily offered, broken-promise plot point, then. No need to actually deliver. Lastly, I doubt there is a single comicbook collection in any genre during which protagonists address each other more often as this in the familial terms "Father!" "Brother!" "Nephew!" "Uncle!"
"Ah, Uncle, you do make sport of me!"
"Why, Nephew, you don't half deserve it!"
"But, Uncle, your Brother, my Father, he is bloody rubbish, you know!"
"Yes, Nephew, your Father, my Brother is bad. This dialogue's a bit dodgy too."
Not actual dialogue, although it swings close.
For prospective friends of Thanos I personally and emphatically recommend his first appearances when created by drug-addled Jim Starlin in the COMPLETE CAPTAIN MARVEL and COMPLETE WARLOCK way back in the '70s. Then I implore you to fast-forward to Hickman's NEW AVENGERS whose storyline leads directly into the two exceptional, modern INFINITY books and you're done!
There's much more you can buy in between and we cannot stop you. In fact we implore you to buy far more product. See, therefore, AVENGERS VS. THANOS, SILVER SURFER: THE REBIRTH OF THANOS, INFINITY GAUNTLET plus its ever diminishing returns should you fancy. We're just ever so careful about what we personally hand-on-heart recommend so that your trust in us is maintained undiminished.
[Now that we're done, I will just add that Hickman's NEW AVENGERS and INFINITY books do lead directly into the endgame that was Marvel's second SECRET WARS. Nothing to do with Thanos, but clear directions are always handy in negotiating Marvel's ever meandering maze. Happy to help!]