Before we dive into this piece, this isn’t a review. Simple version, go get Thanos #1 and come back. Thanos #1 is a great read with a powerful hook to it. If you don’t care about spoilers then feel free to hang out. For what I’m going to dive into, spoilers are needed. If you have read Thanos though, you’re going to get a lot out of this. I’m going to deep dive into this craziness and see if I can’t help digest the issue for you all. Fair warning again, there are spoilers in this piece. Let’s begin this journey, talk a bit about Thanos #1 and try and remotely fathom what’s going to happen next.
On with the show, as they say, Thanos #1 analysis begins now!
Jeff Lemire is one of those writers that if he’s writing something, I’ll usually give it a go. He’s that good yet I wasn’t sure if I was even going to pick this up. Now I’m doing an analysis on it because this issue blew my mind in a good way. You’re probably wondering why this works as well as it does, I’ll explain why Thanos works in my own way. It all starts with a build-up and catching up with our old friend Corvus Glaive from the Infinity event. He’s become a tough but respected ruler of a planet in the absence of Thanos. At this point, he’s gone and no one knows where he went off to. It’s a cool way to set the scene for Thanos and make use of a great character all at the same time.
Lemire put enough time in to build up Corvus Glaive for new and old readers to either enhance to get to know him. As you well know the name of the comic is Thanos, so let the return of Thanos begin. The best part of the return of Thanos is the usage of the title page, powerful lettering from Clayton Cowles to give extra impact to a great double page spread. A double page spread that only needed two words, “Thanos Returns”, and instantly you get chills.
This panel below shows the state of mind of Thanos at this point.
What follows in these pages is a full blown battle and it is beautiful. Mike Deodato is the kind of artist that when he’s cutting loose, he cuts loose. Three pages of Deodato showing Thanos at full power. It’s cool that Lemire decided to add this in, it’s pure power at its finest. You let Deodato cut loose and even more let the colorist have a bit of fun too. Frank Martin does amazing color work throughout the issue but this battle is unreal. The violent reds and dark shadows illuminating Thanos in his rampage, oh it’s brilliant. It’s one of my favorite moments of the issue and that’s in a comic loaded with great moments.
Now we see how Thanos deals with Glaive. Glaive puts up a valiant fight, but he’s no match for Thanos. Lemire handles this well, Glaive doesn’t want to give up at all. Glaive isn’t a good person either, but at least he’s respected to a degree. Lemire’s building of this makes Glaive’s eventual downfall oddly tragic. When Thanos breaks Glaive’s blade he offers him death by Thanos or death by his own hand. Glaive chooses to end it all because Thanos makes it clear, it would be worse if the Mad Titan would do the job. You wouldn’t think, heck I didn’t think I could find it tragic but it is sad by the end. That Lemire evokes that emotion out of this is impressive. The scene of Thanos on his throne by Deodato is powerful to behold, colored by Martin with tragedy and darkness in tow.
Such a powerful panel, fitting for what is about to come.
In the background of all of this with our lead character, there are other forces in motion as well. Tryco “Champion of the Universe” is on a mission from the son of Thanos, Thane to grab Starfox to take him back to Titan. There’s a massive amount of foreshadowing happening, as they might possibly be the “True Destroyers of the Galaxy” as Lemire says in the story. I laughed as to how Tryco found Starfox by the way, it’s hilarious to see in the story, I can’t do it justice. Take note of this, Tryco is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe. That Lemire is using Tryco and Starfox in this tale is a great addition. As Tryco has been given the chance to prove he’s the best in the universe, he’s going to kill Thanos. That’s not even the ultimate hook for this book either.
Now for the powerful hook mentioned in the opening paragraph.
Yes, I did mention there’s a powerful hook for this comic. After all, in any first chapter of a tale, you need a hook to keep the reader engaged. At the end of the issue, it is revealed that Thane is working with Death. Thane isn’t sure if their plan will work, even with Tryco and Eros (Starfox) in tow. Yes, Thanos is practically a God but Death knows something no one else does, Thanos is dying. No one ever thought it possible but now Thanos is dying for unknown reasons. That my friends is a good hook.
Now the Thanos story gets a curveball and boy is it fun.
Thanos is dying, Thane and Death have a plan, and The Champion of the Universe and Starfox are on the way, I’d say the stakes are high from the start. Jeff Lemire stacks the deck high and doesn’t let up right up until the end of the issue. Right now I have to say, I will be curious how far Lemire will take this, or will be allowed to take this. If Mike Deodato and Frank Martin stay on for awhile, this series is going to have an art team to match this high-end story. I know they won’t kill Thanos but I wonder how long this will play out? That’s going to be the fun part of this story. I cannot wait.
Now to figure out why this works.
Now, why did this work? Lemire keeps you engaged throughout the issue and doesn’t even hint at a possible weakness in the character until the end. Lemire managed to make it easy for someone unfamiliar with Cosmic Marvel to get into the book. Deodato’s art is powerful and doesn’t let up. It’s dark, foreboding, while not being afraid to show fun where it counts. Lemire scored an amazing artist and Deodato captures the scale of this story perfectly. The same with Frank Martin, my word these colors are rich and powerful, fitting the tone of the tale. There is levity here but Thanos impending death can only lead to more complications along the way.
No one asked for another Thanos series but I’m glad we have it. With the material it is exploring, this series will have legs. It’s why I didn’t want to do a typical review of this, it would be much shorter than what we have here now. I wanted to talk about this book in detail, really deep dive into the storytelling. We’re only in chapter one of a much larger journey, that’s exciting to me.
Now take note, if you read this not caring about spoilers and this got you curious about the book, that is awesome. You’re getting characters infrequently used in major roles, a dark new twist on Thanos, and more to come. Who would have thought that this series would turn out to be a great one? I’m pleasantly surprised in the best way possible.