Comic Vine Review

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Thanos Rising #3 Review

3

Can Thanos find the peace among the stars that he never could on his homeworld?

The Good

We see Thanos finally grown up, having fled his home planet on Titan after last issue’s shocking, horrific reveal. The Mad Titan is desperate for what he perceives as a “normal” life, but it all feels hollow and meaningless. A string of children from different, abandoned mothers and a nomadic, pacifist life on a pirate ship have done little to quell the yearning in his heart as Thanos knows where he must, inevitably, return to. Jason Aaron attempting to fill the completely unknown backstory of Thanos takes an interesting turn as he is now fully a mercenary, and a brilliant one, but he refuses to take any further life, causing him to be mocked by his fellows. It’s clear who’ll have the last laugh by the end of the issue, however, when Thanos returns to Titan and meets back up with the first girl who truly won his heart, but now it seems she has darker plans for the unrepentant murderer.

Simone Bianchi’s art is, as always, stunning and strange. The alien planets Thanos journeys to are beautifully rendered and realized, the Titan himself towers over everyone he meets, making his non-aggression all the more juxtaposed, but even those not blessed with enormous height are distinctly drawn, and you never lose sight of the main ones, even in the giant crowds the book frequently goes to.

The Bad

This book has yet to really justify itself to me. I’ve said it in previous reviews: the story of Thanos’ origin wasn’t one that necessarily needed to be told, a mystery is sometimes stronger than full knowledge and that’s doubly true in sci-fi. It's almost as true in comics as well, just look at Bullseye: we STILL know next to nothing about the character, and that’s made him all the more frightening and even interesting, particularly when hints ARE dropped. So if this story is going to be told, it needs to be absolutely astounding, and more importantly: it really should be original. There’s nothing in this story that couldn’t have been almost any villain’s backstory (besides the space travel, which actually isn’t as critical as it sounds since the story could have just as easily taken place on a single planet with a reduced scale). Thanos was simply born bad, seemingly, and besides being an eight-foot tall alien, his back story hasn’t really added anything unique to that situation.

The Verdict

I’ve said before that I’m a huge fan of both Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi, and that continues to hold true, but this book is a rare misstep. Not only is it rote in its execution, it doesn’t really add anything to Thanos as a character. Knowing what we now know doesn’t give us a better understanding of him, either as a man or as a villain and the book is beginning to feel like Dexter in Space with a lot of its tropes. This issue still grinds by on the strength of the art, but unless the next two are absolutely astounding, I can’t see what the purpose of this book has been, and that’s the thing at the end of the day: the book’s not BAD by any stretch, it’s just not adding much.

20 Comments
Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf

I do agree, I find this back story thing to a bit tedious. It's not particularly interesting, aside that it is Thanos we are talking about. While I am reading this title, I read mostly because I enjoy Thanos, not the writing itself. I feel that the pace of the story is too quick and character development is lost because of it.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I have seen reviews. Some people either LOVE this book or some just don't.

Posted by New_World_Order

It's better than what people are saying.

Posted by The Mast

This is so utterly diabolical. It has ruined Thanos for me.

I will forever now see Thanos as someone taking his childhood woes, massively cliched and petty as they are, out on everyone else. Why on EARTH would you take someone who was SO dangerous because he DIDN'T have any love of life and make him have a humanity? It's so dire. Like, making him the bullied kid who is lashing out.

Posted by CheeseSticks

I loved this book and then Thanos killed his wife... Still Thanos is one of the few interesting villain out there.

Posted by Owie

I feel like this book has almost become too creepy for me, somehow. It's just the wrong kind of evil. I kind of want to get the rest to see what they do, but I also feel like I don't really want to stomach any more guts and blood type stuff.

Edited by tigerkaya

Good thing I'm not reading it because this comic sounds awful.

Posted by thanosrules

Heh. I actually loved this issue. It was a turning point for me to rate it higher than the previous two...

It may be my bias as a Thanos fan...

Posted by Killemall

Well i like the comics to be honest, its works for me.

Firstly, look the whole i am evil because i want to be loved, isnt something the writers could have over-looked. Right from the get go, up to Infinity Gauntlet (and few random other series like Avengers: Celestial Quest) was pretty clearly on what Thanos orginal motivation was for being the way he is, love. Has always been.

And i think its justifiable, high school kids do anything to get laid, so is Thanos. I mean can you really say, you would try and destroy an entire solar system, kill half the population of the universe, become god and commit mass murder including your mother and your entire planet to get laid with a skinny old albino chick?

I am happy they didnt include Eros in the series, at least not thus far. Now i understand being a brother and a person he has to deal with every day, one would expect Eros to have a big role. Problem there is, if you go that line, it would seem like Thanos was ugly, everyone hated him and now he is lashing out. Thats not really been Thanos motivation, its pretty much, again till Infinity Gauntlet story arc been about shagging Lady Death, and everything being fair in love and war :p

So i think the series does what it was supposed to do, as far as what does it add to Thanos as a character? Well the series wasnt really aimed at adding anything on Thanos but Marvel trying to introduce Thanos to people who dont know about Thanos, as the demand are skyhigh after Avengers movie.

Posted by old_balls

Ridiculous review, what's not to get? Compelling story that I don't want to end. Both writing and art are incredible, please keep it coming!

Edited by lykopis

I am enjoying it -- the first two issues were better IMO -- this one went far too quickly to the realm of ickyness. I am not convinced of Thanos' reasoning behind why he begins to turn. I was looking forward to understanding how Thanos came to be how he is, but the death aspect in his experiments is too gratuitous and unnecessary. I would have preferred it be shown at the ending of the last book how he began to go in this direction -- this felt too sudden. Plus, you would think the planet would be in a kind of lock-down, considering all the missing people. The inaction because of inexperience (at least, not in recent history since the society is fairly Utopian) doesn't sit well. It felt like some things were left to the wayside that should have been addressed as it took away from the solidness of the previous two books.

Last panel didn't make sense to me either - if anything, it was creepy in the wrong kind of way.

Granted, this makes it sound awful and it isn't, but this was my least favourite of the series so far.

Edited by Killemall

@lykopis: The planet being in lock down thing was actually there in his old chronology, not sure Aaron is going to show that in Thanos Rising. While nobody accused of Thanos or anyone for killing, because the term murder didnt even existed in Titan, in the old chronology Mentor actually calls their so called god, Kronos, because of the sudden disappearances. Among other things , that appearance of Kronos was what led Thanos to blow up the planet.

So Starlin did put that in, lets see if Aaron ignores it. Also it looks more like Thanos has guilt about killing his mother, going by how first story has Thanos visit her grave. Under Starlin there want that element, he actually used to boast around about having killed his mother.

Posted by lykopis

@killemall:

Ah, I see!

I am reading this series almost completely ignorant of Thanos, so what you've told me makes the last issue fit nicely in my mind. Thank you.

Edited by Killemall

@lykopis: No problem, although honestly having read Thanos past issue doesnt really add much. I am quite certain i have read every Thanos appearance thus far, and while few bits and pieces of his origin has been hinted we dont really know anything about how it played out.

Also it should be fun to see how Aaron connects Thanos killing his kids what we know of Thanos in the old continuity. Under Steve Englehart , in issue Avengers: Celestial Quest 08, we know something peculiar about Thanos that most people, even in comicvine, do not. It was revealed in second last issue (EDIT: page), (page 20) that Thanos absolutely hates the idea of sex and reproduction, but how that came to be is still unknown (just gave you the exact issue and page number if you were interested to check it out). I take it the having to kill his wife and kids was sort of homage to that part of Thanos, but whether Aaron connects the dots vividly on panel is yet to be seen.

Posted by lykopis

@killemall:

I will definitely check it out --- are there particular issues I should read that really focus on him outside of this 8 part series?

Posted by Killemall

@lykopis: Well Thanos has a lot of cool series if you wanna read but his history is all over the place.

Thanos first appeared in God Itself story arc, at that time as a pure villain, big , strong, powerful and hell bent on getting more powers. Second appearance was in Magus saga in Adam Warlock issue where he was more of a manipulator than how he was show on the first story. He tricked Adam Warlock by helping him defeat Magus but in doing so manage to take a sample of his gem. It was after this issue his love for Lady Death was properly fleshed out. He then appeared in The final threat as a typical villain who wanted to kill everything for his lover (a little different from his first where he just wanted to become a god).

His character changes from Infinity Gauntlet story arc where he becomes a god with Infinity Gauntlet, and realises the pursuit of power is not his thing, after that he actually becomes sort of an anti hero. He saves the universe from Magus in the next story arc, Infinity Wars, he was instrumental in saving the universe from Goddess in Infinity Crusade. He helped save the universe from a power mad Thor who had acquired infinity power gem during Thor: Blood and Thunder.

Then a new writer comes along and uses Thanos as a villain again, despite him having changed in Infinity Gauntlet, without any explanation whatsoever, during Ka Zar : Mad God on Earth story. Thanos is again potrayed as a power hungry villain in the next series, Thor: Tears of a God.

Then Starlin gets to writer Thanos ago, now he is no longer a villian, nor a hero, he is just a powerful character who is bored and is going around see if he has a worthy opponent to test his power during Cosmic Powers.

So at this point no one is sure whether Thanos is a hero, a villain, or a guy who doesn't give 2 hoots about either.

Avengers: Celestial Quest he saves the universe in the end when Death herself asks him to kill his son, a son born out of unison of mind between Lady Death and Thanos (without them , you know, having gotten physical), similar to the current series assuming this lady turns out to be Lady Death. In sort Death hates Thanos babies :p

Starlin finally gets to writer Thanos against in Infinity Abyss, where he goes so far to retcon hsi previous appearance in Ka Zar and Thor: Tears of a God, showing that after Infinity Gauntlet Thanos no longer is a bad guy and those earlier appearences were apparently "Thanosi" clones Thanos created who gained a mind of their own and went on rampage. Thanos again saves the universe from his most powerful clone he has created till date, called Thanosi: Omega , his version of Galactus, who was twice as powerful as the original one.

This is then followed up by Thanos very own mini series where Thanos goes on trying to make right of bad things he did when he was evil.

The series ended when Starlin had a disagrement with Marvel Editor Tom Brevroot. Starlin wanted to continue Thanos mini having Warlock side by side to him, while Brevroot and marvel had other plans with Warlock and Thanos. Marvel did not agree to what he wanted to do with Thanos and Warlock then and he left marvel (he has been reappointed in Marvel and he is now doing his own series, yet to come out, where he will be writing and drawing the issue on his own, and the editor would be Tom Brevroot. Speculation is this is the same series Starlin always wanted to writer before he had a falling out with Marvel).

So too much information but at this point Thanos was still a reformed bad guy, who was no longer evil and went far enough to try and repent for his sins by helping other.

The next story arc, Annihilation potrayed him very weird, he was neither good nor bad. Then the story arc that followed Thanos Imperative was similar, and both the story ended with Thanos having a hand on everything getting back to normal. Thanos Imperative ended with Thanos trapped permanently in a universe where there was no death, cancerverse. His ultimate punishment, being force to live forever in a universe devoid of death.

Recently Bendis did a story on Thanos where Thanos came to 616, without any information on how he escaped cancerverse, and he was a hard core villain again.

So thats pretty much the whole in-dept Thanos wiki here :p and the weird mocking up with Thanos continuity that followed.

Edited by lykopis

@killemall:

You rock the kasbah. You really, really do!

What a fantastic run-down, thank you (lol - once again) for taking the time to explain Thanos' history to me -- I was always iffy on his character - good guy/bad guy - definitely a tragic figure but talk about being put through the wringer. I kind of like the whole fascination he has with death and wanting nothing to do with creation or life or anything which would affirm that -- only nothingness. I think I can understand why some people are hesitant on having his origins revealed - presenting him as other than the powerful figure he clearly is must take away from the sense of the almost omnipotence of the character. For me, as someone who is reading this mini series from the outside, it's fascinating -- giving him a humble beginning (in a way) makes his character all the more tragic.

So his mother really knew what she was talking about.

What are your thoughts then on what Bendis did to the character, presenting him a villain again? Do you prefer him the way he was left in the cancerverse? (Sorry for bugging you but it's great to get a longtime fan's perspective).

Posted by Killemall

@lykopis: As a Thanos fan i totally wanted Thanos back, i dont mind Thanos being good or evil as long as an explanation comes along.

I actually prefer Thanos as a villain though, more downright terrifying than anything else. I also like how he boasts around a lot, like when he went against Odin Thanos went "Your heavenly status does not impress Thanos of Titan, in the least".

I dont really have a problem with Thanos Rising as a story. I am hoping he respect us long time fan and try and connect the dots that has been left around by Starlin. As Aaron said in the interview, after marvel offered him to write Thanos rising, they had a clause in the contract that required him to read a huge pdf format Thanos booklet of 115 pages , sign off that he has read and understood it, before he can write the story. So no doubt Aaron knows where all the dots and what minor details of his origins have been explained more like in more depth than us fans, i just want him to vividly plot the dots. Try and fill in the gaps.

I dont think the focus is on making Thanos more relate-able, or justify his action, there is no amount of back story they can add to try and justify him killing half the population to make death happy, or murdering an entire planet of so called warriors because he was bored.

The way i see it, after Avengers movie people wanna know about Avengers, this is sort of like prelude to Avengers movie, and for comic fan prelude to the upcoming series Infinity.

Posted by lykopis

@killemall:

I get it. I am just naturally inclined to try and understand the why behind actions of characters -- a reason which can give me a glimpse as to their motivation, but with Thanos, it really is just death.

And oh yes -- when I saw Thanos' face at the end of the movie -- the person who was with me was like "WHO THE F*CK IS THAT" (probably more annoyed from my reaction -- lol) and having to explain a character I barely knew myself to a new comic fan herself was a challenge. But I did know enough about him to be excited.

What had me picking up this mini-series actually was the review G-Man gave the first book. There was such a disparity between some of the posts -- he gave it four stars and some people were disgusted, saying it was way too high and yet there were other just as outraged it wasn't given a full five, as though four was the biggest insult ever.

I figured a fanbase like that might be a good indicator of a character worth reading about. :)

Posted by lykopis

I couldn't find any threads dealing with the final issue of this series so I figured I would bump this one in case there were any comments to be shared.

For me -- it was interesting as I didn't really have much knowledge of the characters before this so I was able to come across each issue a bit fresh. I did enjoy the series a lot, I enjoyed the characters -- have been properly horrified and am convinced this being is insane and incredibly powerful.

Is Death real? According to previous stories she is/was but it was left ambiguous here (although nicely done because an argument can be made for both answers).

All in all, I did enjoy it - the artwork and the story-line. Made me not care for the character as Thanos is just awful, but it made me curious and a bit captivated by him.