The Mad Titan stands centre stage...but at what cost?
I am a big fan of Jason Aaron, so I'll say that off the bat.
In fact, his writing is the sole reason this didn't get a lower rating than three stars. I can appreciate the writing was GOOD. I've never been a fan of Simone Bianchi's art, but it's serviceable, I suppose. So, if I have good to say, why was I sorely disappointed and let down by this issue?
Thanos is one of my absolute favourite Marvel villains of all time. He's up there with Dr. Doom and The Kingpin. He's probably one of my favourites overall. That is precisely why I look upon stories involving him with a way more critical eye than others may. This issue was a huge, collossal misstep in how to handle Thanos.
What we get here is an origin issue. Origin issues are a curious animal for many a comic fan, but this one is particularly nauseating. Not because the writing, or even the art, fall below par. It's the choice of story that bothers me. Some say that no beings are born evil, but are simply made that way by the world around them or circumstances they encounter. As true as that may be, this isn't the real world. I don't believe Thanos is the way he is because of any other reason than him being an evil being. I believe he does what he does because he loves to do it.
This issue feeds us the story of a young Thanos being bullied and eventually coerced into lashing out. That, to me, totally demeans Thanos. It makes him approachable and vulnerable to humanity and reason. This is not the Thanos that makes for a crushing, ominous villain. Darth Vader stopped being the big bad boss when he picked up the Emperor. Except where Darth Vader did it at the end as a sense of redemption, this is presented to us as the reason Thanos is the way he is, and I simply do not buy that.
At the very least, that is not why he is how he is NOW. He has had plenty of time to make his choices and he has made them. Even if this was the initial reason for him being disgruntled, depicting it in a story simply portrays Thanos as someone not beyond saving, and that makes him less fearsome.