Welcome to the first Superhero Spotlight, where every week I’ll be giving you a need-to-know on comic book characters from Marvel and DC! This week the title “Superhero Spotlight” is far from suitable for our subject. Standing at 6’7 and weighing in at 981lbs, from the Saturn moon Titan, the Mad Titan himself, Thanos!
He is big, mean and purple, but where did life begin for Thanos? His mother (Sui-San) and father (A’lars/Mentor) were part of the superhuman race called the Eternals; these beings were created by the ancient humanoid alien race known as the Celestials. (You may have spotted one of these Celestials in Guardians of The Galaxy; the Collector’s headquarters are located in one of their body parts.) Thanos was born on Titan, one of the last sons of Sui-San and A’lars. Unlike other Eternals, which were typically human-like and beautiful, Thanos was born misshapen and grotesque. He did, however, inherit the superhuman physiology of all Eternals, giving him superhuman strength, endurance, reflexes, and agility. His skin is almost invulnerable, especially against heat, cold, electricity, radiation, poison, aging, and disease.
Thanos grew up with great sadness, brooding and infatuated with death. He became consumed with personal power, increasing his strength with cybernetic implants until he was the most powerful of his kind. Later, he was exiled from Titan; the reason has always been left to question, although Thanos himself once claimed that he vivisected his own mother in an attempt to discover how someone consumed with death such as himself could have come into existence.
Rejected by his own people, Thanos traveled the universe, growing in power and making a disreputable name for himself. He caught the attention of Death, who appeared to Thanos in the form of a female. She quickly became his ultimate infatuation and he vowed to make himself worthy of her love. To impress Death, Thanos built an army, and under his leadership they terrorized the universe, slaying men, women and children, destroying civilizations and families, until he returned to his home world. This invasion almost destroyed Titan, but finally Thanos declared himself the new ruler of his mother moon. His next move was to seek out the Cosmic Cube, and he was successful, but he was ultimately defeated by Captain Marvel and the Avengers. After his failure he believed Death had rejected him and so he began his quest for the most powerful collection of relics in the universe, the Infinity Gems.
The psychology of Thanos has been explored in many comic books and graphic novels. Was he born evil or did he slowly become the Mad Titan? What happened to him during his early years that turned him into a complete psychopath? Thanos is played by Josh Brolin in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (save The Avengers, where it was Damion Poitier brandishing the trademark grin); he has only made a short list of appearances so far, but his goal is clear: he wants the Infinity Stones (Infinity Gems). We haven’t learned much about the character yet, besides that he conquers and destroys worlds, is a terrible father and is hated by his offspring, so they’re pretty much on track with the Thanos of Marvel Comics. As well as his superhuman abilities and invulnerable skin, Thanos has an extremely powerful mind. It can withstand most forms of psychic attack and project a psionic blast of energy, as well as blasts of plasma/cosmic energy from his eyes and hands. And did I mention he can go without food and water?
The bottom line is, Thanos is the embodiment of pure evil. He has no regrets, he does not feel sympathy for his victims, and he takes pleasure in destroying life. Get prepared for Infinity War, boys and girls, because Thanos will be like no other villain we have seen in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War will be released May 4th US/April 27th UK 2018.