Review and summary of Thanos (2016) by Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato.
Spoiler Free Review
Out of all of the Marvel characters I’ve read I only come back to a few of them. Thanos has several good runs that I’ve encountered before so I figured a run penned by the incredible Jeff Lemire would be great. Alas, it’s simply neither the character’s nor the author’s best.
The 12 issues that Lemire wrote rely on the simple premise that Thanos is dying. In his weakened state it should be possible to finally kill him. Members of his own family are the first to line up for the job.
His brothers Starfox (Eros) and Thane recruit daughter Nebula and not relative Tryco Slatterus to gang up on the sick god and end him for good. The three relatives all have very strong reasons to want him dead, Slatterus is just along for the ride as a favor. Also, don’t confuse Starfox with Star Lord.
Now, who in the galaxy is Tryco Slatterus? I thought I had never heard of this character before and after a little research I realized it once again comes down to being super familiar with the celestial side of Marvel. He’s an Elder of the Universe who was actually in Thanos Quest, which I did read, but I guess I forgot about him. Oops.
Apparently he has a huge power set and is actually immortal but this book portrays him as just an average strong dude. I’m disappointed that someone who could wield the Power Gem didn’t actually get any action here.
Actually, there’s very little action in general in Thanos (2016). Pairing that with one of the weaker philosophies I’ve seen in a Thanos run and it’s a very meh comic. It’s somewhat interesting, always feels like it’s building to something, but ultimately ends with the standard comic book ending of everything returning to exactly as it was before the plot started. Sigh, nothing means anything in Marvel, I’m so bored of it.
This run is par for the course the whole way through. Lady Death is manipulative of Thanos, Nebula is rightfully cranky, there are some space characters (cosmic coven?) I’ve never heard of before, and lots of pretty galactic colors. If you already like this section of Marvel go ahead and enjoy, otherwise give it a pass.
3/5 lady deaths 💀💀💀
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Thanos (2016) Summary
Jeff Lemire’s Thanos (2016) all hinges on the premise that Thanos is dying. He needs to be weakened for any conflict to occur so we get that out of the way up front.
Thanos returns to to take back an empire that was once his. Tryco Slatterus was sent by Thane, brother of Thanos, to get Starfox, aka Eros, aka brother of Thanos, to join their cause in defeating him once and for all.
Starfox goes on to recruit Nebula, daughter of Thanos. Concluding the family tree we have Thanos visiting his own father seeking help with his whole dying situation. The father refuses to help him even when he threatens to destroy the entire moon they live on. His father clearly has every reason to wish him dead.
Father tells him that he has some sort of god cancer that he wouldn’t be able to cure in time. In response to this reasonable statement Thanos kills him. There is no grey morality with this version, he is just big evil bad guy.
Issue 4 sends us on a flashback to Thane and Tryco meeting in prison. They become friends and help each other stay sane. Lady Death arrives to help Thane get free and kill Thanos. He tells Tryco he’ll free him too if he agrees to help as well. Easy decision.
In the present the group is forming their plan. Lady Death reveals the future to Thane, shows him that in one week Thanos will be defeated.
Due to his war crimes across the galaxy Thanos has been arrested and is being held in an intergalactic superjail. Of course he intends to fight his way out.
Meanwhile, Thane leads his team to a different prison. They thought they were going to kill the bad guy but he actually brought them to the holding place of the Phoenix Force. He intends to become Phoenix and gain the power he always wished he had.
He succeeds and him and Lady Death head off for the showdown. In classic overconfident fashion he beats Thanos down but doesn’t fully kill him, leaves him to die with little power remaining. Obviously, this means he will live.
Starfox, Tryco, and Nebula rescue him after deciding that a weak Thanos is better than Thane with the Phoenix Force. He did betray their trust after all.
Thanos convinces them that the only way to win is to help him regain his strength. To do this they must go visit the cosmic coven so they travel through a black hole to the inverted world.
Issue 9 takes an odd detour to a sexy interlude with Nebula and Tryco while they wait for Thanos to complete his trial.
In his mental trial he is part of the Avengers. He has it great being a hero but he is untempted by this life and breaks the trial so he can be evil again. Success? Back in reality he attacks Starfox and returns to full power. Phoenix Thane catches up and is attacking Nebula and Tryco so they make the decision to flee and leave the others behind.
Now with full power Thanos easily captures Thane and brings him to the coven. They’re not fans of the Phoenix Force for some reason so they poof it away and throw him into his own trial.
In a vain attempt to stay on the side of power Lady Death snuggles up to Thanos and says she actually did it all for him. He rejects her for once and resumes his life like none of this happened.
Starfox, Tryco, and Nebula are abandoned with no way home.
The series continues but without Jeff Lemire. This is where I shall leave you hanging because I had no interest in continuing the series. Lemire is a strong author but this isn’t his best and I don’t care enough to keep reading this particular run. Sorry.