By: Jason Aaron (Writer), Simone Bianchi (Artist), Simone Peruzzi (Colorist)
The Story: Thanos reminds himself of his youth as we are told the circumstances of his birth and his early years.
The Review: Who doesn’t love Thanos? Most comic’s fan, when asked that question, would probably have no idea just who could truly dislike this character, citing Infinity Gauntlet, Annihilation, The Thanos Imperative amongst classic stories involving the genocidal psychopath in love with Death. With such a pedigree behind the character, we always knew that when that character shows up, the stakes were high and that we would see some truly memorable things happen.
However, what exactly do we know about Thanos, beside the obvious? With a big appearance of about five seconds in the post-credit scene of The Avengers, a lot of new readers might be curious as to who that big ominous character was, which is most assuredly one of the main reason this series was created in the first place. Still, is there enough here to satisfy both new readers and old fans alike?
The answer would be a mixed bag, actually, as I am rather unsure about the whole quality of this issue. On the old fan side (the one I am on), there is just not nearly enough to truly please, nor is there quite a lot of what we love about the character. I do understand that this is Thanos childhood we are talking about here, as he was not born with intents of genocide in his mind. What we see here is the more innocent version of his youth, with him being uncertain and a bit uncertain around others. While this does make sense, I have to say some choices around the character and what happens to him is destroying a little bit of what makes the character so great. Here, he seems to be manipulated by elements he has no control over, which kinds of make him a victim here rather than a mastermind, which makes his future something that isn’t his choice at all. This diminishes the character a bit, considering how utterly manipulative, intelligent and downright confident he is later. Here, Thanos is like a little puppet, manipulated by fate.
Even though I seem overly negative about the whole thing, there are pleasing elements as well to be found in this comic. The fact that Thanos mother turned insane upon seeing him is a nice touch, as if she knew just what kind of destiny her son had was too much for her to bear. There is also the fact that in his youth, a little girl (whom I strongly suspect to be Death) already has some interest toward his destiny, giving him a taste of what violence and murder is like. Aaron also does wonder with some of the more alien parts of Titan’s society, depicting the children to be utterly interested in Thanos because of the fact that he is different, almost ugly when compared to the beauty and almost perfection of everyone else. Despite some of the questionable choices set in this issue, there is still some stuff to like here.
However, will new readers find much to like here as well? This comic, and let’s not fool ourselves, was made mostly for their sake, as old fans know exactly who Thanos is and why we do love him. I’d have to say that as an introduction, it does its job rather well, if not with originality. A young kid that has a crazy and absent mother with a father too caught up in his own work to properly care for his genius of a son is something we have seen quite a lot in comics or in a lot of other piece of popular culture. Cue in the mysterious girl and the mention of destiny and voila, you have your first piece of an origin. For new readers, this issue shall do its job and properly introduce them to the mad titan, even though they will not know better about why he is so loved in the first place.
Something that should please both new readers and old fans alike would be Simone Bianchi art, bringing a sense of grim grandeur with every page and every panel. He brings with him a certain tone that fits perfectly well with the whole atmosphere around Thanos and Titan. While I have to say his young Thanos is a little bit wonky, I can assuredly say that he rocks pretty much everything else, be it the backgrounds, the weird technology of Titan along with some of the more human-like characters. He is helped in part by Simone Peruzzi that works wonderfully well with Bianchi’s style. His colors are bright and alien, which is exactly the type of colorization this book needs.
The Conclusion: Even though there is some lovely art here, this first issue is off to a rocky start, as it does not do much for the old fans and does not show the reasons why this character is so beloved to begin with for new readers. With some questionable choices added in the mythos, it is hard to see whether this will succeeds, even with some nice moments being brought up once in a while.
Hugo Robberts Larivière