By: Jason Aaron (Writer), Simone Bianchi (Artist), Ive Svorcina (Colorist)
The Story: Thanos grows tired of school and a lot that entails to it as he tries to make his own discoveries at his own paces, leading to some revelations about just what kind of a person he is.
The Review: These are strange times for Jason Aaron. With multiples series written by him coming out at the moment, we are treated to superb books like Thor: God of Thunder or to books that are struggling like Wolverine and the X-Men. This mini-series about Thanos, though, has been unfortunately much more akin to the latter, with the first issue of this mini-series being kind of a letdown. Considering the talent behind it, can this issue redeem the direction and the general atmosphere that we know both the artist and writer can deliver?
In some ways, this issue does give us a little bit more of the Thanos we grew up to love in the classic stories featuring him, albeit not completely. With the more innocent age of Thanos being done with, we see him during his teenage years, having grown much more as a scientist and into a much colder person, thanks in no small part to some self-loathing and to his unending quest to discover just who he is and why he is so unique. In a way, it seems like a smart choice to make him grow from innocence to the inevitable madness, but it’s not exactly done perfectly. While it seems that the goal, at first, was to sympathize with the pleas of Thanos in the first issue, this approach is quickly thrown away as we are shown just how the killing of all the lizards and the deaths of his friend years ago has affected him. While I am a bit torn at whether I appreciate this approach to Thanos, a character I love, I can’t say that the vision and the development here is wrong or done in a bad way.
What I can tell was done quite right, though, was adding to the creepiness of the whole issue. This is the story of the Mad Titan we are talking about here, a genocidal maniac who will commit absolute destruction on the universe. The actions and the reasoning behind them are horrific, yet it fits a lot more the character than what we had seen prior. There was one spot I particularly liked about his growing vision on murder and the implication it has on his mind. On Titan, no one has ever committed murder, yet Thanos did, multiple times in fact. Just the fact that this is affecting him and that he thinks that he should just stop from doing all his experiments because of it is an actually smart scene, playing with the very concept of a monstrous being in paradise.
What’s less smart, though, would be the very unsubtle way that Aaron writes the female character accompanying Thanos in all his ventures. While it may be much too soon to properly know just who she is, it seems pretty obvious as to her identity, considering her dialogue and her interactions with Thanos, always encouraging him to be what he is and to continue doing what he seems to be enjoying, which is connected to killing others. The character has some kind of presence, yet never seems to do something that is absolutely relevant to the story. She is there, serves as commentary, yet does not do much of about anything to let us delve even further into Thanos. She serves the plot and that’s pretty much it which is a shame.
What also kind of a mix between shameful and gorgeous would be Simone Bianchi’s art, who works pretty well with some of the creepy stuff from the script. Thanos laboratory, the architecture, the furniture and the designs are all especially detailed and are given enough space in each panel to let us appreciate them without sacrificing anything from the story itself. Most of the panelling here is also quite inventive and well-thought out giving us something very dynamic to look at. What is of lesser quality, though, would be the faces of the various characters. Simply put, there are way too many lines here, making some of the details hard to see or just plain impossible to appreciate. Granted, not all the faces are like that, but for characters like Thanos and the weird girl beside him, major characters in this story, it is a bit sad to see their face being so full of lines that are jumbled together.
What gives this story a big boost in the artistic portion of the whole deal is Ive Svorcina, who does the colorization. The touches he add to the panels, be it the red skies of Titan, the green and glowing jar of Thanos laboratory, are just plain fantastic. The light and gore effect are also to be commended, as he seems to add just the right colors for the right kind of feeling or emotion that makes the art much more potent.
The Conclusion: With the story taking up a bit in pacing and the general feeling of creepiness adding a lot to the book overall, this issue improves the overall quality of the series so far. While Bianchi seems to have some trouble with some of the faces, he still manages to bring a good deal of alien designs to life thanks to his lines and the colors of Ive Svorcina.
Hugo Robberts Larivière