Writer: Jeff Lemire
Penciller: Germán Peralta
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 5/31/17
Thanos has been building toward an epic confrontation and the payoff finally happens in the seventh book of Jeff Lemire’s incredible entry into the Mad Titan’s newest new book. Thane arrives onto the cosmic scene with a thunderous entrance that is sure to create a swarm of new enemies out to stop Death’s vengeful retribution upon her former lover. This book is a masterpiece for Lemire and Thanos alike.
As Thane’s assembled warriors learn of his treachery, they aim to prevent him and Terrax from unleashing the power of the Phoenix force on the world. Death is less concerned with the effects it could have on Earth and more concerned with the pain it will cause Thanos. To be sure, Thane is able to unleash a fury of hell upon Thanos and it only serves to enhance his ego, which hasn’t fallen too far from the tree that bore his father’s ego. Like father, like son; the hatred that flows from Thanos is a fraction of the hatred that flows through through Thane.
Plot: Thoenix, my portmanteau for Thane and Phoenix Force, is about as deadly as you’d imagine it being. Thane wields the power with the hatred of a Sith dealing in absolutes; ready to kill and absorb the throne. Thanos, now powerless and hanging on by a thread, is left to survive by killing Mugrats and devouring their carcasses. Even the Mugrats prove to be taxing for Thanos, as his power is drained and his survival skills are being pushed to their limits.
Even as the Mad Titan hangs on by the skin of his teeth, there are those who would relieve him of his possessions. Beaten and left to die, Thanos is saved by a group of people who would, in another time and place, be all too happy to kill him. Nebula, Tryco, and Starfox arrive on the scene to prevent any further damage and enlist his aid in taking down Thane, now empowered by the Phoenix Force and aided by Death.
Story: Jeff Lemire has been building toward this moment for some time. There was always going to be a point where Thanos and Thane met and the balance of power was shifted to the younger Inhuman. How Lemire was going to build the story into a tale that left the reader satisfied, whether or not it was done in a manner that built these characters to a point where the reader was yearning for more, was always going to be the most difficult part of Lemire’s narrative. This is where Lemire needed to and did deliver.
Destruction, death, and absorption of power is status quo for Thanos, but crafting a plot that makes the reader care about the villain is harder. This is where Lemire proved he has the chops as a writer to deliver a classic Thanos narrative that evolved him into something so much more. Thanos has always had multiple layers to his personality, capable of being a hero and a villain, and Lemire made sure to interweaving these personality traits into a wonderfully crafted narrative. If there was ever a doubt that Lemire was capable of adding to the legend and lore of one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains of all time, those doubts were laid to rest with this story.
Art: Germán Peralta and Rachelle Rosenberg filled in wonderfully for Mike Deodato and Frank Martin. The book looked exactly the same, but afforded each artist the ability to be their own person and draw their own version of the character. The fight scenes between Thanos and the Mugrats were wonderfully detailed, capturing the stress and strain the Mad Titan was undergoing as he was dying. If we’re to believe that the end is nigh for Thanos, these scenes were drafted with his pain and death in mind.
It’s never easy to step in, take over someone else’s work, and deliver a quality that matches what the book has already delivered. Peralta and Rosenberg admirably recreated an environment and look that delivered on every front. It’s a difficult ask, but these two went above and beyond in a way that isn’t often done. If they are taking over for Martin and Deodato, the book is going to be in capable and talented hands. The emotion they were able to create was rich and elaborate, delivering the pain and agony of a fall befitting a Titan.
Verdict: Thanos continues to be a series worth picking up on a weekly basis. Jeff Lemire has created a detailed story, richly drawing on the background of the Mad Titan. It’s never easy to tackle a Marvel legend and deliver something worthy of his name. Lemire handles this process as though he was born to do so, deftly tackling subject matter that builds upon his rich and illustrious background. This book handles the aftermath of weighty battle and does so elegantly and colorfully. — JW
Rating: 4/5 Stars