Writer: Donny Cates
Penciller: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 1/24/18
Plot: The Mad Titan has come to an age old future mirrored image of himself. Initially, he can’t fathom what he’s become. A being begging for the help of another? Even if that other being is his younger self? Despite the power sweltering off of this last cosmic god, he won’t accept it… until he sees her. In Thanos #15, Thanos and his older self ready themselves for the coming of a being who has survived his wrath. A herald known only as “The Fallen One.”
Story: When I really peruse through all of my thoughts about Marvel’s current books, and some of the best work that they are putting out, one of the books that always comes to mind is Thanos. Until around three issues ago, the series was being written by Jeff Lemire, which was so amazing that it seemed like anyone who followed would pale in comparison. Then Donny Cates asked us to hold his beer. His take on the deviant Eternal is just as well done as any of the past if not, I dare say, better. And this is not to diminish the work of others. Throughout time, Thanos has had some spectacular writing done by some beyond capable individuals. Cates continues that trend
The opening narrative concerning the Ghost Rider and his soul-staggering Penance Stare and what it does to even the darkest of beings was beautifully macabre poetry. It was then followed up with a spread of Thanos’ most maleficent deeds and how the most heinous villain in the universe should have felt the effects of the stare with an effect so withering that he may be burnt from existence by his own cruel corruption. But instead, he smiles. He revels in it and refers to it as “beauty.” It is then revealed that the older Thanos, that has lived to the end of time, has done this every morning before breakfast. That alone should slay us all by effect of pure fear.
Characterization is also key here, as well as character development, not just in the sense of the story we are reading but the life story that the older Thanos gives to the younger one. It’s an interesting exploration of his character. In prior issues of Thanos, it was alarming that he seemed to finally be casting Mistress Death aside as his primary endeavor. But with the Penance Stare and the wisdom of his older self who’d come to terms with the fact that he’d always be “her fool,” we find that he will never get over death. It is simply an aspect of his character that can never be unwritten.
We also get another fun couple of tidbits here. The first is that the Hulk is still around. He’s Thanos’ dog, and acts as such. He also apparently ate Captain America. The thought alone is gruesome enough to give us the shivers, especially when it seems that the Captain lost his “bearing” beforehand. Secondly, we found that the Ghost Rider was not at all who anyone I spoke to about, thought he was. That’s a mark of good writing if you ask me. I spoke to several people, many of whom are in the #doyouevencomicbook community, about who the Rider might be. Most of them answered with a resolute “Deadpool”. I won’t tell you who it is, because you need to read this for yourself, but I’ll give you a hint- It’s not Deadpool.
Art: Donny Cates is a beast, but when we are talking about a powerhouse creative team, the first thing people see, before the words, is the art. Geoff Shaw is a phenomenal! The detail in his work is worthy of a character and writer as superlative as this. The page featuring the skull of the rider is packed full of great detail. In addition, the colors and inking marked by dark shadows, that somehow fail to overpower the vibrancy of the high-level coloring work perfectly for this book. The Thanos on Thanos expression and the detail of the years separating them is worthy of applause. I don’t know that many creative teams can stack up to this one.
Verdict: Thanos is without a doubt one of Marvel’s best books, and Thanos #15 is another entertaining issue that leaves us just begging for the next one. With spot on characterization, great storytelling in art and narrative, and a plot that keeps us on our toes, it is one of the best reads on the comic racks today. I implore you to go pick this up.
Star Rating: 5 out of 5