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Supervillain Origins: Thanos

VO: Dan
He is the Marvel universe’s most powerful, ambitious and intelligent foe, obsessed with destroying all life in the cosmos. A popular villain, he has crossed over into many Marvel comic storylines since his debut, before becoming showcased as the next threat the Avengers will face on the silver screen. Join as we explore the comic book origins of Thanos.

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Supervillain Origins: Thanos

He is best known as the Mad Titan. Welcome to and today we’ll be exploring the comic book origins of Thanos.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1973’s Iron Man #55, which was expanded upon in 1973’s Captain Marvel #28.

Thanos is part of an ancient race known as the Deviants. The Deviants are an offshoot of the Eternals, who are a race of perfect godlike beings that were created by 2000 ft. tall armored space gods, known as the Celestials. As mutants, the Deviants inherited the Eternals godlike powers, but lacked their perfect looks and noble spirit.

Born on Saturn’s moon of Titan to an Eternal King, Thanos was a prince and one of the few to inherit the Deviant gene. Despite his hide-like skin and abilities that surpassed the other residents of Titan, he was treated fairly by his family. However, he grew increasingly feared by the peaceful and prosperous civilization in which he lived. Eventually, he came to realize how different he was from those around him, especially his adored brother Eros, who would later become a member of the Avengers under the name Starfox.

Becoming increasingly distant, Thanos soon found an unshakeable interest to the opposites of the virtues that the Eternals stood for, namely nihilism and death. This interest came to a head when he discovered a forgotten subterranean temple. Therein Thanos happened upon the physical embodiment of death, who appeared as a shadowy mistress. Falling in love with her, he became determined to prove his love for Death by destroying all life.

In the years that followed, Thanos began adapting bionic implants and learning forbidden mysticism to build a weapon. When his father discovered this, he was exiled from Titan.

Filled with hatred and a growing sense of ambition, he traveled through space, acquiring vast knowledge and amassing an army of hostile aliens. Meanwhile, his mutation allowed him to absorb cosmic rays, and this made him into the most powerful of the Titans: capable of such feats as telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation and force field projection. Eventually, he soon launched a nuclear attack on his home moon, killing millions, including his mother. His father and brother happened to be off world at the time and escaped the holocaust.

Becoming the ruler of what was left of Titan, he was labeled the “The Mad Titan”, He continued to seek a way to prove his devotion to Death while traveling the cosmos in his spaceship “Sanctuary II”. This included pillaging countless worlds, acquiring new technologies, vast resources and a greater legion of followers.

However, he was soon pursued by Drax the Destroyer, a being charged with slaying him for his crimes against the universe. During their battle Drax was incapacitated and would only be revived when Thanos fixed his attention on conquering Earth, allowing Iron Man to revive Drax with a burst of energy.

Remaining a constant threat to Earth, Thanos has regularly faced many of Earth’s superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and the Avengers. He has similarly worked alongside several supervillains to seek out tools to obliterate the Universe. These have included the Cosmic Cube, known in 2012’s Avengers movie as the Tesseract.

The Marvel universe’s most powerful, ambitious and intelligent foe, Thanos has crossed over into many Marvel comic storylines since his debut. A foe unlike any other, he has since been revealed to be the next threat the Avengers will face on the silver screen.

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