In this final issue in the mini-series, Thanos returns to his home, Titan, and lays waste to it, killing everyone including a face-to-face confrontation with his dismayed father. That’s pretty much it, his origin is complete. Aaron does one thing differently in his take on the character and that’s regarding Mistress Death – at the end of it all, Thanos rejects Death and looks to the future, alone. It’s an important distinction because up until then, Thanos’ main motivation, besides the accumulation of power, had been an obsession with Death. That said, Thanos rejecting Death has been done before in the sequels to The Infinity Gauntlet so even this isn’t a new aspect to the Thanos story.
Thanos Rising had the potential to be a great mini-series, re-introducing the character to a new audience, eager to understand this strange, purple monster in preparation for the upcoming Marvel movies he’ll feature in. And putting Jason Aaron in charge of the project, one of the greatest comics writers working today, on it? It seemed like a sure thing. Instead, Thanos Rising has been predictable, dull, and actually made the character less interesting than he previously was, which is something of a disservice both to the character and to the new readers who’re encountering Thanos for the first time.
Thanos was a wonderfully batty creation (by the equally wonderfully batty Jim Starlin) who was this cosmic god after more and more power, loved being the villain, and wanted only to get off with his girlfriend, Mistress Death. In Aaron’s hands Thanos has been reduced to an ordinary crazy serial killer, who had a lonely childhood, grew up to be a lonely adult, and went off the deep end when his cock-tease girlfriend refused to sleep with him until he’d killed enough for her. Aaron’s Thanos is just sad. The joie de vivre that was Thanos is gone and now we have a rather drab, miserable character. Marvel couldn’t leave Starlin’s over the top and silly version of Thanos alone? It was miles better than the Thanos presented in this mini-series!
Artistic styles come down to personal taste but I still find Simone Bianchi’s art to be flat and lifeless, although it matches Aaron’s script perfectly in those qualities. The characters have looked appropriately alien but otherwise there hasn’t been a whole lot to say about Bianchi’s treatment of Aaron’s writing. Decent? Ok? Certainly nothing that has particularly stood out or has made me re-evaluate my opinions of Bianchi’s style.
I really like Jason Aaron’s work (Scalped is a masterpiece) but his Marvel stuff has been very hit or miss. Wolverine and the X-Men is generally unassailable but Thanos Rising? Not at all likeable. It’s a series that didn’t add anything to the character and spent five issues spinning its wheels. Worse is that it wasn’t even entertaining, it was like a dreary recitation of facts and events rather than a halfway interesting story – an absolutely appalling result when you consider Thanos is the main character. Thanos Rising is frankly a waste of time and felt like nothing more than a cash grab exploiting the character’s newfound interest. Readers looking to find out who Thanos is would do far better to pick up Starlin’s classic Infinity Gauntlet than this disappointing effort from Aaron and Bianchi.
Thanos Rising #5 by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi is out now
This article was first posted on August 30, 2013