Since making his live-action debut in the Marvel Studios movie, avengers infinity war, Thanos has become one of the most well-known villains in the Marvel Universe. However, Thanos’ dense history of him as a dangerous tyrant with no qualms about taking a life goes back many years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a twinkle in the eye of Marvel Studios.
Thanks to majorly influential comic writers like Jim Starlin and Ron Marz, Thanos went into his live-action debut as someone who was already one of the most dangerous villains in Marvel comics, having made numerous iconic appearances.
10 Thanos Saw The Future In Thanos Wins
One of the most interesting and recent comics involving Thanos is Donny Cates’ Thanos wins. In this comic, Thanos is transported to the future where an older version of himself has taken absolute control over all reality (a goal he’d hoped to achieve since acquiring the Infinity Gems). In the future, Thanos learns how the even-further-into-the-future version of himself, who goes by King Thanos, has killed nearly every living thing in the galaxy, yet still struggles to win the favor of Lady Death. This storyline also served as the comic debut for Cosmic Ghost Rider, who’s a fan-favorite version of Ghost Rider.
9 Thanos Outsmarted Mephisto In Silver Surfer Volume 3
Before the official launch of infinity gauntlet, the iconic storyline that depicted Thanos destroying half the universe’s population with the snap of his fingers, Thanos roamed the cosmos in search of all five Infinity Gems. After acquiring all five gems and trapping the souls of Silver Surfer and Drax The Destroyer inside the Soul Gem in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #45, Thanos is suddenly confronted by the demonic entity, Mephisto.
To distract Thanos and steal the Infinity Gauntlet, Mephisto tricks Thanos into astrally projecting his soul out of his physical body, leaving the Gauntlet open for the taking. Anticipating the deception, Thanos suddenly returns to his body and strangles Mephisto into submission.
8 Thanos Was A Hero In The Thanos Imperative
The Thanos Imperative is a six-issue miniseries that tells the story of Marvel’s Cancerverse, which is an alternate universe where the forces of life defeated death, resulting in the entire universe becoming zombie-like beings. In the series, which includes appearances from other cosmic Marvel A-listers like Starlord and Nova, the critical point revolves around an inevitable battle between the 616 universe’s Thanos and the Cancerverse’s Lord Mar-Vell: an evil version of Captain Marvel. This book places Thanos in a unique position when he becomes the de facto hero of the central Marvel universe.
7 Thanos Fought An Ancient Pharaoh In The End
Published in 2003, Marvel Universe: The End is a six-issue limited series that outlines the origin of the Celestials and how they harnessed the Heart of the Universe to bring peace to reality. As part of the plan to ensure stability, the Celestials bestowed a portion of the Heart’s power to the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, Akhetan. However, rather than using his power from him for peace, Akhetan was corrupted and went on a rampage through time, killing numerous heroes.
As a result, villains like Thanos and Doctor Doom teamed up to take on the growing threat of Akhetan.
6 Thanos Fought Captain Marvel In The Thanos War
When it comes to rivalries in Marvel Comics, few are as personal as the one between Thanos and the original Captain Marvel, Marv-Ell. In the storyline, during Captain Marvel Vol 1, issues 25 through 33, Thanos tries to find the Cosmic Cube before Captain Marvel confronts him. Immediately realizing Thanos’s high level of ambition and top-tier physical strength, Captain Marvel recognizes him as a villain whose threat level will only increase. Though this wasn’t Thanos’ comic debut, it’s the first time Marvel fans got a taste of the modern concepts Thanos is primarily known for.
5 Thanos Showed Empathy In The Death Of Captain Marvel
In a rare moment of empathy, Thanos guided his rival, Captain Marvel, to Death after Marv-Ell was diagnosed with cancer. In The Death of Captain Marvel, Thanos introduces Marv-Ell to Lady Death, the physical embodiment of death who’ll serve as the bridge to the afterlife. After sharing some calming words, the three walk hand-in-hand to the end of life, all the way to death’s doorstep.
This moment is exceptionally interesting for Thanos as it’s one of the few times he’s displayed legitimate empathy for a rival of his, showing how he also fears the unknown aspects of death.
4 Thanos Was Resurrected In Rebirth Of Thanos
To correct the significant imbalance of life in the universe, Death resurrected Thanos in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #34. Serving as a prelude to the iconic infinity gauntlet event, the Rebirth of Thanos storyline depicts the Silver Surfer attempting to intervene as Lady Death and Thanos slowly gain momentum in their ultimate goal to wipe out half of all living beings in the universe. In the storyline, Thanos roams the cosmos in search of all five Infinity Gems, and he eventually battles it out for possession of the Soul Gem.
3 Thanos Teamed Up With Adam Warlock In The Magus Saga
Thanos revisited his role as an anti-hero when he teamed up with Adam Warlock to take on Warlock’s future self. In the storyline, which occurred in Strange Tales issues 178 through 181 and warlock issues 9 through 11, Adam Warlock encounters the Magus, who’s the ruler of an oppressive, religious empire. As a result, Adam suspects that Magus is the dark side of himself.
Along the way, Thanos recognizes the extreme threat posed by the Magus and joins forces with Adam to destroy his evil self. This storyline further displays Thanos’ high intellect of him, showing how he does n’t let his desires for evil get in the way of survival.
two Thanos Allied With Annihilus In Annihilation
Considered Marvel’s best cosmic event in recent history, Annihilation was preluded with storylines for a host of cosmic Marvel characters, such as Thanos, Nova, and Silver Surfer, which eventually culminated in one massive cross-over story. At the beginning of the cross-over story, Thanos kidnaps Moondragon, the daughter of Drax, and tells Drax that if he continues to pursue him, he will kill her. Shortly after, Thanos allies himself with Annihilus and imprisons Galactus, turning him into a massive weapon. When Thanos learns how Annihilus plans to destroy all life in the universe, he plots to betray him by unleashing Galactus upon him and his army of him.
1 The Infinity Gauntlet Is What Thanos Is Known For
infinity gauntlet isn’t just the primary inspiration for the Marvel Studios film infinity war, it’s also one of the most respected comic books ever made. From an iconic creative team of Jim Starlin and George Perez, infinity gauntlet encapsulated the entire Marvel universe into the conclusion of Thanos’ rebirth storyline. In the comic, a massive team of Marvel heroes takes on Thanos after he wipes out half of the universe’s living beings. Taking on the combined strength of the Avengers, X-men, and the duo of Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer, Thanos proves himself as one of the most powerful villains in comics.
NEXT: Silver Surfer’s 10 Best Villains
10 Comic Book Characters You Didn’t Know Were Based On Historical Figures
About The Author