Thanos #1 (Marvel Comics)
For the most part, super villain comics don’t usually work. It’s difficult to follow the adventures of a bad guy who’s more than likely going to lose by the series’ end. However, one of the few bright spots of Marvel’s recent output has been their focus on villain-centered comics. Magneto, Carnage, the Kingpin miniseries, and Infamous Iron Man have twisted the idea of who we should be rooting for in a fun way, and now it’s time for Marvel’s biggest bad to get the spotlight. With Jeff Lemire and artist Mike Deodato at the reins, Thanos looks to have all the ingredients to make for a pretty good Marvel series.
Ironically one of the strengths of Thanos is that Jeff Lemire doesn’t get inside the Mad Titan’s head. Instead, Thanos is kept largely to the background. As he makes his way through his former herald’s forces, all we see is Thanos using his power to crush everyone around him. Lemire wisely forgoes having Thanos give grand soliloquies (which is something Thanos isn’t well known for doing anyways) and instead uses the issue to showcase how intimidating Thanos is, something that’s wonderfully subverted by issue’s end. Lemire also peppers in some appearances from some pretty unexpected cosmic Marvel characters, but I won’t spoil them here.
On the art side of things, Thanos is perfectly serviceable, and if it was anyone other than Mike Deodato’s name on the cover, that would be just fine. But Deodato’s name is the one that’s on the cover, and it’s a bit of a step down when compared to his other work. For some reason Deodato, who was known for very detailed panels and characters, has now had his art inked heavily with blacks and dark colors. I’m not sure if it’s a new style Deodato is trying out, or just a way for him to keep up with the pressure of a monthly book, but it’s not doing him any favors.
If you’ve been waiting for The Mad Titan to return to form, then Thanos will probably fit the bill for you. While there’s not a whole lot of ground covered in this opening issue, Lemire and Deodato set the stage for a pretty intriguing premise, and it’ll be interesting to see how other members of the Cosmic side of the Marvel universe will react to learning of Thanos’ new plan. It’s not at the same level as Magneto or Civil War II: Kingpin, but it’s still worth your time if you’re interested.