Thanos’ pursuit of the Infinity Stones has always defined him. Carl explores his quest for domination in Stuart Moore’s Mad Titan adventure from Titan Books
I love the books of the Marvel universe. Every comic book fan should lap up the Titan published novels. There’s so many out on the market now that almost every fan is catered for. Whether it be Spider-Man, The X-Men, Captain Marvel or The Avengers, there’s always one ready for reader consumption regarding our beloved heroes. However, Titan has started to publish commissioned novels about the villains too. And Thanos takes centre stage in Death Sentence. And wow, he makes for a thrilling story and one that had me hooked from page one.
Thanos: Death Sentence | By Stuart Moore (Publisher: Titan Books)
Author Stuart Moore has an impressive pedigree when it comes to writing novels of this type. He also wrote Civil War which is one of the best Marvel books ever published and one that I enjoyed immensely. Moore also has written Web Of Spider-Man, Namor and Wolverine Noir so knows his subjects and topics extremely well. Any author can take these characters and write them into a novel with varying degrees of success but Moore is always exemplary with his novels and here he proves to be no different. Who would ever have expected for the big bad of the Marvel universe to become a character that we feel sorry for or root for during this book? Moore manages to do it in some style and by bringing in three of the other villains from Thanos’ world, Moore has created a novel of extreme enjoyment.
The story starts as it means to go on. It begins with the death of Thor. Yes, the Norse god is killed within the first paragraph. He doesn’t make it past the first page! Thanos is battling with many of the heroes from the MCU in space and all fall before him. Spider-man is destroyed. The Guardians Of The Galaxy are turned to ashes. The Hulk is dispatched with ease. The X-Men fall to him and his infinity gauntlet. Even Captain Marvel doesn’t stand a chance against him. On Earth, Tony Stark watches helplessly as an attack on S.H.I.E.L.D kills Reed Richards. There is only one hope for the entire universe. Stark must enter space and communicate with Thanos’ grandfather, the titan Kronos. He has to free him with the hope that he can stop Thanos from destroying everyone and everything. A titan against a titan. Kronos confronts his grandson head-on and manages to destroy him, reversing Thanos’ destruction and bringing back the vanquished heroes from the dead.
Thanos’ reign of destruction is his attempt to get back into the good graces of his mistress, Death, who he has been courting with forever. Mistress Death though ignores him and his pleas. Nothing he does to attract her attention and earn her favour is ever acknowledged. However, Thanos is brought to a crossroads, a waiting room of death if you will. He is confronted by the spirit of his dead mother who Thanos murdered in his reign of interplanetary destruction. His mother accuses him of many things, all of which Thanos cannot deny. But it is here that Thanos is granted a chance of gaining Mistress Death’s favour. He is confronted by the infinity wardrobe. As he steps through it, he is transported to another planet, in a different body, and has to find his own path forward. In his first incarnation, he appears on the planet Sacrosanct as Nil, a labourer. Even though he has no memory of it, he is on a chain gang for stealing a shipment that was bound for the church. On the gang is a female, Felina, who has been convicted of attacking a church official after he became a little too amorous and strong-arming for her liking. A rescue attempt by Felina’s sister, Avia and Felina’s violent, vicious cat causes both of them to escape and start to plan cons and missions for their own favour. All is going well until Ebony Maw makes an appearance. Even though he doesn’t recognise Thanos due to the titan’s new appearance, Thanos knows him and is immediately concerned. With the arrival of Proxima Midnight too, things quickly go wrong and Thanos has to make a fateful choice.
Escaping Sacrosanct alongside Proxima, Thanos again enters the infinity wardrobe when it re-appears on board her ship and now appears as a Kree warrior on his way to Hala. Proxima’s husband, the nefarious Corvus Glaive is attempting to incite the Kree into starting a revolt against their overlords, the Accusers and starting a war against the planet Hemithea. Glaive convinces Thanos to become the leader of his incitement, to bring the Kree to arms, ready for their attack. Of course, it all goes wrong and they are forced to flee. Even though again, Thanos is in a different body, Glaive and Proxima deduce their puppet is, in reality, the Mad Titan and do their utmost not to disappoint or fail him. In addition, their plan is disrupted with the arrival of the Guardians Of The Galaxy and in particular, Gamora. In the violence that erupts, Thanos is seriously injured and Gamora deduces that the Kree warrior is in fact, her adopted father.
Thanos finds himself again in Mistress Death’s realm and is again confronted and chastised by his mother. He begs for another chance and not to die. Again, the wardrobe appears, Thanos steps through it and now finds himself in The Velt, a world carved into two. One half of the population of the planet exists on eating grass while the other half live on the other side of the planet, eating meat with some technical advantages. Thanos leaves the grass eating people and travels to the other side of the planet. Here, for the first time in his life, Thanos finds peace. He meets and falls in love with a woman, Masika and settles down to a peaceful life with her, among the village. He takes part in the villages hunts for the Chimera, a vicious creature that provides them with the meat they need for survival. Thanos shows his mettle, becomes accepted by the villagers and is regarded as a beloved member of their community. But, of course, nothing lasts forever and his peace is shattered in the most devastating way possible.
The joy to be had with the novel is in the detail. We, the reader, know that he is Thanos all the way through and expect him to rear his head and go back to his destructive nature. But the book shows us a totally different character to the one we expect or know. It’s almost like Thanos is shown a different life, one he could have had. One that leads him from nothingness to the fulfilment of any man’s life, to have peace, a home and a family. I make no apologies in saying that I LIKED Thanos all the way through the novel. In fact, I was even rooting for him instead of hoping he would get his comeuppance. Of course, I still wanted him to regain his powers and become the mad titan we have all come to know and love but this different side of the character is a joy to behold. We even fear for him when he is confronted by the Guardians, that they will see through his ruse and unmask and ultimately destroy him. And that takes masterful storytelling. And Moore delivers that here with abundance.
Yet again, Marvel and Titan Books have delivered a winner to us. With the storytelling prowess of Stuart Moore onboard and writing novels of this quality, the future looks bright. I cannot wait until the next novel is published so I can indulge again. Though the book is subtitled Death Sentence, this book gives the character a whole new lease of life. And I look forward to reading about him once again.
Thanos: Death Sentence by Stuart Moore is published by Titan Books and is available to buy NOW!
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!