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It has been confirmed that Thanos will be a villain in the ongoing Marvel Movie universe, which necessitates the re-introduction of the villain to the Marvel Now universe (and to current readers). Enter Thanos Rising #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by Simone Bianchi and colors by Simone Peruzzi, the beginning of a series that outlines Thanos’s rise to villainy.
While many are already familiar with Thanos’s origins, this issue seeks to re-establish his history, and does so by depicting him as a likeable, yet tragic villain. To those who have not encountered Thanos before (and I put myself into this camp of people) he comes off as a misunderstood adolescence, in the vein of Dr. Horrible, rather than a tyrannical villain capable of mass murder. The whole “make the reader feel bad for the villain” premise feels a bit flimsy considering what Thanos grows up to be.
For a villain that has slaughtered millions of people (and whose name is borrowed from Thanatos – the literal embodiment of death) the misunderstood outcast origin seems frail, and the defining event of the book reads like teenage drama rather than the epicenter of Thanos’s discovery of death and destruction. Hopefully in the next few installments we’ll be able to see Thanos come into his full power – just long enough for Rocket Raccoon to blast him.
While I am not a fan of the direction the story has taken (with the exception of his crazy mom – she’s still awesome), the art and colors are lovely. Biachi and Peruzzi do a great job of bringing Thanos and his environment to life. If you’re looking for something new and innovative, Thanos Rising #1 is not the book for you (instead, you should go read Polarity #1). However, if you’re planning on reading the Guardians of the Galaxy series or you’re interested in learning more about Thanos before the next Marvel movie, then this is the book for you.