Thanos: Death Notes #1 is an anthology one-shot published by Marvel Comics. After facing the interstellar menace known as the Black Winter, Thor has been haunted by visions of his own death. That death involves Thanos wielding his hammer Mjlonir, which is studded with the Infinity Stones, and surrounded by an army of undead Marvel heroes. In order to unravel the mystery behind this vision, Thor travels to the long-dead moon of Titan to uncover Thanos’ history and discovers some disturbing secrets about the Mad Titan.
There are four stories in total. “Dead By Rumor,” the framing device, is written by Torunn Gronbekk, illustrated by Andrea De Vito, and colored by David Curiel. “All That Is” is written by Christopher Cantwell, illustrated by Travel Foreman, and colored by Rachelle Rosenberg. “Love And Death And Much In Between” is written by J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Geoff Shaw, and colored by Ruth Redmond & Dean White. Finally, “The Bar At The End of the Line” is written by Kyle Starks, penciled by Ron Lim, inked by Don Ho, and colored by Israel Silva. The entire issue is lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham.
Of the four stories, “Love And Death And Much In Between” is the most compelling. It’s no surprise, as Straczynski has managed to find depth in many of Marvel’s characters from Thor to Spider-Man. He does the same with Thanos, revealing that before his obsession with Death the Mad Titan had found another person he loved deeply, and who was willing to give anything for. That revelation and the horrible lesson Thanos took from it will send the reader’s stomach leaping into their throat. And it’s hauntingly brought to life by Shaw’s artwork. Shaw paints layers of regret upon Thanos’ face, giving him a more human side—or, as much of a human side as you can give a universal tyrant. And topping it all off is the rich colors from Redmond and White, which give a royal purple hue to Thanos’ skin and an ominous glow to the tower of Death.
The other tale that makes a major impact is “All That Is,” which picks up after Iron Man’s first confrontation with Thanos. Cantwell recently wrapped an epic run on the Armored Avenger, but once again he proves that he’s one of the few writers who truly understand Tony Stark as a character. Stark has been defined by his hubris, and what better way to test said hubris than by pitting him against a Titan? Foreman paints some disturbing imagery throughout, but the image he keeps returning to is of a shell-shocked Iron Man, eyes widening with horror underneath his helmet as he learns of Thanos’s power. Rosenberg only underlines that horror by shading certain scenes in a blood-red hue. The one story that didn’t really click with me is “The Bar At The End of the Line.” True, it’s nice to see Lim illustrate Thanos once again, but it felt more like padding than a necessary story.
Thanos: Death Notes #1 paints a compelling chronicle of the Mad Titan’s history, and sets the stage for his future exploits. But it also proves that Thanos has more than earned his place as one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest villains. To quote the classic Infinity Gauntlet storyline: “Thanos is inevitable.”
Thanos: Death Notes #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Thanos: Death Notes #1
Thanos: Death Notes #1 paints a compelling chronicle of the Mad Titan’s history, and sets the stage for his future exploits.
Born and raised in Texas, Collier “CJ” Jennings was introduced to geekdom at an early age by his father, who showed him Ultraman and Star Trek: The Next Generation. On his thirteenth birthday, he received a copy of Giant Size X-Men #1 and dove head first into the realm of pop culture, never looking back. His hobbies include: writing screenplays and essays, watching movies and television, card games/RPG’s, and cooking. He currently resides in Seattle.