Child of Thanos, Corvus Glaive, and those who work for him, have gotten complacent. Thanos has been gone for quite a while, busy with Earth and its related problems. Unfortunately for them, Thanos has returned and he is not pleased with their lack of progress. But the level of surprise faced by Glaive can be matched by Thanos himself, as he faces several new challenges, from within himself and those around him. Sometimes family really is the worst.
With Thanos Returns, Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato make good use of bold colors and paneling choices to give the Mad Titan a truly larger than life story and feel. The formatting of the comic breaks up the story between current events, flashbacks, and interviews with characters, and I like how this builds the story together. It also injects a little of the kind of strange sense of humor Thanos often exhibits. The language throughout is largely somewhat formal, avoiding contractions and slang, which also adds to the epic feel. In another comic, it would feel stilted and out of place, but it fits with Thanos and made me feel a bit like I was reading 300 by Frank Miller.
Like any big name superhero comic, there are references to events previously covered in other comics, despite this being a first volume, but thankfully Thanos Returns keeps it at a minimum, so this is still a fairly approachable comic for someone new to Thanos as a character. It does however have spoilers for the ends of other series, such as Infinity Wars and the end of Thanos’s time as a cosmic being. However, since this comic is specifically about Thanos’ return, it makes sense that these are subjects touched on within.
Thanos Returns does come with a parental advisory on the back of the book, and this is warranted purely for the amount of bodily harm and violence in the comic. However, it’s not a particularly gory comic, with very artful and almost abstract blood sprays and very few instances of seeing details such as detached limbs. There’s also some brief nudity, but kept to about one panel in particular, and is from a distance, also with few details. However, mass death and violence is another trait common to Thanos comics, so this will not be a surprise to someone who has picked up his comics before.
Whether to add Thanos Returns to a library’s shelves or not can heavily depend on the readership. This isn’t directly connected to Infinity Wars, which is in the public eye thanks to the films, so might be less appealing to those wanting to get into the comics through the films. It does give a good feel for how Thanos comics generally work though, and is a solid comic with a dramatic cliffhanger ending, good for getting requests for the next volume. As I mentioned before, there are some mild spoilers for other storylines, but they’re not terrible, and Thanos comics tend to bounce around in time. This comic also lacks some of the heavier philosophical moments common to this character, which can make it an ideal introduction to him.
Thanos, Vol. 1: Thanos Returns
By Jeff Lemire
Art by Mike Deodato Jr., Frank Martin
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