It’s faint praise, but this is the best and most tolerable issue of this series thus far. I wasn’t left wanting to throw it against the wall in disgust. That’s really the best I can say about it.
That being said, simply put – this storyline will make you disrespect Thanos in nearly every way. Whereas before Thanos has been written as a cunning, powerful “magnificent bastard” with a poorly explained death fetish (that most writers have wisely left only cursorily explored), this series portrays Thanos as a despicable psychotic bully who tortures and murders his family of origin, wives, children, and random strangers in a twisted and muddled attempt to win the sexual affections of what may or may not be a paranoid hallucination of the avatar of “Death.”
This attempt to psychoanalyze Thanos succeeds so well that it actually weakens the character. One is left with a mixture of disgust and pity for the character rather than the begrudging respect he has earned in past iterations. One is left rooting for this character to be somehow put out of his (and our) misery for good rather than somehow surviving to vex our favorite heroes another day. Before this series I had a begrudging like for Thanos; now I can barely stand to look at his depiction.
This is not how Thanos should be written, and it is very poor preparation for the upcoming movies featuring him as the lead villain. I just shake my head is disgust and bafflement at the decisions Marvel Editorial is making in regard to cosmic. It really was better when the “architects” were ignoring cosmic and relegating cosmic to the fringe of the Marvel Universe. At least that allowed great writers (e.g. Starlin, Giffen, DnA) to do great and innovative things with the cosmic characters. This attempt to mainstream cosmic and increase sales by appealing to the lowest common denominator of comic book reader (e.g. Avengers buyers) has only resulted in abject mediocrity in storylines (e.g., Loeb’s NINO; Aaron’s Thanos; Bendis’ GotG) and mischaracterization of beloved cosmic characters (e.g., Bendis’ GotG; Aaron’s Thanos) rendered by writers who would be best left writing stories about Earthbound superheroes running around Long Island.
The art and colors are certainly respectable, but they’re not so impressive that they can save this mini-series. I will be very glad when this series is over and mercifully forgotten. It’s just trying too hard to be a cosmic version of Dexter. I know there’s a small group of Thanos fans. My sympathies to you as this series must be difficult for you to tolerate.