It is a crying damned shame what’s being done to cosmic in the vain pursuit of mass market appeal. Well – mass comic book reader appeal to be more precise. Loeb has turned Nova (in name only) into a child-oriented teen Spiderman clone, Bendis has turned Guardians of the Galaxy into an Earth-centric Avengers-like book re-characterizing Star- Lord et al into clichéd and unrecognizable caricatures of their former glorious selves, and now Aaron is apparently turning Thanos into an utterly disgusting run-of-the-mill psychotic serial killer – a Dexter with none of the cleverness or appeal of Dexter. And it’s not even working to attain the desired sales figures – so cosmic is being run into the ground for no reason other than the vanity of Loeb, Bendis, and the other “architects.” Like I said – a crying damned shame.
In the previous issue, Thanos was portrayed as a weird, un-likeable, pitiable little kid manipulated by Death into starting down the pathway toward becoming her avatar. In this issue, that excruciating process continues with Thanos being portrayed as a cruel, callous, brilliant, but psychotic little jerk taking pleasure from the tortured screams of his animal and Eternal victims as he vivisects them over the course of several hours and then whines about how nobody loves him. Death is constantly at his side, flirting with him and using his sexual attraction to her to encourage his sick pursuits while at the same time spurning all his overt sexual advances – an apparent attempt by the writer to explain Thanos’ death fetish. A terribly sexually frustrated Thanos even threatens to rape Death – but Death stops him cold – humiliating him, browbeating him, and otherwise psychologically castrating him as she urges him to kill again and again. Yeah – that Death is a real evil bitch. The torturing of innocents throughout this book was hard to tolerate, but the final scene of this book where Thanos begins vivisecting his helpless psychotic mother so disgusted me that I honestly don’t know if I can pick up and read another issue of this train wreck.
Now you all know that I like edgy, adult-oriented comic books, and I can even enjoy knife-kill horror stories such as Seely’s excellent and recently sadly ended Hack/Slash series, but this Thanos Rising series is pushing the boundaries in a bad way. If the writer was trying to evoke an emotionally unsettling response, he certainly succeeded – but not in such as way as to motivate me to continue buying the book. There is literally no joy to this book and that makes it a tough read. Plus – it sullies the appeal of Thanos as a villain – making him unrespectable, creepy, and disgusting (like the child murderer he’s being portrayed as) rather than how he ALWAYS SHOULD BE PORTAYED – as a force to be reckoned with.
I get it that Thanos is a tough character to write – full of inconsistencies and contradictions. This storyline is not the way to resolve the inconsistencies and contradictions. It would’ve been better to just deal with them the old fashioned way: don’t think about them too much and write a good adventure story. There is no logic or reason to Thanos’ craziness. That’s why crazy is called crazy and Thanos is called “The MAD Titan.” This attempt to impose a dark psychological background story onto Thanos to explain his madness just feels wrong and stands in stark contrast to the best Thanos stories told to date.
Giffen’s excellent Thanos series was the best portrayal of Thanos since Starlin’s early work with the character. In Giffen’s series, I could begrudgingly like and respect the brilliant magnificent bastard that was Thanos at the same time I was disliking him and hoping he would ultimately fail – all while blithely ignoring every logical contradiction inherent in the character. Now THAT’s the Thanos I want to read. This Thanos Rising portrayal of a confused, easily manipulated, sexually frustrated, psychotic, cruel, sick, whiny little jerk preying on helpless innocents? Nah – I don’t want to read this – I just want to see the Eternals put him out of his misery medieval style and as soon as possible.
The art and coloring of this book are certainly adequate to good, but they are not enough to save it.
Basically, this book is an embarrassment to the Thanos mythology. I don’t see how this is going to make a whole bunch of new Thanos fans eager to see him on the big screen for the second Avengers movie. In fact, the opposite is more likely. Frankly, I’ll be glad when this mini is over and (hopefully) forgotten as it is just one more black eye to cosmic courtesy of the architects.
What a shame.