Thanos Rising #1
The ending credit sequence for last summer's The Avengers introduced a very special guest to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos The Mad Titan. Since then it's become common knowledge that the character will end up being a big part of the films they release and what better way to help get the word out about this character than to give him a bigger role in the comic books as well?
Writer Jason Aaron was tasked with giving the character's origins a retelling in the new mini-series Thanos Rising and he does a remarkable job at it. Aaron has taken the character that we should all be afraid of and turned him into the most empathetic comic book character this year. What do you have in common with a space god that is literally best friends with death? More than you might think.
Some readers will complain that showing Thanos as a 'whiny kid' in this issue cheapens who he is in other stories and is an “overdone” or “lame” schtick that has been, to which I would say: “No, this comic makes you understand him and takes him from being a cookie cutter symbol of evil into a layered character that might not be so bad, plus which of us wasn't a whiny kid?”
It's often a futile task to go back and give a villain an origin story, more often than not they're not compelling in the least ("Star Wars" prequels, Hannibal Rising, etc), but Jason Aaron is crafting a a wonderful story that puts other attempts to shame. I did not expect going into this comic to come out feeling sorry for and rooting for Thanos, but I did, and I can't stress enough how relatable he feels in this debut. Taking one of the most evil villains in the Marvel universe and making him sympathetic? That takes talent. I almost feel he's justified in becoming who he is.
As great as Aaron's characters and story are, they wouldn't be as effective without artist Simone Bianchi's work. There are some moments where the art feels rushed at first, but once it gets into the groove of the story and stops worrying about setup it's fine. Taking a character like Thanos and making him a child with positive expressions is no easy feat, but Bianchi makes it work in ways that might surprise you.
Thanos Rising is a rich comic. There's more material to chew on and discuss than a lot of comics ever hope to achieve. Aaron is a masterful character writer and even though the art isn't at its peak in some areas, Simone Bianchi still does a great job. I'm confident, that when completed, Thanos Rising will be a modern classic.
Rating: 9 / 10
Thanos Rising #1 is available in comic shops today!