Friday, 30 August 2013

Thanos Rising by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi Review

On the face of it, Thanos Rising should be awesome: great character paired with an awesome writer, Jason Aaron. But the miniseries is instead disappointing. Aaron seeks to introduce new readers to the great Marvel villain, Thanos, by retelling his origins and how he came to be the Mad Titan.

Thanos’ origins on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, becomes that of a serial killer’s. Unloved by parents, ostracised by his peers, his extremely high intelligence and social awkwardness manifested itself into isolation and, through being alone, Thanos began experimenting on killing small animals. Then larger animals. Then his mum.

He heads off, joins a cosmic pirate crew, fathers many children on many worlds, and is basically miserable the whole time. Until he meets Mistress Death, who it turns out has been with him the entire time. Readers of The Infinity Gauntlet, Jim Starlin’s 1991 masterpiece, will know Thanos will do anything for Death’s love, even doing that – destroying the universe. He basically goes nuts, starts killing everyone, all so Death will get off with him. And following the mass death on Titan, that’s basically the miniseries in a nutshell.

My problem with it is that the series lacks any kind of originality to it. Sure, we didn’t know about Thanos’ childhood before but Aaron’s take on it is so generic that we might as well not have and left it a mystery. Further, if you’ve read other Thanos books, you won’t learn anything new about the character, but if you’re a new reader, then your takeaway is likely to be that Thanos is an overly serious, rather dull character. That in itself is a pretty bad result, given that Thanos is an awesome character who’s a lot of fun in other stories.

There really isn’t much to this book besides a transparent cash grab by Marvel to exploit the character’s sudden popularity thanks to The Avengers movie. Jason Aaron is a great writer (check out Scalped to see just how good) but he’s basically on cruise control in this book, churning out forgettable dialogue and uninteresting scenarios, one after the other. I just plain don’t like Simone Bianchi’s art, it’s too dark, too drab, too flat – I didn’t like it in other books, I don’t like it in this one.

Thanos Rising is everything Thanos himself isn’t - boring and predictable.

Thanos Rising

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