Thanos is certainly one of the most important villains in the Marvel universe. His popularity was further increased via his role in the MCU, but even if we exclude the movies – Thanos is a seminal comic book villain. In today’s article, we are going to explore the very essence of Thano’s existence and tell you whether he is a god or not.
Thanos is definitely not a god. He is an Eternal with the Deviant gene which gives him god-like powers, but he himself is not a god.
Marvel Comics is a comic book publishing company founded in 1939 under the name Timely Comics. Timely Comics changed its name to Marvel Comics in 1961. Along with its chief rival, DC Comics, Marvel Comics is the biggest and most important mainstream comic book publisher in the United States.
Marvel has, along with DC Comics, contributed to the development of American comics, specializing in the superhero genre. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby are just some of the pivotal writers who’ve helped shape the style and universes of Marvel Comics. Throughout the years, Marvel has created several pivotal superhero characters and has launched successful franchises such as the Avengers, X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have been adapted into movies, TV shows and video games. Some of the most famous Marvel Comics heroes are Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey; but, the franchise also includes famous supervillains such as Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, Loki, Magneto, the Mandarin, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Venom and others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Who is Thanos?
Thanos is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Thanos was created by Jim Starlin and made his debut in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (1973) and has since become one of the best-known villains in the Marvel universe, but also comic books in general. Although Starlin himself admitted he was inspired by DC Comics’ supervillain Darkseid, Thanos has gained popularity as a stand-alone character and a cornerstone of Marvel’s Multiverse.
Thanos was inspired by the Freudian concept of “Thanatos”, just like his brother, Eros, was inspired by the Freudian concept of the same name. He is the son of two Eternals, but also a carrier of the Deviants gene, which explains his physical experience. Believing him to be a danger to the universe, his mother wanted to kill him, but his father stopped her. As a child, he was a pacifist and would only play with his brother and their pets. Later on, he became fascinated with nihilism and the concept of death, eventually falling in love with Mistress Death, the embodiment of Death in the Marvel universe.
Soon after that, Thanos became a supervillain, initially a pirate, but soon had more grandiose plans. He was not satisfied with mere piracy; he wanted more. He wanted ultimate power, to rule over the whole universe and to become the most powerful being alive. This is why he wanted to collect the Infinity Stones, so he could shape reality according to his own will. A lot of his works are motivated by his love towards Mistress Death, for whom he has killed on several occasions. He is a very powerful cosmic entity and has fought practically every major superhero group in the Marvel universe, including the Avengers, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos even fought an alternative version of himself, King Thanos, after the latter had killed everyone on the universe; King Thanos knew that it was only Thanos (i.e., a younger version of himself) that could kill him, which is why he used the Time Stone to bring him to the alternative future.
Thanos has appeared in a lot of derivative material, including TV shows, video games and the MCU, where he was the main villain of the first large narrative. He was played by Josh Brolin.
Thanos was born on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. He is not a Titan, like the beings from Greek mythology, but the confusion may stem from his birthplace. Thanos is actually an Eternal, the son of A’lars and Sui-San. The Eternals are a fictional race from the Marvel universe. They are humanoid in appearance and are an offspring of the evolutionary processes that created humans on Earth. The creation of the Eternals has been initiated by the alien Celestials and they have been designated as the cosmic defenders of Earth. Compared to humans, they have several different superhuman abilities, which makes them humanoid in shape, but far more powerful. This is Thanos’ base designation.
But, Thanos is different from his Eternals counterparts in that he carries the Deviants gene, which accounts for his appearance and additional powers. The Deviants (or Changing People) are likewise a fictional race in the Marvel universe. They are also humanoid in appearance and are relatives of the Eternals. The Deviants are far more destructive than the Eternals, which is why the two races often clash with each other. Since Thanos carries the Deviants gene, he is far more powerful than regular Eternals and can achieve much more than them.
So, there you have it – Thanos is not a god, he is just an Eternal carrying the Deviants gene. The Eternals are a race of superhumans (something like the Kryptonians compared to regular humans in the DC Universe), just like the Deviants, but the presence of the Deviants gene in an Eternal child is like a mutation, so Thanos could be described as a mutant Eternal, which makes him far more powerful than his base race. This could be compared to the relation between X-Men (mutants) and regular humans.
So, why is Thanos not a god? It’s simple – his race is not of divine heritage. He is not like Odin or other deities in the Marvel universe, who are members of a divine lineage and his powers are, thus, significantly more limited than those of gods. If you remember, a practically full-powered Thanos fought Odin once and lost, with Odin not actually using his full powers in the battle. Thanos just didn’t stand a chance as he is, despite being a mutant Eternal, far less powerful than a god.
A fun fact before we proceed. While Thanos is generally speaking not a god, he has become one in the comics on four occasions: The Cosmic Cube saga, The Infinity Gauntlet saga, The Heart of the Universe saga, and the alternative timeline of King Thanos.
Thanos’ powers – is he immortal?
Thanos is a very powerful Eternal and has proven himself more powerful than most characters, even without external enhancements such as the Infinity Stones. He has superhuman strength, speed and durability, he is practically invulnerable, can teleport and regenerate, he can manipulate matter, use telepathic abilities, manipulate energy and even fly; he also has superhuman intelligence. But, is he immortal?
Well – yes and no. Thanos can definitely die and be killed (his own mother tried to kill him upon his birth), but he is nearly immortal as he is immune to the effects of ageing, diseases and poisons, which means that he cannot die by such means. But, as demonstrated on several occasions in the comics, he can indeed be killed.
Thanos was immortal for a time, when his love, Mistress Death, banned him from entering her realm for a while, which effectively rendered him immortal. No matter how severe the injury, Thanos would always regenerate and avoid death. The ban has since been lifted, meaning that Thanos is mortal once again.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!