The family drama continues in Thanos #2; the dying Mad Titan seeks out a cure for his illness, while at the same time his family members try to take advantage of his current ailment. Is it good?
Thanos #2 (Marvel Comics)
Thanos #2 continues off of the setup of the previous chapter as the titular villain seeks a cure for the sickness plaguing him. His journey reunites him with his father, Mentor, who is pleased by his son’s condition. While the two try to maneuver around one another, Thanos’ other family members continue to gather in the hope of striking at him.
The artwork by Mike Deodato and Frank Martin remains absolutely stunning. Martin’s dark palette is still varied; the pinks and purples of the planet Nulla are cold, giving a sense of alien beauty about to be snuffed out, even before the destruction is revealed. Deodato’s linework has always worked well in cosmic or apocalyptic stories (recently exemplified in his work in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers runs). The mass of cabling and wiring in Mentor’s lab suggests at larger things at work in the lab, nothing important, but there’s always a sense of history in Deodato’s backgrounds, and none of it good. It’s those details that add to the texture of the book.
Writer Jeff Lemire does a fantastic job with the exchanges between Thanos and Mentor. In science-fiction, the fathers typically maintain a sense of power over their sons, and it’s nice to see the relationship between Mentor and Thanos is a macabre inversion of that norm. Thanos doesn’t seek moral or emotional support and guidance so much as he wants Mentor’s talents put to his own use. Even for readers who are unfamiliar with the history between the characters, Lemire’s dialogue and Deodato’s blocking properly conveys the abusive and parasitic nature of their relationship.
Some people are never happy.
The one place the issue drops off just a bit is when Starfox, Nebula, Tryco, and Thane discuss their opportunity to kill Thanos. While Lemire’s script properly sets the mood and gives some nice dialogue exchanges between the extended family, the meeting lacks urgency. Part of this is the setting, as the characters meet around a makeshift table in a desolate hideout. While this certainly makes sense as a location for a secret gathering, it doesn’t give the characters much to bounce off of or react to. There isn’t anything at stake in these scenes, and it lacks the tension and animosity of the meeting between Thanos and Mentor that it is juxtaposed against. This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but it doesn’t quite pop the way it should.
Is It Good?
Anchored by some fun exchanges between father and son, Thanos #2 works great as a dark space opera. Jeff Lemire’s voice for Thanos feels perfect for a being discovering a new vulnerability. The artwork by illustrator Mike Deodato and colorist Frank Martin is what gives the comic such a foreboding tone. There’s always a sense of oncoming dread, and it gives Thanos a dramatic weight that a story revolving around the Mad Titan deserves.