If you’ve just seen the movie Marvel’s The Avengers you may be wondering who the mystery figure is who appears after the first set of credits.
When I originally published the bulk of this post on a separate blog right after the movie had hit theatres, I had encoded the text so that it didn’t spoil the surprise for anyone. Now, the post isn’t encoded. If you haven’t seen the movie, yet, you might want to note that you need to watch after the first set of credits … then, come back here.
The mystery villain is known as Thanos.
Thanos first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man issue #55 (1973) in a story titled “Beware, the Blood Brothers!”. Yes … at age 8, I owned that comic book. Note that Thanos does not appear on the cover of that issue.
The character Thanos and a few related characters were created by then-newcomer writer/artist Jim Starlin.
Thanos is a demi-god whose name was derived from Thanatos, the Greek god of death. He was a polar opposite of his brother Eros. Both were born to a demi-god known as Mentor on Titan, a moon of the planet Saturn.
At an early age, Thanos began to worship universal destruction and ultimately fell in love with the personification of death.
Through bionics and a mastery of mystical disciplines, Thanos became a very powerful being who became infatuated with obtaining the Cosmic Cube ( known as The Tesseract in the film ).
His intent was to use this talisman to make himself a god. He uses the cube to imprison the godlike being Kronos and then wills the cube to make himself part of the universe.
After a defeat by the Avengers, Captain Marvel, and two of Starlin’s creations …Moondragon
… and Drax the Destroyer …
Thanos returned seeking to use several other talismans called soul-gems to destroy every star in the universe. Starlin then wove the unusual Marvel character Adam Warlock into the Thanos mythos, as Warlock was the bearer of one of the soul-gems.
That story began in the pages of Marvel’s Warlock series, written and penciled by Starlin and ended in two Summer annuals in 1977
… Avengers annual #7 …
…and Marvel Two-in-One annual #2…
( The above two comics have recently been reprinted in black-and-white in Marvel’s “Essentials” line. Volume 8 of The Essential Avengers contains these two comics. I believe that Marvel plans on printing a color edition containing both comics in the near future. )
Thanos ultimately wove the gems into a glove that became known as The Infinity Gauntlet.
The character has risen a few times and is often challenged by scores of heroes including The Avengers.
Having seen his profile at the end of the movie last night, I am now wondering what we have in store for us with the next rounds of Marvel movies.
Will he appear first in the next Iron Man film as he made his debut in that character’s comic book? Will we get to see Captain Marvel, Moondragon, The Destroyer, Eros, and Mentor in the film with the big battle?
Personally speaking, I hope so. Those comic books that pertained to space and futuristic settings appealed to me much more than the norm.
I’m sure that the web will be buzzing with speculation and rumors until we have our answers on the big screen.