Cover Rank: 9\10. Johnny Blaze (or whoever this Ghost Rider is) and Thanos going head to head!? What’s not to love!? In the middle of a meteor shower no less! It’s a great use of color as the sun (or some brightly lit planet) and Ghost Rider’s front ‘wheel’ give the issue much more pop. Don’t forget the whip from Ghost Rider’s hand that Thanos is about meet. It all just works.
Best Variant Issue: 9/10. Phoenix Tie In. This is the only variant and thankfully it’s a good one even if it’s one of those ‘tie in’ variants Marvel likes to do that I’m not crazy about. However this does somewhat fit in the Thanos world as he has a grimacing expression on his face while he’s holding the Phoenix Force in his fingers. Followers of this Thanos series will remember the one way Thane thought he could defeat his father was by using the Force (which we know how that ended). So there’s a good deal of nostalgia with Thanos holding the force so nonchalantly.
What I Like: Seeing a good deal of backstory for Thanos was great. We get the moment of his birth and see little baby Thanos and you can’t help but get the ‘awww’ feelings. His mother didn’t get those feelings as much as she knew immediately what she had just given birth too was something that would grow up to do some not so nice things, to put it mildly. We all know Thanos eventually killed his mother so the book does not waste time with that story and casually states that he did so, at the ripe old age of 12.
We get some great scenes of Thanos and things he’s gone through as he’s grown. The greatest of these by far is the two panel section dedicated to Thanos in his old age killing none other than Black Bolt. I can’t be the only one who wishes this will get more attention at some point in the future.
I love the contrast here between going back to Thanos’ birth and history and the current story which is about present Thanos meeting his future, million year old self. What does Thanos think of his older, Grey bearded version of him? Not much since he wastes no time reprimanding him and beating him down in grand Thanos fashion.
The narration of the issue was not only great but intrical for information we would have never thought of. This older Thanos is a million years old, and time has changed him. How do we know? When Thanos discards the old Thanos, Ghost Rider steps in to try and talk some sense into him, so Thanos lifts him up by his head ready to take him out as well (seeing that image of Thanos holding Ghost Rider by his burning head was a great site) but is asked by older Thanos to ‘please stop’. Thanos looks perplexed as he would never ask for something is such a polite way. The narrator tells us that despite all we have seen Thanos go through in his life to this point, it pales in comparison to what Old Thanos has seen and witnessed. Thinking about that fact for a minute might scare you more than you realize.
What I didn’t like: After the great reveal of Ghost Rider in the last issue, witnessing his dominance over Thanos and seeing the cover here for this issue, we don’t get much of Ghost Rider other than him being lifted by his burning head. It was a little bit of a let down and now that we know where the story arc is headed I wonder how much Ghost Rider will even be needed going forward. If that’s all we do get from him is was great while it lasted. But I’ll hold out hope there is some sort of battle between the two since it looks like Ghost Rider is some sort of protector of Old Thanos.
Best Moment: As Thanos is on the verge of one of his epic rampages, Old Thanos does something I don’t believe we have ever seen or heard before. To get his attention that he really is the older version of himself he whispers the real name of Thanos. The name Thanos’ mother had intended to give him until she laid eyes upon him for the first time. I don’t think the name will have any significance for the remainder of the series, but just hearing the name and the look on Thanos’ face when it’s spoken is priceless. Again, the narration tells us his real name was only ever spoken once and it was done by his mother to Thanos, as he was killing her.
Ending: So just why did Old Thanos send Ghost Rider out to capture Thanos and bring him through time? Because Old Thanos needs help finding someone. Who’s the once person Thanos would ever look for, especially since time seems to have no hold over him? Lady Death, of course!
What I’m Looking Forward To: You can’t have a Thanos story without Lady Death being involved somehow. Two questions come about here. When the first arc concluded Thanos seemed to be content with not needing the love of Lady Death for the first time ever. He was ready to move on without her. Will that come into play with Thanos helping Old Thanos? Secondly, we don’t know why Old Thanos is looking for her. It very well could be because he is a million years old and has Thanos had enough of life and wishes to find her so he can die? What repercussions will that have throughout the Marvel Universe? I’m getting way ahead of myself.
Overall Ranking: 9/10