I didn’t have any awareness of Thanos: A God Up There, the six issue Infinite Digital miniseries from Marvel, until I received a Marvel Unlimited membership deal for half off each issue. Having recently enjoyed Jim Starlin’s Thanos: The Infinity Revelation and always carrying an appreciation for the Mad Titan, the opportunity for discounted Thanos stories was too good to pass up. What I didn’t foresee was 1) how enjoyable the series would be and 2) how relevant it would be to Marvel continuity, particularly Infinity.
In many ways, Thanos: A God Up There serves as an Infinity epilogue, following the mysterious disappearance of Thane, son of Thanos, and the insidious Ebony Maw. At the conclusion of Infinity, we see Thane, the spawn of Thanos who has led to the mad Titan’s wanton destruction across Earth, encase Thanos in a living death. With one hand Thane can kill anything he touches, and with the other he can preserve it for all time. The Ebony Maw, one of Thanos’ lieutenants, recognizes Thane’s great potential (and possibly also the fact that Thane looks eerily like Thanos) and begins his sinister mentorship of the young mind.
The ensuing story finds Thane and the Ebony Maw travelling through space to uncover secrets of Thanos, and ultimately to learn the destiny of Thane.
As I mentioned, this is both a surprisingly essential Infinity epilogue (To my knowledge Thane and the Ebony Maw have been silent across Marvel’s floppy titles), and a highly enjoyable Thanos story! I tend to be wary of Thanos stories written outside the creative ownership of Jim Starlin, but the creative team of Rob Williams and Iban Coello here finds an excellent memory of Thanos for young Thane to explore: Thanos and his crew’s assault on Ego the Living Planet!
Pretty much any story involving Ego the Living Planet is the sort of Jack Kirby-blessed cosmic extravagance that I’m going to eat up. It’s comic book storytelling that screams, “Listen, buddy, it’s ok to be a kid. Dream big, young uns!” Ego is a conscience planet who has crafted his terrain into a FACE. He’s so powerful that even Galactus is worried about him, and he straps the “Galactus Engine” to Ego so that the luny powerhouse planet can transport himself about space.
So naturally Thanos decides to fight him.
For seemingly no other reason than “I am Thanos!”
Why do we learn all this within the context of Thanos: A God Up There, a story ostensibly about his son Thane? Well, the Ebony Maw insists that Thane fulfill his destiny as Thanos’ heir, and that to do this he’ll need to experience the legacy of Thanos. Thane is understandably resistant, having grown up as a humble inhuman and suddenly finding himself a product of terrigenesis and the son of the most feared murderer in the galaxy. It’s a lot to take in. Nonetheless, the Ebony Maw is cunning (just ask Dr. Strange) and convinces Thane to navigate the story of Thanos vs. Ego the Living the Planet.
The battle is appropriately epic, with both Thanos and Ego taking plenty of shots, and with victory assured for neither despite their immense power. In many ways, there is no clear winner, and Thanos nears defeat more here than we often see, but Ego learns the lesson everyone in the Marvel Universe understands full well: to cross Thanos is to invite death.
All in all, a fun cosmic throwdown, and an essential bit of continuity if you’re interested in Thane following the events of Infinity.
CBH Score: 4.1 out of 5`