Thanos and Thanos Fight to the Death in THANOS #18

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THANOS #18
THANOS #18 BY DONNY CATES, GEOFF SHAW, AND ANTONIO FABELA
Plot
Art
Characterization

Summary

If you love Thanos, you owe it to yourself to pick up this book. Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw bring their fabulous run on THANOS to a close with THANOS #18. It more than lives up to the hype. It's action-packed but also has a strong emotional center. This is easily of my favorite books of the year so far.

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Fantastic Finale

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This is it, True Believers. The final issue of the fantastic THANOS series is here. And wow, does it live up to the hype. THANOS #18 pits old Thanos against young Thanos in a fight to the death. If you want to see Thanos beat himself up, this is the comic for you.

This is not just awesome action, though. In THANOS #18, Donny Cates also makes the reader feel pity for old Thanos. He even writes a beautiful heartfelt speech from old Thanos to his younger counterpart. I never thought I’d use Thanos and “heartfelt speech” in a sentence together, but Cates made it happen. This spectacular finale is backed up by Geoff Shaw’s typically awe-inspiring art. THANOS #18 may be the best issue of the series. Too bad it’s the last.

The Surfer’s Final Battle in THANOS #17

Thanos v Thanos: Dawn of Death

Last issue, both Thanoses (Thanosi?) killed old Thanos’ last remaining foe: the Fallen One. In THANOS #18, young Thanos believes his job is finished and wishes to be sent home. After seeing Death stand in old Thanos’ doorway without stepping closer, young Thanos realizes that he has one last mission. He must kill his older counterpart so old Thanos can finally achieve his wish: living in eternity with his only love. Young Thanos agrees and so he methodically begins to carry out his older self’s death sentence. I won’t spoil how the fight ends, but I will say that it is very much in character for the Thanos we know and love/hate.

THANOS #18
THANOS #18 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

This issue truly is the perfect finale for this series. We all knew it would probably lead up to this. We have two versions of the most powerful and most selfish cosmic being in the universe in one room together. They were bound to fight at some point. I do like that it’s not just some petty quarrel, but rather it’s for a somewhat noble cause. Old Thanos wants to be with Death, but he also wants someone to put him out of his misery. The only person he trusts and respects enough to do that is himself. Again, without spoiling the ending, I felt that it’s very satisfying. I’d obviously rather the series keep going, but this was Cates and Shaw’s decision to end it, so perhaps this ensures that it’s the best ending we could get to this surprisingly awesome series.

A Moving Speech in THANOS #18

Before the final fight begins, old Thanos tries to dole out some wisdom for his impetuous young counterpart. He thanks young Thanos for being there with him in his final days. Young Thanos brought back an anger that old Thanos was missing for years after killing nearly everyone in the universe. He tries to bond with his younger self by giving him advice on his future travels. However, Thanos, being the impatient whelp he is, attacks old Thanos before he can give that advice.

You Should be Reading THANOS!

I loved this scene for two reasons. The first is how heartfelt this actually sounded. Cates did a fantastic job making a semi-awkward speech given by someone who clearly has never opened up and said anything positive and uplifting to anyone else in his life. Old Thanos is a character so self-absorbed that the only person he could say this to is himself. I really enjoy seeing a version of Thanos learn at least a small ounce of humility, which takes me to the other reason. This scene also gets to the core of Thanos’ character. The speech disgusts young Thanos. He spits in the face of sentiment. He’s the ultimate cynic. He believes that the universe would be better off dead. In his eyes, his older version grew soft and now needs to be taken out of his misery.

Like in the previous issue, we’re finding ourselves siding with, essentially, the villain of the book over the protagonist. I suppose this proves why a Thanos ongoing couldn’t live to 100 issues. It’s hard to side with him in almost any conflict.

Death and Geoff Shaw in THANOS #18

Shaw’s artwork is appropriately amazing. It fits this stunning run perfectly. I sang his praises quite a bit in my last two reviews of the book, so I’ll focus on one specific part of this issue I loved. Throughout the issue, Death is the spectator of the Thanos fight. She doesn’t speak, though. Shaw does a marvelous job of expressing her emotions through her facial expressions and body language. I always love when artists do this. Shaw is one of the best at this, as I’ve said before.

One great, hilarious moment in this issue is when Death merely shrugs when young Thanos asks her why she won’t go to old Thanos. It’s a funny little moment which also really fits Death’s character in Marvel books. She’s almost a trickster and has a sense of humor. She does have a thing for Deadpool, after all.

THANOS #18
THANOS #18 page 5. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Someone who I haven’t mentioned in my prior reviews is colorist Antonio Fabela. He really makes Thanos’ purple stand out on the page. It works especially well in contrast with Death’s grey, white, and black color scheme. It’s very pleasing to the eye and clearly marks Thanos as the main character.

Final Thoughts: THANOS #18

I’m sad to see THANOS go. Luckily, this issue makes the pain a little more manageable since it’s such a perfect finale. Cates, already one of the best rising stars at Marvel, proves why he’s so beloved with this issue. It’s both heartfelt and action-packed in equal doses. Cates was able to write a heartfelt Thanos series. Amazing. Geoff Shaw’s art was perfect for this series as well. He can portray some wacky sight gags while also showing the grim brutality of a fight to the death.

Pick up Cates and Shaw’s run if you’re itching for some Thanos relief before AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR comes out. You won’t regret it.

For more THANOS, head over to ComiXology, and subscribe to the series!

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