Thanos has landed upon Chitauri Prime, seeking a new victory and new subjects after a series of disappointments. He wins with ease, and the Chitauri now kneel to him and him alone. However, there is fire in the sky, and it's burning the Chitauri warships which now serve Thanos. Who is this fire, and why has it come here now?
It's a pleasure to read about Thanos, the Mad Titan. He has baked-in complexities and quirks which make him one of the more compelling rogues to have ever been created by the Big Two. Plus, he is the ultimate evil in Marvel comics, and it's often fun to dive into the depths of depravity, destruction, and despotism.
It also allows you to see him win every once in a while, and that win can stick, such as his conquering of the Chitauri in this issue. You can be told of the terrifying monster as many times as Jim Starlin can manage, but it helps to actually see him commit a massacre and rule a new people too.
That is the pleasure of Jeff Lemire's Thanos, and now Donny Cates has some big shoe to fill. I'm not just talking about the Titan's massive gold-and-blue boots either.
And he has certainly brought some intrigue in this issue. The story is called "Thanos Wins," as you can see from the cover. The arc aims to show us how and when the Mad Titan wins, even going so far as providing an introduction narrative which states how most beings in the universe see Thanos' victory as an inevitability.
That narration is worth mentioning for another reason too. I mentioned Starlin earlier because he penned many of the Thanos-centric stories over the years, having him square off with the likes of Adam Warlock and Captain Mar-Vell many a time over the decades. Starlin is often quite wordy with his narration, and he often uses something of a conversational tone while still sounding authoritative with his diction. Donny Cates draws upon that here, and his narration feels quite similar. I like it. It's fitting of the title character, and it's not often done. Though Cates isn't nearly as wordy as Starlin, which is a positive. Reading Starlin, as much as I like him as a writer, can oftentimes feel like a marathon.
Cates also creates a very unique and memorable environment with Chitauri Prime. There are ice blood flakes coating the atmosphere due to the constant gladiatorial duels and subzero temperatures. When the fire in the sky begins to intensify, the flakes turn into blood rain. I mean, holy crap, that is really freaking metal.
Geoff Shaw's artwork brings us a menacing and towering Thanos. He looks like the walking apocalypse which he is. The world of Chitauri Prime is dark and menacing, and it really doesn't miss a beat from the art of Mike Deodato Jr. and German Peralta in the earlier issues. Antonio Fabela's color work keeps things ominous yet distinctive, and it brings the aesthetic of damnation to life very well.
Thanos #13 is an intriguing read. The promise of the story's name is enticing. Our beloved Mad Titan is the walking massacre that he should be. The art is great. While it doesn't bring us any especially deliciously vile moments of savagery, it certainly caught my attention. What do you have for us next, Mr. Cates?
This one gets a recommendation. Give it a read.