Whilst Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame are still fresh in everyone’s mind, Jim Starlin brings his work with his most famous creation – Thanos – and Marvel to a close in the conclusion to his latest trilogy – Thanos: The Infinity Ending (be sure to see what we made of the first and second installments as well.) In the far future, Thanos is the most powerful being in reality. But it’s not enough to rule his own time. The truly Mad Titan intends to command all of time and space – including his own past self! Now, Thanos’ brother Eros, his old ally Adam Warlock and a teleporting troll named Pip must find a way to free Thanos’ consciousness from his own future. But the journey will take them – and Thanos – far beyond the limits of anything they believed they could endure.
In many ways, this is a culmination of all the themes and ideas that Starlin has explored over the years with the character. The previous volume – The Infinity Conflict – showed Thanos achieving a level of power and omnipotence the likes of which he previously could only have dreamed of. Having manipulated his past self along with Eros, Adam Warlock and Pip The Troll, this future incarnation of the mad titan managed to steal the power from the most powerful forces in the Marvel Universe including his beloved Mistress Death, Galactus, Kronos, The Infinity Gems and even The Living Tribunal. This results in an epic journey across time and space as Eros, Warlock and Pip try restore the universe to normal whilst avoiding detection from the future Thanos. Along the way, they receive help from unexpected sources, including Kang The Conqueror (who has learnt first hand the price of working with Thanos) and even the present day Thanos – who is held captive by his future self and is learning that perhaps ultimate power isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Starlin continues to have a tremendous grasp on all these characters and create plenty of memorable moments on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. As usual, he has an unrivalled understanding of Thanos which take on several extra layers with his exploration of a Thanos who has achieved ultimate power and a Thanos who is trapped, vulnerable and questioning his life choices (although maintaining his cool the entire time). Eros and Pip continue to be a fun pairing as they bicker through space and time, whilst Warlock’s fascinating journey – that includes a re-encounter with all his past selves – will make your head spin (in a good way). Plus there are several throwbacks to past Starlin classics including Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade.
Alan Davis continues to be the perfect match for Starlin’s writing. Unrivalled in the classic Marvel style, he gives the series an epic quality that is hard to match. As before, Davis is pulling no punches as he presents some of the most out-there material you’ll see in modern comics whilst maintaining the classic elements that evoke the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. His future Thanos is particularly terrifying, merging together all the visual assets of the cosmic entities Thanos has plundered including Lady Death’s visage and The Living Tribunal’s style of speech/lettering. In addition, he gets to show off his skill at depicting comedy – with Eros transporting Pip in a makeshift baby-carrier being one of the highlights.
This is a fantastic conclusion to Starlin’s time at Marvel and wraps another memorable chapter in his Thanos saga. If you ever wanted to see an example of having a perfect understanding of a character, this is the comic for you. All fans of cosmic Marvel and those who appreciate classic comcis need to pick this up.
Thanos: The Infinity Ending is out now from Marvel
(9781302908164, h/b, £20.99)
For more great graphic novels, check out our Staff Picks for 2020.