While many Marvel villains want to take over the world, Thanos wants to take over the universe — not even take over — kill half the known universe. This puts Thanos in the category of craaaaaazy villains. His delusions of grandeur led him in this pursuit for many years in the comics and, for a time, he was successful.
In the comics, the Mad Titan was the Avengers’ most formidable foe. The Avengers needed the help of the Guardians, Adam Warlock, and many others to defeat him. While his name has been whispered in post-credit scenes and on the lips of characters like Gamora, Ronan, and Nebula in the films, his true power has not yet been witnessed on screen. So, before we meet the Mad Titan in theaters this April in Avengers: Infinity War, where he finally reveals himself, let’s take a quick look at some of his history and powers.
History of Thanos
Thanos debuted in Iron Man #55, in February of 1973. Born Dione on Saturn’s moon of Titan, Thanos grew up in a peace-loving family. However, he began experimenting on other Titans, which increased Thanos’ obsession with death and genetic experimentation. Possessing the DNA of the Deviants and Eternals made Thanos extremely powerful and resilient. At one point, Thanos exposed himself to cosmic rays, which distorted his body.
He eventually killed many of his fellow Titans, including his own mother. This further twisted his mind and increased his lust for death. Marvel introduced the character of Death in Captain Marvel #26, just three months later, in May of 1973. As the embodiment of Death, Thanos found a woman whom he could both love and worship. His desire to please her led him to commit greater acts of murder and tyranny.
This included Thanos’ quest for the soul gems (AKA the Infinity Stones), his ability to manipulate time to acquire them, and the subsequent death of half the Marvel Universe. These storylines and many others in Marvel Comics showcased just how powerful and determined he was to “court death.”
Thanos possesses numerous powers in the comics. Firstly, he is extremely strong. The absorption of cosmic rays combined with his own eternal DNA makes him super strong. He is also incredibly smart. When Thanos wanted Adam Warlock’s soul gem, he rearranged time and waited decades for events to play out in his favor.
In certain comic book storylines, Thanos possessed mind control, telepathy, and teleportation. He was deemed a “Category 1 Life Ender” by the Nova Corps and he is categorized at a “universal” threat level, according to Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files. He stands at a tall 6′ 7″ and weighs almost 1,000 lbs.
In short, Thanos is not someone to trifle with. He has the DNA of the Eternals, he can be (and has been) resurrected by Death, he is a master manipulator, and he has incredible patience — he’s is willing to wait for whatever he is planning. Based on the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos clearly possesses the same level of strength that he does in the comics — he also can teleport, at least through those portals. Can he mess with time? Can he use mind control? All of that is very likely, especially if his dealings with Loki and Ronan provide any clues. He should be the toughest villains the Avengers have ever faced. This was true in the comics and will likely be true for the upcoming film.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27, 2018.