Review by Paul Bowler
Thanos #4 delves ever further into the mad Titan’s dark world in Marvel’s new ongoing series from Jeff Lemire, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin. Thanos’ quest to find a cure for the mysterious aliment that is killing him led to a titanic face-off with Shi’ar Imperial Guard, but shockingly it was a battle that Thanos ultimately lost! Now even Thanos’ own son, Thane, conspires to destroy him. But as we will soon discover, this isn’t the first time that Thane has schemed to seize power from Thanos and claim his birthright…
When it comes to big-bad super-villains, there are few in the Marvel Universe that can match Thanos for his sheer raw power, ambition, and unflinching evil. This new series from writer Jeff Lemire, artist Mike Deodato, and color artist Frank Martin continues to raise the bar with each issue, the sheer scope and scale of the storylines and art constantly impresses, and Thanos #4 is arguably one of their best issue so far.
Following Thanos‘ defeat at the hands of the Imperial Guard on Gilgrath, the spotlight now falls on Thane, and writer Jeff Lemire skilfully uses this issue to explore the series of events that led to Thane’s current scheme to rid himself of Thanos once and for all. Unfolding across a series of intermittently spaced flashbacks Thanos #4 gives us a tantalizing insight into Thane’s previous bid to take control of The Black Quadrant with Ebony Maw, but Corvus Glaive is not to be underestimated, and Thane’s subsequent fall from grace and incarceration proves crushing both mentally and physically for the son of Thanos. The unlikely alliance between Thane and Tryco, The Champion of the Universe, is also explored by Lemire, and it is these scenes that ultimately drive the narrative whilst sublimely filling in their back story and motivations as time progresses.
The panel layouts are beautifully structured by artist Mike Deodato to great effect. The synchronicity that Dedato manages to strike with Jeff Lemire’s character driven script is astonishing, judicious use of compact panel layouts effortlessly draw you into the story, and even the big two-page action scenes have a distinct pace all their own that so indicative of Dedato’s work. There are some truly spectacular scenes too, with Black Order brothers battling, The Coven are also hauntingly realized as they attack Thane, later Tryco the Champion’s wry humour lightens the tone somewhat, but it is Thane’s experiences in solitary confinement that delivers the issues most powerful and disturbing moments. Frank Martin’s colors provide a glorious swath of rich crimson hues for combat, while a blend of cool shades masked in ominous shadows make Thane’s imprisonment feel every bit as cold and dark as Thanos’ heart itself.
With a deal forged in darkness, Thanos #4 seamlessly bookends with the present as Thane’s plan to kill Thanos with the help of his uncle, Eros (the Avenger formerly known as Starfox), the mercenary Nebula, and Tryco The Champion of the Universe, unites their collective fates in the most surprising way imaginable!
Thanos #4 gives us a fascinating, chilling, and increasingly insightful glimpse into the dark machinations that have shapes event in this new Marvel comic book series. Jeff Lemir, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin have truly excelled themselves again, as Thanos #4, with its engaging multifaceted storyline and fantastic artwork, reaffirms exactly why this series is such a compelling and gratifying sojourn to the darker side of the Marvel Universe.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin / Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Mike Dedato and Frank Martin / Variant Cover: Joe Jusko