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Review: Thanos Rising #4

It’s faint praise, but this is the best and most tolerable issue of this series thus far. I wasn’t left wanting to throw it against the wall in disgust. That’s really the best I can say about it.

That being said, simply put – this storyline will make you disrespect Thanos in nearly every way. Whereas before Thanos has been written as a cunning, powerful “magnificent bastard” with a poorly explained death fetish (that most writers have wisely left only cursorily explored), this series portrays Thanos as a despicable psychotic bully who tortures and murders his family of origin, wives, children, and random strangers in a twisted and muddled attempt to win the sexual affections of what may or may not be a paranoid hallucination of the avatar of “Death.”

This attempt to psychoanalyze Thanos succeeds so well that it actually weakens the character. One is left with a mixture of disgust and pity for the character rather than the begrudging respect he has earned in past iterations. One is left rooting for this character to be somehow put out of his (and our) misery for good rather than somehow surviving to vex our favorite heroes another day. Before this series I had a begrudging like for Thanos; now I can barely stand to look at his depiction.

This is not how Thanos should be written, and it is very poor preparation for the upcoming movies featuring him as the lead villain. I just shake my head is disgust and bafflement at the decisions Marvel Editorial is making in regard to cosmic. It really was better when the “architects” were ignoring cosmic and relegating cosmic to the fringe of the Marvel Universe. At least that allowed great writers (e.g. Starlin, Giffen, DnA) to do great and innovative things with the cosmic characters. This attempt to mainstream cosmic and increase sales by appealing to the lowest common denominator of comic book reader (e.g. Avengers buyers) has only resulted in abject mediocrity in storylines (e.g., Loeb’s NINO; Aaron’s Thanos; Bendis’ GotG) and mischaracterization of beloved cosmic characters (e.g., Bendis’ GotG; Aaron’s Thanos) rendered by writers who would be best left writing stories about Earthbound superheroes running around Long Island.

The art and colors are certainly respectable, but they’re not so impressive that they can save this mini-series. I will be very glad when this series is over and mercifully forgotten. It’s just trying too hard to be a cosmic version of Dexter. I know there’s a small group of Thanos fans. My sympathies to you as this series must be difficult for you to tolerate.

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Top 10 Comic Book Sales For May 2013

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:8515:]]Diamond has released the top ten comic book sales for the month of May where X-Men #1 comes in at the top of the pack.

DC Comics saw a bit of a bump in May, and Marvel saw a slight decline compared to April sales.

DC Comics had 30.84% of the unit share with 28.27% of the dollar share in May.

Marvel had 37.44% and 33.36%, respectively.

April saw Marvel have 41.78% of all units sold in April, and 37.95% of all the dollars.

DC came in at 27.72% for unit share in April and 25.98% for the dollar share. 

We also see that Thanos Rising has dropped out of the top ten, with the first issue coming in at #2 last month.

No surprise that BendisGuardians of the Galaxy is no longer listed as well, as issue two came in at #10 last month.

 

TOP TEN COMICS FOR MAY 2013

1. X-MEN #1

2. BATMAN #20 

3. JUSTICE LEAGUE #20

4. AGE OF ULTRON #7

5. AGE OF ULTRON #8

6. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9

7. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #10

8. JUSTICE LEAGUE OFAMERICA#3

9. ALL NEW X-MEN #11

10. DETECTIVE COMICS #20

 

TOP TEN GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR MAY 2013

1. ADVENTURE TIME ORIGINAL GN VOL 01 PLAYING FIRE

2. SAGA TP VOL 01

3. WALKING DEAD TP VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE

4. SUPERMAN EARTH ONE TP VOL 01

5. ADVENTURE TIME MARCELINE & THE SCREAMQUEENSTP VOL 01

6. DEADPOOL TP VOL 01 DEAD PRESIDENTS NOW

7. MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC TP VOL 01

8. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 01 MY OWN WORST ENEMY NOW

9. SUPERMAN ACTION TP VOL 01 SUPERMAN MEN OF STEEL (N52)

10. GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO HC VOL 02 (MR)

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Thanos Rising #2 Review

It is a crying damned shame what’s being done to cosmic in the vain pursuit of mass market appeal. Well – mass comic book reader appeal to be more precise. Loeb has turned Nova (in name only) into a child-oriented teen Spiderman clone, Bendis has turned Guardians of the Galaxy into an Earth-centric Avengers-like book re-characterizing Star- Lord et al into clichéd and unrecognizable caricatures of their former glorious selves, and now Aaron is apparently turning Thanos into an utterly disgusting run-of-the-mill psychotic serial killer – a Dexter with none of the cleverness or appeal of Dexter. And it’s not even working to attain the desired sales figures – so cosmic is being run into the ground for no reason other than the vanity of Loeb, Bendis, and the other “architects.” Like I said – a crying damned shame.

In the previous issue, Thanos was portrayed as a weird, un-likeable, pitiable little kid manipulated by Death into starting down the pathway toward becoming her avatar. In this issue, that excruciating process continues with Thanos being portrayed as a cruel, callous, brilliant, but psychotic little jerk taking pleasure from the tortured screams of his animal and Eternal victims as he vivisects them over the course of several hours and then whines about how nobody loves him. Death is constantly at his side, flirting with him and using his sexual attraction to her to encourage his sick pursuits while at the same time spurning all his overt sexual advances – an apparent attempt by the writer to explain Thanos’ death fetish. A terribly sexually frustrated Thanos even threatens to rape Death – but Death stops him cold – humiliating him, browbeating him, and otherwise psychologically castrating him as she urges him to kill again and again. Yeah – that Death is a real evil bitch. The torturing of innocents throughout this book was hard to tolerate, but the final scene of this book where Thanos begins vivisecting his helpless psychotic mother so disgusted me that I honestly don’t know if I can pick up and read another issue of this train wreck.

Now you all know that I like edgy, adult-oriented comic books, and I can even enjoy knife-kill horror stories such as Seely’s excellent and recently sadly ended Hack/Slash series, but this Thanos Rising series is pushing the boundaries in a bad way. If the writer was trying to evoke an emotionally unsettling response, he certainly succeeded – but not in such as way as to motivate me to continue buying the book. There is literally no joy to this book and that makes it a tough read. Plus – it sullies the appeal of Thanos as a villain – making him unrespectable, creepy, and disgusting (like the child murderer he’s being portrayed as) rather than how he ALWAYS SHOULD BE PORTAYED – as a force to be reckoned with.

I get it that Thanos is a tough character to write – full of inconsistencies and contradictions. This storyline is not the way to resolve the inconsistencies and contradictions. It would’ve been better to just deal with them the old fashioned way: don’t think about them too much and write a good adventure story. There is no logic or reason to Thanos’ craziness. That’s why crazy is called crazy and Thanos is called “The MAD Titan.” This attempt to impose a dark psychological background story onto Thanos to explain his madness just feels wrong and stands in stark contrast to the best Thanos stories told to date.

Giffen’s excellent Thanos series was the best portrayal of Thanos since Starlin’s early work with the character. In Giffen’s series, I could begrudgingly like and respect the brilliant magnificent bastard that was Thanos at the same time I was disliking him and hoping he would ultimately fail – all while blithely ignoring every logical contradiction inherent in the character. Now THAT’s the Thanos I want to read. This Thanos Rising portrayal of a confused, easily manipulated, sexually frustrated, psychotic, cruel, sick, whiny little jerk preying on helpless innocents? Nah – I don’t want to read this – I just want to see the Eternals put him out of his misery medieval style and as soon as possible.

The art and coloring of this book are certainly adequate to good, but they are not enough to save it.

Basically, this book is an embarrassment to the Thanos mythology. I don’t see how this is going to make a whole bunch of new Thanos fans eager to see him on the big screen for the second Avengers movie. In fact, the opposite is more likely. Frankly, I’ll be glad when this mini is over and (hopefully) forgotten as it is just one more black eye to cosmic courtesy of the architects.

What a shame.

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Thanos Rising #1 Comes In Second In April Comic Book Sales; Bendis’ Garbage of the Galaxy Drops By 130,000 At Least

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:7441:]]Diamond has released its preliminary numbers for April comic book sales where we see Thanos Rising #1 coming in second overall for the month.

March saw BendisGuardians of the Galaxy at the top spot with 200,000 in sales with its 21 covers, of which Bendis bragged about (how old is this guy?).

Now, similar to Loeb’s Nova which saw an extensive drop leading to his and Ed McGuinness‘ departure, BendisGarbage of the Galaxy has shed probably around 130,000.

Guardians of the Galaxy comes in at #10 for April, but if we compare it March’s issues of The Walking Dead and Batman and Red Robin, of which it trailed in April, it looks to have landed below the 70,000 mark.

And we already know that Steve McNiven is totally off the book with issue #4 and actually only completed one full issue of the series with Sara Pichelli assisting #2 and this month’s #3; being on full-time as of #4.

Neil Gaiman starts Guardians of the Galaxy with #5; will he be enough to stave off the plummeting sales?

Below you can check out the rest of the top ten comic books and graphic novels for the month.

Marvel had 41.78% of all units sold in April, and 37.95% of all the dollars

DC came in at 27.72% for unit share and 25.98% for the dollar share.

Image Comics comes in at almost 10% for the month in both categories thanks to TWD and Millar’s Jupiter Legacy.

Comic Book Sales were up 14.18% for April 2013 compared to April 2012, and 18.32% for the year. Not bad!

 

TOP TEN COMIC BOOK SALES FOR APRIL

1. Batman #19

2. Thanos Rising #1

3. Jupiter’s Legacy #1

4. Age of Ultron #54

5. Justice League #19

6. Age of Ultron #5

7. Age of Ultron #6

8. The Walking Dead #109

9. Batman and Red Robin #19 

10. Guardians of the Galaxy #2

 

TOP TEN GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR APRIL

1. THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 1: DAYS GONE BYE TP

2. THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOLUME 2 TP

3. HAPPY TP (MR)

4. SAGA VOLUME 1 TP

5. PUNK ROCK JESUS TP (MR)

6. BATMAN: DETECTIVE COMICS VOLUME 1: FACES OF DEATH TP (N52)

7. BATMAN: DETECTIVE COMICS VOLUME 2: SCARE TACTICS HC (N52)

8. BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL EDITION HC

9. SWAMP THING VOLUME 2: FAMILY TREE TP

10. HAWKEYE VOL. 1: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON TP

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Hastings Variant Sums Up Thanos Rising #1 Quite Well

Check out the hilarious Hastings variant cover to Thanos Rising #1 featuring Deadpool.

Seems the Merc With The Mouth can’t take the Mad Titan too seriously after reading the issue?

Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi’s Thanos Rising #1 has been getting scathing reviews online.

You can read the Cosmic Book News review right here.

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Thanos Rising #1 Review

I had high hopes for this one, but sadly the re-launch of Marvel Cosmic continues to under-whelm and disappoint.

That being said, origin stories are difficult and Jason Aaron has chosen a particularly difficult origin story – that of Thanos the Mad Titan – a character literally filled with contradictions. He seems to be trying to make the character more accessible to the typical non-cosmic-fan comic book reader – and like Loeb’s re-launch of Nova and Bendis’ re-launch of Guardians of the Galaxy – the story and character suffer due to that effort.

Thanos was born to Mentor and Sui-San – Eternals of Titan; Thanos carries the Deviant gene and his appearance is more akin to that of Deviants than that of Eternals. He has never exhibited the Deviant ability to shape-shift. As an adult, Thanos has historically been portrayed as a tactical, scientific, and mystical genius who has boosted his natural powers as an Eternal with bionic implants and sorcery. Thanos has historically been portrayed as having what can best be described as a “death fetish” – being literally in love with the Marvel “abstract character,” Death, and going to extraordinary lengths to please her by sacrificing enormous numbers of lives to her. However, Death has nearly always been a bitch – rejecting almost all of Thanos’ advances.

Why wouldn’t he just kill himself to be with Death you ask? Well – he has occasionally – and in my opinion best been portrayed as wanting to die but unable to die due to his Eternal heritage or, most recently as portrayed in The Thanos Imperative, being the chosen Avatar of Death. His driving force in this portrayal is inability to completely fulfill his death fetish by killing himself to physically be with death, so doing the next best thing and killing others to please Death in the hope that in pleasing her his love for her will eventually cease to be unrequited. If I don’t think about it too much, I can buy that as a motivation – and both Giffen and DnA wrote some fantastic Thanos stories with Thanos being portrayed as a “Magnificent Bastard” with just such underlying dark motivations.

In contrast, Aaron has chosen to portray Thanos as born to a rejecting mother who wants to kill him and is driven insane in being prevented from doing so, and to an absent and neglectful father. Thanos as a child is shown to be bookish, nerdy, and socially awkward. Refreshingly, he is not bullied by the other Eternal children – but is instead shown acceptance and kindness despite his appearance and social awkwardness. Thanos is initially kind to animals and becomes nauseated when dissecting one in school. Then, at the behest of a character that is just suddenly dropped into the story (and who is apparently Death), he is involved in a terrible accident where several of his friends – including the girl he has a crush on – die and are eaten by animals. Thanos survives and is wracked by survivor guilt which Death capitalizes upon, misdirects to rage, and then focuses on the unfortunate animals which ate Thanos’ friends. Thanos then cruelly knife-kills all the animals while Death stands in admiration of his cruelty.

Wow. I can see how this psychological pseudo-drama will appeal to the non-cosmic-fan who has little knowledge of Thanos other than his occasional tussle with The Avengers. As a cosmic fan, I’m a bit perturbed by all the inconsistencies with continuity – both with Thanos in particular and with the Titanian Eternals in general.

In Aaron’s interpretation, Thanos is basically a nerd turned into a typical sociopath by bad parenting and the direct manipulation of the abstract character, Death. At this point, Thanos is neither a compelling nor a sympathetic character. He’s just an enormous bore who is being manipulated. That makes it hard for me to see how he becomes a threat to the universe.

The art and coloring are certainly respectable, but lack the crispness and definition that are the only saving graces of Marvel’s other two “pseudo-cosmic” titles.

All-in-all, unless this title saves itself in upcoming issues, it stands as yet another example of the decline in Marvel Cosmic from its most recent height late in the last decade.

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Marvel Cosmic Bomb #3: Thanos Rising #1 Compared To Simpsons & Phantom Menace

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They say three’s a charm — or better yet three strikes and you are out!

And it looks as if the new Axel Alonso Marvel Cosmic is definitely OUT.

Jeph Loeb has already been announced to be leaving Nova with only two issues in the bag.

A new artist comes on board Guardians of the Galaxy with #4.

A new writer comes on board Guardians of the Galaxy with #5.

Now, tomorrow sees the new Thanos Rising origin from Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi.

And it looks like another bomb.

Newsarama has an advanced review up where they actually compare the book to the Simpsons and Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menance.

You really can’t get any worse than that.

After reading this issue, I couldn’t decide who young Thanos reminded me most of: Milhouse of the Simpsons, Bad Luck Brian, or prequel-era Anakin Skywalker. 

Wait. Actually you can as they even compare Thanos Rising to a kid on a chess team — with head gear:

In a lot of ways, Thanos Rising #1 feels like we’re looking at Saddam Hussein’s high school yearbook and seeing a doofy kid wearing headgear on the chess team. It feels more funny than frightening, and it still lacks that human connection to invest us. I still believe Thanos is primed to become the A-list villain of the Marvel Universe… but anecdotes like these certainly don’t help.

Thanos Rising #1 is at your local comic shop tomorrow.

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