If you somehow managed to avoid seeing The Avengers this past weekend, be warned that significant spoilers are ahead. Or, if you did see the awesome movie and are perplexed about the character at the end of the credits, then read on…
OK, I warned you.
At the end of The Avengers film, the audience saw the Cosmic Cube on its way back to Asgard with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), presumably to reside in Odin’s vault with his other artifacts. Odin’s vault contains all kinds of interesting relics, including the Infinity Gauntlet.
Flash forward to the end credits and a shadowy figure announces that they’ve underestimated humans, saying, “To challenge them is to court… death.” He turns toward the screen so we can see his true face and disturbing smile, and it’s none other Thanos.
In the Marvel comic book mythology, The First Thanos War focused on Thanos’ attempt to locate the Cosmic Cube on Earth and will it to make him all-powerful. Luckily, Captain Marvel was able to defeat Thanos and destroy the Cube.
Thanos first appeared in 1973’s Iron Man #55, and was created by Jim Starlin. Hailing from Titan, a moon of Saturn, Thanos is driven by love. Except the object of his affection is the personification of Death, represented in Marvel Comics as a female with a skeletal face.
His pursuit of Death led him to challenge Marvel’s many heroes numerous times.
Thanos’ most memorable appearance was found in The Infinity Gauntlet. a six-issue comic book limited series published by Marvel Comics from July to December in 1991. The series was written by Jim Starlin and penciled by George Pérez and Ron Lim.
With the story, Thanos was able to collect the six Infinity Gems — Mind, Power, Reality, Soul, Space and Time — which, when assembled on a gold glove (The Infinity Gauntlet), grant the wielder near-omnipotence. Thanos wiped out half of the universe’s population in an attempt to impress Death.
That action was eventually overturned, but The Infinity Gauntlet was a huge success for Marvel, leading to several subsequent spinoffs, including Infinity War, Infinity Crusade and 2002’s Infinity Abyss.
Based on the huge success, we can expect to see an Avengers sequel in the future and perhaps The Infinity Gauntlet will be the subject matter. We’ll just have to wait and see True Believers.