Throwing Down the Gauntlet with Thanos- The Best Battles of the Mad Titan
Thanos is known by many names- the Mad Titan, the Master, Thanos Rex. A devotee of the mistress Death, this mutant Eternal has carved destruction across galaxies in pursuit of power and the elusive love of his lady. Thanos is most known for wielding the Infinity Gauntlet with its many gems, although without this artifact, he is still a fearsome foe with incredible strength.
His pursuit of Death has caused him to cross paths with many of Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains alike. Many have thrown down the proverbial gauntlet with Thanos, but few can withstand his awesome might. Let’s look at some of the Mad Titan’s fiercest fights with foes, friends, and even a furry creature or two!
Drax the Destroyer
Thanos and Drax have a great deal of history, as in both the comics and films the purple Titan is responsible for the death of Drax’s loved ones. While the cinematic origins of Drax are somewhat changed, his ultimate goal remains the same- kill Thanos and avenge his family.
The Eternal Mentor, Thanos’s father, used Drax, formerly Arthur Douglas, as his champion to fight his warlord son. Drax and Thanos have had many battles over the years as the Destroyer hunted for his sworn foe. Their clashes have destroyed planets and caused lots of collateral damage. Drax was eventually recruited for the Guardians of the Galaxy and continued his path to revenge on the Mad Titan.
The Silver Surfer arrives at a distant farm to find Thanos tilling the soil, done with his old life of destruction. Curious to know of the Titan’s past with Death, the Surfer reveals Death desires him to be her consort. Jealousy erupts and brings Thanos back to his former self.
Thanos then proceeds to beat the Silver Surfer until he is nearly dead, and then deliver the man to Death personally. When Death refuses to take Thanos or the Silver Surfer as her lover, the Titan restores his foe’s life force, and the two must fight their way out of Death’s realm. They part ways peacefully, with the Silver Surfer calling Thanos “a most curious being”.
When Thanos arrives on Earth alongside the Super Skrull and Skragg, the trio is confronted by Mar-Vell of the Kree, also known as Captain Marvel. The Skrull and Kree races are sworn enemies, and so Mar-Vell resolves to fight the invaders with the help of the Thing, who is with him at the time of the alien arrival.
Because the Fantastic Four has a history with the Super Skrull, the Thing immediately charges for the trio and threatens to give them a good smacking. Thanos does not take lightly to Ben Grimm’s threats and so, in a display of power, he knocks the Thing out cold with a wave of his hand, demonstrating the power he holds as the future ruler of Earth.
The Elders of the Universe
After a brush with Death, Thanos learns the true nature of the Infinity Gems and decides that to control them would guarantee his success in destroying much of the universe. One by one he sought out the Elders of the Universe, who possessed the gems, in pursuit of their reality-warping power.
His quest takes him across the galaxy where he easily defeats the Elders, including the Runner, the Gardener, and the In-Betweener. Thanos launches the Champion of the Universe into space in order to steal the Power gem, and brutally beats the Grandmaster in order to free the Mind gem. The Mad Titan eventually gathers all six gems and presents them to Death, who acknowledges him as her superior.
When the thunder god Thor comes down with a case of warrior madness, Thanos and the Infinity Watch must stop him before he destroys everything in his wake. Thanos, possessing the Power Gem, goes toe to toe with Thor and actually enjoys the conflict.
When Thanos turns to leave the fight, Thor becomes convinced that the Titan is surrendering and fleeing, but Thanos returns with a laser gun that encases Thor in a stasis field. When the other heroes of the Watch return, Thanos warns them that if they could not fix his madness soon, Thor would destroy them all.
The Pet Avengers
Furry, feathered, and fearsome, the Pet Avengers cross Thanos’s path on their quest to collect the Infinity Gems. When the Inhumans’ royal dog Lockjaw got his hands- or paws?- on the Mind Gem, he set off on a quest to gather the other gems with the help of some heroic pets- including Kitty Pryde’s companion Lockheed, the frog of thunder Throg, and Falcon’s pet Redwing.
When the team locates the final Infinity Gem in the White House with Bo, the president’s dog, that’s when Thanos comes to collect what should be rightfully his. What follows is a battle with the Pet Avengers that leaves Ms. Lion, a puppy belonging to Spider-Man’s Aunt May, fatally wounded. Angered at the Mad Titan, the pets use the gems to strand him in an alternate universe and revive their fallen friend. Safe to say this was a ruff battle for Thanos.
When Thanos moves to acquire the Oracle of Knowledge, he contacts a team of cosmic villains to aid in his quest, including his previous ally Super Skrull. The team assembles with members like Rhino, Geatar, and Nitro, but Super Skrull decides to initially challenge Thanos, fearing the Titan may threaten him.
Super Skrull uses his various powers, acquired from the Fantastic Four, but the battle ends quickly. Thanos quickly overpowers the Skrull’s stretching abilities and flame powers, making the green alien an example for the rest of the villains in case any of them considers stepping out of line.
The Magus, formerly Adam Warlock, was created by Chaos and Order to oppose Thanos and be a champion for life. In a real clash of the Titans, Thanos must fight a doppelganger of himself when the Magus attempts to replace the current universe with a new one by using the Infinity Gauntlet.
In a desperate bid to stop the madman, the Mad Titan himself launches an offensive and discovers the Magus has a bodyguard- another Thanos. The two purple behemoths find themselves evenly matched in battle, but eventually the true Thanos triumphs over his double.
Honorable Mention- Squirrel Girl
Well, you can’t win them all. Unless, of course, you’re the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, in which case, you can win them all. Thanos comes to blows with Doreen Green in an unseen battle, the aftermath of which appears in the Great Lakes Avengers Christmas special. Defeating foes like Thanos earned Squirrel Girl the alias of The Anti-Life.
With or without the fabled Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is truly a terror to behold. But, if he’s got that golden glove on, you might as well be ready to greet Death and tell her Thanos sends his regards.
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