Friday, April 6, 2018

Thanos (2017) # 13

Cover Artist: Geoff Shaw
Published: January 2018
Original Price: $3.99

Title: "Thanos Wins, Part 1"
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Editor: Jordan D. White
Editor-in-Chief: Axel Alonso

On the planet Chitauri Prime, the alien race of Chitauri have been completely dominated and overthrown by Thanos, who waged brutal war upon them in just five hours time.  He kills the king and takes his throne, new ruler of the Chitauri, and is soon approached by a servant who tells him of a being approaching the planet's orbit that has slaughtered its way through their spaceship armada.  The Ghost Rider arrives planetside and blows through the alien army on his way to Thanos, this Spirit of Vengeance that also possesses the Power Cosmic of Galactus as one of his former heralds.  He gets off of his space bike and approaches Thanos, telling him that he's there to bring him back to his master.  Thanos knocks hims aside, but Ghost Rider recovers and binds him in chains forged from the bones of Cyttorak.  Using a shard of the Time Stone, Ghost Rider drags Thanos into space and teleports them to Earth, millions of years in the future.  There, Thanos is brought before the Rider's master, an older version of Thanos himself who tells his younger counterpart that he's "already won".

The identity of the Cosmic Ghost Rider is revealed in Thanos (2017) # 15 and his origin told in Thanos (2017) # 16.

Podcast Review: Inner Demons Episode 17 - "Hanging Out in a Bookstore With Blade" (Click to Listen)

Reprint Cover
The new creative team on Thanos, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, introduce a major new element to the Ghost Rider mythos in the most unlikeliest of places.

It's pretty safe to say that Cosmic Ghost Rider, and this entire run on Thanos in general, has become a pretty big deal since this comic was released.  It's rare that a series catches on like wildfire, which is sure what Thanos has done since Cates and Shaw took over, but its even rarer for a character to become so popular so fast.  Cosmic Ghost Rider, you wild and crazy bastard, you've captured the hearts and minds of readers everywhere!

I joke about it, but it's really a testament to how great this comic is that it was so quickly the talk of everyone in the online comics community.  I'd never read anything by Cates before, but his narration here is immediately gripping and commands you to pay attention to it.  The description of the Chitauri's culture, with the "blood snow" and all, paints a picture that draws the readers into a world that, with a page turn, has just been destroyed by Thanos.  That character, the titular Thanos, is imagined here as a force of supernature that is unflagging and unstoppable, with it said outright that eventually "Thanos Wins" in the end.  That's the hook, the ultimate conceit even, of this storyarc, and it's approached in this way that makes it an inevitable fact.  For the first time since probably Jim Starlin's "Infinity Gauntlet", Thanos is actually terrifying.

The Cosmic Ghost Rider is where it's at, though, and at the heart of the character is the mystery of who exactly he truly is, what with the hint that he's someone we've seen before.  By this point everyone knows WHO he really is, since the big reveal a few issues down the line, but with just this issue there was a lot of speculation.  I went on record on the podcast that I thought it was (the very predictable) Deadpool, given the dialogue and attitude of the character.  I was glad to be proven wrong, because I don't really like Deadpool and I really really like Cosmic Ghost Rider.

Geoff Shaw's artwork is paired perfectly with Cates' story, and it's a wonder I've not seen this guy's work before, because it's awesome.  His approach to draw Thanos as this towering force under which everyone cowers is brilliant, and is only aided when Ghost Rider is the one character who easily steps in and demolishes Thanos' bravado.  The Ghost Rider's design is appropriately unique for a character who is both a Spirit of Vengeance AND a Herald of Galactus, it just screams "Space Biker" in a very cool way.  The action is handled well, and everything just syncs up just right between the script and the artwork.  Very nicely done.

Thanos is a series that was a real revelation to me, because I in no way expected it to be THIS fucking good.  Come here for Cosmic Ghost Rider, stay for the fantastic story being told by Cates and Shaw.

Grade: A+