Marvel NOW!: Thanos Rises Again in Search of the Phoenix Force

Yesterday, Jamie Lovett over at snagged an exclusive interview with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Mike Deodato and got to ask them some questions about a new storyline they’re working on for Marvel – a storyline with potentially cataclysmic implications for the universe and its heroes!

Fans of Marvel old and new should be familiar with the Mad Titan Thanos – after all, he’s been a major player in the comics for a long time, and his shadowy presence at the end of the first Avengers movie introduced him to the mainstream. Another Marvel entity that comic readers and moviegoers alike are probably familiar with is the Phoenix Force, the nigh-omnipotent cosmic force that inhabits Jean Grey in the comics’ The Dark Phoenix Saga and in X-Men 3: The Last Stand.

Well, it seems that in the upcoming Thanos miniseries by Lemire and Deodato, the Mad Titan will be turning his attention away from the elusive Infinity Gems and that pesky Cosmic Cube, instead Thanos Issue 1 Coversetting his sights on acquiring the Phoenix Force for himself. Naturally, at this point it’s only conjecture, but the very cool cover image showing the Phoenix Force reflected in Thanos’s pupils serves as a strong hint to substantiate this rumor.

And you know what, let’s just pause to appreciate Deodato’s work on that cover.  It perfectly encapsulates the manic insanity under which Thanos operates on a daily basis.  Just imagining the Phoenix Force in his mind’s eye puts a gleefully homicidal grin on his face.  I admire a guy who has that much passion for his life goals.

Anyway, considering that Jean Grey, wielding the Phoenix Force as Dark Phoenix, destroyed a solar system with her newfound cosmic-level powers, it goes without saying that letting Thanos get his power-grabby hands on it is an extremely bad thing.

Lemire and Deodato seem intent on exploring not just the extent of Thanos’s power, but also his driving motivations. As a villain, he stands larger than life, but getting into his head will likely prove as difficult as thwarting his genocidal plans. They’ll also be tackling the character’s troubled relationship with his family and fellow Eternals, such as Starfox and Thane. More intriguing is an apparent shift in Thanos’s relationship with Mistress Death, who has been the object of the Mad Titan’s affections for time immemorial.

Of course, I have to wonder whether the X-Men and their various supporting characters will be making an appearance. The Phoenix Force was first introduced as a major storyline for Marvel’s merry mutants, so I would be shocked (and maybe even appalled) if Thanos doesn’t feature Jean Grey, Gladiator & the rest of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, or other associated characters.

Naturally, Lemire was pretty cagey about the specifics, and I’m fine with that – I’d rather discover the various surprises in store by reading the comic itself. As a long-time fan of the original Infinity Gauntlet miniseries (my wife actually owns an original printing!), I am very interested to see the Thanos series looming on the horizon, with a release slated for fall 2016.

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