In 2012, the first Avengers movie gave fans a brief glimpse of Thanos. Comic book readers thought they had the inside scoop on the Mad Titan, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of Thanos has proven, over time, to be a very different entity from his comic book counterpart. Avengers: Infinity War finally brought Thanos to the forefront with a strikingly compelling take on Marvel’s deadliest bad guy.
That's because Thanos is no mere villain. His motivations were complex, even as he attempted to seize the ultimate power of the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of the universe.
But who is this Thanos? What drove him to seek the Infinity Stones in the first place?
In November, author Barry Lyga will tackle those questions and more in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos: Titan Consumed. This prequel novel will explore Thanos’ formative years and take a deeper dive into Thanos’ past than we’ve ever received before.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has provided SYFY WIRE with an exclusive excerpt from Thanos: Titan Consumed, which begins with Thanos as a young child. Lyga does take some of Thanos' comic book history into account regarding his father and his Deviant appearance.
Lyga also finds a way to make young Thanos sympathetic. But we all know where this story is destined to go. There are dark times ahead, and Thanos' tragic journey is slowly taking shape.
Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos: Titan Consumed by Barry Lyga (Little, Brown Books)
There are as many tales of the origins of the Mad Titan, THANOS, as there are stars remaining in the sky.
This is but one of them.
It is also the truth.
The problem with Titan was that it was perfect. And even as a child, Thanos knew nothing was truly perfect. Every diamond had its flaw, and every saintly soul had its black spot of guilt, shame, or restless abnegation. Titan, too, suffered from an imperfection.
That imperfection, as best he could tell, was Thanos himself.
Son of A’Lars — the High Mentor of Titan, architect of the Eternal City — and Sui-San, his absent mother, Thanos was, at birth, a shock to his people. His appearance was a jolt of adrenaline to a body at rest. Distinguished from Titan’s populace by dint of his deformation and purplish hue, he was prominent in ways and for reasons beyond his control yet fixed permanently in his very physical being. On Titan, the people’s flesh reflected a range of splendid colors. But none was purple, the color of death, the color of ill omen.
From the Vast Salt Sea on the other side of the planet to the glimmering bronze range of cryovolcanoes just outside the Eternal City, Titan was a united world, more than the sum of its parts, a resplendent and cohesive whole. The Eternal City was a perfect blend of architecture and engineering, its soaring spires and towers nestled together in a collection of utmost harmony. A world absolutely in tune with itself.
His skin color along with a series vertical ridges—furrows that made his flesh look as though it had been raked—that widened his expansive jaw… These traits marked him a deviant, a mutated thing. Had his father been anyone but A’Lars, his mother anyone but Sui-San, he most likely would have been consigned to a medical facility somewhere. Poked and prodded his whole life, quarantined from polite society.
Instead, he was left in A'Lars’s care. Sui-San disappeared shortly after his birth.
He walked at six months. Not the drunken toddle of a baby, but the confident stride of a man. He could already hold himself erect, control the movement of his head and neck. He had complete coordination of his limbs, and his bearing was that of an adult.
Two days shy of his first birthday, he spoke. Not a word, but rather a full sentence: “Father, will there be a birth celebration for me, and will Mother attend?”
He’d been capable of speech for weeks but had waited until he’d fully parsed the nuances of sentence structure to issue his first words.
Before either of those milestones, he knew he was different in a world that prized conformity and unanimity above all else.
“Mother will not attend,” A’Lars had said. If his father was surprised by Thanos’s speech and his diction, he did not show it. “I will arrange for friends.”
I will arrange for… Those words preceded most of A’Lars' statements. Thanos’ father rarely touched his son, rarely even looked at him. In regard to Thanos’ needs, he only ever said I will arrange for… and then did just that, with efficiency and aplomb.
Thanos wanted for nothing. Needed nothing.
Except to belong.
Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos: Titan Consumed will be released on November 20. You can preorder it here.
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