THE THANOS QUEST #1-2 (1990)

Thanos Quest was the first time Thanos went after the six soul gems. It was created by the great Starlin/Lim team. It’s good. Really good.

It was written by Jim Starlin and illustrated by Ron Lim, the team who had been kicking all kinds of major ass on the Silver Surfer comic.

Lots of cosmic 1960s LSD influenced panels.

In many ways, it was a “scavenger hunt” storyline: Thanos goes after the six elders of the universe who have gems in order to fulfill his promise to his beloved death to wipe out half of the population of the universe.

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We get to see Thanos using guile, trickery, and smarts–he’s not some powerful thug, he’s actually a conniving Machiavelli.  

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First, he bests In-Betweener by fighting him at the Nexus of Realities–a place perfectly balanced, so that In-Betweener’s ability to master imbalance is useless. Thanos gets the Power Stone and leaves In-Betweener to face Lord Chaos and Master Order, who had charged him with protecting it.

To defeat Champion, he strands him on an asteroid and appeals to his sense of pride…

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And gets the second stone–the soul gem. From there, he craftily takes down Gardener, Collector, Runner, and, finally, Grandmaster.

We learn that Grandmaster actually cheats at his games. But Thanos cheats better, and wins, and gets all six gems.

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 Now, he was doing it all to impress Death.  But she wasn’t impressed enough…

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Thanos has the mind gem, which means he could force Death to be his lover, but Thanos doesn’t want that.  He actually wants to woo her.

Who knew Thanos was so romantic?

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No major Marvel characters appear in this book–it runs entirely on Thanos–before his movie fame.

And so Thanos has infinite power, setting us up for the next big Thanos story: Infinity Gauntlet!