Since the movie "Avengers: Endgame," Thanos seems passe ... almost.
After years of cinematic buildup, the character did not disappoint as the major bad guy in the movies "Infinity War" and "Endgame." He was powerful, enigmatic, savvy, nearly unstoppable.
In the years leading up to these movies, Marvel Comics released new Thanos-related material and classic Thanos material.
It was fun but it was almost a Thanos glut. And once Tony Stark/Iron Man snapped his Infinity Gauntlet fingers in "Endgame," interest in Thanos disappeared as quickly as the Mad Titan disintegrated on the screen.
Throughout the run-up and release of the "Avengers" movies, Jim Starlin was spinning new Thanos tales.
As artist and writer, Starlin created Thanos about 50 years ago. He created the Infinity Gauntlet saga for Marvel Comics. He invested levels of personality, depth and ambition into Thanos, as well as pathos.
In Starlin's deft approach, Thanos was not simply a major bad guy but an actual thinking, soul-searching character.
And while it was no surprise that Thanos came to an end in "Endgame," nor would it be a surprise if he returned in a later movie, it is a surprise to learn that Jim Starlin is finished chronicling the tales of Thanos with "Thanos: The Infinity Ending."
In a preface, Starlin says as much. He begins with: "What you hold in your hand is the last of a kind, a final stop, a termination. 'Thanos: The Infinity Ending' is my final outing with a character I unabashedly love and created back in 1972 ..."
Here, readers get the full Thanos – a look back at his career while Thanos confronts a future version of himself. And even though that future Thanos achieves the omnipotent, omniscient powers current Thanos wants, the character refuses to accept the fate or will of anyone but himself – the current self as opposed to his future self.
"The Infinity Ending" is full of Starlin/Thanos magic: metaphysics and pathos, humor and conflict, power and doubt. Thanos is escorted in this final Starlin adventure by long-time rival/ally/opponent/friend/enemy Warlock, Pip the Troll and Thanos' brother, Eros.
For Thanos fans, do not despair, the Mad Titan will surely return in future Marvel adventures but apparently without the transcendent spark of his creator, Jim Starlin.