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The Thanos Imperative by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Miguel Sepulveda

1/8/2010. Contributed by Ewan Angus

Buy The Thanos Imperative in the USA - or Buy The Thanos Imperative in the UK

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pub: Marvel Comics. 26 pages (with extra authors interview). Price: 3.10 (UK), $ 3.99 (US).

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There's a reason comicbooks standalone as a medium. Sure, over the last few years they've begun a slow, transition to films which may or may not have the desired effect. There's however much more can be done with a comicbook. You can kill off characters and bring them back, you can draw woman with obnoxious bodies that are physically impossible to achieve in our world, same goes for the men and there's things like having a hole in the fabric of space being ripped open and spitting out hundreds of spaceships. Yes, that is done more or less every other day in millions of SF books, but here you can see it. Above all, though, is that as ridiculous and superb as comicbooks can get, can you imagine a racoon sitting in a mechanised suit of armor pointing a gun at someone who has just been brought back to life? can you see said racoon talking, threatening a newly resurrected foe? Can you see him being called Rocket Racoon? Here you don't to have to imagine it. It's on the page and it looks amazing.

That is why comic books are definitively the best medium in which to tell a story of this type. A massive SF epic in which an alternate reality, nicknamed the Cancerverse has begun aggressively attempting to enter our reality. This Cancerverse, which appeared following the explosive ending of 'The War Of Kings' storyline, has burst into our reality and in the process its inhabitants have declared war on, not just our motley collection of heroes, but life itself. You see in the Cancerverse Death, the physical embodiment of death, has been...well, killed. Death is dead in this reality. So all life prospers.

Now they want to take over the Marvel Universe. So it's up to the whole cast of Marvel's cosmic side, that the Guardians Of The Galaxy, Nova, the Inhumans, the Shi'ar and Thanos, the avatar of death. To Thanos, poor deranged chap that he is, life itself is painful and he is in love with Death. The physical embodiment of death. The grim reaper. Except the reaper is a she. So what's your secret weapon in an ironic war with life? The avatar of death: Thanos.

Pencils are done by Miguel Sepulveda, who brings an eclectic style to the war. His lines are thick but not obnoxiously so. Backed up by the colours of Jay David Ramos, the art is not out there or inaccessible, instead it's a steady, easy to keep up with style. Something that is imperative in a story that has so much going on in each panel. It might not be the best but it works wonderfully, and despite first thoughts, it grows on you.

This is a marvellous first issue that has taken up the role of the cosmic side of Marvel as all its titles (Guardians, Nova, Inhumans) have been put on hiatus. It fills the gap excellently and has the added bonus of being kind to your wallet as four or five series are crammed into one.
When I say crammed I mean crammed but in the best way possible. Brimming with SF brilliance.

Ewan Angus

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