The first volume of Jeff Lemire’s run on “Thanos” was an unexpected surprise. Mainly because it gave the impression that he did have a story to tell about the Mad Titan and it involved the tortured relationship he had with his son. Now that we have the second volume, and conclusion to the story, I’m wondering if I wasn’t being overly generous with that assessment. That’s mainly because Thanos doesn’t really overcome the challenges placed before him through his own means: The plot does that for him. He starts off struggling plenty on the Ruins of Titan only for Eros, Tryco, and Nebula to show up and take him to the Witches of Infinity where he enters the titular God Quarry and comes face to face with his greatest desire: Membership in the Avengers! Meanwhile, his son Thane begins to realize that leaving his father to die on Titan probably wasn’t the smart thing to do and sets about to use his Phoenix powers to rid the galaxy of Thanos once and for all.
It’s not that there isn’t anything to enjoy in this volume. The opening scenes offer a compelling look at Thanos’ struggle for survival, seeing him bicker and fight with his brother Eros is also good for some laughs, and the art from German Peralta is really quite good. He may not be as dynamic an artist as the previous volume’s Mike Deodato, but he offers good detail and drama in his work. Particularly in the next-to-last issue where the Thanos vs. Thane action scales to “Dragon Ball Z” levels as they start flinging bits of planet at each other. Yet even while the action delivers, the storytelling falls flat because it fails to impart any kind of feeling that Thanos is succeeding on his own merits. It’s hard to tell which is the most disappointing storytelling contrivance here: The Mad Titan’s “escape” from the God Quarry’s dream world or the way in which the Witches of Infinity hand him the final win. I was honestly expecting better from Lemire after the first volume. Fortunately the word is that the new creative team of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw are delivering a much worthier take on Thanos than what we got here.