Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Miguel Sepulveda
Thanos is back, and he’s not too happy. And when he’s not happy, bad stuff usually happens. Co-starring most of the Marvel cosmic characters and some giant octopi.
A rift in the universe bursts open as murderous octopi are unleashed upon our cast of cosmic characters. It’s the first wave of an invasion from the “Cancerverse” – a parallel dimension where death is dead and live is never ending. Now the cancer of life must spread out of its overcrowded home into the Marvel Universe, overwhelming the Kree, the Inhumans, the Shi’ar and the Nova Corps. The universe’s greatest hope? Thanos, of course.
The Thanos Imperative is the next step in the concept started in the Realm of Kings one-shot, where the Cancerverse is first discovered by Quasar. Now its invasion time. The Cancerverse forces consist of carnivorous octopi, the Revengers (evil versions of the Avengers), the Cancerverse Quasar and their leader who I won’t flat out spoil. To move into the Marvel Universe, they must kill its Death. That’s where Thanos (with help from the Guardians of the Galaxy) comes in, whom with his unhealthy infatuation with Mistress Death, won’t take too kindly to that.
The action is definitely attention grabbing, with explosions and overwhelming forces completely overtaking the resistance from the Marvel Universe. Major (and familiar) galactic forces battle evil versions of the heroes we know and love (sans evil-indicating goatees).The writer-admitted Cthulhu-esque Cancerverse is a neat concept, having a universe where death is gone and taking comic book characters never staying dead to a whole new level. Abnett and Lanning do this well with the mirror versions of Marvel heroes corrupted by their evil gods and lack of death. Kind of like Marvel Zombies, but better and not done to death multiple times over. If only we could get the Cancerverse versus the Black Lantern Corps. Ultimate life versus death battle.
Plus, I do have to admit, I like having the alternate reality version of a guy who died of cancer be the leader of the Cancerverse.
Speaking of death, wasn’t Thanos dead? Yep. Thanos dies in 2006’s cosmic crossover Annihilation. He doesn’t get to come in a major event, but at least it gets recapped in the epilog issue The Thanos Imperative: Ignition.
Which brings up this issue’s main weakness – it’s not quite a first issue. More like issue 1.5 because the Ignition epilogue issue actually has story that leads into this.
Don’t get me wrong though. I’m all fine with an in medias res beginning, but there seems to be a little bit of context missing. At least a more comprehensive recap page would have helped. However, we do get a nice two-page opening taking place during the Annihilation War from Annihilation, a nice touch showing the event that set the stage for
So despite the inferior art, start with The Thanos Imperative: Ignition issue before jumping into this otherwise good issue one. Or just do some Wiki surfing and you’ll be fine. This is shaping up to be another great epic-level cosmic tale of the Marvel Universe, which tends to get overshadowed by the Earthly super-heroic battles. The concept, plentiful characters and action make it worth checking out.
One possible character inconsistency though for those who actually read Realm of Kings, but maybe that’ll be explained.
The look isn’t anything impressive. Colors sometime blend in together and look washed out. Shadowing is a bit heavy. Some weird Photoshop effects are done on Thanos in one panel that look really out of place.
Thanks to penciled preview pages in the back of the book, we get to see Sepulveda’s excellent work before inks and colors touch it. The sharp and detailed pencils are softened and dulled under the inking and coloring, bringing the art down a notch. It’s not bad. A lot of the good character and action art still shines through, but it’s just not as clean as it could be.
I’m not sure if it’s good attention to detail or just a bit too much, but I did see a bit more of Thanos’ drool than I probably ever need to.
As an added bonus, this issue contains a small interview with writers Abnett and Lanning in the back of the book, as well as the aforementioned penciled previews. Abnett and Lanning have been directing Marvel’s cosmic tales for the last few years, and the interview shows that they know what they’re doing.
Overall though, it’s still a pretty good book. It’s just not the book you start with in this miniseries.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10