Since Thanos starred in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame and had several MCU cameo appearances over the years, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe think they know everything there is to know about the iconic Mad Titan. We've heard his origin story, watched him wipe out half of all life across the universe with a snap of his fingers, and nearly saw him best Earth's Mightiest Heroes for a second time despite their best combined efforts.
Thanos is one of the most powerful and dangerous supervillains to ever appear on the big screen, but he might actually be worse in the comics. Ever since his first appearance in 1973's The Invincible Iron Man #55, the Mad Titan has been causing all sorts of chaos and destruction. He's fought and defeated countless beloved heroes, created devastation across the cosmos on a level few other villains have been able to match, and repeatedly solidified his place as one of Marvel's most formidable antagonists.
By observing his actions in both the comics and Marvel's films, fans can paint a complete picture of his absolute savagery and unquestionable villainy. Here are the 20 Most Despicable Acts Committed By Thanos.
20 THANOS SNAPPED BILLIONS OF LIVES OUT OF EXISTENCE
One of the most shocking moments in both Marvel Comics and Marvel Cinematic Universe history was when Thanos snapped his fingers and used the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all life across the cosmos. The MCU version of the Mad Titan claimed that doing so helped create "balance" and was in the universe's best interest, but the countless innocent lives he snuffed out likely wouldn't agree.
Luckily, in both the Infinity War comic storyline and Avengers: Endgame film, Thanos' most despicable act was eventually undone.
19 HE SMASHED FALCON'S HEAD BETWEEN HIS HANDS
While Thanos' defeat of both Thor and the Hulk at the start of Infinity War immediately established him as the Avengers' most dangerous adversary yet, the MCU's take on the iconic villain was actually quite mild when compared to the savagery of the character he was inspired by. Just look at this disturbing image from Thanos #10, when he smashed Sam Wilson's head between his hands.
The unforgettable issue saw Thanos in an alternate reality, in which he was actually the leader of the Avengers. The Mad Titan quickly rejected the vision and embraced his dark side by eliminating Sam in the most troubling way he could think of.
18 THANOS PUNCHED A HOLE IN HIS FATHER
Thanos has committed so many despicable acts over the course of Marvel history that it's hard to call him "sympathetic," but his childhood was undeniably tragic and makes it easier to understand why he grew up to be so evil. When he was born, his appearance was so frightening that his own mother tried ending his life. His father eventually exiled him, and he had to watch as his handsome and charming brother was groomed to become the leader of Titan.
Thanos grew up loathing his family, but when a disease threatened his life, he sought out his father in the hopes of finding a cure. The Mentor wasn't particularly interested in helping his son, but even after he was coerced, he couldn't figure out a way to save Thanos. Thanos reacted to his father's failure by punching a hole through his chest.
17 THE MAD TITAN ELIMINATED AND DISSECTED HIS MOTHER
Thanos' mother Sui-San recognized the evil inside of her son the moment she saw his grayish-purple face. She attempted to eliminate him right in the delivery room, but her partner the Mentor wouldn't let her.
She didn't reunite with Thanos until he was a full-grown adult, and she didn't survive their reunion for long. Thanos dissected his mother while she was still alive and conscious in an attempt to better understand his violent and peculiar nature, and when his experiment failed to provide him with the answers he sought, he ended her life.
16 THANOS TORTURED HIS BROTHER STARFOX
Thanos' brother Eros, who went on to join the Avengers as the hero Starfox, was nothing like the Mad Titan. While Thanos was always very violent, power-hungry and fairly antisocial, Eros preferred using his charm and power of persuasion to get what he wanted.
Starfox tried using his superhuman ability to sway Thanos from using the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all existence, but Thanos immediately recognized his brother's plan and used the Gauntlet to wipe away Eros' mouth. He then made his brother his prisoner and forced him to watch his twisted plan play out.
15 HE ENDED THE GARDENER'S LIFE FOR THE TIME GEM
In the comics, Thanos' quest to assemble all of the Infinity Stones was actually far less violent than his attempt to do so in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of having to fight the Avengers, the Asgardians and the Nova Corps for the cosmic gems, Thanos simply had to outsmart or battle a few Elders of the Universe.
The Time Gem was in the possession of the Gardener, who used it to grow and maintain the universe's most beautiful garden. Thanos used the Power Gem to make the Gardener's green thumb so powerful that he couldn't control it, causing branches and roots to grow uncontrollably out of his body and ending his life.
14 THANOS TURNED NEBULA INTO A LIVING SHRINE TO HIS BELOVED MISTRESS
Some fans have tried to justify Thanos' actions in the MCU by pointing out that eliminating half of all existence across the universe would in fact help reduce problems like overpopulation, starvation and the depletion of natural resources. His motivation for snapping his fingers in the comics, however, wasn't even slightly noble. The Mad Titan's mission to terminate billions of lives was actually just his way of trying to woo his crush, Mistress Death.
Earlier in the Infinity War storyline, Thanos actually turned his "granddaughter" Nebula into a living tribute to his love, morphing her into a disturbing zombie-like creature. She wasn't impressed, though, so Thanos had to resort to extreme measures to impress her. Unfortunately for him, not even the snap was enough to win the Mistress' heart.
13 THANOS SUFFOCATED CYCLOPS
When the Avengers, X-Men and other heroes of Earth found out about Thanos' plan and nearly-unstoppable power, they joined forces to try to take the Mad Titan out. Thanos likely could have just eliminated them with a simple wave of his hand, but he chose to fight the heroes and take them out with some truly twisted tricks.
Thanos used his Infinity Gauntlet to create a clear block of force around Cyclops' head, rendering him unable to shoot his optic blasts and cutting off the mutant's oxygen.
12 HE TURNED WOLVERINE'S SKELETON INTO RUBBER
After Thanos took out Cyclops and several Avengers, Wolverine jumped into battle and tried taking the nearly-godlike villain down. Logan was one of Marvel's most unstoppable heroes, but his healing factor and unbreakable adamantium skeleton didn't help him at all in the fight.
Thanos simply turned Wolverine's bones into rubber, and the iconic X-Men character wailed as he fell to the ground in agony.
11 THANOS CREATED LIFE JUST TO MAKE HIS CRUSH JEALOUS
For as long as Thanos has existed in the comics, his primary goal in life has been to win over Mistress Death. None of the carnage he's caused has impressed her though, and when his repeated tributes to the Mistress in Infinity War failed to make her even smile or look his way, Thanos seemingly gave up and created his own lover.
He used the Gauntlet to make Terraxia the Terrible, a woman who supposedly was everything his soul longed for. This was, of course, a complete lie. Thanos never got over the Mistress, and Terraxia was a mere puppet tasked with trying to make her jealous.
10 HE REDUCED DEADPOOL TO A PUDDLE
Mistress Death has never shown any sort of affection for or attraction towards Thanos despite his many attempts to woo her, but for some reason, she has incredible chemistry with everyone's favorite wise-cracking mercenary. She and Deadpool have had a sort of "will they or won't they" relationship for years, and Thanos isn't exactly happy about that.
During one confrontation with Wade Wilson, Thanos actually turned Deadpool into a literal pool of flesh in a jealous rage, pummeling his body until all of his bones were broken.
9 HE TURNED THE HULK INTO HIS PERSONAL PET
Villains don't often win in Marvel Comics, but in the "Thanos Wins" storyline of the recent Thanos solo series, the Mad Titan actually traveled to a future timeline where he had already defeated all of Marvel's greatest heroes.
He ruled as king over the entire cosmos, and had a familiar being as his pet and personal bodyguard—the Hulk! Thanos kept Banner on a leash, and used the savage Hulk to fight battles he felt were beneath him.
8 THANOS HURT NEBULA TO MANIPULATE GAMORA
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the six Infinity Stones were scattered all over the universe before Thanos and his "children" began to assemble them all. He had tasked his daughter Gamora with finding the location of the Soul Stone, but she claimed that her search was unsuccessful and it seemed like he'd never be able to complete his Gauntlet.
Gamora might have gotten away with her lie, had Thanos not captured Nebula and scanned her memory to find Gamora telling her "sister" that she did in fact know where the Stone was. The Mad Titan then tortured Nebula in front of Gamora until she finally agreed to tell him of the Stone's home in Vormir. He definitely won't be winning any "Father of the Year" awards.
7 HE ENDED HIS ADOPTED DAUGHTER'S LIFE
After Thanos manipulated one daughter by harming the other, he dragged Gamora with him to Vormir to ensure she was being truthful about the Soul Stone's location. There, he discovered that the only way to obtain the Stone was to sacrifice that which he loved most.
Gamora refused to believe that Thanos had ever truly cared about her, but the Mad Titan apparently did feel genuine affection for her. By throwing Gamora off a cliff, he was able to complete the sacrifice and add another Infinity Stone to his collection. He seemed to feel some remorse for ending his adopted daughter's life, but nothing could stop him from enacting his plan.
6 HE SEPARATED ASGARD FROM THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE
When Thanos finally realized in the Infinity War comic that nothing he could do would impress the Mistress, he released all of his anger into a massive energy wave that created chaos across the entire cosmos. The wave wiped out several planets, caused devastation across Earth and smashed Asgard completely out of the universe.
In the Avengers: Infinity War film, Asgardians were also given reason to fear and detest the Mad Titan. He wasn't responsible for the destruction of their home since Hela and Surtur already forced them out of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, but Thanos' quest for the Tesseract led to him eliminating half of all the Asgardians who survived that film.
5 THANOS CURSED DEADPOOL WITH IMMORTALITY
Wade Wilson already has one of Marvel's strongest regenerative healing factors, but in the Funeral for a Freak comic storyline, the Mad Titan made it even more impossible for the Merc with a Mouth to pass away. In an attempt to permanently keep Wade away from his crush Mistress Death, Thanos actually cursed Deadpool with immortality.
Deadpool was on the brink of joining with the Mistress, but Thanos cursed him with an endless life to keep the two would-be lovers apart.
4 HE INTENDED ON REWRITING ALL OF EXISTENCE
Thanos thought that snapping away half of all existence would bring balance to the universe, but all it did was break the hearts of everyone who survived and make them entirely unable to move on with their lives.
In Avengers: Endgame, Thanos traveled to his future and the Avengers' present, and learned that no one appreciated his great plan. They were too focused on bringing back their loved ones to appreciate the gift he had supposedly given him. The Mad Titan then resolved to acquire the Infinity Gauntlet again, and this time, he'd snap away all of existence and then rewrite it so no one would remember that which they'd lost.
Thankfully, by sacrificing his own life to take out Thanos and his army, Tony Stark was able to stop the Mad Titan from committing this despicable act.
3 HE TRIED FORCING HIS YOUNGER SELF TO ELIMINATE HIM
Even in an alternate future timeline where Thanos ruled as king over the entire universe, the Mad Titan still longed to be with Mistress Death and refused to move on from his lifelong crush on her. He sent the Cosmic Ghost Rider to the past to retrieve his younger self, in the hopes that young Thanos would end his life so he could finally be with the Mistress.
Thanos was disgusted by his future self's pathetic pleading for termination, and refused to partake in King Thanos' plan. He went back to his timeline swearing he'd never become anything like King Thanos, and that decision caused King Thanos and his entire timeline to simply disappear.
2 HE FOUGHT WITH HIS SON FOR THE MISTRESS' AFFECTIONS
Thanos wasn't the only member of his family who found themselves drawn to Mistress Death. His son Thane also became enamored with her, and she used that to manipulate the father and son to fight each other for her affections.
Thane acquired the power of the Phoenix Force, and used it to try to take out his father when Thanos was at his weakest. Thanos knew that the Mistress was using his son just as she'd used him for so many decades, but that didn't stop him from fighting Thane in a violent and universe-shaking battle.
1 THANOS JOINED A VILLAINOUS CABAL TO HELP IT DESTROY OTHER WORLDS
When several of Marvel's universes threatened to crash into each other, former Illuminati member Namor formed a Cabal which planned to destroy any other Earth's that were on course to destroy his own. Heroes refused to eliminate innocent planets even if it meant saving their own, so Namor recruited villains who wouldn't have any problem with that concept.
Namor quickly regretted this, though—he wanted to simply detonate bombs that'd quickly destroy the other Earth's, but Thanos and his Black Order actually seemed to enjoy slaughtering the population of the other planets in a far more savage, prolonged manner. The Mad Titan took over the Cabal, and Namor found himself begging the Illuminati for help in taking his old group down.