After years of watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe lead up to Thanos' grand plan, Marvel movie fans might think that they know the Mad Titan well. He may have sent us reeling with his ghastly intentions and heinous acts of genocide, but like any would-be dictator attracted to galactic domination, his motives came from an almost altruistic place, one from the heart of a true humanitarian, right?
But Thanos' story is not nearly as magnanimous in the Marvel comic books, where longtime fans know his true intent. Josh Brolin brought a new gravitas to a character many considered to be a sniveling whiner more often than not, which frankly did a favor for the MCU, since the excitement factor would have slipped with a lesser villain to combat.
20 His Goal Was To Create Balance
The MCU dressed up Thanos' goals to make them much loftier than his schemes in the comic books, where he merely wanted to impress Death. Fans who haven't read them are appalled that The Snap only came about to impress a girl rather than to save the universe from itself.
19 He's Super Powerful And Impressive
The MCU would have fans believe that he's some kind of all-powerful, omnipotent being, but he's certainly not god-like in the comics, where he often comes off as rather pathetic. He's definitely nothing to Death, whom he's head-over-heels for and wants to impress the most. The films had to make him much more threatening.
18 He Has Good Intentions
Love the sinner and hate the sin, say the fans of Thanos, who think at least his intentions are good. He just wants to eliminate suffering, right? Wrong. He started as a space pirate and has been committing cruel acts ever since, proving that he's never had the needs of anyone but himself in mind.
17 He's From Really Far Away
The birth place of Thanos isn't very far from Earth, but the films make it seem as if it's a long distance from us. Some heroes even feel as if his threat is dimmed due to such a great distance. His people hail from one of Saturn's moons, Titan, which is just a few planets away and, in terms of Marvel distance, not that far.
16 His Whole Family Is Adopted/Stolen
Going by the films, it would seem as if all of Thanos' family members are pieces of his collection as he commits genocide from one planet to the next, but he actually has a terrible brother, Starfox, in the Avengers, who was a different type of predator. He used his powers to control others' emotions to manipulate them.
15 Everything Leads Up To The Snap
Messing with timelines is an easy way to add more drama and flow when translating written material to the big screen, but in this case one of the biggest moments of the Infinity Wars flipped 180 degrees. In the comics, everything begins with this jaw-dropping act. It made more sense as readers had already been familiar with each character's story before this arc.
14 He's Hard To Defeat
From Thor to Iron Man and every hero's powers combined, no force seems to be strong enough to defeat Thanos in the movies, but in the comics it's a totally different story. At one point, Thanos was so easily defeated so badly that it was written off as a clone's defeat instead of the Mad Titan!
13 He's A Flawless, Godly Being Of Power
The MCU doesn't go into Thanos' personal history much for good reason: it's a dark past full of terrors. Thanos isn't the godly being of power that so many fans believe him to be, but a misfit among his race. Born with purple, wrinkly skin, he scared his own mother, who wanted to destroy him.
12 He Fights Fair
The Snap sounds like it comes from the mind of a cruel yet logical dictator who's attempting to be fair, but this had to be done to make him a more relatable villain. In truth, Thanos is an unfair monster who takes pleasure out of torturing lots of heroes before offing them.
11 He's Fearless
It would make sense for the owner of the Infinity Gauntlet to be fearless, but every villain is scared of something, or else he wouldn't be a villain in the first place. Thanos has many fears, but one of the strongest ones is of his own children! He is so scared of his kids he goes around wiping them out.
10 He Was A Darkseid Ripoff
While it's true that Thanos reminds us of Darkseid, and many DC and Marvel characters seem to be caricatures of one another, his original design was actually was inspired by Metron. Jim Starlin, Thanos' creator, designed him in a psychology class, envisioning what repressed obsession and anger might look like in a villain.
9 He's A Logical, Methodical Would-Be Savior
Thanos is often glossed over as a benevolent dictator with a sympathetic cause, but he's really your garden variety serial killer, no more, no less. He's a sadist at heart who tortured animals and later his own mother out of his own curiosity. Even when he was born she thought he was pure evil, but perhaps his treatment made him this way.
8 Drax Was Just One Of His Random Victims
To hear about it through the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Drax is out for revenge like many of Thanos' enemies, but it's really much more complicated than that. Thanos' own grandfather created Drax to take out Thanos, placing the spirit human Arthur, whose family was destroyed by Thaons, into a powerful body to destroy him.
7 He Radiates With Gravitas And Charisma
The grave, thoughtful villain of the MCU really isn't as impressive or charismatic in the comics. Thanos is actually pretty doofy in many comics, sometimes to the point of being absolutely silly. To be fair, most heroes and villains go through this stage at some point depending on the writer.
6 His Daughter Only Wanted To Please, Then Later Destroy Him
Nebula's arc in the MCU builds a bit over Karen Gillian's appearances, but she's got more nefarious motivation in the comic books. At one point, Nebula even wanted the gauntlet herself in order to rule the universe, which is why Thanos sided with the good guys.
5 He's Always Been A Baddie
Between his cruel solutions reminiscent of the Third Reich and complete disregard for life Thanos appears to be a villain to the core, but that isn't always the case. Like many other villains, he's actually teamed up with the good guys, like the time they had to band together to stop Nebula.
4 He's Super Confident
Josh Brolin portrays a confident, self-assured villain on screen, which is really needed for the role, but in reality Thanos has always been his own worst enemy. He loses to self-doubt all the time and it has been his own undoing when he was close to ruling the universe.
3 Ebony Maw Was His Loyal Servant
Many of the servants of Thanos might seem as if they'd lay their lives down for the Mad Titan, but some of them have actually betrayed their lord in the past. Ebony Maw is a prime example, as he once trained Thanos' own son in secret to overthrow his father.
2 He Cared About Family
Thanos may seem to be the toxic version of a family man, but he's anything but in the comic books. This likely stems from the fact that his own mom tried to off him after birth and he offed her himself later, which would set a lot of would-be serial killers up for some dysfunctional family dinners.
1 He Especially Cared For Gamora
Thanos isn't really capable of caring for anyone aside from himself, as is evidenced by his revulsion for his own family and collection of "children" from the people he's waged genocide upon. He even allowed Gamora to be assaulted once to learn a lesson, so sacrificing her wasn't nearly as painful as it seemed on screen.