by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Antonio Fabela, Clayton Cowles
“But then, of course, there is Thanos.”
How do you describe the work that Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw and Antonio Fabela are doing in Thanos? There probably isn’t a suitable word in all of the English language. Cates in particular, if you also count his work on Dr. Strange, came to Marvel, kicked down the door, and yelled to Asgard that he is here and things are-a-changin’. All-Comic has been on the Cates train for quite some time: Redneck, God Country, The Paybacks, The Ghost Fleet, Buzzkill to name but a few. Somehow when he signed his name on that exclusive Marvel contract he kicked into an entirely different gear. It’s hard to name another writer that has been called up to the Big Leagues, so to speak, and done work like this, this quickly, and left a mark on the fabric of the Marvel Universe. There might be a handful who have tread this path in the past. Imagine the stories to come? Enough imagining, shut up and take my money, Marvel.
Thanos, the topic at hand, right? Issue fifteen explores the world of King Thanos, providing nagging tidbits of information hinted at since Cates started his run. We see the fate of The Hulk, learn who this Cosmic Ghost Rider is, and after all that, along with glorious banter between Thanos of the past and King Thanos, of the far future, the prize the King Thanos seeks is revealed. On the final page, of course, because Donny Cates wants to ensure another month passes because he’s a bastard like that (love you). The last person that really nailed The Mad Titan was Hickman possibly? No offence to other writers on Thanos, but Cates has elevated a character and built buzz around a character that is not only one of the best the Big Two has to offer but also set to make his big screen debut later this year. What more could a fan ask for?
But, but, that’s not all. Marvel Cates teamed up with Geoff Shaw. artist with Cates on God Country, Buzzkill and The Paybacks. Shaw, who is easily one of the best artists in comics right now. Shaw, who has grown with Cates and, though always great, somehow manages to change gears and turn it up to eleven with every project. How can somebody be this good and still be human? How?! His Thanos is masterful: he captures the menace, the intelligence, the ever-present feeling of impending death in every panel he’s featured. Not to mention, that design for King Thanos is crazy good. His beard is on point, with a point, and if he hadn’t brutally killed them, he could probably join the Beard Bros club with Dr. Strange and Tony Stark. These designs, expressions, movement is enhanced even further by Antonio Fabela’s colors. They’re stunning, vibrant, and utterly perfect. Thanos is just perfectly purple, with some fantastic highlights when required. He just is Thanos on every page, and without Fabela, no matter how good Shaw is, it just wouldn’t have the same impact as it does with color.
Everything about this book is perfect, make no damn mistake about that. This team is quickly killing their way to the top, kind of like, you know, Thanos. This book should easily be at the top of every reading stack each and every time it’s released. What more can be said about this without giving away some of the bombs that Cates drops in this book? Well, look, nothing is the answer. The writing is stellar and next level. The art, characters, expressions and presence is next level. The colors expertly bring everything together and present a package that is nothing short of perfect (and next level). This is the Thanos book that you’ve been yearning for. This is the comic book that you’ve been yearning for. This will undoubtedly be something talked about for years to come and if you haven’t already figured out the message here then give your head a shake and go out and buy this. Right now.