In last month’s Infinity #2 we learned that Thanos’ invasion of Earth isn’t just to reunite himself with the Infinity gems, but something more personal: to kill his son. After being teased in various places like Infinity #3 and New Avengers #10 last week, the puzzle pieces have finally come into place to give this son a name: Thane.
Thane was first seen in last week’s New Avengers #10, as Doctor Strange scoured the world and arrived at a previously unknown Inhumans settlement and watched an unnamed adult bandage up the injured arm of a child. But this character wasn’t given a name until this weekend when Marvel’s Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance unveiled a new character named Thane who is dubbed as a “mysterious ally of the Inhumans.”
This lockboxed character’s bio in the game describes him as “a mysterious being” who appeared during Thanos’ invasion on Earth. “What he is and where he came remains to be seen,” the bio reads, “but one thing is for certain: he holds tremendous power in his hands.”
Further information is revealed once players gather the eight in-game items to unlock Thane as a playable character. After collecting eight in-game comic covers called “The Life and Death Collection,” players can add Thane as part of their crew and can also piece together bits of story from each cover into a larger narrative, which reads:
“I used to be just a man. Just another healer, nobody of consequence, plying my trade among my people. And then Thanos arrived. How did I get these horrible powers? Why? Did they come from him? All I know is that just as he came to Earth, I... changed. Suddenly I had the power of life and death in my hands. But I could not control it, and the people around me paid the price. Everyone that I had once healed, everyone I knew... dead. I ran before I could kill again, only to find an even greater murderer in my path. Thanos and his lieutenants were coming... for me. This Thanos creature... what does he want from me? If I give myself up to him, will he stop killing people? Or will he just use my powers to kill even more? I need someone to help me understand what I am... what I've become. Is that you, Agent? Do you think you can control death itself? I doubt it. But the truth is, I have no other choice. I cannot go back to the way I was, and I cannot go to Thanos. That leaves me with you. But I warn you. Try to use my powers for evil, and I'll show you what they can do... in abundance.”
Given his comics debut as a doctor of sorts, this mention of Thane being a healer seems to clarify the characters are one in the same. In comics however, Thane has yet to cross paths with Thanos, nor gain these “powers of life and death” the text refers to.
The final piece to the puzzle came when scanning Marvel’s AR for New Avengers #10, the previously mentioned apparent debut of Thane. At the time of its release the AR was inoperable, but Marvel has since rectified it giving us an interesting slideshow and an announcer, voiced by Marvel editor Jake Thomas, talking about the character.
“Who is Thane, son of Thanos? He could be a savior or a villain.” says the voiceover. “Who is Thane? Is he powerful? Does he have the ability to summon suns or talk to insects… or throw insects into suns? We don’t know. The question lingers… it itches and burns in the back of our brain. Who is Thane? The only way to find out is to keep reading!”
And although this seems like a new character introduced, it wouldn’t be the first Marvel character carrying the Thane name. Recently in Matt Fraction’s run on Thor Marvel introduced a character called Lord Thane, who was the son of that run’s main villain Uthana Thoth. There is also Thane Ector, a blue-skinned villain introduced in 1991’s Avengers #334.