Thanos has faced heroes and gods, and grappled with abstract concepts such as time, space, eternity and death: but what if he’s our universe’s last hope against an invasion from another dimension?
On Wednesday, Marvel revealed that Jim Starlin is once-again returning to the Mad Titan he created to write and draw the next chapter in the Infinity saga: Thanos: The Infinity Relativity. Scheduled to be released in June 2015, Thanos will be tasked to fend off what is in some ways Annihilation redux: Annihilus is leading his Negative Zone army to take over our universe. Thanos isn’t the most obvious of saviors, but Starlin says the Mad Titan stands alongside a bevy of Marvel heavy hitters from the Guardians of the Galaxy to Gladiator of the Shi’ar, the Silver Surfer, along with Adam Warlock and a reformed Infinity Watch.
Newsarama spoke with Starlin about this next chapter in his long-running Thanos narrative, as well as his thoughts on the ultimate fate of the Mad Titan.
Newsarama: Jim, what can readers expect with Thanos: The Infinity Relativity?
Jim Starlin: It's going to be 100 pages of mind-blowing cosmic events and characters. A lot of what goes on in this tale springs forth from what occurs in the Thanos vs. The Hulk miniseries. Some changes occur in that yarn, so I can't presently get very specific about events in Relativity. But I'll fill in where I can as we go.
Nrama: How does this fit in, chronologically, with the other Infinity books you’ve done?
Starlin: Chronologically our epic goes as follows: The Thanos Annual to Thanos vs The Hulk, to The Infinity Revelation to The Infinity Relativity to (possibly) an unnamed miniseries and it all comes to a climax in my third and final yet-to-entitled Thanos graphic novel.
Nrama: That's quite the sizable story! Joining Thanos on the cover is Adam Warlock and Annihilus. First off – Warlock! I remember you voicing some concern you wouldn’t be able to use him in upcoming stories. Can you talk about how things worked out, and what having him available adds to the Thanos narrative?
Starlin: There had been a hold placed on Adam Warlock by someone higher up in the company, for reasons never made clear to me. But we managed to devise a work-around to this situation and all turned out fine. Adam plays a major role in Relativity, so we had to get him back into the story or there wasn't a story.
Nrama: And Annihilus – he’s one of the original big bads of Marvel U. What is he after here?
Starlin: What's Annihilus always after? Power! Relativity is about him discovering a new way to make the Posiverse (our reality) his own, and the Mad Titan is determined to thwart that ambition. Annihilus has a habit of breaking things. In this story he manages to leave behind new, never-before-achieved levels of carnage.
Nrama: I’m told a super group of cosmic characters assemble to stop Annihilus – who or what is on this team?
Starlin: The only real team in the book is the Guardians of the Galaxy. All the rest of the characters in the story are sort of off on their own, reacting to events as they occur. There is a gathering of the survivors towards the end but I'd hardly call them a team. Included in the story are Thanos, Annihilus, Blastar, Dr. Bultar, the Silver Surfer, Adam Warlock, the Guardians, Gladiator and some of his Guardsmen and Pip the Troll. There are a bunch of other Marvel characters that make brief appearances but we won't go there.
Nrama: You’ve had a bit of a resurgence here at Marvel with these Thanos stories since he reared his head in the Avengers movie. What’s it like to be brought back in so many years after you created Thanos, creating new stories once again?
Starlin: Like visiting with an old friend. The Titan and I slipped back into our familiar ol' groove as if only weeks, instead of years, had passed since we last played together. He's the very first character I ever created professionally. The way it looks currently, my career hit its high point right out of the gate and had been going downhill since.
Nrama: Other people have written Thanos, but you’re his definitive chronicler. Do you see an endgame for Thanos at some point? In your head, is there a final story for Thanos?
Starlin: Not exactly surer there can be a final chapter to Thanos, considering what he is and his relationship with Mistress Death. Might just be that as long as there is a Marvel there will be a Thanos to plague that universe's heroes.