Thanos' Donny Cates returns to the titular character in this week's Thanos Legacy #1 (with artists Brian Level and Jordan Boyd), which reveals Thanos' side of his recent murder at the hands of Gamora in Infinity Wars #1 - and sets up a new storyline that could, according to one surprise character, start an "endgame that will burn this universe to the ground."
Spoilers ahead for Thanos Legacy #1.
The opening full-page asks the question that serves as the theme for the story: "At the end of his horrid reign... what will be the legacy of the Mad Titan?"
The issue recounts Cates and artist Geoff Shaw's recent Thanos run where Thanos was brought to the future to meet an older version of himself who had become King of the universe, but was "brought low by his endless pursuit of power and death." This Thanos Legacy #1 story recounts how the modern-day Thanos usurped his elder counterpart, but returned to present time to be surprisingly beheaded by his one-time student Gamora (as seen in Infinity Wars #1).
But in this recounting of his murder in Infinity Wars #1, Cates reveals that Thanos knew Gamora would murder him - and how he knew it would happen. He had commited to this course of action, in part at least, to prevent himself from growing to become the King Thanos version of himself he met in Thanos.
"He knew it was her the moment she set foot on Chitauri Prime. How could he not?" Thanos says. "He knew it the very second her sword dipped into the frozen sands and kicked her scent into the atmosphere. He knew it was her the moment she set foot on Centauri Prime. .... He knew it in the near-imperceptible sound of her footfalls. Forged in his image, she is the deadliest woman alive."
Following Gamora's murder of Thanos, she picks up Thanos' severed head and walks out.
Moments later, Thanos' one-time liege Cosmic Ghost Rider comes to his fallen body and relieves himself - fiery stream and all - over the Mad Titan's body.
"It's about d*** time," Cosmic Ghost Rider says.
That future Frank Castle then leaves Thanos' body to be eaten by alien dogs - only to be surprised mid-meal by the sound of teeth biting on metal (PING) as the body explodes.
With that, a cloaked figure steps into view, saying "Careful, Rider. His body is bobby-trapped."
Cosmic Ghost Rider asks the question the readers are asking at the same time - and the figure reveals himself to be Thanos' errant brother Eros.
Eros reveals himself as Thanos' brother, and says that he "felt" Thanos' death and came to the scene because they are "connected" - the same reason Cosmic Ghost Rider was apparently made aware. Eros asks about the whereabouts of Thanos' detached head, with Cosmic Ghost Rider saying that it was "gone when I got here."
"Right, will. I'll need to find that then."
Eros' first step however is to carve into his brother's body with a knife to get something "before it sets off an endgame that will burn this universe to the ground."
Digging into Thanos' chest cavity, Eros continues, saying "I"m afraid my lost brother has a war wrapped around his heart."
With that, Eros pulls out a circular device that he says is Thanos' will.
"To be continued..." is the last text left here. That could presumably tie into the surprise reveal later on in the issue of a new Guardians of the Galaxy series by Cates and his Thanos artist Geoff Shaw.