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Over time, Thanos has proven himself to be one of the most powerful forces in the entire multiverse, even without the powers of the Infinity Gauntlet at his disposal. He’s basically immortal, strong enough to laugh off an onslaught from Thor’s hammer and may have killed more people than anyone else in existence. In other words, his inclusion is a massive deal.
It’s looking like the Avengers and friends will step up to take him on in Infinity War after what felt like the world’s longest build-up. But we’re still not there just yet. So, in the meantime, get to know all you can about Thanos with these interesting facts.
10 superhuman facts about Thanos
1) Thanos’ origin story explains why his appearance makes him so evil
A lot of Thanos’ power comes from being born as an Eternal on the planet Titan. However, while most of Titan’s inhabitants mostly resembled humans, Thanos was born with a condition called the Deviant Syndrome that significantly altered his appearance. As the only member of his family covered in grey skin, a stark contrast from his handsome brother Eros, he was ostracized and became dark and vengeful.
It’s no surprise that he’d grow up with a chip on his shoulder. To help relieve it, he made himself stronger than everyone else around, nuked his own planet—killing his mother in the process—and ruled over the surviving inhabitants as a dictator.
2) He’s always been the most powerful being in existence
The overarching plot of the MCU is Thanos’ attempt to gather a group of cosmic gems called Infinity Stones that will grant him ultimate power when combined. So far, everyone he’s asked to help him has failed so he’s decided to get the job done himself. If you were wondering what would happen if he got his way, look no further than Marvel’s The Infinity Gauntlet story arc.
In this arc, all of Marvel’s strongest heroes come together to take on Thanos who now has the power of each of the Infinity stones and is the single strongest being in all of existence and can alter reality with a snap of his finger.
3) He can easily obliterate half of the universe in an instant
Once Thanos accomplished his goal of gathering all of the Infinity Stones, no one knew what he would do first. All they knew is that it would be something huge—and Thanos surely didn’t disappoint. In one of Thanos’s most noteworthy accomplishments to date, he simply snapped his fingers and erased half of the life in the entire universe just to test the reach of his newfound power.
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4) Like the rest of us, Thanos has deep insecurities and a lack of self-worth
How do you beat the single strongest person who ever existed? Trick question— you don’t. You let them beat themselves. After pretty much destroying every single hero who even thought of stepping up to him, Thanos looked unbeatable. But, as luck would have it, there was one person he still had to face. Himself.
Apparently, Thanos has a deep-seeded desire to lose because he knows he’s not worthy of being the strongest person in all creation. So he lost the power he had spent much of his life chasing after.
To borrow a phrase from Kanye West, “No one man should have all that power.”
5) Thanos is kind of a DC ripoff
Depending on who you ask, Marvel and DC—commonly referred to as “the Big Two”—have each robbed the other blind for story ideas. The Guardians of the Galaxy protect space while the Guardians preside over the Green Lantern Corps who protect the galaxy. The Nova Corps’ and Doctor Fate’s magic helmets sure look a lot alike. And DC even had a character named Captain Marvel, for crying out loud!
Thanos is no exception. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Creator Jim Starlin explained how Thanos was originally based off of a DC character named Metreon but was later altered to resemble the hulking mass that is Darkseid.
“Beef him up!” Starlin said. “If you’re going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off darkseid the really good one!”
6) Thanos is in love with death, literally
Thanos has spent so much of his time invested in the destruction of the multiverse that he’s fallen in love with Death. No, seriously. He’s fallen in love with the embodiment of Death, often depicted as a human woman who rules over the afterlife.
The relationship between Thanos and Death had its fair share of ups and downs. For one, when they broke up Death banned Thanos from her realm, meaning he couldn’t die no matter what kind of damage he suffered. On the other hand, they had a son together named Rot. Cute!
Maybe it has something to do with his incredibly troubling childhood. Maybe it’s his way of justifying his actions after years of bloodshed. Who really knows anymore?
7) Thanos is a dad with A LOT of children
Speaking of Thanos’ kids. He’s got a lot of them. He’s like one of those people you see on Maury for the 10th time that makes you wonder if they’re being paid per appearance and, if so, just how much?
As stated above, Thanos had a son with Death. And as the MCU has well established, he would also adopt children from worlds he conquered and raise them to be killing machines – sometimes literally as seen in Nebula’s case. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg as he’s had plenty more.
To be entirely fair, there are plenty of comic book characters that have enough kids to own their own baseball team. Thanos is just one of them.
8) Thanos lost to Squirrel Girl
In this corner we have the defending champion, standing at 6’7” and weighing in at a lot of frickin’ pounds! The destroyer of entire planets, the enslaver of entire species, the ruler of galaxies! The owner of the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos!
And in this corner we have the challenger, standing at 5’3” and weighing in at 100 pounds of fury! The ruler of…squirrels..? Squirrel Girl!
Who do you think wins that fight? If you picked the girl with a giant fluffy tail and an obedient army of squirrels, you were right. In GLX-Mas #1, in a non-canon issue, Thanos is defeated by none other than Doreen Green. To make sure it was legit, the Watcher showed up to label the defeat official and put a permanent mark on Thanos’ record. Luckily, he’s not the first big baddie to fall to the hands of Squirrel Girl. It’s a long-standing joke in the comics that she’s pretty much unbeatable, despite her size.
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9) Drax’s sole purpose is to obliterate Thanos
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Drax the Destroyer’s sole motivation is to destroy Thanos and avenge the deaths of his family.In comic book continuity, this is mostly the case. Thanos did kill Drax’s family and Drax is on a mission to kill him. But the key difference is, in the comics, Drax was created by Thanos’ surviving relatives specifically to kill Thanos, making him one of the few people in all existence who’s actually capable of doing so.
10) Thanos celebrates the holidays in between evil death missions
Somewhere in between destroying planets and slaughtering entire populations, Thanos found time to adopt the practice of celebrating the birth of baby Jesus. Kind of. You’re better off not getting too deep into asking questions here.
In order to try and appease his adopted daughter, Gamora, Thanos made some surprising compromises. One of which was giving her a toy on a holiday that closely resembled Christmas. Comic book writers have definitely made some stretches to make holiday issues work, but this is noticeably a stretch.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Keith Reid-Cleveland is a Chicago-based writer who has been covering geek culture, streaming entertainment, and politics for more than five years. His work has appeared in Uproxx, the Undefeated, Black Nerd Problems, and the Black Youth Project.