Hello and welcome to another week of comic book excellence, right here in Ye Olde School Café! You know, with all of this hype about the next Avengers movie, I thought it would be a good idea to present the very first appearance of none other than Thanos himself! He’s been around longer than most think, but curiously enough made his first appearance in Iron Man #55. Yeah, kind of strange, but it’s true! So let us dispense with the formalities, and get right to it! Iron Man #55 was written by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich, and illustrated by Jim Starlin and Mike Esposito (1973).
The issue starts out with crazy action, as Drax the Destroyer is being held against his will, but has the wherewithal to mentally contact someone (Who knew he had this power?) from Earth for help about an impending disaster. The individual responsible is aware of this and has dispatched a couple of miscreants to stop the receiver of this message from doing anything about it. The message gets to none other than ol’ shell-head himself, Iron Man, but no sooner does he get the message, than he’s attacked by the Blood Brothers. These two brothers have a few special abilities, but none more prevalent than their lust for murder. They savagely attack Iron Man and knock him unconscious. They signal their shadowy employer, then board a spacecraft and head towards Thanos’s fortress.
In the next scene, it is revealed that Thanos, the Mad Titan, is behind this insidious scheme, and he then tells Drax that he’s insignificant to him, but Drax recounts the last couple of days and how he came to be in this predicament. Drax remembers contacting Tony Stark, who then revisits his dealings with the inhabitants of the Moon called Titan! He recalls the planet’s leader, Mentor, and his two sons, Eros (Starfox) and Thanos. We see Thanos get banished from the planet for making weapons. Thanos then was very angry and collected an army of villains from across the galaxy to exact his revenge on Titan. Thanos did destroy most of the populace, but Mentor called upon Kronos (a god of the Titans) to help stop his son. They capture the spirit of an Earth man, Arthur Douglas, and Drax the Destroyer is created.
As the Blood Brothers bring Iron Man to Thanos’s stronghold, Iron Man gets free and blasts both of them. He sees Drax is restrained and tries to free him. The containment unit has a built-in fail safe that repels Iron Man’s blast right back at him. As he’s on the floor trying to get back on his feet, Thanos steps on his hands, showing him who’s boss. Back on Titan, Mentor finds the coordinates of Drax, and sends a beam of energy to Iron Man’s chest plate, then redirects and breaks the containment unit that holds Drax. He immediately starts a fight with the Blood Brothers, and he and Iron Man begin to put them down. They finish them off, and then turn their attention towards Thanos.
As Drax and Iron Man attempt to make a move on Thanos, he activates a self-destruct device that will detonate and destroy the base. Drax uses an energy blast to halt that action, and then he and Iron Man jump Thanos. Iron Man delivers a huge punch to Thanos, but then the two heroes realize that the “Thanos” they are fighting now is a robot version of the evil despot. He must have slipped away while they fought the Blood Brothers, they surmise. As the base explodes anyway, the two head for higher ground, and then amicably part ways, but agree to fight together again if the need ever arises!
Well, that’s it for this week, but definitely check out the early appearances of this great character, and the huge amount of work that Marvel Cosmic stalwarts like Jim Starlin did to make him the big deal he is today! See you next week!