Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, written by the legendary Jim Starlin and illustrated by Andy Smith and Frank D’Armata, is a mind-bending exploration of what the concept of death actually means in the Marvel universe: more specifically, what it means to the nearly immortal players in that universe.
In his introduction to Thanos, Douglas Wolk, author of Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, claims, “The Infinity Revelation is a resolution, but it’s not the ending.” This statement sums up Starlin’s new novel about his Mad Titan more perfectly than any other single sentence I could hope to conjure.
A rather complex piece of fiction, Infinity Revelation takes Thanos’s well-established existential crisis to a new level by providing readers with, arguably, three stories that are all intertwined into a single plot. Within the confines of the 100-ish-page edition, we are taken on a temporal roller coaster with Thanos’s subconscious, wherein we are subjected to imagery from his past, present, and future, all while following him in his recent journey to locate a legendary artifact that The Living Tribunal, Eternity, Infinity, and Death—all of whom are actual god-like beings, for those who might be newer readers—have inspired him to find.
This novel also marks the reincarnation of famous Guardian of the Galaxy, leader of the Universal Church of Truth, and Thanos frenemy, Adam Warlock. With Warlock’s accompanying Thanos in his quest, readers are treated to an ominous new view into Adam’s ideology on life, death, and rebirth that helps to complicate our understanding of him as an individual.
While there are a few instances of Starlin’s falling into classic comic tropes, such as Thanos’s talking to himself or Warlock’s pointing-out the obvious in lieu of hard plot development, The Infinity Revelation is, to say the least, a truly fascinating read. With a plot that’s sure to keep you on your toes, bold and expansive illustration, and a full list of cameos, Starlin does a thorough job of continuing the Thanos saga and (this is going to sound cheesy) challenging readers really to ponder the meaning of life…Seriously.
One Kind-Of, Sort-Of Spoiler That Will Actually Make the Reading Experience More Rewarding:
A quick word of caution/advice: Apart from those aforementioned comic tropes (here’s looking at you, page-long passages of internal monologue), this novel is a definite exhibition of Starlin’s mastery over the subtilties of story-telling in a comic format. There are many instances when you’ve got to pay close attention to the differences between frames on a page, as characters will change appearances very regularly. An awareness of these slight variations from the beginning will really help to clarify the story that you’re reading and make the plot a heck-of-a-lot cooler.
Overall, I’d give Thanos: The Infinity Revelation an 8.7/10