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The Best Storylines That Feature Thanos

Updated October 2, 2019 239 votes 56 voters 2.7k views20 items

List RulesVote up the Thanos comic book story arcs every fan must read

Thanks to the massive success of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the world knows of the threat that is Thanos! While there are many people across the globe who know of Thanos now that he's been featured in two of the most successful movies of all time, there aren't as many folks who know him as well as those who've read the comics.

Thanos has been an ever-present thorn in most of the Marvel Universe's side since he first debuted back in The Invincible Iron Man #55, all the way back in 1973. Since that time, he has gone on to become one of the biggest bads in Marvel Comics history, and while you may think he's been limited to stories involving the Avengers, there's far more to Thanos than moviegoers realize. He's been featured in hundreds of comic books including single comic issues, vast storylines involving huge crossover events, story arcs, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, and everything in-between.

Thanos' best stories depict many of the Marvel Universe's greatest adventures, and thanks to being the guy everyone wants to beat, he's fought nearly everyone. This list compiles his 20 greatest tales, ranked by the readers, so don't forget to look below and vote up your favorite Thanos' stories to see which one rises to the top of the list!

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  • 5

    Annihilation

    Story Found In: Drax The Destroyer #1-4, Annihilation Prologue, Annihilation: Nova #1-4, Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4, Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1-4, Annihilation: Ronan #1-4, Annihilation #1-6, Annihilation: Heralds Of Galactus #1-2, and Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files (2006)

    Marvel's mega-crossover storyline from 2006 was titled "Annihilation," and it was a doozy! The story involves the oncoming wave of warships led by Annihilus, which is called the Annihilation Wave. It made its way into the Marvel Universe via "The Crunch," and it promises to destroy everything in its path!

    This means the entirety of the Marvel Universe must stand against the wave, putting everything they have into fighting it! Thanos takes part in the series by defeating the Beyonder (with the help of Star-Lord), he enslaves The Fallen One and does pretty much what he can to instill chaos wherever he goes. This series was compiled into a two-part trade paperback, which can be found on Amazon by visiting the link above.

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    • 6

      Thanos Wins

      Story Found In: Thanos #13-18 and Thanos Annual #1

      If there's one thing every being in the Marvel Universe fears, it's what might happen if Thanos wins. Sadly, it looks like that fear may come to pass when the Mad Titan gets his way! Thanos has always wanted to destroy as much life as necessary to please his mistress Death, but will that be enough?

      As Thanos travels to the very end of time, his victory is nearly complete, but will he be happy with what he sees? Thanos learns a hard lesson about his true goals and what brought him to the end of time in this compelling story from Donny Cates with illustrations by Geoff Shaw.

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      • Photo: Marvel Comics
        7

        Thanos Returns

        Story Found In: Thanos #1-6 (2016)

        There's no arguing Thanos is one of the biggest bads in the Marvel Universe, but even he has a family. In the first six issues of his new 2016 eponymous series, Thanos must struggle with a reckoning with his family, and they are not happy with how the Mad Titan turned out!

        The story follows Thanos as he explores the darker sides of the galaxy and his continued destruction of it. He's evil, he's unstoppable, but he's gunning for anyone who could possibly take him down! "Thanos Returns" features beautifully stylistic artwork by Mike Deodato with an awesome story written by Jeff Lemire.

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        • 8

          Thanos Rising

          Story Found In: Thanos Rising #1-5 (2014)

          Even Thanos has an origin, and it's told in glorious detail in "Thanos Rising" thanks to the same-titled five-issue miniseries. In this book, Thanos takes his place upon the universal stage as he rises to dominance in a tale of deceit, tragedy, and destiny!

          If you've never read Thanos' origin story before, you can't go wrong with this tale by Jason Aaron with illustrations by Simone Bianchi. Thanos' origin story is one of the most compelling of all Marvel Comics' characters! There is love, loss, deceit, death, desire, and the fate of the galaxy if not the whole universe at stake as Thanos rises to become the Mad Titan he was born to be.

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