And so ends the latest DnA (that’s Dan [Abnett] and Andy [Lanning]) space mini event, and it was pretty okay. Here’s the thing: these guys’ “pretty okay” is the average writer’s “good.” I’m just looking at The Thanos Imperative when stacked against their previous events like Annihilation and War of Kings which reinvigorated the Cosmic Marvel U.
For those of you coming in late, at the conclusion of War of Kings a sonic weapon powered by inhuman monarch Black Bolt exploded, creating a rift in space called “The Fault.” This gash in the galactic fabric led to a Lovecraft-inspired “Cancerverse,” where life ran rampant, but it was the kind of life that was cancerous (hence the name) and twisted. And since that universe was overflowing with grotesque life, it needed more room to grow; hence the invasion led by their Mar-Vell aka Captain Marvel. And through a series of circumstances too circuitous to go into here, our Guardians of the Galaxy needed the help of Thanos as the “Avatar of Death” to push back against these death-impervious creatures.
I’m kind of a big fan of Thanos, with The Infinity Gauntlet being one of the first event comics that I ever followed. Here, he’s a little prickly since the only thing the world’s meanest nihilist wanted was to be dead and he suddenly found himself resurrected and unable to die. The beginning of this issue sees him turning on his “allies,”—the combined forces of Guardians, the Shi’Ar, the Inhumans, the Kree, and the Nova Corps—offering himself up to Captain Marvel if only the latter will kill him (and make it permanent).
Abnett and Lanning pull out the final act twist every time, and even if it’s expected, it’s typically something crazy and interesting. Here it doesn’t have as great an impact as with previous series, and I think that in large part due to the pacing of the remainder of the issue, which sees the Guardians having to contend with a crazed Titan. Some of the consequences that flow out of this issue are truly interesting (a couple of unexpected deaths, yet another shakeup for the Nova Corps), but most of this occurs in the book’s final couple of pages.
Art chores are handled by Miguel Angel Sepulveda, who doesn’t knock anything out of the park, but it’s functional enough for the story. Everyone is on model and nothing looks especially wonky. Colorist Jay D. Ramos brings out all of the lurid hues of the “Cancerverse” invaders and does a nice job separating the cast and making clear visual identifiers. Nothing spectacular, but it works with the book.