Thanos is the one villain who beats the heroes as often as they beat him, as proven by the sheer number of Avengers Thanos has killed in the comics.
Avengers: Infinity War cemented Thanos as the baddest of the bad in the MCU after he successfully wiped out half of all life. But while the Mad Titan took out plenty of fan favorite heroes in the movies, he’s killed even more in the comics – with and without the Infinity Stones.
Published in 2016, Civil War II by Brian Michael Bendis once again saw a rift form among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. While Captain Marvel and her side are in favor of using the precognitive abilities of Ulysses, and inhuman who can see into the future, to stop crimes before they start, Iron Man takes the moral high ground this time around, believing one shouldn’t be punished for a crime they haven’t actually committed. When Ulysses foresees the coming of Thanos, Carol rallies the heroes to meet him head on, but they find themselves severely outmatched. The Mad Titan murders War Machine with his bare hands, causing his missiles to accidentally hit She-Hulk, who dies of her injuries not long after. Many fans hated Marvel’s Civil War II event, but there’s no denying that Thanos taking out two Avengers with one punch is a terrifyingly awesome moment.
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A few years earlier, in 2010’s The Thanos Imperative by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the Mad Titan travels to the Cancerverse, an alternate dimension where death does not exist, but the Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t far behind. However, the heroes actually agree to work with Thanos temporarily to discover the source of the universal rift, but the alliance ends when Drax can no longer contain his hatred for the villain. The two engage in a violent brawl, which ends with Thanos completely disintegrating Drax. If that’s not enough, the end of the series saw Thanos also kill Star-Lord and Nova, though he perishes alongside them as the Cancerverse crumbles.
Thanos has wreaked havoc across the Marvel Universe for decades, but it would be hard to top his brutality in Jim Starlin’s iconic The Infinity Gauntlet mini-series, which served as the main inspiration for Infinity War. Much like in the movie, Thanos obtains all six infinity gems and proceeds to lay waste to the universe, beginning with the Avengers. The Mad Titan disintegrates Scarlet Witch, turns Thor to shattered glass, tears Vision’s wires out, makes Cloak explode, changes Nova into toy blocks, and gives Captain America a fatal backhand. However, Cyclops got the worst death by suffocating inside an unbreakable cube. That’s not even counting the others heroes killed by Thanos’s minions or those whose fates were uncertain, which proves that the Mad Titan’s rampage in this mini-series was truly his worst.
Ultimately, Thanos’s kill count is almost too high to calculate. Some heroes have even fallen by his hand more than once, while others, like Deadpool and Silver Surfer, were killed and immediately resurrected by the Mad Titan so as to keep them away from Lady Death, Thanos’ love. One thing is for sure- as arguably the biggest villain in Marvel’s library, Thanos will cause plenty more heroes to perish before long.
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