The latest issue of Eternals clarifies and confirms the established connection between Thanos and the gods of the Marvel Universe.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Eternals #2 by Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, Matthew Wilson, and VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Thanos, the Mad Titan, is best known for being a genocidal maniac of great power who is obsessed with death. As a Titan, he is connected by lineage to the Eternals, the secret society and species living on Earth since the time the Celestials came for a visit. In fact, the god-like race and future inhabitants of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are directly responsible for the very creation of Thanos, much to their collective chagrin, revealed most recently in the latest issue of Eternals.
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Thanos made his reappearance at the end of the previous issue, where he engages in combat with Ikaris. However, the epic battle is overshadowed by the ominous question of how Thanos even got to his location in the first place. Ikaris had been exploring the remains of Titanos, the former home of the Eternals and a place hidden within the Great Machine, the construct responsible for reviving Eternals when their bodies are destroyed. Only Eternals can gain access to places inside the machine. The presence of Thanos presents a question that unfortunately comes with an equally disturbing answer.
The truth in simplest terms stems around the fact that the Eternals are responsible for the creation of Thanos. It was never their intention to create the universe’s greatest butcher, but they are nevertheless the ones responsible. Ironically, the situation that led up to the birth of one of the universe’s greatest threats was a compromise to end a civil war among the Eternals.
It all began with a division in the Eternals. The majority wanted to maintain the status quo. To them, there was no need for the creation of more Eternals, or Eternal offshoots. Their opposition, though significantly smaller in size, was no less passionate about their beliefs. They were convinced that the time had come to expand their numbers. This disagreement escalated into a full on war that forced the machine to mindwipe the participants so they don’t remember what emotionally traumatizing events occurred during their conflict. Following this, the need for compromise became clear.
And so an experiment was authorized. A small colony would be established on Titan, to see if it was possible to create a new species from the Eternals’ DNA. And for one glorious moment, the experiment was a success. A new species was born, the Titans, who were the genetic offshoots of the Eternals, but not Eternals themselves, so they had no connection to the Machine. Their success would end once Thanos was born and after growing strong enough, killed his family and the entire planet shortly thereafter.
To say that Thanos is both the Eternals’ greatest accomplishment and also their greatest regret would be an understatement. He went on to kill half the universe in an insane attempt to court Death and then committed various other atrocities both before and after. There probably isn’t an Eternal who doesn’t want Thanos dead to prevent any more bloodshed. At least, that was the assumption, before it became clear that one of the Eternals has given Thanos access to the Machine.
Ikaris and the few he trusts (Sprite was included just to keep an eye on her) gathered to figure out why Thanos murdered Zuras, but when they tried to revoke his access to the Machine, they found that they could not. The only logical conclusion was that someone gave Thanos the access he needed to find them. There is no other way for him to enter Olympia as he is not an Eternal. Although their reasons for doing so are baffling, to say the least, there is no denying that one of the gods has aligned themselves with their greatest failure.
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