WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Thanos Annual
There is no Marvel villain more evil than Thanos, who can make helping an old woman across the street... the most evil act in comic history. The main villain of the upcoming movie Avengers: Infinity War has brought about incalculable deaths and committed many wicked deeds in his long life. All committed in an effort to win the favor of Death herself. Yet the tale of Thanos' greatest act of evil has remained untold... until now.
Thanos Annual #1 has revealed the dirtiest deed that Thanos ever did, and it all began with him helping an old lady to cross the street. An unlikely beginning to the most evil act ever committed, but Thanos has ever been one to play the long game when needed.
Seriously, this really is a new level of evil - even for Thanos.
The comic story reveals that during the time when Thanos possessed The Infinity Gauntlet, he was able to use The Time Gem to pinpoint the exact moment in which he might bring about the greatest number of deaths possible (besides killing half the universe with a snap of his fingers). This led The Mad Titan to a Manhattan street corner, where Thanos delayed a bus driver with a glare and, as promised, assisted an elderly woman across the street.
What no one realized at the time was that Thanos' apparent random act of kindness averted a chain of events that ultimately would have brought about universal peace. By delaying the bus, Thanos prevented a young woman named Stephanie Kircher from accidentally bumping into a woman named Suzanne. This prevented the inspiration that would send Stephanie down a path to single-handedly ending world hunger and curing multiple diseases.
These breakthroughs, in turn, would end numerous social ills and turn Earth into a paradise, whose example would inspire other worlds to abandon war and conquest.
The twisted icing on this cake of evil comes years later, when Thanos visits Stephanie Kircher on her deathbed to not just tell her of the life she would have lived and all the good that would have been done in her name had it not been for his intervention, but show it to her in a vision.
Because of Thanos, Stephanie had lived an unaccomplished life and never came close to fulfilling her destiny. She died in tears, knowing for certain how truly wasted her potential had been and how utterly meaningless her life was in the grand scheme of things.
It is this attention to detail and commitment to his cause that sets Thanos apart from other villains, and will make him a formidable foe for all of Earth's heroes in Avengers: Infinity War. Any thug may bring about the death of a single person. Any despot may crush a resistance or destroy a nation. Few have the vision or commitment needed to bring about the death of a dream, an idea or a future.
Thanos knows this well, and of all the little deaths he has brought about in the name of his mistress, the death of Hope in a single soul is the sweetest of all.