WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Thanos #14
The true name of Thanos has been revealed by Marvel, but it's WHO reveals it that begins the villain's next epic. For those who have been sleeping on the ongoing Thanos comic series, it may be a surprise to learn how much the Infinity-Gauntlet-wearing villain has been up to away from Earth. The series launched with the bombshell twist that Thanos was dying, before he set out to prove that no man, beast, or disease can kill 'The Mad Titan.' And especially not Thanos's own son Thane, who is now lost to a living cosmic nightmare. But in Thanos #14, the conqueror comes face to face with the one enemy as great as himself. That man is... well, himself.
That's right, Thanos has found himself in the company of his older self - and we mean much older self. A version of Thanos from millions of years in Marvel's future, when all opposition has been crushed and defeated, leaving the King of the Universe to sit on his lonely throne. While that may seem like the perfect life for the villain who wanted nothing more, he's in need of some help. To get it, he's willing to do the one thing Thanos never could: beg. Beg his younger self, at that. So to win his loyalty, this Old King Thanos must reveal a secret only he knows.
His true birth name: Dione.
Nobody ever accused Thanos of being a particularly complicated villain, at least not in comparison to the other comic conquerors of a similar scale. He lusts for power, domination, and total control of all life in the universe, plain and simple. And he has desired it from almost the moment he was born a Deviant: a genetically mutated Eternal, marking him as a man apart from his people.
Thanos #14 is a love letter to that indomitable, cruel, and unwavering child who saw himself as a singular creation, as Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw tell the story every being knows in their hearts. That no matter how long they hold out, or how nobly the universe's heroes may fight, at the end of all things... "Thanos Wins."
After Issue #13 ended with Thanos being pulled froward through time by Ghost Rider and lain at the feet of an older King Thanos, Issue #14 beings with a highlight reel of Thanos's life. But before he defeats any and every Marvel hero and superteam, the story begins with the birth of Thanos. Specifically, the moment that he was delivered into the world, and his mother uttered his name - "Thanos" - after seeing the destruction of the entire universe in his newborn eyes. His fate, the story argues, was sealed as the will of the universe itself.
Comic fans know that Thanos eventually killed his mother when he was just a boy, but what they didn't know is a secret she revealed "before her mind had been shattered." A secret the older Thanos uses to convince his younger self that he is no illusion. Their name was "Dione," as they learned the day they killed their mother. And with the word uttered, Thanos ceases his assault.
His mission - the one the older Thanos now seeks his help in completing - may prove to be the true end to his story. On his dead world, in a dead universe, the future Thanos resides on a throne in a castle of Celestial bones. But he stares at a river of blood, flowing past a colossal monument to the one person Thanos lost and can't get back on his own.
It isn't his mother, but Lady Death. Whether it's to remove the one lover he ever held dear, or finally bring closure to his victorious life, Issue #15 can't get here soon enough.
Thanos #14 is available now.