Secret Defenders #12-14
Issue(s): Secret Defenders #12,Secret Defenders #13, Secret Defenders #14
We already saw Thanos rescuing Geatar last issue. This issue he's considering a number of other villains to recruit (including... Darkseid?)
Before Thanos picks his recruits, he has a little discussion with Geatar about Nebula's claim that she's his grand-daughter.
Thanos then pulls in the other villains he's chosen: Super-Skrull, Nitro, Titanium Man, and the Rhino.
Super-Skrull tries to resist when Thanos tells them that they're working for him now.
Weird coloring to go with the bad art.
Thanos soundly defeats Super-Skrull, ensuring that no one else will put up a fight. Thanos tells them that he wants them to kidnap an Oracle guarded by a group of monks on planet H'aarg.
Ron Marz does a pretty good job of addressing character motivations. Beyond everyone not wanting to get beaten up by Thanos, Geatar is agreeing to work with him in return for Thanos not pursuing any further vendetta against Nebula. Nitro and Rhino are enticed by the promise that the monks will have wealth to loot. Titanium Man doesn't care about money, but Thanos tells him that the monks have scientific knowledge that his country could use. And Super-Skrull is told that their actions will prevent a religious war in the Skrull Empire.
Thanos provides the villains with a spaceship, and they go to H'aarg to fight their way through hordes of monks and a giant robot.
The Oracle is also a robot.
Thanos arrives after the Oracle is taken.
As for the wealth and technology that Thanos promised, it turns out that he "overstated" things. Thanos teleports away with the Oracle. Also, the ship that he provided the villains with has self-destructed. So now the betrayed villains have to fight their way out and find a way home.
They manage to fight their way through more monks while carrying a wounded Nitro. They salvage the escape pod from the self-destructed ship and use it to get off the planet.
They're subsequently rescued by Silver Surfer and Legacy.
Nitro recognizes that Legacy is related to Captain Marvel and gives him a greeting that Legacy doesn't realize the significance of at the time.
The Surfer intends to take Geater back to Titan to be re-imprisoned alongside Nebula. He lets Super-Skrull return to the Skrull Empire. He offers to transfer the other villains back to Earth. Titanium Man and Rhino accept, but Nitro decides he's going to stay in space and explore. The Surfer must not be aware of what a villain Nitro is; he even re-powers the escape pod for Nitro.
The story is a little sparse, with the H'aarg monks providing plenty of canon fodder to fill three issues but not much of interest. And there aren't any really great, memorable, interactions between the villains. But it's still fun to see the villains working together. I can't help but be a little disappointed that Thanos betrayed his recruits instead of fostering some loyalty from them for future use, but i can't argue that it's out of character for him. Tom Grindberg's artwork continues to be bizarre, but i occasionally like it (like the panel of Titanium Man lifting the escape pod).
As a whole, the issues get by almost entirely thanks to the novelty of it being a Super-Villain Team-Up, but honestly that's enough for me.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 294,033. Single issue closest to filing date = 142,600.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Geatar can have been with Thanos (recovering and/or as a prisoner) indefinitely since the end of last issue. Geatar probably shouldn't appear anywhere in between, but it's ok if Thanos does. Cosmic Powers takes place after this, but it doesn't continue directly. This seems to take place after Silver Surfer finds Genis-Vell in Silver Surfer #89-92.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCaptain Marvel (Genis-vell), Geatar, Mentor, Nebula, Nitro, Oracle of Ancient Knowledge, Rhino, Silver Surfer, Starfox, Super-Skrull, Thanos, Titanium Man
I liked this story, even though the art was bad. Thanos always elevates anything he is in.
Posted by: Steven | September 29, 2017 12:04 PM
Thanos' attitude regarding Nebula is interesting when considering future stories such as Infinity revolved heavily around hiding the fact that he has children. Methinks the Mad Titan protest too much?
Posted by: Max_Spider | September 29, 2017 5:32 PM
Wow, somehow I've never heard of this until now! And that Darkseid cameo is surprisingly blatant. Usually they're a little more subtle about the Distinguished Competition's characters in Easter eggs.
Posted by: Bigvis497 | September 30, 2017 12:44 AM
"future stories such as Infinity revolved heavily around hiding the fact that he has children"
Wasn't aware of that, I'm sure Starlin would if given the chance immediately establish that Hickman's story was about a Thanosbot or clone.
And on that particular case I can't blame him, Starlin had already established Thanos had fell in love with Death by adolescence so it doesn't really give too much opportunity for Thanos to have "dropped progeny", as it were. I kind of liked that (at least when I originally stopped reading) that they had left it open whether Nebula really was related to him and he was embarrassed & denying it, or if she was merely an opportunist who had stepped into the power vacuum following his death using a fictional story to help her claim. (Personally I prefer the latter option, she was a good villain whether genuinely related or not.)
So I'm not keen on any definitive statement that Thanos did have children. Leaving Nebula's story unconfirmed seemed the best way to keep everyone happy, though I presume I may have missed further retcons on that as well.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | September 30, 2017 3:45 PM
I got these issues as a 12-year old and remember loving them. I had no idea who these characters really were (except Thanos, because I had a couple Infinity War issues). This ad hoc team of villains is pretty cool, though, and I agree that having Thanos keep them in reserve for a future plan would have been a really fun excuse to haul this group out again for something like an Avengers storyline.
Posted by: Jonathon | October 1, 2017 8:35 AM
Thanos fathered children all over the universe, but he usually killed them. He fathered Thane on Earth, and Thane was raised by the Inhumans. During Infinity, Thanos came to Earth to kill Thane, but the Avengers stopped him.
Posted by: Steven | October 1, 2017 3:35 PM
But that's a modern retcon. In the original stories there was no indication he had any sexual or romantic interests other than Death.
Posted by: Andrew | October 1, 2017 4:52 PM
Tom Grindberg continues channeling Mike Mignola full tilt here. Unlike the previous three issues, I think this rather works well for this story, since it involves a bunch of criminals & villains with twisted motivations, and it's also set off in outer space with lots of weird, pulpy elements. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Posted by: Ben Herman | October 2, 2017 10:12 AM
Rhino in space!?!? I never thought I'd see the day.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | January 4, 2018 7:21 AM
Hey, Rhino's been in space before! ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | January 4, 2018 11:46 AM
Comments are now closed.
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