There are few villains in the Marvel Universe who can match Thanos on all counts. From intelligence and drive, to strength and raw power, Thanos is truly a force to be reckoned with. However, by Thanos’ own account, there is at least one villain who he considers to be his equal – a villain who is truly “a challenge worthy of Thanos“.
Thanos is a villain who regularly deals in power on a cosmic, universe-altering scale. During the events of Thanos Quest, Thanos traveled the known and unknown regions of space to find the Infinity Stones (then known as the Soul Gems), taking on increasingly powerful entities along the way to complete his mission. Then, when he had the Infinity Stones in his clutches, he channeled their cosmic energy through the Infinity Gauntlet to bring even the strongest beings in the universe to their knees. While fans are more than familiar with these storylines, as they are integral to Thanos’ character, they also act as the perfect examples to the larger point being made today: Thanos is an absolute powerhouse with no clear equal. However, in another storyline, Thanos himself actually names one other villain who proves that assertion wrong: Tyrant.
In 1994’s Cosmic Powers by Ron Marz and Ron Lim, Thanos is on a quest in search of cosmic artifacts of power, while also seeking a worthy challenge. In one issue of this six-part storyline, Thanos finds both with Tyrant. Tyrant is the original Herald of Galactus, a living machine whose power matched that of the Devourer of Worlds himself. In fact, according to Thanos, the battle that ensued upon Galactus and Tyrant’s falling out decimated entire galaxies. So, when Thanos learned that Tyrant held in his possession an orb of forbidden knowledge, the Mad Titan didn’t hesitate to challenge him for it. In the end, Thanos won the power orb and escaped Tyrant’s abode with his life, declaring himself the winner of the bout as a result. But it was later revealed that Tyrant paid little mind to the orb Thanos claimed, as he had a much larger version of it that was implied to be much more comparatively valuable, meaning Tyrant didn’t care one way or the other if Thanos got away with the smaller orb.
Thanos began this particular adventure by saying he has found a worthy threat in Tyrant, and that proves to be the case. In fact, it’s fair to say that Thanos was even outmatched, as Tyrant was still very much okay after their battle, and wasn’t even really that invested to begin with – and Thanos knew that. He knew that he was outmatched, as just getting away with his life and some semi-valuable trinket isn’t enough for the great Thanos to know in his soul that he was victorious. Thanos is a conqueror and a harbinger of death, not some petty thief who runs away from anyone, especially when he specifically sought them out for the glory of a worthy battle.
Thanos wanted a challenge worthy of his self-appointed greatness, and he got more than he bargained for with Tyrant. While Thanos would go back and finish what he started, ending the Cosmic Powers storyline by defeating Tyrant outright, that first conflict showed that he was outmatched, and worse yet, it showed that he knew it, proving that Tyrant was, indeed, “a challenge worthy of Thanos“.
Thanos names the one villain who’s his equal. Read More