Rating: 3/5 – A Story Designed for Digital That Doesn’t Work As Well on the Printed Page.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Thanos: A God Up There Listening was originally part of Marvel’s digital “Infinite” comic line and has now been released in print. Unfortunately, this probably works better in the digital version as the art seems sparse on the page and you get a sense that the panels and pages were designed for a digital experience, which is great for the digital reader but not so great for someone reading it on the printed page. In terms of story, this first issue also suffers a bit as the title suggests that it’s a story about Thanos, but this issue focuses more on his son Thane who was introduced in Marvel’s Infinity event. For readers who may be unfamiliar with the son of Thanos, it does a nice job of introducing you to him, but by the end you’ll be questioning which direction this story will be heading.
When the story opens we see Thane contemplating his origins and his life. As he reflects he’s visited by the Ebony Maw, one of Thanos’ dark disciples. Ebony Maw makes Thane question himself and his relation to Thanos and what his ultimate destiny may be. Writer Rob Willams lays a foundation for Thane to become a tragic character, but never goes far enough to ultimately make you care about him and turn him into something more. And regrettably as the story goes on, the focus seems to shift away from Thane and more to Thanos. The ending and preview would also lead you to believe that the second issue will be all about Thanos as Thane takes a step back in story and becomes much like the reader, just a witness to Thanos’ previously unknown adventures.
The art by Iban Coello is clean and it’s a great style for a tablet, but it’s weird to see a credit for “storyboard artists” in a comic, which is yet another indicator that this was originally intended for digital devices. Some of the panels and transitions feel strange, especially in the opening page where in one panel Thane is walking alone, and in the next Ebony Maw suddenly appears without any exposition. It may work reading it digitally, but here on the printed page it just felt random and confusing. Also, the art at times has a real cartoony feel, while at other times it takes a more serious approach which much like the story, doesn’t ever give a clear direction for the book.
If you’re a mega fan of Thanos and his mythology, you may want to read this story the way it was originally intended, digitally. Even then the story seemed to lack clear direction. On the printed page, and for casual fans of Thanos, this is something that is very easily “missable”. For my own self, it’s a story I could have skipped and I won’t be back for more.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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