It might shock many fans to know that there is canon evidence of Thanos and Darkseid meeting in a battle to the death.
It’s a story of worlds colliding and two universes spilling one into another. The comic powerhouses of Marvel and DC gave fans one helluva’n epic crossover. One with plenty of victories on both sides, and, let’s be honest, the one thing fans needed to know: who would win in a fight, Thanos or Darkseid?
So we’re going to take a look at both characters, study their abilities and accomplishments, then prove to be proper geeks and wager which one will walk away victor over the other.
In 1970 Darkseid is revealed to the world of comics and ferociously became a menacing threat.
This 8-foot tall mastermind rules from the Hell-existence of Apokolips and is an atrocity against all living things.
His divine power has proven to be the main scourge against those who oppose him and few have ever stood before him and lived to tell about it.
Omega beams – red laser beams that cut across matter and end it by a mere touch.
It takes a god to meet godlike strength though and Superman is one of the few who has withstood a powerful blast from one of Darkseid’s Omega Beams.
Anti Life Equation – the devastating ability to control sentient life. A domination of the will.
“Emotional turmoil breaks the dikes of the mind– And releases the flood in which we must fish, Desaad! Perhaps in this very city is the mind which will yield the Anti-Life Equation! The ability to control all free will!” Darkseid– DC Fandom
Imperial strength – Small example, he crushed a Green Lantern ring with his bare fist. Something thought to be impossible to do. He wields exceeding might and a cunning mind to match his brute power
More powers – Immortality, the power to read minds and control them, and a fondness for breaking people’s souls. Not to mention he’s a genius and has turned thousands of worlds to ash heaps.
He’s easily taken down the Justice League before, but, rather than killing them he’d much rather corrupt them, destroy their will rather than their bodies, and force his once-enemies to serve under his throne.
Not to mention that in his infancy he battled Olympian Gods, the full military might of Atlantis, and taken on the Amazons in their prime. All on his own I might add.
And did he break a sweat? Fuck no!
He is a descendent of the Old Gods, an ancient order perhaps older than time, an order he resented. By manipulation and lies, he sat back and allowed his own kind to decimate themselves while he rode in to drain and store up their energies for his own.
He forsook his given name, Uxas, and retitled himself Darkseid. Feeling now superior in his newfound might and majesty he took on his father, Yuga Khan, slew him in battle, and ended the ancient order, then proclaimed himself a New God.
As aforementioned, he rules from Apokolips, an industrial Hell-scape planet, a thriving world of agony serving as a manifestation of its Master’s dark imagination.
He also possesses incredible powers of regeneration which grants him the gift of rebirth. He cannot be killed and will come back again, and again.
He is Satan in the mythos of DC and to battle the Devil one needs a Messiah, Kal-El.
And Superman has been able to hurt and drive Darkseid back. Though it did take the whole Justice League to stop the daemonic will of the New God.
By his hands alone planets have crumbled. Hundreds of thousands of planets have been left in ruin in his wake. He is relentless in pursuit of his goals as well as in battle. Perhaps his most deadly weapon is in fact his mind.
Three years after the comic world met Darkseid, Thanos was introduced in Marvel Comics. He first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man # 55 of February 1973. To be fair, to those who say Darkseid is a copy of Thanos, the facts are the other way around.
The ‘90s is when Thanos’s infamy took off (primarily due to Infinity Gauntlet 1991) and is how the character is now known among comic fans. I say comic fans because most people today know the Mad Titan thankfully due to the highly successful MCU where he’s served as the proverbial thorn in the Avengers’ side.
Marvel Studios spent ten years building the character’s infamy throughout their Avengers films. The end result was seen in Avengers: End Game where the whole Marvel Cinematicverse came together to fight Thanos and his army in a climatic battle.
Thanos is 6 feet tall and purple-skinned with a gnarly-looking chin. He is a descendent of the Eternals and a Titan. Due to a mutation in his genes (due to his lineage) he not only has the powers of an Eternal but to a magnified degree.
I might also point out that (at least in his early days) he was dating Death herself. It might shock modern Marvel fans to learn that originally the Infinity War was, in part, a plan Thanos made in order to impress Death. Yup, he was a simp.
He has super stamina and speed, plus a cool ability to absorb and master cosmic energy. He can manipulate matter itself and weaponize it to lethal effect. He is a master tactician. He is a warlord, trained by the best warmasters on his homeworld of Titan.
He’s easily beaten both Thor and Odin (gods), defeated a raging Hulk, and, took a double-fisted stab from Wolverine’s blades then shook it off as though it was nothing. He’s also punched Captain America’s shield into smithereens. And in the movie, threw a fucking moon at Iron Man.
That shit’s hardcore.
He’s fought every major Marvel super hero you can name and remained on his feet while they each lay broken under his boots.
Origins And Accomplishments:
He was born on Saturn’s moon Titan, and, as aforementioned, is a descendent of Eternals.
He led a mass genocide against his own race, slaughtering his own kind, and left Titan a wasted moon, or planet (something hinted at in Avengers: Infinity War) if you prefer, all just to impress the love of his life, Mistress Death.
He’s also known for murdering his own offspring, because what a nice guy.
What he’s most known for today – thanks to the cinematic interpretation of the character – is zealously gathering the Infinity Stones.
Or, to be more specific, using the infamous Infinity Gauntlet to snap away half the galaxy.
However, the events of Infinity Gauntlet (what Avengers: Infinity War/End Game are based off of) differ greatly as far as comic and film are both concerned.
Well, you see, there was this girl…
Yup, Thanos had a crush on (possibly) the most powerful being in the universe. That being Mistress Death, as in Death. No not Lady Death, but you get the picture. Lady Death is still my crush.
Unlike his galactic goals in the Avengers films, Thanos was out to impress that special lady in his life.
To the point where he’s literally on his knees groveling at her feet. It’s actually really awkward at times.
But being brought back from the dead must do that to a guy. Mistress Death did seek Thanos out from among the dead and brought him back for a specific purpose.
Mistress Death knew there were more living beings across the universe than it could handle and so chose Thanos to do her dirty work. In return he worshipped her. He gladly would have been her sub.
It’s something that’s not talked about today, but, and shockingly I say this, before Anakin Skywalker was gushing over Padme, Thanos was desperate to get the slightest smirk of recognition from Death.
It almost plays out like she’s the hot goth chick who couldn’t care less. And I’m dead serious this is how the comics canon went.
She uses him as her tool to vanquish half the sentient life across the universe. And he does so faithfully, almost as if on a whim.
Could you imagine if they went in that direction for the cinematic universe?
Unlike the events of the film Avengers: Infinity War or End Game, Thanos’s master plan -to snap away most life across the cosmos – is undone by Adam Warlock.
Cinematically Infinity War and End Game largely adapt Infinity Gauntlet, but what I love more about the actual comic run is the sheer number of Marvel heroes present for the fight.
Primarily, the two most important characters, both Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer, are, sadly, largely absent from the films. And they’re both paramount to the story.
Not to mention Galactus’ role as well as his fellow Cosmic Beings. Speaking of which, Silver Surfer tackles Thanos on a cosmic level while Warlock defeats the Mad Titan from the heart of the Infinity Gauntlet itself – the Soul Stone.
We’re even given a cool glance into the Soul Realm where Warlock operates.
From within the Soul Stone Warlock discovers a deeply buried truth about Thanos – he doesn’t feel worthy of unlimited power. Because of this Thanos purposely sets up scenarios where he will be defeated just as he’s enjoying the fruit of his labors.
That alone chips away at his super villain rights.
Unlike Palpatine from Star Wars, Jafar from Aladdin, Magneto from X-Men, or Darkseid in DC, Thanos knows he is unworthy of limitless power and allows himself to be constantly thwarted by mortals time and time again.
And therein could be the emotional appeal with his fans. The guy just wants the girl he loves to recognize his devotion. And despite all of his cunning and hard work he is a ‘man’ with self-doubt. He’s kind of just as fucked up as the rest of us.
I may offend people now with what I’m about to say, but there are other villains in Marvel comics I’ve liked more than Thanos. Such as Galactus who just roams around the universe looking for planets to devour. I always thought that concept was scary on a Lovecraftian level.
Like imagine waking up one day and seeing a massive face filling the whole sky as Galactus prepares to eat Earth.
Thanos held godhood in his grip, he masterfully took down his enemies, wiped his ass with the Avengers, and basically called the universe a big bowl of bull fuck. He even went so far to become Eternity himself but then ‘conveniently’ lost the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to his daughter Nebula who then restored the galaxy back to normal.
Long story short Warlock ends up with the IG and promises to govern creation as a benign god.
Thanos held omnipotence but inadvertently gave it all up.
It’s worth noting that Thanos was once defeated by Squirrel Girl. I had to look this one up too because I had no clue who the Hell she was. I was too busy reading Uncanny X-Men and McFarlane’s Spider-Man run I guess. But she has a bushy tail and can talk to squirrels. Her victory over Thanos is listed as ‘ambiguous.’ Well now I wanna see a movie about this fight!
A Mad Titan vs. The New God
- Cinematically Thanos takes the win here. As of yet we haven’t seen Darkseid reveal all the Hell of Apokolips upon audiences. Not yet. A thing, thanks to Zack Snyder, will be remedied very soon in upcoming Justice League.
So Thanos will have some cinematic competition soon (March 18, 2021).
Physically, Darkseid stands two-feet taller than Thanos but in pure strength, it would be a very brutal, and, possibly, equal fight. However, Darkseid is without morals and has conquered multiverses in his evil pursuits.
Also, Darkseid’s fetish is to destroy his foes’ souls. So I could see Darkseid targeting Mistress Death, turning her to his side by using the Anti Life Equation, and then punching her face off and make Thanos wear her bones like a necklace.
And Darkseid has no self-doubts. He knows he is worthy to rule everything and will not stop until its all his.
Unlike the devastation wrought by a snap of Thanos’s fingers, the cataclysms brought about by Darkseid cannot be undone. He will not relinquish power or put himself in a position to be compromised.
It would be a battle of intellect between two genius strategists too. Both have commanded legions of armies across the galaxy. However, going by their individual philosophies alone Thanos seeks to bring harmony to the galaxy by means of genocide. Darkseid seeks to rule it all.
Ok enough speculation. What actually happened when the two crossed over?!
When the two finally came face to face the question was answered: who would win in a fight?
Thanos approached the battle with respectful threat. Darkseid, however, dropped all candor, called Thanos a pale imitation of himself (BURN) and proceeded to tear the Infinity Gauntlet off Thanos’s arm – hand included in gauntlet. And just like that, the battle was over.
Now holding the power of the coveted Infinity Gauntlet Darkseid, having no need or use for it at all, tosses it aside. After all, he’s managed to annihilate over half the multiverse without the aid of mystical and cosmic stones.
Also, since the gauntlet was made in the Marvel universe it was purely useless in DC’s universe. Because of reasons.
When the story of Marvel vs DC was being planned out publishers from both sides made decisions for how certain battles would conclude. But they also allowed fans to determine the outcome of certain battles as well.
So this battle left some fans cheering while others were pissed.
Is this controversial? Oh, fuck yes, I know it is. And knowing its potential divisiveness was not lost on me. However, this is an event from our past, a moment many fans wanted to see, a crossover that needed to happen.
Fan of Both Sides
I grew up reading Marvel for the most part. With Batman and Superman being the exceptions of course.
As result, I got to know (and love) lots of Marvel’s rogues and my absolute favorites were always Magneto, Dr. Doom, Venom, Carnage, Apocalypse, Mephisto, Galactus, Scorpion, Electro…and this could go on and on.
Thanos, as far as the comics are concerned, just never really impressed me much. I admit I’m more of a fan of his cinematic portrayal than the ‘90s era comic run. And the dude was beaten by Squirrel Girl. That’s just hilarious.
As I got older I began reading more DC and thanks to Watchmen, Killing Joke, Dark Knight Returns, and Death of Superman enough of my interest was piqued that I’m still collecting comics today.
I’m more of a retro Marvel fan, meaning my favorite era is certainly the ‘90s when Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane were part of the artistic team.
Fuck sake McFarlane made Lizard and Hobgoblin Hellishly awesome! Not to mention Venom!
As a fan, I’ve seen Thanos reinvented on the silver screen and I applaud it. Amazing stuff, seeing the Avengers assemble and come to life to battle the Mad Titan was a treat!
But, also, as a fan, I cannot wait to see Snyder’s original vision of the Justice League finally take off and bring me Darkseid at long last!
It’s an event I’ve waited for for a very long time.
Our heroes are now brought to life! And with them a host of challenging super villains. Whatever side you find yourself on don’t let fandom divide us. We’re a family and just as our comic publishers crossed over for fun there’s nothing wrong with loving both sides or having a side you favor.
For goodness sake Thanos got beaten by Squirrel Girl! I just found out about that and holy shit I love it. It’s little things like that that keep me smiling.
It’s a mean world out there and if heroes taught us anything it’s to stand (strong) together.
One thought on “Thanos vs Darkseid: When Marvel And DC Crossed Over In Comic History”
Very interesting and detailed post. I actually mentioned Thanos and Darkseid the other day with one of my blog posts. https://iridiumeye.wordpress.com/2021/04/06/top-7-characters-that-fans-are-reluctant-to-call-blatant-ripoffs/
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