The Cosmic Family Tree of Thanos the Mad Titan
Does the apple fall far from the tree in Thanos’ family?
In the Marvel Universe, few names inspire fear like Thanos. The entire galaxy knows Thanos’ name and reputation. It comes with the territory after you’ve wiped out half of the living beings in the universe, as Thanos did in THE INFINITY GAUNTLET. And only Thanos would go on interstellar killing spree, as he did in INFINITY (2013), just to hide his plan to murder his son.
Yet not even Thanos sprang into being fully formed. A long time ago, Thanos even had a family to call his own. While most of Thanos’ family is now dead by his own hand, the survivors cast a long shadow. But to truly understand the Mad Titan, it’s necessary to go back and examine his lineage.
Thanos’ paternal grandfather is Kronos, the former leader of the Eternals on Earth. This does make Thanos an Eternal as well; although his physical mutations mark him as a Deviant. Regardless, the Eternals family line started by Kronos and his wife, Daina. Their union produced two sons: A'Lars and Zuras. Within their lifetimes, Kronos was the Eternals’ unquestioned ruler after defeating his brother, Uranos. Following that victory, a lab accident claimed Kronos’ physical body and he became a god-like being. So Thanos can claim a link to Kronos’ divinity, even if he wasn’t a god when Thanos or his father were sired.
Speaking of Thanos’ dad, A’Lars decided that Earth was simply too small for him. He moved to Titan and met Sui-San, the last survivor of the Eternals who followed Uranos into space. Together, A’Lars and Sui-San used science to repopulate Titan, while he took on the mantle of Mentor. Their first natural son, Eros, was born perfectly normal for an Eternal. But Thanos was stricken with Deviant syndrome from birth, and it drove his mother insane. Sui-San had planned to call her second son Dione, but she named him Thanos when she first held him in her arms and tried to murder him.
When Thanos was 12-years old, he returned the favor by killing his mother. Thanos also had a contentious relationship with his brother. Eros eventually left Titan and became Starfox, a member of the Avengers. Although the two brothers found themselves on opposite sides, Thanos always let Eros live. In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2019) #6, it was revealed that Thanos’ mercy wasn’t born out of any familial love. Instead, he had a copy of his own mind hidden in Eros’ brain as a failsafe in case Thanos was ever killed. That gave Thanos another taste of immortality, despite Eros’ apparent demise in the same issue.
It’s worth noting that Thanos is also a distant cousin of the Eternals living on Earth. That means Ikaris, Sersi, Ajax, Thena, Sprite, Druig, and more can all claim familial relations with Thanos. But why would they want to? Thanos is clearly the black sheep of this extended family.
Nebula made a big debut in AVENGERS (1963) #257 when she claimed to be the granddaughter of Thanos and the heir to his legacy. The veracity of Nebula’s connection to Thanos has never been definitively proven. However, he has denied it before. In NOVA (1999) #1, Nebula also claimed that the alien conqueror, Zorr, was her father. If true, that would make Zorr either Thanos’ son, or potentially his son-in-law. Again, it has yet to be seen if either Nebula or Zorr are actually related to Thanos.
Despite the fact that Thanos initially dismissed Nebula’s claim and even the very idea of having children, INFINITY (2013) revealed that Thanos had a son named Thane with an Inhuman woman. Thane initially appeared human before he underwent Terrigenesis. After that point, the family resemblance between Thane and Thanos was pretty hard to ignore.
The only child that Thanos seems to care for is his adopted daughter, Gamora. She was the last survivor of the Zen Whoberis, and Thanos raised her to become the deadliest woman in the galaxy. For years, Gamora was also Thanos’ top assassin and a firm believer in his bloody crusades across the cosmos. She eventually broke away from him, but Gamora has never escaped the stigma of being Thanos’ “daughter.”
Believe it or not, Thanos also has a son with the female personification of Death. As explained in AVENGERS: CELESTIAL QUEST (2001), Thanos’ energy was merged with Death’s upon his own demise. That created “a moving void of nothingness” called the Rot, which became a threat to the entire universe. It took a ragtag team of Avengers, as well as the efforts of Death and Thanos himself, to destroy Rot. But Rot is the kind of threat that seems destined to rise again at some point.
If Thanos and his extended family ever have a reunion, it’s going to be awkward and deadly. Because the Mad Titan isn’t concerned about feelings or emotional ties. And he’s willing to kill or maim anyone in his way, whether they’re related to him or not.
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