Character Cage Match: The Avengers' Thanos vs. Justice League's Darkseid
Posted 12.08.12 by Ryan
Those that stuck around for the first post-credits scene from The Avengers were either excited or confused by the appearance of the grinning, purple-skinned Thanos, depending on your amount of comic book knowledge. Those audience members that spent their childhoods outside likely had no idea who the character was, but for those that spent their childhood buried in comics were rewarded in knowing that Marvel Studios and president Kevin Feige were steering "Phase Two" of their Cinematic Universe in the right direction by including one of the Avengers most popular villains. Feige has only admitted that Marvel "has plans" for the Mad Titan, while the character's creator, comic book writer and artist Jim Starlin, has said that the character will be used in both 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015's The Avengers 2.
DC Entertainment also noticed the success of The Avengers and are countering by releasing their own superhero team-up Justice League just in time to greet The Avengers 2 in 2015. Apparently, DC also saw the Thanos scene in Avengers and, if recent rumors are true, are countering with their own galactic villain in Darkseid. So which villain is the biggest and baddest in the galaxy? There's only one way to resolve the issue: in a Character Cage Match!
The Rules: In many ways, Thanos and Darkseid are basically the same character but produced by competing comic book companies. Both characters were created in the 1970s, with Darkseid preceding Thanos by a few years, and Starlin has even admitted that the Thanos' look was ultimately influenced by Darkseid, who was created by comic book legend Jack Kirby. Since neither have truly made their cinematic debuts (Thanos has grinned on camera, but that's about it), we'll have to mostly look at their comic book histories to make our judgements (and exclude Darkseid's appearance in Smallville for the character's sake). However, that doesn't mean the history of both Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment can't be a part of the argument.
Darkseid's Strengths: Born a prince, Darkseid murdered both his brother and his mother to assume the power of the Omega Force and take control of the fiery planet of Apokolips. Blending with the Omega Force means Omega powers, such as the Omega Beam that Darkseid can shoot from his eyes and which can either erase something from existence or bring it back to life. Oh, also these beams can bend around corners and travel through objects or people with pinpoint accuracy, so good luck to you if you want to avoid them.
Darkseid has unmatched strength invulnerability and can also teleport, fly, possess other people, shoot energy beams from his hands, read minds and move things with his mind and is essentially a god who has lived for centuries. Basically, if there's a super-power in existence, Darkseid has it.
Darkseid's Weaknesses: In a word, pride. If you had the powers of a god and could shoot eye beams that could kill, recreate or teleport an object or person anywhere in the galaxy or even an alternate dimension, wouldn't you go ahead and use it anytime you felt like it? Not if you're Darkseid! Instead, Darkseid prefers to stay out of fights if he can, preferring, like most "evil masterminds," to let his genius do the work while watching the results from a fancy throne.
If one does find themselves in physical battle with Darkseid, it's handy to have a Boom tube around, which is essentially a portal that makes a loud sound and can send Darkseid to another dimension. But wait, you might ask, can't Darkseid travel between dimensions too because of his Omega powers? Shhh, shhh, observant comic book readers, Boom Tube technology has figured that out for us. How, you might ask? It just has, don't worry about it.
Thanos' Strengths: While Darkseid is a god, so is Thanos. After creating Darkseid and the New Gods race for DC comics, Kirby returned to Marvel Comics and created the Eternals, the next race of mythological, omnipotent creatures. Both were basically the same: there were good omnipotent people (the planet of New Genesis) and bad people (Apokolips). In the Marvel world, there are the Eternals (good) and there are the Deviants (bad). Thanos was born of two Eternal on the Saturn moon of Titan, but carried the Deviants gene and becomes obsessed with death (he's quite literally in love with death's embodiment, Mistress Death) and nihilism, unlike his brother Starfox, who later becomes an Avenger.
Being an Eternal, albeit one from Titan, Thanos has all the requisite powers: superhuman strength, telekinesis, telepathy, durability, matter manipulation and the ability to absorb and project cosmic energy. Thanos also has his own fancy chair, one that can travel between dimensions, fly and teleport.
Thanos' Weaknesses: Of course, Thanos is not completely omnipotent, which is why he's interested in the Cosmic Cube (or, the Tesseract, as it's known in The Avengers). When not trying to find the Cube, Thanos can also become omnipotent via the Infinity Gauntlet, which gains its power from six Infinity gems — the green Soul gem, the orange Time Gem, the purple Space Gem, the blue Mind Gem, the yellow Reality Gem and the red Power Gem — and was revealed in the Asgardian vault in Thor. With the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos was able to wipe out most of Marvel's superheroes and cosmic character, but without it, well, let's just say he does a lot more sitting and plotting.