Eternals Reveals the Key to Thanos’ Resurrection – and It Gets Weird

Thanos’ traumatic injury from his last encounter with the Guardians of the Galaxy is still not healed and it’s the reason he’s killing Eternals.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers Eternals #5 by Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, Matthew Wilson, VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now.

The last time Thanos appeared, he was resurrected and then promptly sucked into a black hole thanks to the intervention of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now though, he has returned and is murdering Eternals.

Although there are still some big questions about how this is happening, Eternals #5 revealed that Phastos, the master technologist of the Eternals, has been his silent partner in this attack, which has also seen the failure of the machine that facilitates the Eternals’ endless resurrections. Beyond that, the issue hints at why the Mad Titan needed to take a partner in Phastos in the first place, as Thanos is not yet completely healed from his injuries just yet. From the looks of things, Thanos is only being kept alive by Phastos’ mechanical enhancements to his heart.

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Thanos’ physical form was destroyed when he was sucked into a black hole back in Guardians of the Galaxy #6 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, and VC’s Corey Petit. In fact, the black hole was opened up inside Thanos, so it would be more accurate to say his body imploded. It’s hard enough to imagine how one could come back from a fate like that, but Phastos’ scientific knowledge is second to none and he apparently found a way to help resurrect Thanos. However, Phastos was smart enough to evade even being under suspicion of betraying the Eternals, so he wouldn’t have resurrected Thanos without certain assurances.

As Thanos explained it to Druig, there was something still wrong with his body. He revealed that his heart was repaired after Phastos had plucked him from within the black hole, but he was not restored entirely. Phastos does not like committing violence, but for reasons unknown he has forced Thanos into a deal to be his blade. Thanos would kill Eternals, something that the Mad Titan admitted he enjoyed, and Phastos would restore him to his former glory in return.

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Of course, Thanos is also intelligent enough to know that Phastos will never keep his word. He may be ordering Thanos to kill his fellow Eternals, but there is clearly no joy in it. Whatever motivates him is something beyond personal whim, Thanos is just a means to an end for Phastos, someone good at killing. However, fully healing him would be unleashing one of the single greatest threats to all life back into the universe.

Thanos understands all of this and has no illusions about what he is or what this deal is; it’s a servitude that will not end unless Thanos finds another option to heal himself. But whatever damage has been done to his body is clearly beyond what he believes the average healer or doctor can fix. And it’s clearly something beyond his ability to heal from on his own.

Now, Thanos finds himself weakened in a way that’s rarely seen in comics. Though he cuts a threatening figure, in this scenario, Thanos really isn’t the evil to be feared. He is simply the tool and not the wielder. It creates a level of vulnerability that has never truly been explored for the Mad Titan. And clearly, he doesn’t really know how to react to it either other than to do as he is bid.

He knows of no alternative solutions to his plight and as a consequence, he is just as unable to save himself from this bargain as the Eternals are of saving themselves from him. There is no doubt that he could probably kill Phastos if he wanted to, but brute force won’t solve his problem. Right now, Thanos, the being who wiped out half of all life in the universe, has lost a battle of wills and it cost him his autonomy to a demigod with his own designs.

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