Heroes and villains that have destroyed Thanos

Thanos is undoubtedly one of the strongest beings in the Marvel Universe—a genius-level intellect who possesses superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes, in addition to being nigh invulnerable. Plus, being an Eternal of Titan grants Thanos practical immortality. He's a god, for all intents and purposes. On paper, Thanos sounds invincible, but he isn't. He's been defeated before, although he definitely usually gives (at least) as good as he gets. Let's run through some of the craziest ways heroes and villains have gotten the best of Thanos.

Drax the Destroyer

At the end of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, after the Guardians defeat Ronan the Accuser in battle, Drax the Destroyer tells Gamora that Ronan was only a pawn, and his real enemy is Thanos. Since the Guardians will reportedly appear in Anthony and Joe Russo's Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps we'll get to see Drax attempt to get his revenge on Thanos. If he does, then hopefully we'll see Drax destroy Thanos the same way he did in the comics: by punching a hole through his chest.

In Annihilation #4, during the Annihilation War crossover event, Thanos allies himself with the villain Annihilus, whose plan is to harness the Power Cosmic to destroy all life in the universe (including Thanos'). Upon discovering this information, Thanos attempts to free Galactus in order to get revenge on Annihilus, but before he can do so, Drax punches him through his chest, ripping out his heart in the process. While it's unlikely we'll see Thanos meet this grisly end in Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps it's something Marvel will keep in mind for a future Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Adam Warlock

Not long after Thanos' initial defeat by Captain Marvel, the Avengers, and the supercomputer ISAAC, the Mad Titan aligns with Adam Warlock, along with Pip the Troll and his adoptive daughter Gamora, in fighting Magus and his intergalactic religious group, the Universal Church of Truth. Warlock later discovers that Magus is, in fact, his future self, one that was at some point corrupted by the Soul Gem (one of the six Infinity Gems, or Stones, as they're called in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). To prevent himself from succumbing to such a fate, Warlock travels into the near future and removes his future self's soul.

It's only later, when the Stranger attempts to steal Warlock's Soul Gem, that Warlock learns of the five other Infinity Gems. At this point, in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, Thanos concocts a plan to betray Warlock and seek out Mistress Death by stealing the power of the Soul Gem and combining it with the five other Infinity Gems to destroy the Earth's sun. Unfortunately for him, Warlock allies with Captain Marvel and the Avengers to destroy Thanos. In doing so, though, Thanos kills Warlock. However, shortly after that, Warlock materializes from the Soul Gem and uses its power to turn Thanos to stone.


Ever since Thanos' reveal in the mid-credits scene of Joss Whedon's The Avengers, the entire MCU has been leading up to an ultimate showdown between Earth's mightiest heroes and the Mad Titan—which we'll finally get to see in 2018 with Avengers: Infinity War. With the slow unveiling of the Infinity Stones, and Thanos' quest to acquire them, it's become painfully evident that the impending Infinity War will be based, albeit loosely, on Jim Starlin's famed Infinity Gauntlet story arc.

In The Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Thanos manages to acquire all six Infinity Stones and mounts them onto the Infinity Gauntlet, which effectively makes him a god of the universe. With the Infinity Stones embedded, the gauntlet imbues the wearer with omnipotence and omniscience. By simply snapping his fingers, Thanos wiped out half of the universe's population, including virtually half of all the heroes on Earth. He then went on to destroy the universe's primordial entities, including Master Order, Lord Chaos, and Eternity.

Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, and Adam Warlock concocted a plan to defeat Thanos with the help of Earth's remaining heroes. However, nothing in their power could stop the Mad Titan. In the end, Thanos was only defeated of his own accord, by willingly giving up the Infinity Gauntlet and temporarily becoming one with the universe—thus opening an opportunity for Warlock to put on the Gauntlet, and all the other heroes to attack and defeat Thanos.

Squirrel Girl

Squirrel Girl has been popping up in the news lately, with actresses like Anna Kendrick and Shannon Purser expressing interest in playing the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Anthony and Joe Russo have even said that Kendrick playing Squirrel Girl is "perfect casting," which Edgar Wright agrees with. Wright went as far as to point out that several actors in his movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World have gone on to play major superheroes, including Chris Evans as Captain America and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.

It may be Kendrick's turn to play a superhero, even if it's not Squirrel Girl, but if she does end up bringing the character to the MCU, then the Avengers just might have a chance at defeating Thanos. After all, Squirrel Girl has managed to take out some of the most powerful supervillains in the Marvel Universe all by her lonesome—merely by using her ability to communicate with squirrels. For instance, during the GLX-Mas Special one-shot in 2005, Squirrel Girl defeated Thanos with the help of her trusted squirrel, Tippy-Toe, thereby saving the entire Multiverse.

Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy

Following the events of Annihilation and the War of Kings story arcs, Oblivion, a cosmic entity of death, appoints Thanos as the new Avatar of Death. After a spat with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos is captured and forced to work alongside the Guardians in preventing Lord Mar-Vell (the Avatar of Life) and his Cancerverse—an alternate reality in which death does not exist — from breaching the Fault and conquering their reality.

In order for the battle to end, either Thanos or Lord Mar-Vell have to die. No reality can have both the Avatar of Death and the Avatar of Life. Although he agrees to help the Guardians, all Thanos wants to do is die and reunite with his great love, Mistress Death. To do that, when the Guardians and Thanos confront Lord Mar-Vell in his Cancerverse, he allows Lord Mar-Vell to kill him.

However, in The Thanos Imperative, upon dying, Lord Mar-Vell unknowingly destroys his reality, as Thanos' death introduces the concept of death into the Cancerverse and Death herself comes to claim Lord Mar-Vell's soul. Unfortunately for Thanos, his beloved doesn't approve of his self-sacrificing gesture and instead resurrects him—only to be temporarily captured by the Guardians.

Once Thanos escapes, he flees to Earth looking for a Cosmic Cube, only to be captured by the combined efforts of the Guardians and the Avengers, and later transferred to the custody of the Elders of the Universe in Avengers Assemble #8. It looks like, at least in this case, Thanos lost twice—once to Lord Mar-Vell and once to the Earth's mightiest heroes.


Early in Thanos' life, at the behest of Mistress Death, the Mad Titan killed his mother, wife, and children without hesitation. Then he proceeded to slaughter millions of people across the universe, all in the hopes of persuading Mistress Death to love him and become his bride. Years later, during the Infinity crossover event, readers discovered that during his travels, Thanos fathered an Inhuman/Eternal hybrid son named Thane.

Uncovering Thane's whereabouts becomes the impetus for Thanos' invasion of Earth, shortly after the majority of the Avengers temporarily depart the planet. He begins by leading a charge against the Inhumans' home and sanctuary, Attilan, where he hopes to find his long-lost son. It's worth noting that Thanos doesn't just want to find Thane—he wants to kill him. And being Thanos, does he really need a reason to want his son dead?

Later in the story arc, in Infinity #6, when the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a handful of other heroes battle Thanos and his Black Order, they are nearly defeated. Thanos' lieutenant, Ebony Maw, realizes that Thane, whose Inhuman power is literally the power of death, could become more powerful than his father, and therefore decides to betray Thanos by using a suit to contain and control Thane, thereby forcing him to encase Thanos in a limbo-like stasis known as "Living Death."

Zombified Hulk

In 2005, Marvel made their first attempt at a zombie story arc in the Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, dubbed "Crossover." The publisher must have liked the story, for later that year, they commissioned a Marvel Zombies limited series by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman (fitting, eh?). The series was such a success that they ordered a sequel, titled Marvel Zombies 2, in 2007. More installments followed in 2008 and 2009, finally concluding with a fifth series, Marvel Zombies Return, at the end of that year.

The first issue of Marvel Zombies 2, set in the alternate reality of Earth-2149, features the remaining heroes and villains of Earth at the edge of the known universe, 40 years in the future. By this point, as zombies, they'd consumed all there was to consume in the entire universe, and their insatiable hunger only grew. A zombified Thanos made a sly remark that they would have more food if Hulk hadn't eaten so much more than everyone else. Of course, Hulk didn't approve of the Mad Titan's comment and responded by smashing his head into oblivion.

Himself (again)

After Thanos is turned to stone by Adam Warlock following his first bid at acquiring the six Infinity Gems to achieve ultimate power, Mistress Death resurrects him in Silver Surfer #34. He almost immediately continues his pursuit of the six Infinity Gems in The Thanos Quest story arc—as well as his conquest for omnipotence and universal domination, depicted in The Infinity Gauntlet limited series.

As previously mentioned, Thanos essentially allowed Nebula and the heroes of Earth to defeat him, which is precisely what he told Adam Warlock when the superhero obtained the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet. In the follow-up series, Warlock and the Infinity Watch, the Living Tribunal directed Warlock to disperse the six Infinity Gems across the universe, so that no one could ever find them and attempt to use the Gauntlet again.

In response to this directive, Warlock formed the Infinity Watch, consisting of Drax, Gamora, Maxam, Moondragon, Pip the Troll, and Thanos, all of whom were tasked with protecting one Infinity Gem each. Together, they fought anyone who attempted to steal one of the Gems, including themselves. During the Infinity War crossover event, Thanos fights his evil doppelganger and narrowly defeats him, only to go after Magus in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #10.


Following the release of Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: Civil War, Marvel Comics launched a sequel series, Civil War II. But this time, instead of Iron Man facing off against Captain America, it's Iron Man versus Captain Marvel. Furthermore, it's no longer about the Superhuman Registration Act (or Sokovia Accords, as they're known in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), it's about precognition and utilizing the power of the Inhuman named Ulysses. And unlike the first Civil War series, this time Iron Man is leading the staunch opposition.

In the first issue of Civil War II, the Avengers, alongside several Inhumans, defeat an invading force. Later, it's revealed that college student Ulysses Cain had foreseen the invasion, as a result of his powers of precognition. Upon hearing this, Iron Man forbids anyone from acting preemptively by using Ulysses' power. Weeks later, after Galactus brings Thanos back to life, Captain Marvel and a handful of other Avengers track him down and kill him, but not without suffering losses of their own.

War Machine dies fighting Thanos, and She-Hulk, who's also seriously wounded, urges Captain Marvel to continue using Ulysses' power to safeguard the future. Using the Inhuman's power to defeat Thanos becomes the source of an intractable conflict between Marvel's heroes, and the catalyst for Civil War II.


After his brief appearance in Civil War II, Marvel commissioned a new solo Thanos series, bringing the Mad Titan back into the fold. This time, though, his son Thane, along with the help of Tryco Slatterus, the Champion of the Universe, and Eros (a.k.a. Starfox), Eternal of Titan and Thanos' brother, are attempting to kill the Mad Titan—something Slatterus considers to be the ultimate challenge.

Going after Thanos is certainly a daunting task, but Thane's objective is supported by Death incarnate, and she reveals a secret to Thane that "no one else in the universe knows": Thanos is dying. On the final page of Thanos #1, we see Thanos bleeding profusely. We don't know how or why he's dying, but we assume it'll be a part of the overarching narrative of Thanos' latest return.