Mad Titan, known as Thanos, is the most notable and notorious supervillain in Marvel Comics. Thanos first appeared in the Bronze Age of Comics when Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich decided to create a character inspired by DC Comics New God Darkseid. The Mad Titan is also one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe and the biggest threat to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – some would say, to the whole Multiverse. The Infinity Gauntlet, a comic book story, is the one that propelled Thanos’ character “to the stars,” which made him the ultimate enemy of the Avengers.
However, even The Mad Titan couldn’t stay alive the whole time. Since his first appearance, Thanos was killed multiple times in various timelines by different superheroes, which propelled us to think – which characters killed Thanos in the comics, and how did they do it? In this article, we will list 13 characters who killed Thanos, and we will include the stories that aren’t necessarily known to be canon in the main Marvel Universe, like Marvel Zombies and Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Also, most of these deaths are Thanos clones, but “kill is a kill” in the comics.
First on this list is Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel before Monica Rambeau and Carol Danvers. The OG Captain Marvel defeated the Mad Titan during Captain Marvel vol. 1 #33 when Thanos powered himself with Cosmic Cube, making him the world’s most powerful being.
Thanos was trying to destroy all life in the universe, and the superheroes had to find a way to defeat the Mad Titan. With the help of Eon, the extraterrestrial being that watched over the evolution of super-humans over centuries, Mar-Vell gains the upper hand over Thanos and defeats him. Cosmic Cube was destroyed, and Mad Titan was turned into stone. Let’s just say that Mistress Death wasn’t really happy.
Another superhero that defeated Thanos in the comics is not other than Thor. The Son of Odin and God of Thunder from Asgard is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. We saw from the Marvel Cinematic Universe how he brutally executed The Mad Titan but failed to kill him the first time as well. However, Thor fought Thanos multiple times in the comics and failed, but in one instance, the God of Thunder prevailed.
In Thor vol. 2 #25, the God of Thunder defeated the Mad Titan with the help of Fire Lord, who provided him with a set of special Asgardian weapons, including Belt of Strength, Odin Force, and more. Ultimately, Thor defeated Thanos with his trusted Mjolnir by smashing Mad Titan. Let’s just say that time, he aimed for the head.
James Howlett, known as Wolverine, is the most notable member of the X-Men, a famous mutant group that uses its powers to protect the world. Wolverine is also one of the big parts of Marvel Comics and Avengers and was included in many big events and crossovers. In the famous The Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Wolverine is with the Avengers trying to defeat Thanos, and Logan is one of the few that seemingly dealt a major blow to the Mad Titan.
However, he doesn’t because his claws transform into the sponge, and Thanos kills him, but in another non-canon story, Logan actually helps the Earth’s superheroes to kill the Mad Titan. In the What If… storyline, Logan joins the new Fantastic Four with Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Hulk and tricks Thanos into thinking he is his ally. He uses Titan’s moment of negligence and sewers his arm carrying the Infinity Gauntlet, ultimately defeating the Mad Titan.
10. Drax the Destroyer
Drax the Destroyer might be a comic relief in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he is much more than that in the comics. Drax is created to destroy Thanos. He does in one popular Marvel storyline called Annihilation, where Annihilus leads an invasion army from the Negative Zone into the positive matter universe. Drax finds Thanos on one of the Annihilation Wave ships in that storyline, where the Mad Titan is trying to release Galactus.
Drax kills Thanos on the spot by smashing him through the chest with his fist. The Destroyer then frees Galactus using Silver Surfer and teleports Drax and Moondragon to save them from Annihilation Wave. A really cool comic book story that includes Nova Corps, Thanos, and Drax – definitely check it out.
It would be odd if at least one of the Eternals didn’t defeat Thanos in some shape or form. They kind of did in a really good comic book run called Eternals from 2021, when all of the Eternals were reborn at the Exclusion, with Thena healed from her madness, which she gained in the previous comic book storyline called The Final Host. However, with the resurrection of the Eternals, the Mad Titan Thanos was resurrected as well, and he used the opportunity to kill one of the Eternals, Zuras.
After discovering that Phastos betrayed them, Eternals go to confront him, but the Mad Titan ambushes them. Eternals battle until Gilgamesh opens the local core to throw Thanos out of the realm, and Sersi uses her powers of matter manipulation to defeat the Mad Titan – with fungus. Yes, this is a callback to The Infinity Gauntlet comic book when Thanos killed She-Hulk with fungus, and when Jen told Sersi what happened to her, the Eternal was disturbed.
One of the cutest team-ups in Marvel Comics is the mini-comic book story called Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. The story follows the Fantastic Four as they visit Attilan, the city of Inhumans, who are trying to acquire six Infinity Gems. Lockjaw finds Mind Gem that makes the animals smarter and uses it to read Reed Richard’s minds, which prompts the Inhuman pet to find Gems itself.
With the help of other notable pets of Marvel Comics include the cat Hairball, the dragon Lockheed, the falcon Redwing, the frog Throg, the duck Howard the Duck, the rabbit Super Rabbit, Tippy-Toe, and more. After some obstacles, Lockjaw acquires all Infinity Gems, puts them on its Infinity Corrall, and uses it to banish Thanos to another realm. A surprisingly cool story that will entertain anyone.
Interestingly enough, Lady Death, or simply Death, is Thanos’ biggest weakness. It was born with the universe itself, and it embodies decay and destruction, which is the opposite of Eternity, and its life and growth. Death met Thanos while he was still young Eternal, diagnosed with Deviant Syndrome, which made him different from everyone. Death was Thanos’ confidante for centuries, and the Mad Titan even fell in love with her. However, Death rejected his advances – she was directly responsible for The Infinity Gems saga and Thanos’ obsession with destroying living beings in the universe.
The supervillain is dying in the comic book titled Thanos 2016, and he doesn’t know what caused his illness. It was later revealed that Death bestowed Thanos with illness for his son Thane to acquire Phoenix Force and kill the Titan, so he could rebuild himself and make him worthy of loving her. She did it, but Thanos rejected her. One would say that she got “destroyed” as well.
Thane is the son of Thanos and an Inhuman woman who was indirectly responsible for Thanos’ attack on Earth. The reason why Thanos invaded Earth was that he was looking for his lost son. However, further, in the series, Thanos wants to kill Thane.
In the final battle on Earth, the Avengers, Thanos, and Black Order fight each other to the last breath, but the ending plot twist happens – Ebony Maw, Thanos’ right hand, betrays the Mad Titan and helps Thane kill his father. Why? Because Thane has the Inhuman power of death and has the potential to be stronger than Thanos. However, Thanos wasn’t fully killed because Ebony Maw forced Thane to capture his father in a limbo stasis called Living Death.
5. Squirrel Girl
Doreen Green, known as Squirrel Girl, is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. Her story is quite interesting, and despite being part of the less-notable Great Lake Avengers, Squirrel Girl stood out from the other superheroes of Marvel Comics.
In one shot story titled GLX-Mas Special, written by Dan Slott, Squirrel Girl defeats Thanos with her trusted pet Tippy Toe, which we know from the Pet Avengers storyline. It seemed like a joke when the Milwakuee’s Great Lake Avengers member beat the most notorious supervillain in the Marvel Universe, but the creators confirmed this was canon.
4. Adam Warlock
Adam Warlock will finally appear in the next big MCU project, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, and the fans are excited to see this powerful superhero on the big screen. Of course, he is quite a notable character in Marvel Comics, where he defeated the Mad Titan. Adam Warlock is a huge factor in the Infinity Wars storyline from Marvel Comics and one of the biggest factors why the Avengers defeat Thanos. Despite initially working with him, Warlock discovers that Thanos will betray him and decides to join the Avengers.
Adam uses the Soul Gem to turn Thanos into stone and save the Earth. This comic book is of the best storylines in the Bronze Comic Book age of Marvel Comics and the story that served as source material for the whole Infinity Saga in the MCU.
Deadpool is the Marvel superhero with the most freedom because he constantly breaks the Fourth Wall and interacts with readers. In Deadpool #45 from 2015, Deadpool is tasked with finding a Cosmic Cube for the Mad Titan. Of course, Wade Wilson fulfills his orders and even takes Thanos on the journey in his special helicopter, which the Merc named “Thanos-Copter.” However, Wade used Cosmic Cube to trick Thanos and used the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy the Mad Titan.
But that’s not all; Deadpool actually kills Thanos one more time in the Deadpool vs. Thanos comic-book storyline, where both Deadpool and Thanos are trying to win over Lady Death. In this storyline, Deadpool acquires cosmic awareness from Uni-Power and uses it to destroy Thanos. One of the more bizarre storylines for Deadpool since he saves Death from Eternity by tickling it. Yeah.
2. Zombie Hulk
Now, this entry isn’t canon to the main universe because it happened in Marvel Zombies 2. Suppose you are slightly familiar with the Marvel Zombies storyline. In that case, it revolves around Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the other living beings in the Universe being infected by a mysterious zombified virus. Nevertheless, this alternate universe storyline brings us to zombified superheroes eating everything in their sight, including zombified Thanos and Hulk.
Zombie Thanos complains about how Hulk eats the most and doesn’t leave anything to others, which prompts Hulk to go ballistic and one-shot the Mad Titan. The comic book could’ve been better, but this moment was the highlight.
1. Thanos (himself)
Finally, Thanos was the cause of his own murder twice in the comics. We mentioned that the whole Infinity Saga in the comics is one of the most notable runs in Marvel Comics, especially the part when Infinity Watch, the group that includes Maxam, Drax, Gamora, Thanos, and others, need to protect the Infinity Stones from other versions of themselves. During the Infinity War crossover, Thanos kills his evil self, but that’s not the only time he is responsible for his own demise.
In the same comic book saga, Thanos willingly gives up the Infinity Gauntlet and lets Adam Warlock use it, ultimately defeating him. Thanos is an extremely interesting and complex character and the most important supervillain in Marvel Comics.