In last week’s issue of Thanos, the Mad Titan ran into a familiar face — one who revealed to him a secret about his own past.
The face was his own — sort of. An elderly, future version of Thanos who, after taking on the heroes and cosmic forces of the Marvel Universe and emerging victorious, travels back to find his younger self as part of a plan to search for Death, who is missing.
Needless to say, all of this sounds a bit suspect — and maybe too good to be true — to the younger Thanos, but he is struck speechless when the older Titan proves his identity by referring to Thanos as “Dione,” the name his mother had apparently chosen for him before she went mad.
In response to an earlier report calling it his real name, though, series writer Donny Cates took issue.
“Yeah. Not really,” Cates tweeted. “It’s the name his mother was GOING to name him before she looked at him and went insane and named him Thanos. Not really his “True name” but rather, what he would have been called had his mother not lost her mind. His name is THANOS. And he wins. Quite a lot.”
That last bit is a reference to the title of the story arc, “Thanos Wins,” which deals with the question of what a would-be conqueror does with himself once he has conquered all he surveys.
Dione has a long history in mythology; a female titan or goddess, she is mentioned in The Iliad as the mother of the goddess Aphrodite by Zeus; in Hesiod’s Theogony, she is identified as a daughter of Oceanus. Other writers have identified her as the mother of Dionysus.
That Thanos might have had a name both so loaded down with real-world baggage and also associated with a feminine being is interesting, and might be something worth exploring later in Cates’s story, even if thus far it sounds like the revelation is there for exactly what it first appeared to be: simply validation of the elder Thanos’s identity.
Thanos #14 is on sale now; you can get it at your local comic shop or buy a digltal copy on ComiXology.