You’re strong. But I could snap my fingers and you’d all cease to exist – Thanos
Strength takes many forms. It manifests itself physically and mentally, through the words and actions, the clarity of purpose, and the commitment to the individual beliefs and causes of those it flows through.
It can be terrifying and beautiful, a weapon used to subjugate the weak or a tool employed to protect those who can’t defend themselves, and the way in which it is wielded can reveal more about the being flaunting it in an instant than hundred lifetimes of intensive therapy and study ever could.
By the time the Avengers first cross swords with Thanos in the MCU when he lays siege to New York with help from the Chitauri and Loki, he has already been forged by a resolute belief in his own objective and his divine mission to bring balance and harmony to the universe by making it a safer, more harmonious and comfortable environment for every living creature in it.
The only problem is, that in order to achieve his goal Thanos has to wipe the cosmological slate clean and eliminate fifty percent of all life in the universe.
To fulfill his life’s work, Thanos needed the additional power of the Infinity Stones, united in the Infinity Gauntlet, but to use that power he needed to find the Stones, which was in itself a nearly impossible task.
To try and better understand, and create a clearer picture of the most reviled and despised being in the Marvel Universe, it’s important to ascertain how strong Thanos was before he wore the Gauntlet and how powerful it made him after he finally found all six Infinity Stones.
Before The Infinity Gauntlet, There Was Thanos
The oldest son of the ruling house of Titan, Thanos was born an Eternal, a genetically engineered variant of humanity that was created by the Celestials to protect Earth from any, and all threats.
During his formative four-color history, Thanos was exiled from Titan became a pirate, and explored the universe searching for some sort of purpose, and having “discovered” his destiny after meeting Lady Death, assembled an army and returned to his home world to destroy it, and everyone on it in a merciless nuclear attack.
In the cinematic universe, Thanos discovered his mission after Titan was ravaged by overpopulation, which sent him down a very different, but similarly uncompromising path with the same universal outcome.
In both versions of his timeline, Thanos is revealed to be a single-minded, driven individual obsessed with finding a way to do what he determined must be done regardless of what needed to be sacrificed.
In Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame he willingly cast aside his daughters Gamora and Nebula, which illustrated a rare, if somewhat sociopathic mental fortitude, that few other creatures could possibly hope to match.
The Mad Titans’ physical strength almost exceeds that of his will, as he defeats and kills a pair of Asargadian gods, Loki and Heimdall, in the first five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War, before turning his attention to the strongest there is the Hulk.
In a slightly unexpected, but not unsurprising, turn of events Thanos easily physically dominates and beats the Hulk, which completely destroys the green giant’s self-confidence and sense of who he is.
Not content with besting the Hulk, the God of Mischief and the former Keeper of the Bifrost, he then hammers Thor and hurls him into the deepest, darkest reaches of space. And he does all of that without even breaking a sweat.
Then there’s the fact that Thanos can, and does use the Infinity Gauntlet to reshape the face of creation, and lives to tell the tale.
Having witnessed the strength needed to hold and use, and the devastating effect that even a single Infinity Stone can have on those brave to try in Guardians of the Galaxy, after Ronan the Accuser and the Guardians took possession of the Power Stone in quick succession and what happened to the Hulk when he wore and used the Gauntlet and then Tony Stark, even though the latter was protected by some of the most advanced technology on the planet when he stole the Gauntlet and snapped reality back, it makes you realize just how strong Thanos really was.
Given that he did what he did, and survived it, even before he wore the Gauntlet Thanos had the strength and determination of a God.
Six Stones And One Gauntlet
The difference that one shiny metal glove and six precious stones can make never fails to astound and amaze even the most ardent of non-believers.
Based loosely on Jim Starlin’s epic The Infinity Gauntlet six-issue series that was originally published in 1991, in the closing moments of Infinity War when Thanos eventually unleashes the might of the Infinity Gauntlet with a snap of his fingers, he becomes the most powerful being in the entire Universe.
That single moment is all that we need to understand that if he continued to use it if total power and domination had been Thanos’ objective, then there wouldn’t have been a superhero, or heroes in all of creation who would have stood a chance of defeating him.
It took the combined efforts of Thor, Steve Rogers, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel to even distract him during the climactic battle in Endgame when he wasn’t wearing the Gauntlet, so imagine how they’d have fared if the Stones had been under his control?
The strength that Thanos must have imbued with during the few precious moments he wore the Gauntlet must have been incredible.
Had he wanted to, he could have torn the universe asunder and been the only living thing left in all of time and space.
So in a way, and from a certain point of view, the Avengers and every other living creature in every single galaxy were fortunate that all Thanos was interested in was balance and that he had no interest in power or sitting on a throne built from the bones of his enemies.
How strong was Thanos when he wore the Infinity Gauntlet? He could have bent reality and all of creation to his will and reshaped it with a single snap of his fingers.
While he was wearing the Gauntlet, Thanos was the strongest there ever was, is, and will be.