I love Norse mythology – Thor and Odin and Loki – amazing characters – Rick Riordan
Despite the infinite possibilities and wonders that the universe offers and the multitude of conundrums that each of those probabilities creates, the only quandary that constantly feeds our imagination and keeps us awake at night involves the All-Father and the Mad Titan.
What would have happened if Odin had still been alive and ruling Asgard when Thanos found the last of the Infinity Stones and changed the face of the Universe forever? Would he have been able to stop Thanos before he snapped his fingers? Would Odin have stood with the Avengers against the deviant Eternal, and if he had, would Infinity War have ended differently?
Did Thanos wait for Odin to die and Asgard to be destroyed before he launched the final phase of his mission to find the Infinity Stones or did the Asgardian King mean nothing to him?
Timing is everything, and we can’t shake the feeling that Thanos was biding his time, and waiting for the right moment to strike, a moment that coincidentally only arrived after Asgard was destroyed, Hela was removed from the equation and the All-Father was no longer a concern or a threat to Thanos plans.
As a master strategist for whom his “glorious” purpose was everything and whose every move was dependent on the intelligence that he gathered, Thanos must have been aware of Odin’s demise, which only serves to feed the fire of the idea that he was worried about the possibility that the old King of Asgard might have been able to prevent him achieving his ultimate ambition.
So why was Thanos scared of Odin, and could the All-Father have defeated the Mad Titan and turned the tide of the conflict in Infinity War?
The Strength Of The Gods
Fighting Odin is akin to fighting the primordial forces of nature. With his daughter Hela by his side, he had already conquered the Nine Realms before Thor was born, and a thousand years before he banished his son to Earth to teach him the meaning of power and humility in Thor, Odin finally defeated the Jotun and brought peace to the celestial Kingdom he saw himself as being responsible for.
But Odin’s battles had begun long before, and one million years prior to his war with the Jotun, as a member of the first Avengers line-up, he fought and defeated a Celestial known as the Fallen.
Mark Waid’s contribution to the Avengers history that formed part of the Marvel Rebirth event, cast Odin in a new light, showing him to be more like his son Thor rather than the calculating and all-knowing king that he would later become.
As the oldest of the “Gods” (and despite the fact that the lifespan of Asgardians differs widely in the MCU and the four-color universe), Odin has the wisdom and strength to beat Thanos and waylay his plan for universal genocide, and would almost certainly have stood against him.
However, after the events of Thor: The Dark World, in which he lost his wife, Frigga, Odin wasn’t the God that he used to be, which is why it was so easy for Loki to trick him into moving into Shady Acres Care Home, and steal the throne of Asgard prior to Ragnarok.
Would a weakened Odin have been able to stop Thanos? If the Mad Titans’ timing was a decisive factor, then a diminished Odin was still a concern for Thanos.
Isn’t Thanos A God
Thanos is an Eternal whose appearance was and is due to the rogue Deviant gene. An enormously powerful race of long-lived, benevolent aliens who made their home on Titan, the Eternals are far stronger and much more scientifically advanced than humans, and are for intents and purposes, almost the equal of Asagardians. And even though Thanos was born into the royal family of Titan, he wasn’t the equal of, nor was he as powerful as Odin.
While we’ll never know for sure how any battle between the two would have ended had they fought in the MCU or clashed in Infinity War, they have met in the comics, and their past conflicts only reinforce the idea that Thanos knew that if he did face Odin, the outcome would be inevitable. He would lose.
The Four Color Wars
During the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos launched a pre-emptive strike on Asgard and destroyed the Bifrost to stop Odin from leaving Asgard before he could unveil his masterwork and eradicate half of all life in the universe.
The fact that Thanos knew Odin could, and would stop him shows that even Thanos’ creator, Jim Starlin, knew that the Mad Titan couldn’t hope to best the King of Asgard.
Famous, Starlin also wrote the plot for Thanos and Odin’s only meeting, Warlock And The Infinity Watch #25, which was published in ninety ninety-four.
Rather than being a “fair fight”, Thaos threw everything that he had at Odin in the beautifully rendered pages created by Angel Medina, but much like the Hulk, the more Thanos tried to hurt Odin, the more enraged the King of Asgard became, and when he turned his wrath on Thanos, it shook the very pillars of Asgard itself.
It was a brutal, uncompromising fight that gave the upper hand to the All-Father but ended on a slight indecisive note. Was Starlin worried that a definitive victory would somehow weaken the Titan in the eyes of the reader?
That, unfortunately, is a question that only Jim can answer, but we’d like to think, given how the story ended, that he’d agree with us, and give the thumbs up to Odin and a thumbs down to Thanos.
When The Dust Settled…
Like Thanos, the outcome of any war between his forces, and the Armies of Asgard if they were led by Odin, would be inevitable. The victory would belong to the stronger, wiser, and infinitely more powerful God who not only conquered the Nine Realms but also helped to defeat a Celestial.
And the Mad Titan knew the inescapable and unavoidable truth. That Odin was always stronger than Thanos.