The Thanos Quest is a two-issue comic book limited series published in September and October 1990 by Marvel Comics. The series was written by Jim Starlin, and drawn by Ron Lim.
The story line is a continuation of the events – involving resurrected Starlin-character Thanos, featured in the title Silver Surfer. The story line leads directly into three consecutive limited series, The Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, and Infinity Crusade.
Recently resurrected by Death in order to wipe out half of the population of the universe, the Titan Thanos discovers the true nature of the six Infinity Gems after gazing into Death’s Infinity Well. Convincing Death that possession of the gems will aid him tremendously in his quest, he gains her permission to seek them out from the cosmic entities that currently possess them.
The Champion is one of the alien Elders of the Universe. He is an immortal who claims to have been born billions of years ago in the Ancrindo Nebula within the direction of the Magellanic Clouds. Although he wishes to prove himself the greatest warrior in the universe, he usually does so fairly. He keeps himself busy by fighting powerful warriors throughout the universe. The Champion of the Universe’s Promoter Supreme named Proja preceded the Champion’s journey to Earth and recruited eight of Earth’s strongest male heroes (Champion having decided eons earlier that females were inferior and not worth fighting). Champion then forced their participation by threatening to destroy the planet should they not fight him for those unworthy of the glorious gift that is the true spirit of competition would be “purified”.
The Champion challenged the superheroes Thing, Namor, Hulk, Colossus, Sasquatch, Thor, Doc Samson, and Wonder Man to a boxing match in Madison Square Garden while a forcefield is around it and brought them to his extra-dimensional training facility to prepare for the match. The Champion ended up disqualifying Namor for refusing to stoop to training. Then he disqualified Doc Samson for not being sufficiently skilled to qualify as an opponent. When it came to the day of the boxing match, Thor was disqualified for throwing his hammer Mjolnir (he was allowed to use it since he was powerless without it), Hulk was disqualified because the Champion refused to “soil his hands on a mindless animal,” Wonder Man was disqualified for tearing up the ring after being battered badly in the first round, Sasquatch was knocked out in the first round, and Colossus was defeated by technical knockout in the first round when he was unable to continue fighting.
Alone of all of Earth’s superheroes not previously disqualified, Thing managed to put up a semblance of fight against the Champion and lasted longer than any previous opponent the Champion had fought. Of all the opponents the Champion ever faced, only Thing lasted more than two rounds. Although the Champion fought Thing and ultimately defeated him with ease, Thing would not surrender, as he was convinced that the entire planet was in danger. Thing believed that everyone depended on him, and fought on despite broken bones and getting knocked out of the ring. Thing astonished the Champion with his resilience and courage leading the Champion to say Thing was the opponent he had sought through the ages, the one who would require all of his might and skill. His jaw broken and severely beaten after collapsing at the end of the third round, Thing crawled across the ring to demand the fight continue when the Champion claimed victory. When forced to choose between killing his defeated opponent or yielding, the Champion yielded. When Thing said he was “just too stupid and ugly to give up,” the Champion replied he could never defeat Thing. He might break his bones and his body, but he could not break his spirit. The Champion then stated that any planet which could produce a champion such as the Thing was a truly worthy world.
The Champion later attempted to kill the Silver Surfer to prevent him from interfering with a Skrull plot to use Nova to force Galactus to destroy the Kree Empire. The Champion was overpowered by the Silver Surfer, suffering his first known defeat in combat (however it is notable the Surfer used the Power Cosmic to blast the Champion rather than engage him physically). The Champion was one of the eleven Elders who sought to restart the universe by killing Galactus. He attempted to kill Mantis but she was rescued by the Silver Surfer. The Champion then battled Galactus and the Silver Surfer but was converted to energy and consumed by Galactus. The Champion and the other four Elders devoured by Galactus caused Galactus “cosmic indigestion” from within until they were forced out of him by Master Order and Lord Chaos. When asked to aid the Silver Surfer and Nova in helping Galactus to defeat the In-Betweener the Champion was one of the four Elders who agreed and he physically restrained the Grandmaster to prevent him from opposing them. Once the In-Betweener had been defeated by Galactus the five Elders used their Infinity Gems to instantaneously travel very far away from Galactus and his vengeance. As a result, the Champion ended up with the Power Gem (one of the Infinity Gems) in his possession. Thanos eventually tracked the Champion down to the planet Tamarata, and tricked the Champion into causing a seismic disruption that destroyed Tamarata, forcing him to forfeit his Infinity Gem for transport to another planet. However, instead of helping the Champion after receiving the Gem, Thanos caused the Champion to fall to another world.
More Entries from Thanos Quest in order:
- Thanos Steals the Soul Gem from the In-Betweener.
- Thanos Takes the Power Gem from The Champion of the Universe.
- Thanos Takes the Time Gem from The Gardener.
- Thanos Takes the Space Gem from The Runner.
- Thanos Takes the Reality Gem from The Collector.
- Thanos Steals the final Infinity Stone, The Mind Gem, from The Grandmaster.