Both villains stand central to two of the biggest cinematic universes in the world. But where one’s story has seemingly come to an end, the other’s is just beginning. Thanos leveled the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before his defeat and death in Avengers: Endgame. Darkseid’s looming shadow over the DC Extended Universe is growing, with his battle against the Justice League just getting started in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, streaming March 18 on HBO Max.
Thanos and Darkseid could conceivably be allies, if not for the blackness in their souls — and if not for the fact that what we ultimately want is to see these two despots absolutely demolish each other with the full weight of their cosmic powers.
So how would this fight go down? Well, unless we land in some far-off dystopian future where one company owns both Warner Media and Disney, we won’t ever see these characters face off on the big screen. And at this point, even seeing such a battle in the pages of comics sounds like a pipe dream. But that’s what we’re here for: an Inversus battle between Darkseid and Thanos, to settle things once and for all.
INVERSUS is an Inverse series that pits the best of the best against each other from all corners of the superhero omniverse.
In the red corner: Thanos
Standing at 6’7 and weighing in at a whopping 985 pounds, Thanos is a Deviant born to a colony of Eternals on the planet Titan.
Shunned by his people and guided by the physical manifestation of Death, Thanos’ life is marked by his pursuit of Death — quite literally. His journey takes him through the cosmos in search of the ultimate power to earn him Death’s kiss: the Infinity Stones, which he collects and implements to great power in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Thanos first appeared in Marvel Comics’ 1973 comic book Iron Man #57 and later in the MCU during a mid-credits scene in The Avengers. Interestingly, Thanos was inspired by DC Comics’ Darkseid, and like his predecessor, has served as a near-constant threat for his own universe’s superbeings.
Thanos’ powers consist of superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, and increased longevity due to his Eternals physiology. He’s also a master warrior, proficient in all forms of weaponry and fighting styles throughout the known universe.
Brilliant and withdrawn from a young age, Thanos boasts a fascination with death, beginning with the dissection of animals and evolving into serialized murders of his own people. As an adult, Thanos is confident, perhaps overly so, in his ability to strike fear and terror across the universe. But his reputation is earned. If there’s a way to end a life, Thanos knows it.
In the blue corner: Darkseid
Standing at an awe-inspiring 8’9 and weighing in at 1815 pounds, Darkseid (born Uxas) is a New God and the ruler of the hellish planet Apokolips.
With the sole aim of ruling the universe, Darkseid and his acolytes relentlessly pursue the Anti-Life Equation, the solution to eliminating all free-will in the universe and allowing him to control every living thing.
Darkseid first appeared in DC Comics’ 1970 comic Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134, with his first big-screen appearance set for Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Darkseid has served as a sizeable threat in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, and a nemesis of Superman, eventually going on to wage war against the Old Gods, the Amazons, the Legion of Superheroes, and Justice League. He even killed Batman in the 2008 comic book Final Crisis.
Darkseid is invulnerable and immortal. He possesses superhuman strength, speed, and stamina. He can travel anywhere in the universe via Boom Tubes. He can fly, manipulate gravity, create darkness, and possess cosmic awareness and telepathy that makes him near omniscient. And if that wasn’t enough, he also possesses Omega Beams, blasts from his eyes that never miss their targets and can hold up through Flash’s speed force, injure Kryptonians, and destroy planets. When it comes to Darkseid, his title of godhood isn’t just for show.
Darkseid versus Thanos: Fight!
Thanos has decided that after being met with constant failure in the Marvel Universe, it’s time to set his sights on another. Traveling beyond the known reaches of the universe and breaking through the Source Wall, Thanos, in his mighty ship, Sanctuary II, has entered the DC Universe. He’s confident that the beings here will be much easier to destroy.
Darkseid is immediately aware that something has changed within the omniverse. He senses a new presence, one seeking to once again impress Death. He’s not amused.
Mere moments after Thanos’ arrival, Darkseid opens a Boom Tube in front of the Deviant’s ship. Thanos gives pause at the stone-faced figure hovering in front of him. He’s dealt with the multiverse before, and he wonders if this grey figure is simply another version of himself.
It matters not. He’ll kill him too.
Thanos opens fire on Darkseid, launching the full might of his ship’s arsenal at the figure. Missiles, laser beams, energy blasts that could crumble moons into dust are loosed. When the clouds clear, Darkseid remains – unblemished and undaunted. The New God smiles, and for the first time in a long time, Thanos feels fear rise in his chest.
Wordlessly, Darkseid beckons Thanos out of his ship. The Mad Titan steels himself, grabs a blade made of Vibranium, and exits the ship. The two hover across from each other.
“You are this universe’s defender?” Thanos asks.
“No,” Darkseid replies. “Its savior.”
Darkseid looks inside Thanos’ mind and sees six Infinity Stones destroyed, lost to Thanos but still in existence. Immediately Darkseid recognizes them for what they are, not simply stones but the elements of an equation — the Anti-Life Equation.
Thanos pushes through the space between them, his blade held high. Darkseid grins wider. He’s already won, but he’ll indulge his opponent. Darkseid doesn’t move as Thanos’ blade hits his forehead and shatters. Darkseid puts a finger against the small mark in his forehead, seeing only the faintest glimmer of red.
“All that for a drop of blood,” Darkseid says. Thanos recoils, his own words thrown back at him. Darkseid offers another word: “Run.”
Thanos retreats. It’s too late. Darkseid releases his Omega Beams and they turn Thanos to ash. Darkseid looks at the hole in the Source Wall, the universe that waits beyond, and the Infinity Stones that hold the answer to everything he’s ever dared to dream.
Thanos vs. Darkseid: The Verdict
Thanos is no match for the full threat of Darkseid. To Darkseid, Thanos is just another alien playing at god while he stands as a genuine article. At best, Darkseid would look at Thanos as a possible war-hound for his own army.
Imagine that: Thanos, the Ebony Maw to Darkseid’s Mad Titan.
It’s no laughing matter for Thanos, were he foolish enough to challenge Darkseid. In this horrible battle to reshape the universe, the biggest, oldest, and wisest remains undefeated.
The Inversus winner is… Darkseid!
Zack Snyder’s Justice League streams March 18 on HBO Max.