The Thanos Problem: Was he right?

Since the release of Avengers: Infinity War on April 26th, I’ve been pondering if Thanos’ actions were right or wrong and if the Avengers should have tried to stop him.

I saw Infinity War on its release day with one of my close friends, both of us pumped to see the film after waiting for it for so many years. The build-up was worth it. My friend and I came out of the film happy and baffled by what we witnessed. Both of us expected to see heroes die in the final act of the film, yet. Not on the scale, everyone witnessed.

Thanos made his first appearance in Invincible Iron Man #55 as a villain for the titular hero. Since then, Thanos has become one of the Avengers most powerful and popular villains in Marvel comics. His comic counterpart is quite different from his big-screen, unlike the comic version, who is obsessed with pleasing Lady Death herself, that obsession is what causes him to seek the Infinity Stones. The Marvel Cinematic Universe rendition has tasked himself with the task to cure the universe’s problem of overpopulation, rather than please Death itself.

The MCU’s Mad Titan Himself (Empire Magazine: March 2018)
The MCU’s Mad Titan Himself (Empire Magazine: March 2018)

Throughout the film, Thanos explained his idea of universal peace, a way to end suffering. Sacrifice half the population, so that the over could survive. His argument was compelling when put in front of his many examples. So, the question is; is the cinematic rendition of Thanos, really a Mad Titan?

For those who haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, expect major spoilers ahead as I’ll be covering some vital plot points.

The Original Mad Titan (Thanos Volume 2 #1 Mike Deodato)
The Original Mad Titan (Thanos Volume 2 #1 Mike Deodato)

I’ll start by saying that this is as unbiased as I can make this, while I enjoyed the film. I will be analyzing this from a purely theoretical point of view. I would also like to add that I do not

My question is: Is it right to kill half the universe to save the other. Yes and No.

Scouring the internet and asking a wide variety of people who’ve seen the film (friends, family, students and colleagues) if they thought they could do it differently, many of them came forward with the reasonable idea of doubling the universe's resources. Which sounds like a great theory, but may not work in actuality. From what little “large scale control” we’ve seen that the Infinity Gauntlet can muster, much of it seems limited to individual thoughts and actions. rather than the “Infinite” power, it seems to have. For example, rather than stop all the Avengers in their tracks in a single action, it appears that it can only stop one of them at a time. Although, this may have just been done for cinematic effect.

The problem with increasing the universe's resources is that it doesn’t fix the problems that the universe already has, in fact, it may increase it. War driven species or factions suddenly gain twice the amount of limited resources that are needed for war, whether precious metals or energy, that increase can send them on an upward spiral that can lead them to conquer/destroying other species that they weren’t able to before. But wait you ask! Why not just increase resources such as food product or landmass to increase farming or animal growth?

Thanos with a Young Gamora (Avengers: Infinity War)
Thanos with a Young Gamora (Avengers: Infinity War)

Planets and lands controlled by Autocracy or Plutocracy would continue to be run as so. If not even worse than before. (A historical example of autocratic leadership would be Genghis Khan and King Henry VIII and for plutocracy would be the now-defunct civilization of Carthage.) If those planets happened to struggle with overpopulation or lack of resources in which Thanos believes is the core problem of the universe. Those rulers would have even more power over the people. While their general conditions may go up in quality, the dangers of suddenly having increased valuable resources may bring in other races to plunder them. Not only that, it may send planets that are already fighting over resources into overdrive. Now with a jump into power, technological advancements can be made by the increase in resources. For better or worse.

Yes, Thanos may increase land mass in which people can spread, but where would this land come from? Would he bring the ocean floor to the surface so that the dominant species gain more access to land? Would he raze mountains so that the land could be flat for crops? That aside, more land mass and higher food rates can increase the population rather than deal with what already exists.

The real issue is, is that with an increase of resources, is that the population will continue to grow at an even faster rate as there is no longer the fear of running out of consumables. While we may not run out of food, land loss is an increasing issue. If we look at the world we have, Earth in all it’s complicated glory thanks to humanity. Is getting to the point in which we can no longer sustain ourselves indefinitely, whether it’s land or resources. Take a look at a Hong Kong photography project by Benny Lam, who showcases how horrific the overpopulation has gotten.

Photo Credit: Benny Lam (2017)
Photo Credit: Benny Lam (2017)

Those who currently live in Hong Kong and are the poorest of the poor, live in small 15-square foot homes that are referred to as Coffin Cubicles by the locals. (Stacke, 2017)The above photo is a showcase of how poor the living conditions are for some of those who live in the biggest cities in the world. Now imagine those coffins, on a much larger scale.

Now time for some brief science! (Which I don’t 100% understand. Just thought I’d mention that I’m not a rocket scientist. I’m a media student.) In 1964, Nikolai Kardashev, a Russian Astrologist created and designed a scale in which we can measure how a civilization’s technological advancements based on energy that is usable to us. This scale is completely theoretical and Earth hasn’t even reached the first point to be on the scale. Anyway, on to the even nerdier stuff than discussing a comic book movie…

According to the Kardashev Scale, a scale that theoretically ranked civilizations on their technological level throughout the universe. This scale ranges from 1-5, humanity? Zero. Not even on the scale. Although, we will supposedly reach rank 1, within the next 100-200 years. So, how is this relevant to our overpopulation and doubled resources problem? Class-2 civilizations are the problem.

Kardashev theorized that those civilizations that come under class-2 would have potential to harness the power of a star, of any size or shape. Through this, they can drain the life force through it and have supposedly infinite resources, at the cost of natural light and heat, which may doom future races and those who aren’t able to survive in the freezing, space. (Creighton, 2014)

You see, Thanos’ problem is one that has been discussed for an extremely long time that can relate back to the great Trolley/Train Dilemma.

Edward is the driver of a trolley, whose brakes have just failed. On the track ahead of him are five people; the banks are so steep that they will not be able to get off the tracks in time. The track has a spur leading off to the right, and Edwards can turn the trolley onto it. Unfortunately there is one person on the right-hand track. Edward can turn the trolley, killing the one; or he can refrain from turning the trolley, killing five. (Thomson, 1976)

The theory behind the quoted text is: Would you save one life or five? In Thanos’ case, would you sacrifice half of the universe to save the other? If anything, the Avengers themselves come across this problem with dire consequences. As Thanos is after the Infinity Stones, one of which is in possession of The Vision, a cyborg with control over the Mind Stone. His current predicament is that he must die for the Stone to be destroyed, through his own destruction, only then they can stop Thanos, yet; the Avengers have the mentality that no-one should die. A mindset that cost them half the universe’s population. Possibly making them the bad guys of the story as they were unwilling to sacrifice one to save an uncountable number of lives.

By the end of the film towards the final few minutes, Thanos accomplishes what he’s always dreamed of, the complete Infinity Gauntlet. (A device that allows him to harness the Stones Energy.) Through that, he deals with the universe in only the way a Mad Titan would, killing half of the universe. You see, this is where things get interesting. During a fantasy/revelation moment, we see Thanos, alone in what seems to be an infinite lake; before him stands an apparition of young Gamora, whom he killed earlier in the film to gain the Soul Stone. Asking him what did it cost him to achieve his goals? Only to be answered with, “Everything”. Thanos in the MCU is actually quite a complex character compared to many of the previous villains and possibly more so than several titular characters that are realistically one-dimensional.

Was it right to sacrifice so many lives to save the other? No, not without truly terrifying consequences, but to Thanos, there was no other way.

Out of all the characters in the MCU, he is one of the few, to truly lose something of value to him to gain what he didn’t have before, a cost of his own child. While she herself hated him, he raised her, watched her grow and was given the choice to complete his task which he’s spent a lifetime fighting towards or kill his own child. He chose the latter, and through that event, he eventually accomplished his goals.

Titan: Before (Right) and After Destruction (Left)
Titan: Before (Right) and After Destruction (Left)

One last point I would like to bring up is the reality of what if through his own power, Thanos killed those with the capabilities of truly saving the universe, through technological means or otherwise. Is that it wouldn’t possibly make a difference if they were alive. Let’s take a look at an example; through our own technology, we have the potential of saving thousands of lives, yet, through other people’s own choices, we don’t, even if it’s not in our control.

This is where it gets slightly political, but I’ll be as unbiased as possible. Through our own government’s powers, we can increase the funding for medical care, medical research, reduce poverty or increase living conditions in poverty-stricken areas. Yet, we don’t, where does that money go? Who knows. One of the things I do know is that we have the potential to save humanity from itself, but fear being told how to live our lives or what we should do with our money, but by doing so, we may have the chance to save ourselves from us. But the thing is, when we are given the chance of doing something in which we don’t have a choice in, the unthinkable can happen, for better or worse. Take the pyramids of Egypt were built by a combination of slaves and high-classed workers. And to this day, we are in awe of their wonder, many of those who built them may not have a choice, but we continue to seek wonders that were made through agony and pain. (Shaw, 2003) Or during World War II in which several million Jewish people were massacred for simply being different. An action that, still, to this day affects many ways we live our lives.

This, this is what makes us unique, the ability to create or destroy whatever we wish when pushed into it against or choice or willingly. So then why, why would it be so bad to start back at square one? To start again, to right those wrongs. To do it differently.

Thanos may not have fixed the problems of the universe, if not made some worse. But his actions may have been just as bad as the Avengers themselves. Who is the true villain in this scenario, The Avengers, who wouldn’t risk one life to save the universe, or Thanos, who would risk half the universe, to save the other? What would you do?

Thanks for reading.

Bibliography

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A Tony Award Winning Comic Book Musical? Is It Possible? Fun Home

I'll start off by introducing myself. I'm Cloudguy, a user on the site since 2013. While I may not have been active in the community, I've most definitely been active on the wiki. You've probably seen my face pop-up on pages all over the site.

I’m a massive fan of musicals and comics, but the idea of both is something that never occurred to me until I came across "Fun Home". What is Fun Home? Fun Home follows the life of Alison Bechdel from childhood to adulthood. A story about acceptance, sexuality, coming of age, and what lies can do to a family.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was released in 2006 in the form of an Original Graphic Novel by Alison Bechdel to critical acclaim, winning an Eisner award among others. Seven years later it was adapted into one of the best musicals of the year, winning three Tony Awards. So, going into this I expected a lot out of it. And boy, I didn't expect how much it would connect with me.

Comic

Cover
Cover

As far as art goes it’s relatively simple, but it’s achieved in Alison's unique style. To achieve all the poses for characters, she goes through the tedious technique of photographing herself in the poses and then drawing them out. Simple and effective, yet it doesn’t look boring. Each panel is filled with things to look at but not enough to be too much. The line art style doesn't take away from the purpose of illustrating her own life in a way that feels unique and suits the style of the story. If anything, it's reminiscent of early newspapers strips.

The story itself is intriguing for sure, over the course of the book you connect with Alison, her mother (Helen), and most definitely her father (Bruce), who is a major part of the story. I had to keep reminding myself that this is an autobiography and not a work of fiction based on how heart-breaking it is. Making it seem real and believable is one of the hardest things a writer can do with a piece of non-fiction and Alison Bechdel did that for sure. While there are a few moments which I feel take some artistic liberties, they still feel as if they happened.

Alison is an interesting person; she’s a "dyke", as stated by herself. Over the course of the story we discover this alongside her as she delves into the LGBT community and what it’s like to come out as a lesbian to a family that struggles to show basic emotions to each other, anchored by an abusive father and a highly religious mother. Coming out as someone in the LGBT community is one of the hardest things a person can do and the way the book handles it is rather underwhelming - but the reason why makes it easier to understand.

Bechdel Family
Bechdel Family

As far as main a main character goes, Alison is that. But she’s not the type of character in a normal story you can root for, as there isn’t really much to root for. Many major plot points are brought up early and then explored throughout the narrative. This helps the reader understand how she deals with certain issues alongside the rest of her family, which is something that is done well in both the comic and musical.

What made this worthy of being made into a stage production? A musical even? Honestly, I don't know. But they made it work. From a narrative perspective, it made more sense to be adapted into just a stage production, but through the wonderful work of Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron they managed to turn simple moments into wonderful songs. What I believe turned it into a musical was the sheer potential that it had. Due to the style of the comic in which it jumps back and forth, it allows for a free-flowing story which could be told in any way.

Like a lot of musicals, they tend to cover emotions, trauma, and self-discovery and what each does to a person. Fun Home falls into that category easily. The themes made it worthy of a stage production; the story made it musical worthy.

Musical

Musical Promotional Poster
Musical Promotional Poster

Starring:

  • Beth Malone - Alison Bechdel (Adult)
  • Michael Cerberus - Bruce Bechdel
  • Judy Kuhn - Helen Bechdel
  • Sydney Lucas - Alison Bechdel (Child)
  • Alexandra Socha - Alison Bechdel (Teen)

Honestly? I don’t know how they did it. I feel as if they made one of the most interesting adaptions from page to stage. Like the comic, which jumps back and forth in time to show how Alison's life was, the musical showcases her life in the same way and somehow manages to turn simple thoughts into songs, sometimes going to the point of having multiple timeframes co-aligning to help progress plot. Unlike the comic, adult Alison is almost always present watching over her younger selves with awe or distaste as she remembers her earlier life.

Alison is such an interesting character, she's someone you can connect to. She's innocent and open to everything. Her life makes her relatable whether or not you fall into the LGBT community. Two examples, everyone gets awkward around their crush or has family problems. She's a human, a real one that has real problems.

Original Production Cast
Original Production Cast

Enter Stage Right: Bruce Bechdel. The musical portrayal of Bruce didn’t quite hit the nail of how abusive and downright uncaring a person can be. Bruce is a unique factor in the story I never expected. He’s a married father of three. The twist? He’s gay. But so is Alison. The story truly follows Alison’s connection with her father who she grew up to have a dislike and borderline hate for, but still cares for him. I won’t go into details about their connection but I have to say, the Bechdel family is a sham. The story shows how important acceptance and trust can be to a family. Apart from family connections, the adaption did not contain many of the overarching plots.

I was impressed by the musical numbers. Some of the best songs come from brief moments in the comic such as Alison realizing she likes girls in “Ring of Keys" and Helen coming to terms with her husband’s actions in “Days and Days” performed by Judy Kuhn of Disney Pocahontas fame (My personal favorite). "Edges of the World" by Bruce Bechdel is a powerhouse of emotions and voice in regards to the song's context, which I won’t spoil.

I love almost everything about the musical apart from the important things brought up in the comic, such as Bruce’s childhood and the importance his actions have on his children’s future, but, like any adaptions, things have to be cut out. From a narrative perspective, this backstory shouldn’t have been omitted.

Bechdel Family
Bechdel Family

The musical combines dialogue and song effortlessly and it almost transitions perfectly into both, taking the time to slow down in the serious moments, but yet opening it up for a musical number once it happens. There are moments in the musical that doesn't come across as well compared to the comic, but obviously not every moment can be replicated perfectly. For example, in one of the opening panels, Alison as a child reflects back on how her father used to lift her up and she would act as if she was an airplane. This moment was instead turned into a recurring song.

How did the musical compare to the comic? Did it have the same impact? Yes, but in its own way. While the comic has a retrospective feel to it, as if we are looking back on it and realizing alongside Alison how bad her life was and how she dealt with it, the musical lets us experience it alongside her, making it even more emotional when you listen or watch what happens.

If you’re looking for a creative musical based on a comic then check out Fun Home, but you may want to skip it if you prefer less-depressing musicals. I feel, however, something like this should always be experienced, as many themes brought up can connect to almost everyone.

Conclusion

Why did it work? I think the reason why it worked so well was that it was such a risk. Basing a musical directly on a comic with an almost perfect adaption is something that hasn't happened successfully, but it worked. The powerhouse voices behind the characters paired with emotional songs and plot made it one of the few musicals to connect to people on a familial level. The musical is truly about looking back on something remembered and while realizing it wasn't what or how it was to be remembered. What then is true in memories?

I loved both forms of the story. The comic made it easier to understand the characters and their actions. The musical made me feel the so much more than the book. What I learned from the story is that your actions mean everything to others, whether it’s giving someone attention or lying about something. Small things can lead up to huge consequences in the future. And life is hard, whether or not it has been, currently is, or will be. Nothing is for sure.

Check out more of Alison Bechdel's work in Essential Dykes to Watch Out For & Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama.

Musical: 9/10 (5 Stars)

Comic: 8/10 (4. 5 Stars)

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Warcraft/World of Warcraft Book Reading Order

So I got bored and decided to spend quite a lot of time putting this guide together.

Some still is missing as I'm still trying to find everything but everything included is the major events that happen and and several short stories.

War of Ancients Arc

  1. War of Ancients: The Well of Eternity
  2. War of the Ancients: The Demon Soul
  3. War of the Ancients: The Sundering
  4. War of the Shifting Sands (Short Story)

Links:

U.S.:

UK:

First & Second War

First War

  1. Rise of the Horde
  2. Unbroken (Short Story)
  3. The Last Guardian

Links:

U.S.:

UK:

Second War

  1. Beyond the Dark Portal
  2. Lord of the Clans
  3. Day of the Dragon
  4. Of Blood and Honor (Short Story)
  5. Road to Damnation (Short Story)

Links:

U.S.:

UK:

Third War

  1. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
  2. Death Knight (Manga)
  3. Vol'jin: The Judgment (Short Story)
  4. Sunwell Trilogy (Manga Series)
  5. Cycle of Hatred (Pre-Vanilla)
  6. Ashbringer (Comic)

Links:

U.S.:

UK:

Burning Crusade - Wrath of the Lich King

  1. Night of the Dragon
  2. Garrosh: Heart of War (Short Story)
  3. World of Warcraft: The Comic
  4. Lor'themar: In the Shadow of the Sun (Short Story)
  5. Sylvanas Windrunner: Edge of Night (Short Story)
  6. Stormrage
  7. Shaman (Manga)
  8. The Shattering

Links:

U.S.

UK:

Cataclysm

  1. Curse of the Worgen (Comic)
  2. Genn Greymane: Lord of his Pack (Short Story)
  3. The Council of Three Hammers: Fire and Iron (Short Story)
  4. Tyrande & Malfurion: Seeds of Faith (Short Story)
  5. Baine Bloodhoof: As Our Fathers Before Us (Short Story)
  6. Gallywix: Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince (Short Story)
  7. Wolfheart (Novel)
  8. Velen: Prophet's Lesson (Short Story)
  9. Varian Wrynn: Blood of Our Fathers (Short Story)
  10. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects

Links:

U.S.:

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Daily Short #6

"Blinky™"

Written and directed by Ruairi Robinson.

A young boy living in the near future looks for an escape from a home with arguing parents. As a way to cope with the recent arguments from his parents he receives a robot companion that he ends up abusing.

This one is quite interesting and depressing.

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Daily Short #5

"There Are Monsters"

There Are Monsters is a short horror film based in a small town in Canada and is directed & written by Jay Dahl.

If you can get over the shaky cam and the ending, it's a really good horror. The dialouge seems natural and the pacing is perfect.

"Tea Time"

On a quiet afternoon an elderly woman prepares some afternoon tea for her and her husband. This short film was made on a single super-8 cartridge, edited in camera, shot in sequence with only one take per shot.

Super 8 mm film is a motion picture film format released in 1965 by Kodak as an improvement of the older Double or Regular 8 mm home movie format.

This one really creeped me out, insanity is creepy.

"Spawn: The Recall"

SPAWN: THE RECALL is the story of a former witch and her son, who try to live a normal life away from the darkness. While they're shopping in a supermarket, the child suddenly disappears. She starts looking for him, freaked out knowing evil forces are still lurking. A security guard comes to her help but while they are checking on the surveillance cameras, something happens. She can sense it, they are here...

This is probably one of the best short films i've seen for a while, amazing VFX, cinematogrophy and just amazing overall.

SPAWN: THE RECALL was written and directed by Michael Paris. Starring: Johanna Genet as the Witch, Tom Maurice as Michael and Gregory Paris as the voice of Spawn. This short film took two years to put together, becuase all of the VFX rendering was done on one computer and mainly by Michael himself.

Sorry about the delay on this, I had heat stroke over the last couple of days. So instead of one short, have two horror's and a superhero short.

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Daily Short #4

"Power/Rangers"

Power/Rangers is a fan film(?) short based on the Power Rangers TV series.

Directed by Joseph Kahn, a film and music video director. It also stars Katee Sackhoff (Riddick, Battlestar Galactica) as Kimberly and James Van Der Beck as Rocky.

Powe/Rangers roughly takes place during the Zeo timeline (4th season).

While doing background research on this short, I found Jason David Frank's (Original Green/White ranger) and Austin St John's (Original Red ranger) opinion's on this short and they have completly different opinions on this.

I grew up watching the original series and to this day still enjoy watching Power Rangers. Well, the older seasons anyway. I personally loved watching this short.

Sorry if their isn't as much detail as before, I had a rough nights sleep, so i'm too tired to go into depth.

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Daily Short #3

"Crime Time: Sleep Walker"

Sleepwalking also known as somnambulism (not even going to try and pronounce it) normally occurs during the first few hours of sleep. Sleepwalking is most common in children, but grow out of it by the age of 13-14, although it can persist into an adult life.

Sleepwalking can be caused by a variety of things such as: sleep deprivation, fatigue (extreme tiredness), stress and if your parents suffered with sleepwalking or night terrors, their is a %60 chance that it can pass onto you.

During sleepwalking some people just sit up in bed and look around, while others get out of bed and walk about, open cupboards, get dressed or eat. In extreme cases, some people have been known to walk out of the house and carry out complex activities, such as driving a car. Most people who sleepwalk also have their eyes open, but don't acknowledge people or surroundings and just look straight through them. A sub-symptom of sleepwalking is Sleep-Eating.

While their is no specific treatment for it certain medicines and forms of hypnotherapy can help reduce how often people sleepwalk.

A sleepwalking short was requested by @rocketraccoonthingy.

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Daily Short #2

"Paralyzed"

This short takes a terrifying experience many people have actually had—sleep paralysis—and builds a slinking, chattering, featureless face under all the intangible fear.

Sleep Paralysis occurs when you fall asleep or wake up during REM (Rapid Eye Movement), when this occurs you are unable to move or speak and sometimes feel breathless.When paralyzed most people suffer with either hallucinations or hear strange and creepy sounds, sometimes both. The most common hallucination is the "intruder" you feel the presence of another in your room or near you, watching your or touching you. Even though they feel real they're not and you cannot be harmed by the effects of Sleep Paralysis

I personally have never had Sleep Paralysis, but 40% of people will suffer from it at one point in life (Crossing my fingers that it doesn't happen to me).

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Daily Short #1

"Perfect Drug"

Warning: if you don't like gore give this a skip.

“Perfect Drug” is a strange mix of dark comedy, sci-fi, and surreal imagery all meshed into a surprisingly coherent tale of a man who accidentally drinks something from a glowing vial that he’d stolen from a pharmacy for his boss. It was written and directed by Belgian filmmaker Toon Aerts and produced by Czar Films.

In my spare time when I'm not at work on working on CV I spend my time watching TV or short Movies on Youtube. Over the years I've amassed over 100 short films in a favorites list, so I've decided to share them with you guys.

I personally don't know how I discovered this or what to make of this.

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The Flying Man

The Flying Man is a short film directed and written by Marcus Alqueres.

The Flying Man is about how society reacts to a super powered vigilante.

A super powered vigilante defies the law of society and gravity, using extreme violence to fight crime.

I found this an interesting take on the whole vigilante idea. Seeing as most comics and movies don't focus on how society deals with the fact a superhero exists. Do we need one and if so what are the results it will have on society?

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