My @Quora answer to Is Thanos able to lift Mjolnir without the Infinity Gauntlet? And with it?
Answer by Thaddeus Howze:
Thanos is awesome; he's just not Mjolnir-lifting awesome. He's in good company…
Thanos, often called the Mad Titan (rarely to his face, by the way) is a being of incredible capability and prowess. A master of alien technologies from hundreds of worlds, his natural gifts make him a force to be reckoned with in close combat or at range. His prodigious intellect means he is rarely out of his depth even when dealing with the Marvel Universe's most intelligent or inscrutable beings such as the cosmic entities. Despite his enhancements both cybernetic and technological, nothing in his arsenal will lend itself to lifting or breaking the enchantments upon Mjolnir as laid by Odin.
But I bet you're asking: Who is Thanos? For the answer to that question, we need to talk about his family…
Enter: The Eternals
Thanos was a member of a humanoid species called the Eternals. The Eternals were part of a project created by the Celestials designed to bring forth metahuman potential (for a still unknown reason) among Humans and thousands of other species across the galaxy.
The Celestials manipulated the DNA of Humanity to create three separate subspecies. Deviants, Humans and the Eternals. The Eternals were one subset of the Human species altered by the Celestials for their experimentation.
What were the Celestials looking for? They never say. They never admit to why they performed the experimentation that links the human genome and the possibility for mutant capability. We do learn in the seminal Thor #300 if your species doesn't meet their rigorous standards, they will erase their failed experiment from existence.
The two other subgroups of Humanity were: the Deviants and the Eternals.
- The Deviants, an evolutionary offshoot of humanity, were their first experiments and are genetically unstable.
- Their forms varied wildly and it was said that no two Deviants looked alike (which always made me curious how they reproduced…perhaps technology was involved.)
- They boasted a wide array of superhuman levels of ability, some of their members were easily as powerful and capable as the Eternals, just with more skin, teeth and back hair problems.
Their next experiments, the much better looking Eternals, were more successful in certain respects:
- The Eternals are capable of absorbing cosmic energy within their cells and releasing it in various ways. At a rest state, all Eternals can lift ten tons without effort.
- Their bodies are far stronger, faster, more resilient, and heal faster than a human's even without the use of their cosmic energy. Their senses are sharper and more acute than a Human's and their mental capacity is in far excess of the average Human.
- In addition to their natural resilience, all Eternals may channel cosmic energy for superhuman feats. Each Eternal may have different levels of capability depending on their personal training and preferences.
- These feats include super-speed, flight, increasing invulnerability, strength enhancement, energy projection at range, mental powers and matter manipulation.
- The most sophisticated and well trained with these powers may use all of them with equal facility. Being such as Mentor and Zuras, have few equals among the Eternals.
- While the range of abilities for each Eternal varies widely, they have proven themselves to be a match for most modern metahumans on the Marvel Earth, with speed and strengths as great as Thor, Iron Man and for brief periods, the Hulk. Their technology far outpaces the most advanced on Earth.
- The versatility of their powers has even secured one or two of them honorary roles among Earth's mightiest heroes, the Avengers. See Avengers: Sersi and Starfox.
- Primitive Humans were unable to tell the difference between these godlike Eternals and the actual "gods" of the Marvel Universe, often confusing them because of their physical similarities.
- An unknown schism would eventually split the Eternals into two groups, one led by Zuras and the Other by Mentor.
- Mentor's group left Earth but were intercepted by the alien Kree and shot down their ship over the moon of Titan.
- The survivors using their cosmic powers would create a new paradise there and remained hidden.
Titan, homeworld of the Eternals was just once a barren land mass. It is the biggest moon of Saturn. The Eternals first arrived when they had a conflict with the Kree armada. The Kree shot down the Eternals ship, forcing them to crash into Titan. From there on, the surviving Eternals formed a colony underground, then they employed artificial life systems. From then on, the Eternals made Titan a place of knowledge and meditation.
The Mad Titan, Thanos
Of all of the Titanian Eternals, none save Mentor are the equal of the most powerful of them, often called The Mad Titan, Thanos.
- Thanos is a mutant among the Eternals, born with Deviant Syndrome increasing his physical abilities and his mental instability.
- Thanos has always had a lust for power and has expanded his abilities far beyond his brethren. His physical strength is unmatched by the Eternals.
- He can lift one hundred tons or more. He has stood toe to toe with Thor, Iron Man and the Thing simultaneously and easily held his own. This is without using any form of augmentation or manipulation of cosmic energy.
- He is also believed to have been further enhanced using alien cybernetic technology giving him even greater physical durability and resistance. He has taken blows from Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, and was unfazed.
- While Thanos rarely uses his energy projection abilities, they are quite formidable. He is able to project energy from his eyes and sheath his hands in an energy field capable of destroying any matter it touches.
Thanos isn't just a jock. Despite his incredible physical capabilities, Thanos' greatest asset is his unmatched intellect.
- He has scoured the galaxy learning whatever he could from whomever would teach him.
- He is a master of alien technologies which has allowed him to battle against the Universe's mightiest beings such as the Stranger, the Elders of the Universe and even Galactus.
- His genius-level intellect has even tapped into mystical powers allowing him to commune with forces such as Eternity and to woo the Conceptual Entity known as Death.
- Thanos plays the long game. He can manipulate and study multiple enemies simultaneously pitting them against each other usually to his benefit.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
While the Thanos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have different abilities than his comic counterpart he will surely be as competent and as dangerous. His taste in gauntlets is certainly the same.
But could he lift Mjolnir?
As to whether he could move Mjolnir with the Infinity Gauntlet? That is an unqualified yes.
- With the gauntlet he has the ability alter reality at the fundamental level. Using the completed Infinity Gauntlet he is able to do nearly anything he can conceive of.
- When Thanos acquired the Gauntlet in the comic universe, for one of the few times all of the Universe's greatest cosmic powers, not known for getting along, gathered together in agreement. Thanos could not be allowed to maintain ownership of the Gauntlet. These were beings who power eclipsed even the powerful Odin Borson.
- Odin's enchantment is nothing more than a stain on the hammer that the Infinity Gauntlet would allow Thanos to remove it at will.
At the point he would be able to lift Mjolnir, he would no longer have a need or a desire to do so.
Is Thanos able to lift Mjolnir without the Infinity Gauntlet? And with it?