Why Was There a Thanos Helicopter In ‘Loki’?
The following post contains SPOILERS for Loki Episode 5. Kind of? They’re all silly helicopter related. You’re fine.
This week’s Loki took place in “The Void.” Officially, it’s an endless land at end of time, a place where the Time-Keepers (whoever they are) have not finished writing the “Sacred Timeline.” Unofficially, it’s a graveyard of bizarre Marvel Easter eggs, because that’s the spot where all kinds of weird stuff has wound up after its strange journey through the mysteries of time and space.
We’ll have full videos and lists of all the Easter eggs in the Void later, but one is so kooky it deserves a post all on its own. It’s the decrepit remains of a yellow helicopter with the word “THANOS” printed on the side. What could this mean? Is it a clue that Thanos is not dead? Is he going to return in Avengers 5 to hound Earth’s Mightiest Heroes again, this time in a helicopter?
Sadly, no. The Thanos helicopter is reference to an obscure comic that’s become something of a cult object in certain fan circles: Spidey Super Stories #39, in which Thanos battles Spider-Man using, yes, a helicopter with his name on it.
Oh, that Thanos. Making cat puns while flying around in his own branded helicopter. He’s such a scamp!
Somehow, this is actually the second time Thanos’ helicopter has been covered on ScreenCrush. Back in 2018, I penned a tribute to the “silliest Thanos comic ever” — this same issue of Spidey Super Stories. The long-out-of-print series was the companion comic connected to Spider-Man’s appearances on the children’s educational show The Electric Company. On the show, Spidey (or a guy dressed in the best Spidey costume 1970s public television budgets could buy) would solve very tame cases that involved using early literacy skills. In Spidey Super Stories, young fans of Spider-Man’s Electric Company segments found very simple stories that they could use to practice reading.
These stories, freed from the constraints of Marvel continuity and crammed into a handful of pages to ensure they didn’t exceed the reach of their core Electric Company audience, could sometimes get very strange. Like, this strange:
“Oh drat! I dropped the most powerful object in existence! Oh well, at least I have my helicopter with my name on it!”
In the story, Thanos loses the Cosmic Cube, and it falls into an alley, where it’s found by a kid named Speedy. Then he, Thanos, Spider-Man, and The Cat all tussle over the Cube. At one point Thanos regains the Cube then is defeated by his Achilles’ heel: His butterfingers.
It’s just too bad the Avengers never thought to put some oil or grease on the ground beneath Thanos in Infinity War. Instead of accumulating all the Infinity Stones, he would have just slipped and dropped the Infinity Gauntlet. Plus we would have been treated to the sight of a motion-captured Josh Brolin in blue skin yelling “OOPS!”
Spidey Super Stories does not take place within the main Marvel Universe, and the Thanos helicopter has appeared very sparingly since Spidey Super Stories #39. In 2015’s Deadpool #45, the Thanoscopter made its in-continuity debut in a story where Thanos once again was looking for the Cosmic Cube...
Spidey Super Stories haven’t been reprinted in decades and aren’t available on Marvel’s Unlimited app for online reading. So the Thanoscopter, along with most of Spidey Super Stories, have essentially fallen into a metaphorical void — making its home in a literal Void at the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a fitting final resting place for it. At least until Thanos decides to mount a comeback as a chartered helicopter pilot.
New episodes of Loki premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+.
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