Avengers: Endgame ignored the fan theory that Ant-Man could beat Thanos by entering his body – but the X-Men just showed exactly why it works.
Enough time has passed for Marvel fans to accept it: Thanos was NOT defeated by Ant-Man entering his butt. But even if Avengers: Endgame didn’t deliver on the popular fan theory/joke, Marvel Comics has demonstrated the plan would work — and be so much more disgusting than fans expect.
The Ant-Man/Thanos/Entry theory (playfully referred to as the ‘Thanus’ theory) was one of the most memorable bits of fan speculation in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War. With Thanos seeming almost impossible to physically wound, fans reasoned, the only way to successfully overwhelm his superior physiology would be to avoid it entirely. Why punch him from the outside when the smallest Avenger could get inside, without Thanos ever realizing it? Give the mission to Ant-Man, who could then become Giant-Man, and Thanos dies a definitive, if disgusting death. The Avengers ultimately left the plan untested… but the X-Men just tried it out for themselves.
Well, technically speaking, it is the enemies of the X-Men who put the theory into practice in the pages of Marvel’s Marauders comic series. In the comic book version, the threat isn’t an impenetrable alien like Thanos, or even his mutant rival Apocalypse. It’s a team of heroes lead by Kate Pryde, whose powers of intangibility make it even less possible to wound her than a Titan blessed with thick skin. So how do the villains respond when faced with the challenge? Simple. They come up with a plan to put one of their soldiers… inside the enemy.
When the villains launch their ambush upon the heroes gang of mutant pirates in Marauders #6, their secret plan isn’t clear. In fact, the truth is only revealed when Kate Pryde turns herself intangible, allowing a spear to pass harmlessly through her body… and directly into the chest of Pyro. Not a fatal wound, but a deceptive one. Soon after the wound is shown to be a secret injection, launching the supervillain Yellowjacket (the main villain of Ant-Man movie whose shrinking powers match Scott Lang’s) into the mutant’s bloodstream. But as fans of the Thanus theory know: getting in is only the beginning.
Giving new meaning to the term ‘inside man,’ the mission isn’t explicitly an assassination, as would be the case for the Avengers in the proposed Endgame plan. Instead Yellowjacket taps into Pyro’s eyes for the purpose of surveillance. In fact, it isn’t until Marauders #9 that the heroes return to the new mutant homeland of Krakoa… and Pyro’s non-mutant stowaway is detected by the psychic Emma Frost. At which point Yellowjacket does the only thing he really can: growing not just his body, but his entire bloodstream submarine to full size… in a physical reaction Pyro’s body can’t hope to withstand. Brace yourselves.
All credit goes to artists Matteo Lolli and Edgar Delgado for revealing the energy of the expansion, reducing what used to be Pyro to a bloody smear and ribbons in the blink of an eye (since the size transformations happen instantaneously in the comics, as they do in the MCU versions). In the process, demonstrating the solution to the one possible weakness in the original Thanus theory, pointed to as evidence by Endgame’s writer that Ant-Man would die in Thanos). Don’t just send Ant-Man in to test his human composition against that of Thanos. Put him in a structurally sound object — like a submarine specifically designed to resist being crushed — and even Thanos wouldn’t stand a chance.
Thanos can take a punch and resist stabbing, sure. But if compact strength and resilience is the secret of his Titan flesh, stretching it to impossible limits could be his weakness. And if Iron Man was able to draw even “a drop of blood” through brute force, the Marauders just showed what would happen if the Avengers had gotten Ant-Man ‘on the inside,’ as well.