I just saw another list of the Top 10 most powerful (Marvel.) villains, and Thanos made number 1. AGAIN! It seems that he always ranks as either #1 or #2, and I have to disagree with this. First of all, Thanos is a great character (I don't care for him as being portrayed as either an anti-villain or anti-hero, though.), but the only writer that writes him as being superior is Jim Starlin, his creator. It seems that Starlin has him being able to either beat or outsmart pretty much ANY character in the Marvel Universe. But he's pretty overrated, and what really makes him dangerous or a threat is NOT his power, but his cunning and his intelligence.
The ONLY times that he's been a real threat or a threat to either the Marvel Universe or powerhouse teams (Like The Avengers.) is when he gets his hands on some powerful object or some sort of plot device (Like The Infinity Gauntlet or a Cosmic Cube, etc.). But that's something that Doctor Doom does as well. Thanos is powerful, sure, but he's pretty low on the cosmic totem. At best, he's a peg or two above The Silver Surfer. But I do think that people overrate him. At least Starlin had Odin more or less defeat him. He really shouldn't be able to defeat Darkseid (Who actually HAS been a universal threat without the use of any objects or powerful artifacts.), or take out a team of powerhouses like The Annihilators so easily. And I'm not sure if he should just be able to shrug off Black Bolt's voice. Sorry, Thanos is good, but he's nowhere near as good as his reputation.
Speaking of Starlin and Thanos, I really think that he should be completely and totally finished with the character. I read that he's doing yet ANOTHER Infinity trilogy of books with Thanos, and he's had his say at this point. After Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos Quest, The End, his first few issues of The Thanos ongoing series (I liked Keith Giffen's issues better.), and all of his past Thanos storylines, I really feel that he should just move on from the character, because he's done all that he can with him, and he's just going to be repeating himself at this point.
but classically, before his death and resurrection, he was a solid herald leveller...he was beaten by Warlock, beaten by Mar-Vell, and beat classic Drax in some brutal, awesome fights. After his resurrection though, all his sub par showings were retconned and he was consistently impressive....until relatively recently.
Darkseid showed he could be flat out beaten by Superman and Orion, and until the last few years, post resurrection, Thanos had no showings where anyone at herald level seemed able to beat him (again, because of the clone retcon).
Now, its not as good for him, and he'll be brought back to a top end herald, where he was pre resurrection.