How did the Avengers defeat Thanos in the comics?

Thanos is a recurring villain in Marvel comics, and the Avengers have defeated him many times. However, the 1991 series The Infinity Gauntlet closely resembles the plot of the recent films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Needless to say, there are a number of major differences between the two stories. In the comics, Thanos attempts to collect all of the Infinity Gems (called Infinity Stones in the movies) to destroy half of the life in the universe; however, he’s not attempting this diabolical feat to bring “balance" to the universe, but rather to impress Mistress Death.

Mistress Death, by the way, is a physical manifestation of death itself; she brought Thanos back to life, and he fell deeply in love with her. He believes that by killing half of the universe, he’ll be able to prove his love—plus, she ordered him to do it.

As in the movies, Thanos is initially successful: He gets the Infinity Gems, puts them into the Infinity Gauntlet, and snaps, instantly killing half of all life. He also destroys many Marvel superheroes, but unlike in the movies, the heroes don’t fade away or dematerialize—they die in a variety of grizzly ways. For instance, Wolverine’s bones turn to rubber. Thor is turned into glass, then smashed.

Survivors include Doctor Strange, Nebula, Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, and Silver Surfer. The snap also makes Thanos the center of reality...but leaves the Gauntlet temporarily unprotected. Nebula is able to remove the gauntlet from Thanos, and she uses it to rewind time to the moments before the snap occurred.

In the chaos, Adam Warlock grabs the gauntlet. Thanos, distraught, appears to commit suicide, but it’s later revealed that the villain gave up on his quest and became a farmer on an unnamed planet.

In an epilogue, Warlock decides to give the Infinity Gems to warriors he deems worthy (that forms the Infinity Watch, a superhero group that we won’t discuss in detail here).

The Marvel Cinematic Universe took the Infinity Gauntlet story in an entirely new direction, and that’s probably for the best—many of the characters in the original miniseries don’t appear at all in the films, and Thanos seems far more menacing and unstoppable in his newest incarnation.