Given his prominent role as chief antagonist of Marvel's big screen cinematic universe, Thanos has been getting a lot of love and attention in the comics over the past few years in order to raise the character's profile and flesh him out ahead of his turn in Avengers: Infinity War in April.

This has included the Mad Titan's own solo run of comics, the latest issue of which (#14, by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Antonio Fabela and Clayton Cowles) reveals something major about the feared supervillain: his government name.

Detailing his backstory (via CBR), the comic chronicles his birth on Titan, his numerous encounters with Captain America, Hulk, et al, before he encounters a much, much older version of himself, who asks for help.

The Younger Thanos has his doubts, so King Thanos makes him a (true) believer by reminding of his "true name" the one his mother gave him, which she said only to him on the day she died.

That name is Dione.

Thanos was created by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich in 1973. He first appeared in an issue of Iron Man, but shot to fame as the chief antagonist of 1991 Marvel story The Infinity Gauntlet.

Don't expect the big-screen Marvel adventures to play with this detail when Josh Brolin portrays the character in Infinity War. Pathos will be hard to come by as he tears through dozens of beloved superheroes for our viewing pleasure.

Thanos was established as the long-term villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the credits sting for 2012's The Avengers, and has since appeared briefly in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and in another credits scene for 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In Infinity War he'll be the star, as he aims to gather the six Infinity Stones, that combined will grant him god-like powers over all existence. Trying to stop him will be near-enough every superhero Marvel has yet committed to screen.

Original Avengers Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) will be joined by the likes of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Then there's Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), Wong (Benedict Wong) and the Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

Throw in Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for good measure and you've got one of the largest and most star-studded casts ever assembled for a film. To say it's an ambitious undertaking would be an understatement.

Infinity War and its untitled follow-up set for 2019 will conclude the MCU in its current guise, and likely mark the end for multiple characters and actors.

As Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige put it: "There will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.... We've got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that's come before - intentionally."

Avengers: Infinity War is set to release on 27 April in the UK.

Thanos Dione
The panel in Thanos #14 when the title character's true name is revealed. Marvel