While not many people can figure why Marvel would stop the books Nova and The Guardians of the Galaxy, at least they have allowed the cosmic corners of the Marvel U to flourish within the pages of Annihilators.
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Tan Eng Huat
After the Thanos Imperative had changed the look of the Marvel cosmos, Nova and TheGuardians of the Galaxy were canceled. Well, canceled may be a strong word, because if you look at what happened at the end of the Thanos Imperative (which I’m not going to ruin because you must read it), it only makes sense. No matter how bitter the fans of those two books and myself might be, at least Marvel is allowing Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) to continue in a four-part mini-series titled Annihilators.
During the one-shot Thanos Imperative: Devastation, we find out the point of Annihilators. Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, knew that if his Guardians of the Galaxy had failed, the ante would need to be upped, and a much more powerful team would have to be put in place. We are talking a collection of Alpha Plus powered characters led by a Space Knight of Galador.
This leads us directly into Annihilators, where Quasar, Beta Ray Bill, Gladiator, Ronan, and Silver Surfer are pretty much taunted into battle by Ikon of the Space Knights. You see, Ikon was given the orders to lead this team by Star-Lord, but is a little pessimistic that all the power can be harnessed into a team of any value. As Ikon hands each of the respective members their a$$ in one-on-one combat, we are also introduced to Doctor Dredd, the villain of the story. Not much is known about Dredd, although he seems pretty deadly. Dredd was held captive on Galador by the Space-Knights, but is now free and looking for a way to cut through space (much like the way The Fault in Thanos Imperative did).
Now I know I didn’t have many good things to say about DnA’s work in Soldier Zero, but this issue of Annihilators totally redeemed them. Having put together probably the strongest team in comics I have ever seen, it would be hard not to be intrigued by the dynamic and reason behind this gathering. With the exception of Beta Ray Bill, the fact that DnA have worked closely with all of these characters really shows. Ikon is a new-comer of sorts, but DnA knew exactly what they wanted her to be like. I loved the banter between Ikon and Ronan, and the way Ikon rips into everyone while making fun of them was a lot of fun to watch. DnA had two engaging stories running together in this, and it was a lot of fun. Tan Eng Huat did a good job with all of the art in this book, although I am not quite sure how I feel about the way his characters’ faces look when they are pointing downward and their noses get all pointy.
Annihilators was a great read and I would most definitely suggest it to any cosmic fan. I also have two honorable mentions this week that would be foolish of me to not mention. One is a back-up story in Annihilators, and the other a fan favorite character in a five-part limited series.
“Rocket Raccoon and Groot”
Clearly DnA have some strange fascination with these two characters. Probably two of the strangest characters outside of Animal Vegetable Mineral Man (yes he exists), I believe only writers like DnA would know how to make them work. And boy do they ever. I’m pretty sure Rocket and Groot are two of the more popular characters used by DnA, hence the story being added in Annihilators. With some pretty unique art by Timothy Green, I admittedly almost didn’t read the back-up. Sometimes they are annoying and a waste of time, but I will tell you this, DO NOT miss reading this. Green’s art fit the story perfectly, and it was a load of fun. What happens when a raccoon who used to fight some of the galaxy’s strongest villains is out of work and down on his luck? He becomes a mail clerk! “Where is Groot?”, you ask? Well, after Rocket is attacked by a maniacal clown made of sentient wood, he is off to find out. Great art, great story, lots of fun to read and worth the extra buck.
Writer: Greg Pak
Pencils: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Wil Quintana
In my usual fashion, I get pretty skeptical when I see a new book coming out featuring one of myfavorite characters. Usually when Silver Surfer gets a mini, it’s hit and miss. More misses than hits, though. We usually see a SS story that isn’t relevant to the current goings-on in the Marvel U, and the story comes and goes. With this current SS story, this is not the case at all. You first find out what is going on with Surfer and his master, Galactus. After the big G had given a lot of his power up during the events of the Chaos War, Surfer found a star for him to absorb and was going to relish in some downtime on Earth. True to form with all heroes, the downtime was cut quite short as SS had to intervene with a little situation on Earth. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say the Herbert Edgar Wyndham made a little appearance, and not in a good way. The art was off the wall good in this issue. The colors were amazing while Surfer was in space and excelled while on Earth. I have to say that I also really enjoyed this original take on Surfer, because I feel like all I have been seeing lately was that grainy version in Thanos Imperative. Hopefully the success that Pak and co. have here will lead to a regular monthly book.