Abnett and Lanning’s Marvel Cosmic Retrospect
For those of you that listen to our podcast you know we are huge fans of the recent renaissance of Marvel’s Cosmic books. It all started with the Annihilation maxi series and the return of the popular 70′s space cop Richard Rider, aka Nova. It was questionable if the quality of stories would last but Abnett and Lanning have been cranking out great story after great story. They have reintroduced seemingly insignificant characters from Marvel’s past and brought them up to be major players in the Marvel Universe. With the first Annihilators mini done and the second one on its way we figured we give everyone a quick recap of the last few years of amazing stories with some of our (now) favorite characters. Please enjoy.
Funny enough the first series in the re-energizing of Marvel Cosmic was mostly handled by Keith Giffen. Comprised of Six mini-series: Drax, Nova, Super Skrull, Ronan, Silver Surfer and Annihilation; Old and tired characters were made new again.
When Annihilus gets a bug for a little manifest destiny he, with the help of his Negative Zone general, Ravenous invade seeking to destroy all life in our universe. His first attack destroys a universal power station turned prison for the intergalacticly dangerous called the Kyln. This event is known as “Annihilation Day”. Later he succeeds at completely wiping out the Nova Corps and killing the powerful Quasar (Wendel Vaughn). With planets being evacuated, and trillions dying the universe is in a world of hurt.
Thanos, being obsessed with Death and longing to be with her, decides to throw in with Annihilus with his own agenda to get himself killed and join with his lover. As part of his plan he kidnaps Drax’s daughter, Moondragon and capture Galactus and his current herald, Silver Surfer. Annihilus accepts Thanos’ help with the promise of obtaining the Power Cosmic. Unbeknownst to Thanos, Annihilus’ true plan is to use Galactus as a giant bomb to destroy both our universe and the Negative Zone.
Ronan and his sworn enemy, Super-Skrull travel to the Kree homeworld to confront the Kree leaders where it is revealed that the House of Fiyero sold out to Annihilus and lobotomized the Supreme Intelligence. Ronan demolished the House and puts the Supreme Intelligence out of it’s misery then emerges as their new emperor.
Nova gathers a resistance group to battle Annihilus that consists of Drax, Ronan, Super Skrull, Peter Quill (Star-Lord), Gomora, Silver Surfer, other former heralds of Galactus, and an fleat of military forces. They band together to stop Annihilus and Thanos in a last ditch attempt to save the galaxy. Drax who was designed to kill Thanos does hit duty, not just for his programming but also to save his daughter Moondragon. Drax frees Silver Surfer and his master and stops the “Galactus Bomb”. After teleporting them to safely Galactus launches a mega attack known as the “Galactus Event” that cripples the Annihilation Wave. Nova is able to overcome the weakened Annihilus by tearing out his insides and ends the Annihilation wave. Both galaxies are saved but it is revealed at the very end that one of Annihilus’ Queens has birthed an egg which is hinted to be… a reborn Annihilus!
Nova (regular series)
Throughout the Annihilation War Rich continues to struggle with being the sole surviving centurian. He makes contact with the Xanadarian Worldmind, a living super computer that controls the Nova Force and is the curator of the entire collective database of the Xandarian civilization. Joining with Worldmind greatly enhances his powers giving him nearly limitless knowledge and use of the Nova Force.
Richard thinks that earth is the place for him but coming down in the middle of the super hero Civil War, he quickly realizes that being involved in the bigger picture makes earth problems seem petty. Luckily he gets a chance to make amends with his parents before he heads back to stars.
Throughout his journeys he is able to reunite with his brother and team up with an old friend, Darkhawk. With the help of Worldmind he is able to jump start Project Pegasus and resurrect Quasar (Wendel Vaughn) and help stop the Skrulls during Secret Invasion. During War of Kings he begins to rebuild the Nova Corps and gains Nova Prime rank. Also after a quick trip to the Fault (a giant tear in space and time) Richard is able to bring back an alternate version of his girlfriend, Namorita.
Unfortunately the series was cut short and ended at issue #36 right after Realm of Kings. Nova still appeared in Thanos Imperative and had a short run in Secret Avengers but his current whereabouts are unknown.
On a Kree homeworld of Hala the Techno-Organic Phalanx trick Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) into letting them invade the Kree by using the Space Knights as their hosts. They succeed in assimilating the mass majority of the Kree people and enveloped the entire Kree galaxy in an impenetrable force field. Star Lord, who’s feeling pretty crappy about himself gathers a new team of unlikely heroes. He along with Bug, Mantis, Captain Universe, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot enact a plan to infiltrate the Phalanx Bable Spire and destroy the tower from within.
Meanwhile, Nova finds himself trapped in Kree Space. After a battle with an infected Drax and Gamora, Nova escapes through the force field and finds the former New Mutant, the Technarchy, Warlock.
Off in the outer edges of Kree space, Quasar (now Phyla-Vell) along with her lover Moondragon (who get’s transformed into an actual Dragon of the Moon) set off to find the “savior” of the Kree empire as told to her by a voice in her head. The voice turns out to be the Kree Supreme Intelligence and he has led them to find who he believes to be their savior of the Kree, the newly resurrected Adam Warlock. The three warriors seek the help of the High Evolutionary when they are interrupted by the Phalanx’s primary director, the villain Ultron. The High Evolutionary is forced to transfer Ultron’s consiousness into Adam’s body, seemingly killing him. It is later revealed by the High Evolutionary that Adam was in fact not killed, but he was able to store him in the gems on Phyla-Vell’s Quantum Bands.
Nova returns to Kree space with the now uninfected Gamora and Drax, and Warlock. As the Technarchy have the power to overcome the Phalanx, they break through the forcefield and engage Ultron head on.
Ronan leads an attack on the Phalanx only for Ultron to take control of Kree Sentries and form a giant Ultron. After his soul was returned to his body, Adam along with Wraith and Quasar (Phyla-Vell) are able to defeat Ultron. In the aftermath Adam comes to Phyla-Vell and reveals Star-Lord’s plan to form a team to prevent things like this from happening again. That team becomes…
Guardians of the Galaxy (regular series)
After the dust settles from the battle with Ultron, Star Lord decides he wants to form a team of galactic heroes to stop things like that from happening again. While the book only last through Realm of Kings, the team continues to battle on all the way through the Thanos Imperative.
The new team consist of Star Lord, Drax, Gamora, Adam Warlock, Phyla-Vell, Mantis, Rocket Racoon and Groot. They soon run into Vance Astro, aka Major Victory who proposes the use of his former team’s name, Guardians of the Galaxy, and eventually find another one of his 31st century comrades, Starhawk. They establish a base in the empty, dead skull of a Celestial know as Knowhere run by a telepathic, Russian space dog named, Cosmo.
After a couple run ins with the Universal Church of Truth it is revealed that Star Lord had Mantis “persuade” many of the team members into joining. Many of them decided to go their separate ways but Rocket Raccoon and Groot band together along with Major Victory, Bug, and Mantis to keep the dream alive.
Meanwhile Star Lord gets stuck in a battle with Blastaar who is trying to infiltrate 42 (a prison in the Negative Zone built to hold anti-registration heroes) to find a bridge to invade earth. Within 42 Star Lord meets up with Jack Flag and together they are able to send a distress call to the other members of the GotG, who arrive to save the day.
Elsewhere, Adam Warlock and Gamora learn more about the Universal Church of Truth while Drax and Phyla-Vell are able to resurrect Moondragon at the cost of the Quantum Bands turning Phyla-Vell into the avatar of death, Martyr.
During War of Kings, the team is split into three different groups to try and handle the mess that Black Bolt and Vulcan are making. After a battle with Vulcan and the Imperial Guard Star-Lord, Mantis, Bug, Jack Flag, and Cosmo are transported to the 31st Century where they are met by that century’s GotG who warn them of the upcoming Fault. Star Lord and the gang are able to send a message back in time to Adam Warlock but is too late to stop the Fault from being created and Adam is only able to contain the Fault from growing larger. The strain of using such magic transforms Adam into his evil alter ego, Magus.
War of Kings
Even though the number of titles is getting smaller and the events are getting shorter, the Marvel Cosmic books are now officially in full swing. As a way to stay integrated with the rest of the Marvel Universe, War of Kings continues on from Secret Invasion and several X-Men story lines, mainly do to with the Shi’ar and their new ruler Vulcan, the bastard younger brother of Cyclops and Havok.
After Secrete Invasion, Black Bolt’s a little pissed that he was duped by a Skrull. The Inhuman’s leave Earth and head to Kree space where they intend to fulfill their rights as rulers by joining in marriage Ronan and Crystal. Their wedding is interrupted by an attack from Vulcan who is on his own mission to expand the Shi’ar Empire. The attack is lead by Gladiator and the Imperial Guard who manage to wipe the floor with the Inhumans and kidnap Princess Lilandra, the former Empress of the Shi’ar.
As Gladiator struggles between his duty to the Shi’ar and his feelings toward Lilandra, he is ordered to bring her to Vulcan for execution. He is intercepted by the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers who he quickly defeats. Lilandra convinces him that he’s doing the wrong thing and he swears to protect her.
Meanwhile, a new bearer of the Darkhawk armor, Talon arrives on earth and tells Chris Powell (the Darkhawk we know and love) that he is part of something called The Fraternity of Raptors. Lying to Chris, Talon tells him that they are protectors of the universe and they are the only two left. Just as Chris discovers they are really evil, his mind is locked out of the armor and a new Darkhawk persona emerges, Razor.
Talon and Razor set off and acquire the Cosmic control rod who they give to Blastaar in exchange for his assistance in the war. While Chris struggles to break his psyche free Razor engages in battle and kills Lilandra sending Gladiator into a violent rage.
In an insane attempt to stop the war the Maximus of the Inhumans, develops a weapon called the T-Bomb, a giant ship which will infect the entire universe with the terrigen crystals essentially making all life Inhuman and ending the wars between races. The bomb can only be triggered by Black Bolt who agrees to sacrifice himself for the greater good. As the ship is launched Vulcan jumps on board to fight Black Bolt. Crystal shows up with Lockjaw and nullifies the effects of the terrigen crystals on board but thanks to Vulcan they fail to teleport Black Bolt to safety. The ship explodes with Black Bolt and Vulcan still on board tearing a massive hole in space and time which is promptly named, the Fault.
In the aftermath, Gladiator assumed the role as Emperor of the Shi’ar and Medusa and the Inhumans set off to find their king.
Realm of Kings
Realm of Kings serves as more of a wrap up to War of Kings and the lead up to Thanos Imperative. Sadly both ongoing series, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy were put on hiatus at the conclusion of the arc.
Now that the Fault has been created everyone is terrified about what may hide inside. Quasar (once again Wendell Vaughn) is sent inside to scout out the situation as his new energy form is safe… well safer from danger. He discovers that the fault is actually a portal to a new universe where “Life has won, Death has lost”. Coined the Cancerverse, the realms is home to grotesque octopus like creatures (think H.P. Lovecraft) that continued to grow out of control to the point that their universe has reached it’s maximum capacity.
Quasar is captured by the Cancerverse’s version of the Avengers, the Revengers and his evil version is sent back to our universe to plan their attack. As their universe is overflowing with life, they plan to expand into our universe to allow their gods, “The Many Angled Ones” to continue to spread.
Meanwhile, Star Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive back in the 21st century just in time to see Adam Warlock turn into his evil counterpart, Magus. After a big fight and a bit of trickery by Magus, the team thinks they are victorious only to learn that Phyla-Vell, now Martyr, has accidentally freed the resurrected Thanos. They are able to temporarily defeat Thanos but only at the cost of Martyr’s life.
There’s also something that happens with another Son of Hulk but it’s really terrible and insignificant to just about everything.
After the somewhat ho-hum transition story arc that was Realm of Kings, Thanos Imperative cranks it up to 11 by bringing back the Mad Titan who is majorly pissed off for being separated from his love, Death. Drax is also equally as pissed as he has to work to kill the purple powerhouse all over again.
Nova is pursuing the Evil Quasar to the Fault and runs into the real Quasar who has managed to escape the Revengers. Together they fight Evil Quasar and Magus when the Church of Truth suddenly transports several planets full of people in front of the fault and with a single word, “Ignition” Magus destroys trillions of lives as a sacrifice to the Cancerverse which tears the fault wide open undoing what his good side had done during War of Kings. From the fault comes the leader of the Revengers, that universe’s Captain Marvel know as Lord Mar-Vell, who immediately kills Magus and declares that he will cleans our universe of death just as he did in his own.
Star Lord convinces Thanos to help fight against the Cancerverse by explaining if Captain Marvel gets his wish, Thanos will never have the sweet release of death he so desires. Thanos and the GotG teleport into the Cancerverse where they are immediately confronted by more Revengers and they discover that Thanos is able to permanently kill these unkillable beings. Soon after they learn Lord Mar-Vell’s true agenda, to perform a Necropsy, killing death herself and spreading endless life into our universe. Unable to control himself, Drax, the avatar of life attempts to destroy Thanos yet again, only for Thanos to be once again resurrected right before their eyes. In a rage Thanos gets revenge by killing Drax.
Back at the fault Silver Surfer has summoned Aegis, Tenebrous, Galactus, and even Celestials to battle the organic monsters pouring out of the fault. Also, Evil Quasar is running through our universe picking up “temporal anomalies” while also in search of Death. Namorita is kidnapped which spurs Nova to gather some big hitters like, Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Ronan, Quasar, and Beta Ray Bill to rescue her.
During another battle with the Revengers it is revealed that Scarlet Witch along with her husband Vision have been hiding out waiting for the moment they could strike back at their universe. She teleports Thanos and the Guardians to the Necropsy site where Thanos gives in and allows Mar-Vell to give him his death. Mar-Vell accepts and impales him only to reveal Thanos’s has smuggle in his mistress Death herself. At the heart of the “many angled ones” she is able to kill Mar-Vell which starts a chain reaction causing that universes’ collapse. All but Star Lord and Nova are teleported to safety but the two stay behind to contain Thanos, who has yet again been shunned by his lover. The fault closes and their the three warriors are left behind.
Annihilators and the future
After the sacrifice of Star Lord and Nova, the remaining team disbands leaving the universe without Guardians or a Nova Force. As his last wish, Star Lord spoke to Cosmo about creating a team of heavy hitters to protect the universe in his absence. Based back on Knowhere Gladiator, Silver Surfer, Ronan, Beta Ray Bill and Quasar make up the galaxies new defenders, The Annihilators. Before they can even settle in Ikon the Space Knight teleports in and declares and emergency and she needs to find this team “she is suppose to lead”.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, catches us up to today. Make sure to check out our review of the Annihilators #1-4 and the Rocket Raccoon and Groot mini series here. There are still so many unanswered questions:
What’s up with baby Annihilus?
Are Black Bolt and Vulcan really dead?
Are Nova, Star Lord and Thanos done for or trapped in an undying universe?
We really hope that everyone is enjoying these books as much as we are so that Abnett and Lanning can continue to write amazing stories for many years to come. They’ve been able encompass dozens of popular story lines and characters and bring back many forgotten heroes and made them some of our favorite. Just remember, without the fans, there will be no books. So get out there and buy them any way you can!