Annihilators 1-4 Review
|Game Name:||Annihilators 1-4|
|Developer(s):||Writters: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Artist: Tan Eng Huat and TImothy Green|
I love the cosmic universe of Marvel and I was really worried that it would all disappear after the amazing series “Thanos Imperative”, which wrapped up all the loose ends that started way back in Annihilation. With a sigh of relief Marvel announced that it would continue the cosmic universe though to a lesser degree. The Marvel cosmic has been condensed into a single 4 issue mini-series called Annihilators. Comprised of 2 comics in one, Abnett and Lanning continue to craft tales of the cosmic heroes. This time though they take on the more well known and powerful characters, which is a bit of a departure. Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, Ronan the Accuser, Gladiator, Quasar and Ikon of the Spaceknights make up the first part of the book which holds the titles name. Rocket Raccoon and Groot also get a spotlight in the comics second story, which oddly enough ended up being the stronger of the two.
Lets start with the stars of the book: the Annihilators. Formed at the end of the “Thanos Imperative” the Annihilators were designed to continue the legacy of Star Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Cosmos, the psychic talking dog, ends up convincing the most powerful heroes in the universe that they need to be a pro-active team. Quasar becomes the default leader and is quickly recruited into a mission to help out Galador, home of the Spaceknights (Don’t get your hopes up there is no ROM to be seen, seems like he’s still got legal issues that are keeping him from Marvel Comics). It seems the Dire Wraiths have returned and another war looms on the horizon. The Annihilators need to unravel a mystery that will bring up some dark secrets of Galador.
All and all it’s a very entertaining book, but falls short of the greatness that came before it. Quasar seems a little out of character from what I remember. Here he is more upbeat and playful, acting as a proxy for Richard Rider (Nova) and Peter Quill’s (Star Lord) missing characters. He narrates the story and seems to be the one thing that didn’t work well for me. It seems like DnA wished that Nova or Star Lord were still around so they were forced to make Quasar that voice. Silver Surfer is by far one of the best characters adding a quite badass quality, a calm and more Yoda like character. Gladiator and Ronan are the loud badasses. Tt’s particularly fun when Ikon shows up and wipes the floor with them, bruising a bit of ego. Beta Ray Bill is awesome but I felt like he was relegated to a background character. He does have a highlight when he blots out the black sun showing just how powerful this guy can be. Most of the dialogue is good and lives up to my expectations that DnA have set before them. There are some odd spots such as Ikon flirting with Quasar near the end of the book which comes off awkward, as if it was suppose to be a Nova and Gamora moment.
The story moves a bit quick and it threw me off. I wasn’t sure if it was bad pacing or my expectations, but it just all fell flat. It didn’t feel like the stakes were high enough for such a powerful group. Thanos Imperative felt like the end of the Marvel Universe was at hand. This was smaller, taking place on just one planet, and since it was just 4 issues as oppose to the much larger series put out before, it just didn’t seem to go anywhere. Sure the Dire Wraiths were back and the Skrulls were trying to resurrect their dying species, but it didn’t seem like they would ever succeed, or go beyond Galador.
Artist Tan Eng Huat was a decent addition but had some issues with proportions and angles. He has some good layouts and tells the story well as each panel flows to the next. Most of the characters look right, but there are times when his art goes off and he has strange angles that show oddly elongated limbs. Mostly I was pleased with what he did though. I think I would have loved it more if this was the first 4 issues of a regular series, but since it was just a mini it didn’t do much for me. I am much more excited for the upcoming sequel where they will take on the Avengers!
The second story of the book was Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Rocket Raccoon has now taken on a mundane job of sorting the mail at a company and longs for his space adventuring days. A killer robot clown tries to kill Rocket and he discovers that he buddy Groot is in big trouble. This all leads a major reveal of Groots true origin, and what happen to Rocket Raccoon after his 80′s mini-series.
Now this was a near perfect story. DnA knows how to write RR and Groot together, and understand his humor perfectly. I laughed out loud as RR sarcastically talked his way out of each situation, and seeing him all bummed out about not fighting in wars was awesome. You can also see the love for Star Wars as RR continues to respond to all of the “I am Groot!” lines giving you enough info to know what Groot is saying. A nice homage to Han and Chewbacca. Unlike the Annihilators story this one felt right being smaller and more personal, as it also has big reveals about the origins of Groot and what happened to Rocket Raccoon after his original mini-series. The pacing was perfect as it felt like a good old fashion sci-fi romp across the galaxy, going from Rocket’s work to Groots homeworld to Rocket’s homeworld. The humor was spot on and all the characters felt as they should, nothing was out of place.
Backed up by the amazing Timothy Green art, who did the art for the Star Lord mini-series back in Annihilation Conquest. It has a playful cartoony look to it, with Rocket Raccoon looking his best in the hands of Green. If you’ve read the original 1980′s Rocket Raccoon series then this has a major payoff, and if haven’t yet then I recommend reading it before you get to this. My only complaint is that this isn’t an ongoing series.
The future is looking bright as they are continuing this trend in the next Annihilators book: “Annihilators Earthfall”. With the prospects of a major throwdown between Earth’s mightiest heroes and the Galaxy’s mightiest heroes, plus more Rocket Raccoon and Groot, I couldn’t me more happy for the future of Marvel cosmic.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot 5/5
Overall 4/5 (worth it just for the Rocket Raccoon and Groot story)