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Annihilation v2 HC

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By: Michael Deeley



Pub: Marvel Comics
Price: $29.99 USD
Reprinting stories from:

Annihilation: Silver Surfer
Writer: Keith Giffen
Aritst: Renato Arlem

Annihilation: Super-Skrull
Writer: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Artist: Gregory Titus

Annihilation: Ronan
Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Jorge Lucas


The Silver Surfer learns the Annihilation Wave is looking for former heralds of Galactus to learn the secret of the power comic. The Super-Skrull defies his superiors to save his family’s homeworld from the Wave’s greatest weapon. Ronan hunts down the witnesses who testified he was a traitor, and got him stripped of his title “Accuser”. But something has drawn him to a remote world; a world where Gamora has started a cult of female assassins and the Shaper of Worlds is playing God. Meanwhile, Thanos forms alliances with Annihilus and two Proemial beings to capture Galactus.

The ‘Annihilation’ crossover slows down and comes to a complete stop in these mini-series. Which is a shame since, individually, they’re very good.

The Surfer finds the Annihilation Wave’s rampant death and destruction to be a blasphemy against nature. Galactus calls him back into service to fight the newly freed Proemial beings. These two entities, Tenebrous and Aegis, were created alongside Galactus to help shape the universe. When Tenebrous and Aegis tried to impose their own will in defiance of their creator, Galactus imprisoned them behind The Kyln prison/power facility. The Kyln was the first thing the Wave destroyed entering the universe. So now there are two beings with power equal to Galactus seeking to “correct” the diversity of life in the universe that they consider “chaos” in addition to the billions of insectoids killing everything in their path. So yeah, we’re screwed.

This re-invents the Silver Surfer as a powerful, passionate, and conflicted character. The Surfer agrees to serve Galactus once again to fight the Wave, defend Galactus against the Proemial Beings, and serve the natural order of the universe. Galactus rewards him with greater power. The Surfer is like a man who rediscovers his lost faith. As much as he hates what Galactus does, he’s come to see the necessity of it. And now he’s met an even greater evil. But the Surfer won’t serve without question as he used to. Galactus offers to take away his remorse. “Let my remorse define me!” he replies. The Surfer will once more serve Galactus faithfully. He will mourn the lives he takes. But he will not regret it.

Yet.

“Super-Skrull” is a fast-paced action story that sees an old soldier sick of playing politics. He seeks help from his greatest enemy, enters the Negative Zone, leads a prison break, raises a rebel army, and destroys the Wave’s planet-killing weapon. His sense of honor and love for his family are equaled only by his remorseless cruelty and vicious violence. The Super-Skrull is terrifying, tragic, and complex.

Unfortunately, the art is completely inappropriate for the tone of the story. It’s a bright, loose, cartoon style better suited for Marvel Adventures than this heavy drama. Even a scene where a character has all 4 limbs chopped off isn’t as shocking as it should be. And it sticks out badly between the gritty work of Arlem and the detailed inking of Lucas. Had this story been drawn by anybody else, the entire collection would have looked better.

“Ronan” sees the Kree law-bringer stripped of his title and exiled from the Kree empire. Witnesses claimed he was plotting treason against the Kree. Now he searches for them to learn why they lied. His search takes him to a distant planet, where he finds other disgraced Kree soldiers and Gamora. Gamora has assembled a group of female warriors in a deadly cult. One of them is Tana Nile, a witness against Ronan. But now that he’s so close to his goal, Ronan grows more and more obsessed with fighting Gamora. Neither opponent knows they’re being manipulated by the Shaper of Worlds, who needs the energies released by their fighting to create a paradise. Meanwhile, the Wave moves ever closer.

Like “Super-Skrull”, “Ronan” takes another Fantastic Four villain and imbues him with a sense of honor. Ronan is disgraced by the new rulers of the Kree because he’s loyal to the old ways. Ronan’s sense of honor and justice are harsh and uncompromising. Unlike the Super-Skrull, he has a stronger moral fiber. He grows over the course of this story from a loyal soldier to an independent man. Super-Skrull lives and dies a ruthless killer. Thus, Ronan is more heroic and more interesting.

Too bad it’s not important. These mini-series are supposed to be about the Annihilation Wave sweeping through the Marvel cosmos. They appear in only three issues of “Ronan”, and he doesn’t even confront them until the final issue. “Ronan” is a great story in its own right and a great starting point for a new series. But it doesn’t fit into the overstory very well.

In the final analysis, we get two great mini-series that see profound changes for two long-time characters, a decent action story with inappropriate art, and small progress in the Annihilation crossover. If “Ronan” had more of the Wave, or if “Super-Skrull” had better art, I’d have given this 4 bullets. As it is, it’s still a pretty good collection. The entire ‘Annihilation’ saga is worth reading. Though I recommend paying less than cover price; This book isn’t quite worth $30.



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