Current Reviews


Annihilation: Conquest Book 1

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2008
By: Michael Deeley

Barely a year after the Annihilation Wave swept through the universe, the Kree Empire is on the path to recovery. Phyla-Vell, heir to the legacies of Captain Marvel and Quasar, is rebuilding a monastery at the edge of the empire. Richard Ryder, last of the Nova Corps, is busy fighting crime across the galaxy. Peter Quill, formerly known as Star-Lord, has helped the Kree rebuild their security network. The next stage of that rebuilding is bringing the Kree defense network back online. The Spaceknights of Galador have been instrumental in that stage.

And then it all goes to hell.

My biggest problem with Conquest is its timing. It’s been barely a year since Annihilation ended--not enough time for a new status quo to be established let alone another war. We could have gotten some great stories about the human Peter Quill leading the Kree, the Skrulls struggling to rebuild their ruined empire, or the Annihilation Wave seen from the points of view of the Shi’ar, Badoon, and other aliens who didn’t fight.

Now we’ll probably never see those stories. It’s a shame really.

What we do have is pretty entertaining. Both of the mini-series collected in this edition bring back forgotten characters. The Super-Adaptoid represents classic evil robots of phenomenal power with emotional weaknesses. Groot brings the giant monster and arrogant royal attitude. Mantis contributes comic relief and calm with her Zen-Spock attitude. And Rocket Raccoon is a talking raccoon with big guns.

In addition to the old-school comic book weirdness, we have a woman turning into a telepathic dragon--but her girlfriend still loves her. Awesome.

Keith Giffen’s “Star Lord” has all the wit, character, and action you’d expect from Giffen. The banter between the characters is fun to read aloud. We learn who these people are without someone standing around saying, “This is what so-and-so is like.” Giffen’s characters reveal themselves through dialogue and action--and a lot of both are packed into his four chapters. Giffen’s collaborators, Timothy Green II and Victor Olazaba, draw exciting fight scenes and emotional characters. There are times when the comic looks more like a serious drama than a sci-fi adventure.

“Quasar” reads like a traditional superhero comic, which is not a bad thing since most comics today don’t read like traditional comics. Phyla-Vell wrestles with her feeling of inadequacy--as well as with the Super-Adaptoid, the Phalanx, Moondragon’s transformation, and her quantum bands losing power.

She wrestles with her inner and outer conflicts at the same time. It’s the kind of story Marvel was famous for. Only now do I realize how much I’ve missed it. Mike Lilly and company do a great job drawing the many monsters in Quasar story. In fact, I’d like to see Lilly on an all-monster story, or a medieval fantasy. Maybe a Black Knight or Bloodstone revival?

This volume has gotten me excited about the rest of the crossover. I’m looking forward to the Kree savior’s role in the war, further missions with Star-Lord, and how the Kree will recover from this disaster. It’s looking as good as the first Annihilation.

My only question is, if this turns out to be a trilogy, who will the villains be in the third chapter? The Celestials? Impossible Man? A thinly disguised Baron Karza?

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