Annihilators #2

A comic review article by: Travis Walecka
This book should have Rocket Raccoon and Groot on the cover!

The full-length “backup” story has certainly been fantastic, all the more in this issue. Timothy Green’s often childish, Pixaresque depictions are what actually make the zaniness in that feature work. The oft-unappreciated, surprise crew that comes to Roc & Groot’s rescue was classic! There’s even a well-played Michael Keaton Batman line spewed from a squirrel. Oh, and imagine Toad from the Super Mario Bros. 8-bit game gone all hick and loony. It’s quite the lovely friendship story, very much in the realm of Nick Spencer’s Jimmy Olsen one-shot, where the second-tier, supporting characters trump the A-List. But, in Abnett & Lanning's -- DnA’s --defense, that’s much easier to do.

You see, decades of continuity and representation often limits writing. This is why Paul Cornell’s Action Comics featuring Lex Luthor kicked so much blootee arse; it wasn’t merely the same stories re-imagined over and over. Same goes for this group of Annihilators. While, conceptually, a new group per se, we’ve witnessed through the years just how far these Alpha Males can go. Though, the characterizations -- to my utter shock and surprise -- appear to be a bit off. I really don’t mind the cocky-yet-confused Space Knight, Ikon, the simplistic cynicism of Judge, err, Doctor Dredd or the scientific buoyancy of the Surfer. But, Quasar comes off a little too queasy; and hearing Beta Ray and the Accuser bicker comes off like some phoned-in Avenger dialogue from Bendis.

Another issue I have with the headliner is the artwork. Tan Eng Haut was a superb horrorcore guy behind Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider, and just as riveting behind big city big shots, Punisher and Moon Knight. But, with galaxy’s top defenders, there needs to be more brood and bravery. Haut’s depiction of this super crew is relegated to slithery, if not ragged-looking bods that don’t spell the word “potent.” And these guys are supposed to be our World Bearers? Other than Accuser’s cool moment in the Dark Sun, there wasn’t so much superiority going on. Even Gladiator, the ultimate badass of many of DnA’s epic wars, looks like a purple wimp.

Does this mean equating a fresh voice to the Cosmic U for the first time in years? Though in DnA I trust, how about someone like Jonathan Hickman? With Secret Warriors almost done, and both FF and S.H.I.E.L.D. often referring to those in the higher limits, his intergalactic touch couldn’t be a bad thing. Regardless, the great news for our current authors, and purchasing buyers, is that Raccoon & Groot’s tale is worth the $4.99. Thus, whether the slightly- improved title story appeals to you or not, Marvel has packed in plenty of length in Annihilators #2. No doubt, I’m looking forward to what’s on the horizon.

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