Thursday, December 22, 2011

Annihilation Book Two Hardcover Review

Annihilation Vol. 2
Marvel Comics
Oversized Hardcover
320 pages
$29.99 (2007)
$24.99 (2007)
ISBN 9780785125129

Contributors: Keith Giffen, Simon Furman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Renato Arlem, Jorge Lucas, Greg Titus, June Chung, Dave McCaig, Chris Sotomayor, Cory Petit, Joe Caramagna, and covers by Gabriele Dell'Otto

Reprints: Annihilation: Ronan #1-4 (of 4), Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4 (of 4), Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1-4 (of 4)

Synopsis: The Annihilation Wave has broken through from the Negative Zone to our universe and destroys everything in its path.  None are safe as Annihilus, long-time foe of the Fantastic Four and possessor of the Cosmic Control Rod, unleashes his ruthless armada to scour the cosmos of life.
Ronan kneels for no one! What? I'm just resting

Ronan the Accuser was falsely convicted of treason in a political move by the House Fiyero, the current ruling house of the Kree empire.  He is in pursuit of Tana Nile, the one who bore false witness at his trial.  She has holed up on Godthab Omega, a pitiful backwater planet filled with exiles and rejects including disgraced Korath the Pursuer and his Kree Starforce.  The planet is under siege by a group of cosmic female outlaws led by Gamora, the deadliest woman in the universe!  Tana Nile is under their protection, but something strange is happening behind the scenes on the planet.  Can Ronan accomplish his mission before the Wave destroys them all? 

The Super-Skrull has learned the Wave will soon break into Skrull space.  He wishes to protect his estranged son from the Wave's planet-killing weapon the Harvester of Sorrow.  Unfortunately the Skrull empire is in disarray after Galactus ate their homeworld (burp!).  Now he must journey to the Negative Zone in order to find the Harvester's weakness and raise a rebel army of Annihilus' enemies.  A deadly traitor is hidden among his allies - will he reach his son in time?
You sank my battleship!

Amid the debris of a score of ruined worlds glides the Silver Surfer in shock at the limitless destruction caused by the Wave.  Annihilus has a deeper desire than mere conquest - he seeks the power cosmic and wishes to distill it from the bodies of the former heralds of Galactus!  The Sufer is beset by a pack of Seekers who sorely test his strength before he is joined by two former heralds - Firelord and Red Shift.  They join forces to create a formiddable opposition for the Wave, but the Surfer knows only Galactus can prove a true threat and journeys to seek his aid.  Say goodbye to the remorseful Surfer you once knew as he is reborn in cosmic fire anew!

Meanwhile Thanos joins Annihilus as advisor to attaining his goals.  Both share an affinity for death unparalleled in either dimension.  A pair of elder gods are released from their imprisonment to exact revenge upon their captor - Galactus himself!

Pros: Incredible covers by Dell'Otto breathe new life into these characters, art by Lucas and Arlem is pretty decent, old cosmic characters are revamped - some die and most are transformed/updated

Fear my flaming fist of orange rock
Cons: Titus' art from the Super-Skrull story was too cartoony/urban, these are side stories and it felt like nothing really significant happened, plots were convoluted, Surfer is still kind of a wuss

Mike Tells It Straight: The first volume of Annihilation was spectacular - epic cosmic warfare as whole civilisations fall and heroes perish.  Wonderful stuff, but this second volume felt more like a distraction to the main event.  The focus shifts to a series of side stories featuring one major and two minor characters.  We get a lead-up to the final showdown with Annihilus and a bunch of convoluted story.  The Surfer rebirth was a letdown because he keeps his conscience and doesn't become truly ruthless (which would have been a major shake up).     

This multi-part 'event' storyline shows its true colors with this volume - merely prolonging the story through decompressed side events and not adding any real value.  Only the vibrant covers by Dell'Otto saved this for me.  Overall the stories were mediocre, but still required to understand every facet of the complete saga.  Bah!

TO BUY and Recommendations: