Home > Comic Books, Reviews > Marvel grants us Annihilation

Marvel grants us Annihilation

One of the endearing things about the Marvel Comics Universe is its scale. Not only is everything stitched together so tightly if Captain America waggles his winged helmet somewhere in the Amazon then it’d probably cause a tsunami in Tokyo, but also because this sort of attention to detail applies not only to Earth, but to the entire universe.

One excellent example of this is Marvel’s epic Annihilation series. Various rows of dominos set-up in previous comic books1 get knocked down all at once, in what can be only described as epic space opera. No real knowledge of the Marvel comics are required to enjoy Annihilation, but it helps if you know who the likes of the Silver Surfer, Thanos2 and Galactus are. Don’t expect to see Marvel heroes such as The Hulk or Iron Man here, this gig is strictly for the characters who work in space, and can cope with planet sized disasters.

Annihilation is a war story on an inter-galactic scale, so the plot is anything but straight forward, but here goes: Alien bug monster Annhilus decides that his own domain, the so-called ‘Negative Universe’ could do with some expanding, and thus decides to invade normal reality, with a space fleet composing of billions of horrible bug-eyed monsters. At the same time, Thanos3, intergalactic badass, is aiming to misbehave again, and cause mayhem and devastation.

This giant purple planet eater is called Galactus. He ends worlds. And wears purple pants.

Caught up amidst this apocalyptic nightmare are entire world’s worth of innocent lives and a small band of unlikely heroes. What’s fun about Annihilation is that some of the main protagonists are out and out villains, whilst others are good men doing bad jobs, or well meaning types in way over their head. We get a real sense of depth here, and the vibe that the galaxy is indeed a big place full of people. It’s a war story, pretty much, and focuses mostly of the efforts of the heroic few against impossible odds. Like all good war stories do.

It’s worth noting that Annihilation is written by multiple authors, and comes in multiple books. Though none if it is below par, the parts I enjoyed the most tended to be written by either Keith Giffen or comic book duo Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Abnett and Lanning wrote the sequel to this series, Annihilation : Conquest, which in turn lead to a reboot of the Guardians of The Galaxy series, which is also worth a look, but is more a book about a team of super-heroes than massive spaceships crashing into other big things.

If you don’t mind having super-heroes in your comic books, and you like big space battles, keep an eye out for the Annihilation series. It’s a pretty big story, but a very well realised one.

1: They are tonnes of stories produced by Marvel, and the company proudly boasts to have produced the largest shared world in the world. This means that stories like this, that bring together decades of back story can be massive amounts of fun. The trick is to do this without alienating new readers, which the Annhilation series does incredibly well, without boring existing fans with stuff they already know. Marvel understands that most people will dive in and out of their books, and have become good at not bogging down stories in continuity, whilst at the same time keeping the world consistent and strong.

2: Now, I’d be the first to admit that I tend to favour Marvel over DC, but in this case, Marvel wins, no contest. The DC equivalent of Thanos is Darkseid. Whilst both look quite similar, and both are cosmic level bad asses. The thing is, Darkseid’s schtick is that he wishes to suppress all free will. Thanos, on the other hand, wants to end everything. The entire cosmos. And why? So he can court the personification of Death. That’s right, the dude is in love with Death itself (who rarely appears as a cute goth girl, just so you know).

3: Another thing I like about Thanos is the fact that he’s typically ran as an incredibly savvy villain who always has a back-up plan in case one of the plans fails. (A feature TV Tropes calls The Xanatos Gambit. ) He always wins in some way, and every plan he has to destroy all things always ends in the cosmos losing something vital (though they may go unnoticed.)

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  1. June 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    I love the way a crossover like Annihilation can create a new team such as Guardians of the Galaxy who go on to become a phenomenon of their own. This galactic story writing across the whole Marvel universe was expertly recreated in phase 1 of the MCU. Fans began noticing that the Infinity Stones were turning up in the various movies. All of which was leading up to a Thanos endgame story. Excellent.

  1. August 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm

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