Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Juanan Ramirez with Cian Tormey
Colors: Federico Blee
Letters: VC’s Cory Petitit
Annihilation was a 2006 Marvel Space Opera that helped to redefine the Marvel cosmic for over a decade. The series and its subsequent sequels revitalized Nova, Thanos, and the Silver Surfer while also establishing the new status quo of the Guardians of the Galaxy that later made its way to the silver screen. It was a simple concept, longtime Fantastic Four villain and ruler of the Negative Zone Annihilus forms an armada of warships and breaches real space (the Positive Zone) and launches a wave of destruction that could destroy the entire galaxy. Nova and a few space faring heroes create a resistance that will eventually repel the wave and save the entire galaxy. The event returned Nova (Richard Rider) to the forefront of Marvel Cosmic while also breathing new life into some long-forgotten characters like Starlord and Drax the Destroyer. It was a fun event that spanned the better part of two years with its sequels and spinoffs and brilliantly crafted by comics veteran Keith Giffen. Now it appears that I’m not the only one who enjoyed the original Annihilation as Marvel, as they are prone to do, is mining this concept once again and it all begins with this weeks Annihilation: Scourge Alpha #1.
To be honest I’m behind on Marvel cosmic. Somewhere in my pile of comics to read are issues of the most recent Guardians of the Galaxy, Cosmic Ghost Rider, and Thanos but I can’t say I am current on any Marvel set in outer space. Yet apparently, I don’t really need to be. Thankfully Annihilation: Scourge Alpha #1 is completely accessible to readers. The event begins in the Negative Zone, specifically in the area ruled by Blastaar. Blastaar has long had a feud with Annihilus as both claim the throne of the Negative Zone. So when a group of mindless bugs attack Blastaar he assumes that it is Annihilus, even as tentacles begin to emerge from the bugs mouths and they refuse to die. For fans of the original Annihilation one would assume that this was Annihilus and once again the king of the Negative Zone was flexing his impressive power. Yet the book jumps to Annihilus who is dealing with the same threat, and just like Blastaar assumed it was Annihilus the vice versa here is true. Yet these two enemies realize that there is a new threat and that they must both work together and seek help from the Positive Zone, AKA the Marvel Cosmic. We get a brief glimpse at the major Marvel players who will take part in this six-issue event (Nova, Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four, & Beta Ray Bill) before the action returns to the Negative Zone and the last stand of our two Villains turned somewhat protagonists. Rosenberg does an admirable job of making me care about the fates of Annihilus and Blastaar, two characters that I would have never sided with before. Yet the book loses me when the main antagonist is finally revealed and all of my swelled-up annoyance for this character bubbled to the surface. I should have seen it coming with the symbolled language the tentacled zombies were speaking and the appearance of those black tentacles was actually a dead giveaway upon a second reading but I fear that his appearance may be divisive enough to turn off a lot of fans.
I’m a sucker for a space event. I find the Marvel Cosmic to be one of the most underutilized aspects of the MarvelUniverse. So when I saw that the House of Ideas was going to revitalize this past event I was in, for at least the first issue. I really enjoyed Matthew Rosenberg’s run on the Uncanny X-Men, which I felt was sabotaged from the beginning since everyone knew Hickman was coming and that anything Rosenberg did was going to be retconned out. That being said Rosenberg feels like both a gifted comic writer and a fan of the source material. Yet Annihilation: Scourge Alpha #1 is not a rehash of the previous event yet has enough of the original tropes to draw in fans of the original event but has enough newness that it doesn’t feel repetitive. Juan Ramirez and Cian Tormey’s artwork was enjoyable. It looked like many Marvel books on the shelf today as it has qualities of Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva who recently tackled House of X and the Powers of X. I like this style of art and am happy it seems to be the new Marvel house style. My one pause is the reveal of the main antagonist who may be one of the most maligned characters in modern Marvel comics. As I closed the book I felt done. I didn’t see a need to continue with this event but after a bit I found myself intrigued with the rest of this event. I enjoy the main protagonists of the solo specials, especially Beta Ray Bill, and this feels like a good place to return to Marvel Cosmic. I will eventually get caught up with the cosmic titles in my ever growing to read pile but with this tight 6 book event I think I’ll stick around and see how the cosmic universe will be saved once again.
Verdict: With a bit of a pause Annihilation: Scourge Alpha #1 is a Buy! While I wasn’t thrilled with the main antagonist the writing and artwork drew me in and my curiosity was peaked as I want to know how this plays out and I am always a sucker for a Marvel Cosmic event.