Writer: Keith Giffen
Art: Andrea Divito, Laura Villari, Gabriele Dell’Otto, Bryan Hitch
Release Date: August 6th, 2006
One empire has fallen. Two heroes are dead and it all comes together here in this opening issue of ANNIHILATION #1 by Keith Giffen. Individually, the Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull, Ronan, and Nova have already faced down parts of the Annihilation Wave. However, to this date, they’ve lost. Now, they must unite themselves, as well as those left to fight in the universe… or die trying. Let’s vault into this initial issue of the epic ANNIHILATION event!
Readers, before this reviewer lunges into the issue, let me catch you up. Annihilus launched a means to break through the Negative Zone and into our universe through what’s called “The Crunch”. His forces have already eradicated multiple Skrull worlds, as well as Xandar, which is home of the Nova Corps. Many have fled and banded together to generate a universal military force in order to stop the Annihilation Wave from carving its way across the universe.
The story opens with readers realizing that Richard Rider (Nova) has taken over as commander of this entire universal fleet while Peter Quill, who is no longer going as Starlord, has become second in command. Other guest appearance characters that appear to help stop the Annihilation Wave throughout this issue are Gamora, Drax, and multiple ex-Heralds of Galactus. The overall objective of this issue was to mainly catch readers up, lay the foundation of how awful the current landscape and circumstances are, and leave readers with a cliffhanger that raised the stakes so high that fans will feel like the universe is most certainly lost.
Throughout the issue, Keith Giffen intensifies the war theme of the series. This issue felt more like a World War 2 movie than a comic at times. Current comic events that appear to be universal normally showcase your heavy hitters battling the enemy by themselves. However, Giffen takes the approach of revealing the onslaught of the Annihilation Wave and magnifies the almost impossible means of success for our heroes and universe. Giffen showcases the wave and ultimately elevates this event by the sheer magnitude of the endless wave instead of looking at just one super-powerful individual or cosmic weapon. Truthfully, the aspect of the narrative was a bit refreshing and genuinely more realistic than many recent events. Giffen wants readers to know that Annihilus is winning by massive numbers alone and isn’t painting the heroes into a corner. The larger victory goes to Annihilalus however a small coup does land at the feet of Richard Rider and his army.
Similarly, this wave doesn’t care about life or death AND are suicidal in nature. Their tendency is insect-ual (I know not a word but you get the idea). Reproduce, move forward, conquer, and die. And, as fans read on, readers discover that each battalion is run by a Hive Queen that ultimately controls that portion of the wave. If Nova’s squadrons can take down a Queen, the wave should be disoriented, fall in line, and become easier to eradicate.
Now, as this reviewer read the issue for the first time, there were exceptionally alarming elements. The first shock was who Annihilus had working for him. This was unexpected and this critic has never seen that individual working for anyone else before. The second surprise was the issue’s cliffhanger as it concluded, which this reviewer will leave out in the wind as to not spoil the remarkable finale. However, feel free to message me to discuss some of the fantastic plot threads and thoughts on the issue anytime.
As for Giffen’s inscribing throughout this opener, there was an abundance of monologues that weighed the issue down immensely. Giffen really plunged deep into Richard Rider’s thoughts and feelings related to the war, which is actually what made this comic feel different than almost every other event this critic has read. The positives of this extra dialogue were the sensation, atmosphere, and saturation associated with an unstoppable war of suicidal chaos that relentlessly was bombarding the Marvel cosmos. Right out of the gate, Giffen made this appear like an impossible task to overcome. However, the excessive monologuing was extremely wordy at times, unnecessary, and made large chunks of the narrative tedious. Hopefully, Giffen can find a better balance next issue.
Now, even though Giffen heavily submerged his opening act with dialogue, he used his writing prowess to establish and easy to understand narrative that this reviewer thought was exceedingly clever and brilliant for an event. As a reader who was literally diving into this event blind AND has never read this issue before, as well as any stories leading up to the event, this comic fan easily followed the backstory and progress right from jump street. Furthermore, Giffen uses his dialogue to fortify the horror and destruction that the universe is facing while showing creative team-ups, changes to situations, and out of this world battle strategies that seemed different than most current events.
Overall, Giffen appears to be severely influenced by the war in today’s society and shows comparisons throughout his writing with pivotal and monumental characters. Moreover, readers will leave this issue feeling like the stakes are even higher after the crazy cliffhanger. Don’t let the heavy monologuing steer you clear of this issue or event. Pick this up and add it to your pull. If you’re reading this review much later than it’s release, go grab the trade. This critic thinks it’s going to be an enjoyable ride. Hop in now for this entertainingly clever tale by the talented Keith Giffen.