The more I read into the original Annihilation, the more I got to thinking Marvel could do a lot worse than using it as the capstone to the MCU’s Phase Four.
But that doesn’t even get into my thoughts on the actual original story.
The trade for the second half of the story begins with the Ronan mini-series, goes on to the six-part Annihilation, and then a short mini-series showing what happened to the different Heralds of Galactus, and then a collection of character bios. That Heralds mini-series actually did a bit to explain the origins of the cosmic gods in the Marvel Universe that I found a bit cool as it isn’t every day Galactus tells a story about where he came from.
As for the rest, the Ronan story, like the Super-Skrull one, is fairly generic and by-the-numbers. Fortunately, the main Annihilation story is fantastic. Rich Rider, now with all the knowledge of the entire Nova Corps stuck in his brain, has gathered an army that keeps shrinking down with every encounter with the countless, mostly mindless minions of the Annihilation Wave. Rich has, at the start, Ronan, the Kree, various other fighters including the Super-Skrull, an all-female strike force called the Graces led by Gamora, two of Galactus’ former Heralds, Drax, and the one-time (and future) Star-Lord. Along the way, we get updates on more space-based heroes like Phyla-Vell and Moondragon, we learn what Thanos and Annihilus are both really up to, and some long forgotten cosmic gods return, looking for revenge against Galactus.
This story is big, and it should be. Annihilus is a credible threat, and the story does offer some interesting character combinations and moments. This was the point where longtime villain Ronan the Accuser began to become the more honorable opponent that is familiar to readers today, and of course he has to team-up with the Super-Skrull. That team-up may be the closest the story has a humorous subplot as the Super-Skrull knows what Kree are like, Ronan barely tolerates his help, and they end up working together to do something about a common threat. Ultimately, all the story pieces do fit together to create a satisfying conclusion, with a few really cool images that involve, among other things, the order that someone should “know fear”. Heck, this may be one of the few big crossover type storylines that doesn’t conclude with what feels like a dozen loose ends leading to new series. Yes, there is a potential sequel hook for future stories, but it didn’t seem as bad to me. This may be one of the most self-contained mega-crossovers I’ve ever read. That said, the fact so many of the back pages of this volume were just character bios, some of which appeared earlier in the story, was a bit of a bummer. 8.5 out of 10 annoying girls.
By the by, if I were to bring this to the MCU, I’d start by saying whatever happens to defeat Thanos in the next Avengers movies somehow broke a hole through to the Negative Zone. Since the Fox deal is more or less done, that means a lot of the characters from this story could be back in the MCU very soon, and since Marvel has hinted that it will be doing more stuff in space or with other dimensions including a possible Nova movie, that could mean using the Guardians of the Galaxy and maybe the Fantastic Four to explore some corners of stuff off Earth, and even something involving the destruction of the previously seen Nova Corps could somehow empower a Rich Rider character to become the human rocket fans of the comics may find more recognizable.
Or not. I’ll wait and see what the movies do. In the meantime, I’d recommend reading the comic.