Robot 6

The Fifth Color | A New Hope

Oh Thank Heavens the Raccoon is here!

I knew it. I saw @Marvel post a tweet last night, and I just knew it was going to be good. I left milk and cookies out for my comic news Santa and OH BOY IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING COME EARLY!

Just scroll down and take a look at Kevin’s sexy post about the most awesome of news coming down the wire from Marvel as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning continue to look to the skies and dream of greatness.

From the press release:

Editor Bill Rosemann added “Take the assembled majesty of Marvel’s most powerful heroes, add on the cult-fave duo of Rocket Raccoon and Groot, pile on a ridiculous amount of writing and artistic talent, and top it all off with cool covers by Alex Garner and the one and only Mike Mignola. That, True Believers, is a recipe for face-melting, brain-frying, pedal-to-the-metal, that’s-why-I-read-comics awesomeness.

Hell yeah.

Since 2006, Marvel’s cosmic adventures have been turned upside down, starting with the very first Annihilation event, orchestrated by Keith Giffen. The threats were galactic in nature, the heroes small and powerful against the forces of true evil. While Civil War brought life-changing political stories to the Marvel Comics page, Annihilation brought back the wider-scope, cast-of-thousands style storytelling that made things like Secret Wars and the Infinity Gauntlet part of a True Believer’s vocabulary. From the first Annihilation came Annihilation: Conquest and the same life-and-death symphony was played for our enjoyment. Civilizations crumbled, characters struggled with new responsibilities and the weight of the galaxy came down on some very unusual shoulders. While they might have doubted themselves, and wrestled with the infectious Phalanx and the unbeatable Ultron to the point of personal destruction, the reader can’t doubt these characters and these stories. They paid off once before and they did so again, promising a new era of cosmic heroes in the form of the new Guardians of the Galaxy.

I was so sold on those books by the time they were solicited. The Guardians of the Galaxy weave in a lot of amazing elements with great space adventure, and I now care more about a giant sentient space tree than I do about a lot of X-Men. Abnett, Lanning and Giffen took two years and created a universe to explore, and I felt confident signing up for anything and everything they did.

Then came the War of Kings.

Our great and powerful orchestra started to sound a little discordant, but not in a bad way. The message was still powerful, there were still civilizations at stake and great men fought with a great purpose, but … no longer were the villains ultimately wrong. Sure, Vulcan was a nutcase who should have been killed off a long time ago, but the Shi’ar people got caught up in something they never should have been party to. The Kree were now led by the Inhumans, a move that really looks like insult to injury; the Inhumans were created to be this sub-race for the powerful Kree and now at their weakest, they were being controlled by those they sought to control for eons. Kind of cool and poetic for the Inhumans, but since we’ve been following the Kree in the tales of Annihilation, a little like kicking an entire nation while it’s down. In the end, the solution to the reign of Emperor Vulcan would lead to a greater threat than that madman could provide.

The Thanos Imperative brought this all to a finale. Not just an end, as storylines start and end every month as comics do every month, but a finale. Like we’ve watched something gripping and tragic and exciting that has finally come to a conclusion that made me think that the musicians are going to put down their instruments and not play anymore. Again, the quality of story never ever diminished, Abnett and Lanning continued to bring the best to every issue, epic in scope and grand in scheme and thought. I suppose I feel that I didn’t get enough of a dessert for all the meat and potatoes we ate; I mean, from War of Kings, I’d been hoping for some sort of huge return for all the loss suffered; the Shi’ar are a wreck, the Kree still have the usurpers ruling over them, Ronan the Accuser is sort of a pussy cat now thanks to Crystal (how long before she cheats on him, any bets?), a great rift had opened up in space… something needed to happen.  For the triumphs and tragedy of the Star Wars saga to give up the best payback, Darth Vader had to make that face turn and get some peace in his last moments thanks to redemption. The rebels had to win with a sense of celebration. We needed to rebuild with a sense of the future, at harmony with the losses of our past.

Instead, two of the most human characters in the cosmic side of the Universe are gone: Nova and Star Lord were left to face the Mad Titan, who’s just been dumped by Death again. The Cthulhu-verse has been ‘closed’ and, again, the day is saved, but this is the second major cosmic event to return things to less than zero. I’ve seen so much cosmic joy from past stories that the last two have been just sort of … less joyous. The Thanos Imperative left me sort of looking out a big window into the vastness of a space with a woman that may or may not be my sister and two robots, all wondering just when space got so big that adventure couldn’t be seen from the deck of your spaceship.

The Thanos Imperative is definitely our Empire Strikes Back. Characters have been challenged with personal demons, some have lost, new revelations are made and yeah, it’s a down ending. Personally, I’ve been in a sort of Cosmic Adventure Ennui; what could possibly come that could make things better than the past or resolve the tragedy of the present?

Annihilators #1

BAM. The Annhilators. In one word I am renewed in my hope that the cosmic side of Marvel will never lose their touch of grand adventure, dire threat and human triumph. They are going back to the name that made them great. They are the greatest cosmic heroes you could gather, and they are taking up where the rag-tag bunch of characters left off. Yeah, this isn’t the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy. This isn’t even the end of Nova and Star-Lord (after all, he did say the Cosmic Cube had “maybe a couple of charges left”). Sure, it maybe a mini-series, but that’s how all this started. Marvel has a good thing going with Abnett and Lanning and the cosmic side of their universe, and they would be fools to let it all go. Since 2006, readers could turn their eyes to stars to get a Star Wars sense of adventure, where science and the unknown meet in the middle for fantastic alien races and cultures counter to our own. I should have never doubted.

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Comments

3 Comments

Hmm. I missed in on all of this Marvel Cosmic stuff, mostly because I was disappointed with the Civil War and its sequels. (Not to mention what DC has done to my faith in comics.) Could it be that these series-of-series could hold that sense of wonder and optimism I miss so much? I’m definitely going to have to check the trades now.

(And btw, I always wondered why they gave new characters or teams their own series right away instead of “testing” them with minis first. So this sounds like a good step to me. Though I think “Annihilators” is a bad name for a group of heroes, specially if it’s based on a villain’s.)

So I gotta ask… Have Rocket Raccoon and Squirrel Girl ever met?

I like to think the 3 cosmic events really focused on Nova and Star-lord, maybe they thought they were the easiest for new readers, I dunno why. Personally, as long as DnA continues their saga into the Marvel Cosmic Universe, they will have a reader in me.

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