ANNIHILATION 1: The Space Mopes

    There’s a lot to like here - -  but what I think I’m enjoying most is that there appears to be an actual finality to events that occur in this series  - - not imaginary but for keeps, for real.  After reading a few series that ended up without much really changing I can appreciate a storyline where death is much more final.  As it appears to be here. . . . . . . . . . . . .

NOTE: There are going to be spoilers here, which I’m not going to try too hard to avoid since this is very far from being considered a new book.  If you still haven’t read this series and plan to, then don’t bother reading this if you want to have a chance to be surprised . . . . .

NOVA  Annihilation mini-series #1 – 4  (Marvel 2006)  by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning writers with Kev Walker penciler  (covers by Gabriele Dell ’Otto)

ISSUE #1:  I took a liking to Kev Walker’s art immediately.  I think his style suits this book and is fun to follow.  I really like the way he draws snow (or maybe that’s fall out). 

         Nova

          Richard Rider, apparently the lone survivor of the Annihilation Wave’s destruction of the Nova Corps and their home planet Xandar, upon recovering from a shock-produced state of disorientation has an amusing conversation with a voice in his head - - the Xandarian Worldmind.  Once matters get sorted out, Richard has to agree to merge with the Worldmind and allow it to download into his brain in order to preserve the knowledge that created the Nova Corps.   Richard immediately has a problem handling that much power.  It’s going to be fun to watch him respond to situations, wanting to take immediate and impulsive action and having to balance that with the greater good / preservation.

              The back up feature here (as well as the other issues) are some encyclopedic pages from the Nova Corps data base which help to enlighten and add to the information on all these characters and worlds.  Issue #1 is a great beginning point for this saga.

ISSUE #2:  This is by far my favorite cover of the Dell ’Otto Nova quartet, an action shot of Nova pounding Drax into the ground with his fists, despite having a huge knife sticking out of his leg (and about to get a second one plunged into the other leg).  That battle actually doesn’t occur in the story, but it’s sure some great art.

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          Nova gets introduced to Drax (but don’t call him The Destroyer, he’s not that one or so he says) and his Earth sidekick Cammi.  They decide to stick together to find a way off planet.   Cammi provides the comic relief, as a sort of wise-cracking high school humorist and cynic.   They find a working ship and escape via a star gate which Nova uses his power to open.   Enter Quasar who prevents their ship from burning up and crashing onto the planet Aristedes.

ISSUE #3: Cammi doesn’t like Quasar’s outfit either: “I’m trying to figure it out . . . would it be worse having to wear a cape in public, or a bucket on your head?’   Kev Walker does a lot with very small panels here and expressive shadowy faces to move the story along through several pages of discussion and explanation.  I like the way he remembers to include the wrinkles and stress lines on the faces.   His space scenes with full-page ships maneuvering around asteroids are masterful.

          Abnett and Lanning do a nice job with the story, especially the way they have the characters interact during a crisis , retaining their sense of humor but not over-working it.  They have a way of making the characters sound stupid as they actually answer questions with plain facts several times.  A great example of that is when Drax tells Quasar about the Xandarian Worldmind downloading the Nova Force into Richard.  Quasar asks how he knows this, and Drax replies truthfully “I had a conversation with his hat” as Quasar looks doubtfully at Nova.

ISSUE #4:  Nova and Quasar fight off an Annihilation Wave armada at the end of the last issue. Annihilus takes notice and shows up. Nova and Quasar manage to fight their way to the command ship and confront him.  He vaporizes Quasar, just in case we forget as we watched entire planets get decimated in prior issues that this guy is playing for keeps.  Nova double-tricks the Annihilus Wave into fighting itself. Before Annihilus can destroy Nova as well and absorb the Worldmind he realizes the trick and orders his forces to retreat, sparing Richard from the same fate as Quasar.

   It’s a good beginning to this long series.  Good story. Good art. Engaging dialogue. Interesting characters.  This books are still available in nice trade paperback editions so if you like what you read here, just jump on in.

MOPE:  to be gloomy and apathetic - - - fret, pine away, grieve, sorrow, sink, lose heart, brood, pine, yearn, despair, grumble, chafe, lament, regret, look glum, sulk, pull a long face.  (WEBSTER’S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY AND THESAURUS Second Edition 2002)

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