I try my best on this column to pose ideas rather than just come out with specifics. Mind you, I try my best but who’s perfect these days, right? But today, there is something I have to shout to the hills about, something to sing about, even. In the days where Civil War slogs on, showing us the dark underside of ‘no villain, just opposing view points’, one might even be looking for some catharsis, some sort of epically scaled battle of good and evil where hard work pays off, where heroes are heroes, where men are men and women also kick ass and the universe is saved.
Ladies and gentlemen, look no further than Annihilation #6
Spoilers ahead, not to mention some fairly biased commentary on a book I so delightfully enjoy, so consider yourself warned. And, if you can, go find and read Annihilation. Enjoy this book. And if you don’t plan on any of that, keep reading.
I can barely express how awesome this book is. It’s like Christmas and my birthday and Wrestlemania all in one. All of you who had been hesitant to read this story for any reason? If you’ve been reading Civil War because that’s where Spider-Man is? Please pick up back issues or, heck, wait for the trade if you’re so inclined to get the best ending of a story arc I have read yet. Heck, I’ll go so far as to say Annihilation is the best event Marvel has pulled off in a long time. Andy Schmidt and Daniel Ketchum have helped Keith Giffen give me everything I wanted in an epic cosmic scaled story, deftly drawn by Andrea DiVito, and I can only hope that Civil War is a tenth as good as this series.
First page, recap sets you up for everything that has gone down last issue and we are set for the wild ride that is the fury of Galactus. Are there the vaunted ‘Editor’s Notes’ so hotly debated on news boards? Nope! Not needed as the setup for this story is all over and done, no mid-show minis or tie-ins or extra information other than what has already been provided within this title to get in the way of our cosmic final battle.
And it is fantastic! Spreads of every shape and size, everything drawn and staged with all the weight of one of the heaviest hitter’s in the Marvel Universe getting so angry, he makes the Hulk look like Katie Power. The Silver Surfer is there to give us highlights as he heralds Galactus’s rage which decimates Annihilus’s forces from start to finish. Ronan, seeing an opportunity, grabs Kree warriors like likes of which haven’t been rallied like this since the days of Mar-Vell and reminds us all why they and the Skrulls wage real war. As nothing but Annihilus is left, Nova, Phyla-Vell and Star-Lord are there on hand and the last of the Nova Corp stands to end Annihilus once and for all. Captain America and Iron Man haven’t done it like this because, at heart, they can’t. This kind of fight can only come from two equal and opposite sides, one that is epically good and the other epically evil. When Iron Man and Captain America throw tooth-flying punches, there’s no one to root for; these are our heroes making terrible mistakes. This, on the other hand, is Nova fighting for the safety of the universe and Annihilus fighting to stay alive and expand. It is ugly, it is brutal and with a telegraphed save from Phyla as an offer is made and the Quantum Bands choose another, the peril is no more.
Or is it? Any story can defeat its villains and let the sunrise on another day, but it’s the quality of the next day that really makes the effort stand out. Let’s face it, Annihilus had a lot of forces out there and there are some former heralds that want to go out and make sure they are wiped from the face of the cosmos. The Surfer remains with Galactus, who’s now hungrier than ever. Annihilus’s right hand man, Ravenous still lives and in the interest of ending the war, makes a treaty with the Kree Empire, splitting territory with Ronan and leaving both chomping at the bit to tear the other to pieces. Drax has to look for something new to do, as what he was created for is over and his daughter is still on the arm of Phyla, who wants to try her hand at taking over Wendell’s old job. In the end, Richard Ryder has to find a new place for himself, has to find something that feels like home and, just once, has to say that ‘We saved the universe’, to see how it sounds.
And I really feel he did! The pacing of the book, the stories told, the perspective we are given, I really feel that might was used for right and good was done, no matter how much story is still left out there. It was a long fought and well won battle that they get to uphold like a Ms. America crown. And sure, there’s a lot to be done, but we’ve just proved through single minis and one major story that they are more than up for the job. We have tested their mettle and found them worthy to be called heroes and I, for once, cannot wait to see what happens next.