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"Annihilation" MegaReview

Review posted: 05 May 2006

Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics

 5.00 out of 5 Stars

Reviewed by Adam White


Following on the heels of the excellent Annihilation: Prologue, Giffen and Company bring forth four miniseries to cover the cosmic scope of the Annihilation story. In an effort to keep you informed on the saga I have elected to do a MegaReview and give you the lowdown on each series.

Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1

 3.00 out of 5 Stars

Writer: Keith Giffen

Artist: Renato Arlem

Giffen himself wrote the first Annihilation miniseries to hit the shelves, featuring the enigmatic Silver Surfer. Whereas Giffen bowled me over with Prologue, he seemed to not be as certain of what to do with the gleaming rider of the spaceways and took the entire first issue to hit his stride. Not a whole lot happened here to advance the overall story, and the Surfer’s uncertainty apparently rubbed off on Giffen. Things picked up by the end though, so I’m still looking forward to the next issue to see where it leads the Surfer. Story-wise, this was the weakest of the first issues of all the minis.

The art from Renato Arlem made up for some of the lack of story, as he seems well-fit to chronicle the adventures of Silver Surfer. Arlem kept the alien look from the Prologue and captured Surfer’s alien expressions exceptionally well. The storytelling was solid, and if Surfer continues beyond this miniseries I hope that Arlem stays with the character.

[NOTE: I got my hands on #2 before this review went live, so I wanted to update my comments and say that, while my review of #1 still stands, I think #2 earns Silver Surfer a solid 4 Stars, especially thanks to the scenes with Thanos.]

Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1

 4.00 out of 5 Stars

Writer: Javier Grillo-Marxuach

Artist: Greg Titus

Business picked up with Super-Skrull, where Grillo-Marxuach delivered a definitive version of a long-overlooked character, giving Super-Skrull depth and purpose. It amazed me that a writer that I had never heard of did in one issue what so many great creators have failed to do over the years, and the little bits of personality and backstory that Grillo-Marxuach works in do wonders for the character and the miniseries. I really enjoyed this issue, and I am seriously looking forward to the continuation of this story.

I would love to have given this series five stars, but the art from Greg Titus prevented me from doing so. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not that I dislike his art, I just strongly feel that it was inappropriate for Super-Skrull. The story has serious weight to it, yet Titus’s art has a lighter feel and comes across more cartoonish because it is at odds with the tone of the story. Titus would work well on another title that has less gravity in the subject matter (which is not a slam, because “gravity” is a wonderfully gradable ingredient), because we’re talking about a character who shuns his people to save them and perhaps the universe itself. Titus has good storytelling ability, but his style would simply be better used on another title.

Annihilation: Nova #1

 4.00 out of 5 Stars

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Artist: Kev Walker

Nova barely — and I mean barely — missed getting five stars, because Abnett and Lanning really have a handle on the character. The Abnett/Lanning writing team has been a favorite of mine for quite some time, and is vastly underrated, and their work here reinforces my admiration for them. Nova had most everything I was hoping for in the series, yet there was some intangible thing that seemed to hold up the pace just a bit; it was similar to the lag I found in Silver Surfer (a hesitation on the character’s part), but there were just certain things that had to be fit into the story for it to work. I do feel that this series will very likely warrant five stars come #2, so you definitely want to pick this up regardless.

Kev Walker more than held up his end on the art as well, giving Nova a great new look and capturing the desperation of the situation. Walker definitely fit this series and took to Nova as naturally as Arlem did to Silver Surfer. This guy has a good future ahead of him, and I hope it involves more Cosmic Marvel.

Annihilation: Ronan #1

 5.00 out of 5 Stars

Writer: Simon Furman

Artist: Jorge Lucas

Marvel apparently saved the best for last, because Ronan rocked. Like Grillo-Marxuach did with Super-Skrull, Simon Furman turns the underused Ronan into a fully-developed character, and a serious force to be reckoned with. Ronan strides through the story fully confident in his abilities (and rightfully so) and leaves you feeling that the only reason he hasn’t conquered Earth yet is because he simply hasn’t felt like it. Furman fires on all cylinders and must have had a blast writing this series because that feeling comes through in his work; plenty of things happen in #1 but it goes by way too fast and you’re left in withdraw until #2.

Jorge Lucas, who has hovered under the popular radar in the last several years despite his excellent work, refines his craft yet again in Ronan. I especially enjoyed Lucas’s work on his Black Panther run with Priest (!), and I like it even better now because he perfectly captures Furman’s story and hits every moment just right; every panel serves a specific purpose. Lucas can pack a panel with great characters and rich backgrounds or hit a close-up on a face just right — why Lucas isn’t a highly coveted Marvel exclusive yet I really don’t know. Lucas has got “it,” and that’s a very fine thing to have. If you want to give Annihilation a try but will only spring for one up front, Ronan will serve you well.



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