Posted - September 7, 2015
Annihilation: In The Trenches
In Annihilation: The Beginning I took up the big picture, the wide-lense perspective of the Annihilation event. Now let's go down on the ground on the side of those who are fighting against the Wave. Let's find out what it's like to oppose the biggest bug infestation yet recorded in the annals of Marvel.
The panel below is a great one-panel representation of this article:
Reminds me of the start of Gladiator when the Romans where laying siege to the Germanic tribes. Also this is like Starship Troopers with the bugs swarming over the troops. At this point the Annihilation Wave has already gone through Skrull space with results as expected - the divided Skrulls have not been able to put up an effective defense.
This is a good point in the conflict though, because at this point, the combined forces have held back the advance of the Annihilation Wave - something never before accomplished.
Speaking of the defense forces, let's look at some key individuals.
First up, Richard Rider - Nova.
When I first saw Nova it was in the late seventies in the pages of his own comicbook. The issue had him fighting the Sandman from the Spider-Man books. I love the look of him from the start. Specially the artist rendition of him flying and everything below the waist disappearing into an energy stream. The next time I saw Nova was in the pages of Marvel Two-in-One. I believe it was in a Marvel Two-In-One annual featuring the Thing and Nova, they were fighting this giant menace. Both these times I had the opinion that Nova was a tad underpowered. He was tough enough, and fast, but energy projection was nonexistent in that annual.
Fortunately Annihilation is a game changer for Nova. When the entire Corps with the exception of Richard Rider and the Worldmind was destroyed, the Worldmind has no choice but to do this.
Richard Rider of the Nova Corps now possesses all the power that used to be distributed among the entire Corps. Additionally, he is also the current host of the Worldmind, the living supercomputer of Xandar. What does this mean?
This is what it means:
Incredible raw power.
Increased awareness, analysis capability, and reflexes.
The power of the Nova Corps is nothing less than the Power Cosmic.
With that, I would expect Nova to be the spearhead of the resistance. But Richard Rider becomes something else, maybe something more? He becomes the organizing force among the resistance - most of which are Kree. It's not so much that the Kree are willing to be led by a Terran. More likely that they acknowledge the advantage of the wielder of the Xandarian Worldmind to be a logical war coordinator. From the emotional front, Richard is forced to do a lot of growing up in a very short span of time. In this he is assisted by the superior wisdom of Drax.
Who? You ask? Drax the Destroyer. Here he is.
I suppose Drax is famous because of his part in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I for one know him best from the comic books. Drax is the anti-Thanos. The way it goes is that Drax is a regular guy from Earth. He had a family - a wife and a young daughter. This family got into a car accident. Both parents died and the daughter was adopted by the Eternal offshoots in Titan and raised to eventually become the psionic Moondragon. The Titan's resurrected the father and made him into Drax with the sole directive to hunt down and slay the mad Titan Thanos. This mission ended in failure. Thanos, one of the most powerful creatures in the universe, slayed Drax the Destroyer. Many years later Drax was resurrected for a second time. This is around the time I became familiar with him and he looked like this.
Not only did he look different but Drax became addle-brained. A simpleton with immense strength, invulnerabiility, flying and energy projection powers. In this guise Drax became a part of the Infinity Watch - a team created to safeguard the Infinity Gems.
The latest iteration of Drax returns him to his original role of the anti-Thanos. What I'm baffled about is: no energy blasts, no flying. Just - knives? Knives for heaven's sake. Well, he seems as invulnerable as ever as well as tirelessly strong.
Here's another "refugee" from the Guardians of the Galaxy : Peter Quill.
Once again Peter has roots in the comics, as the space-faring Starlord:
Not here though. Here Peter performs the function of Richard Rider's second. He's no good in a physical fight and wields a tablet computer instead. Nevertheless, Peter Quill's personality and dialogue makes him shine in Annihilation.
Matching Nova's powerset is the Kree powerhouse Ronan the Accuser.
Ronan wields the Power Cosmic through his hammer. The second best hammer in the Marvel Universe next to you know what. Ronan used to be judge, jury and executioner of the Kree Empire but at the time of Annihilation this erswhile foe of the Fantastic Four has fallen into disrepute. All through the machinations of the current ruling house of the Kree Empire, the Fiorinis, or rather the Gambinis. Anyway, it was an Italian sounding name. Evidently getting the pizza delivery monopoly for ten thousand worlds will make you rich enough to take over the Kree Empire. Not to worry though, the House Tortini won't make it to the end of Annihilation. They will be annihilated. Get it annihilated, annihila - anyway . . .
Enough of the powerful Cosmic energy wielding guys. Let's bring out a female member of the resistance, and a bombshell to boot.
Gamora. The self-styled "Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe" is certainly "the most attractive woman in the front lines". Just like Drax, Gamora is a former member of the Infinity Watch. And just like Drax she looked different then. She looked like this:
Here's Gamora fighting toe-to-toe with the Cosmic-powered Ronan during a temporary "misunderstanding".
What gives? I see Gamora with acrobatic skills and, again a Drax-like blade. I don't think you can succeed against Ronan with that kind of powerset.
Last on our list of frontliners is the Super Skrull.
Genetically engineered to mimic the powers of the Fantastic Four, the Super Skrull is boring. Yes he is. I mean you just know that when he appears he'll be doing the same song and dance of stretching like Reed Richards, with the Thing's fist at the ends of his elongated arms, then he'll be switching between Johnny's flame and Sue's shields. I've seen him many times before and its the same old routine every time. Boring. Boring. Boring. Thankfully, Annihilation pairs the Super Skrull with another Skrull who is condemnatory of the Super Skrull's ruthless attitude as a warrior. This is good. The Super Skrull has been a one-dimensional villain for far too long. Did I say villain? I am not so sure anymore after the events of Annihilation. The Skrull Empire seems to agree as they shout out his name in glory.
Lastly, yet foremost, I want to acknowledge Quasar. The heroic Wendell Vaughn.
This is Wendell's last adventure. He had his own series and was a principal in the famous Galactic Storm adventure. The wielder of the Quantum Bands was in character to the end. Light-hearted and optimistic until his untimely death at the hands of of Annihilus.
Quasar died a warrior's death. A ghastly detail is that the Quantum Bands, Quasar's weapon and Marvel Boy's weapon before him, are now on the wrists of the amoral Annihilus. Just terrible.
Do you remember the Annihilus forces I enumerated in Annihilation: The Beginning ? The roster I named above together with a lot of Kree and some stragglers are the only ones to oppose the Annihilation wave. Oh wait, we have these guys.
Red Shift, Firelord and Stardust. Former Heralds of Galactus. Oh yeah. Heavy hitters for the Kree. It is revealed that they are tasked with defending against orbital and sub-orbital attacks against the Kree-allied ground forces.
Even with the Heralds, things look bleak don't they? Check out my next installment Annihilation: War of the Gods as things get darker still and Annihilation concludes.