Nova has joined forces with Star-Lord and they now command the United Front. They allied themselves with the Kree Empire to combat the Annihilation Wave lead by Annihilus. The battle clearly isn't going their way, and to makes matters worse for them; The Mad Titan named Thanos loaned his technology and ideas to Annihilus pushing Nova's band to the brink of defeat. The situation continues to look bad for Nova and his allies, while everything is in favor of Annihilus.-summary
Annihilation Book Three is the final chapter in the Annihilation saga, which follows a band of Marvel's cosmic heroes as they fight for survival. Since this crossover took place back in 2006 alongside Marvel Civil War, there were obvious comparisons between the two epics. People will hear that Annihilation was the superior story, I don't quite believe this though. It definitely had potential to surpass the mega event, but thanks to an aftermath that doesn't quite deliver at all, it's at best equal and at worst slightly below it. Written by Keith Giffen this TPB collects Annihilation1 - 6, with Christos Gage, Stuart Moore, and again, Keith Giffen penning Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus 1 -2.
The first two books, Annihilation Book One and Two, were the build up leading to this event, which followed several heroes consisting of Nova, a former member of the New Warriors and lone survivor of the Nova Corp, Ronan the Accuser, whom happens to be the Kree Empire judge, jury, and executioner that was exiled by his own people, Silver Surfer, Firelord, and Stardust whom are current and ex-Heralds of Galactus, and several others fighting bravely against the Annihilation Wave. And finally the main threat being Annihilus, whom has been developed into something more than a stock bad guy. It all came down to this, one massive defensive against a superior force.
The story kicks off with balls to the wall action in all of its brutal glory. The battle is non stop fun that bears heavy influence to Paul Verhoeven's 1997 military sci-fi film Starship Troopers, as the heroes fight desperately against giant bugs ripping their victims apart. Giffen's direction is wire-tight nearly through out the epic. There were various subplots introduced earlier in the series, such as Ronan's plight against those who wrongly accused him, the alliance between Thanos and Annihilus, and Drax hunting for Thanos. Giffen manages to lace up all of these loose ends for a very satisfying and even surprising conclusion.
The middle portion of the story goes through an out of the blue plot twist that adds to the suspense. The only problem here I can imagine for some is the slight deviation from the all out action, as Giffen switches focus to both Ronan and Drax. This really didn't bother me because around this time he established them as characters cool enough to follow. Long time fans will be pleased to see more familiar faces such as former Infinity Watch member Moondragon, and even an old Fantastic Four enemy by the name of Blasstar. They more than likely will not appeal to the casual fan though since they weren't even developed. The ending is wrapped up well enough with some kick a** moments involving Drax, Nova, Annihilus, and Galactus; it's also worth noting that this story does alter the status quo for Marvel's space roamers, as this mini-series will play a role in birthing Nova's then new self-titled series, naming a new wielder to the Quantum Bands, setting the stage for Annihilation: Conquest, carry over lightly into War ofKings, and finally set the foundation to further build Annihilus up into a premier threat, in which his very presence would play a role in the death of an A-List superhero much later on.
As much as I enjoyed this story though, it's the aftermath being Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus that is truly disappointing, I mean wow, this was a jip from hell. The first batch of stories follows the surviving heralds with only Stardust's story being worth reading, since you learn his loyalty towards Galactus cannot be questioned; but the part I know all readers who read this were looking forward to was the inevitable clash between Galactus and the cosmic gods being Aegis and Tenebrous. They were built up and even portrayed as serious threats equal to Galactus, with that said, the battle should have been something that blew people away, instead it was just a huge rip off. The less said of this debacle the better.
Unlike the previous books, the artwork here has plenty of moments worth talking about, which is quite understandable since it's done by Andrea Divito and colored by Laura Villari. It has a very strong sci-fi, space opera presence. At no time did it feel like this conflict could have taken place on Earth. The action panels at times leave nothing up to the imagination, as you will see characters ripped to pieces, hearts pulled out, and just hard hitting action. The backgrounds feature loads of characters in battle, but there's one moment of a character appearing to go supernova in anger providing probably the most visually appealing moment. Character designs are better this time around with Galactus always looking awesome, plus female characters like Gamora delivering the eye candy, and again, even though I know a lot of guys will love that. I hate that this is all she appears to be good for. Something that never grew on me was the new featureless design for Firelord. He looks way too bland and was done much better in the 80's; there's also a slight decline in the artworks details where you can see some moments were rushed.
Heralds of Galactus which features artist Scott Kolins, Mike McKone and others, clearly has moments where it doesn't look as good as the main story. These sections were obviously rushed, and some of these single character shorts really feel like throw away stories. If Marvel was going to go the lazy route, then they shouldn't have done these stories at all.
Annihilation Book Three is no doubt the best of the books, and whatever dullness that may have taken place earlier on can be forgiven since there is some type of payoff. Had the Heralds of Galactus story been jettisoned completely together with the "Who's Who" section at the end of the book, it would have been much better. In closing, although Annihilation ends up a slightly above average story, I still would only recommend this to serious fans. The lack of mainstream appeal here will put off newbies and casual fans. For those people, if you find yourself having to choose between this and Civil War, well, of course you should go with Civil War, since it features all of the mainstream characters people already know very well.
Pros: -Main storyline has plenty of great moments and good artwork
Cons: -Very disappointing aftermath
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