Within the massive cosmic tapestry that is Annihilators, there are things that could alienate, or encompass you. Can this third issue of the series live up to what has come before? Or does it get lost some where left of Alpha Centauri?
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artists: Tan Eng Huat with Victor Olazaba & Timothy Green II
Colors: June Chung & Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna & VC’s Clayton Cowles
Covers: Alex Garner & Jelena Djurdjevic
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Story Pages: 42
Cover Price: $4.99 USD
Previously, in Annihilators: The Annihilators team of Cosmo, Gladiator, Ronan, Quasar, Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, and the Galadorian Spaceknight Ikon are fending off a Dire Wraith Queen who is bringing about the return of the dreaded Dire Wraiths; Meanwhile, as Rocket Raccoon and Groot teamed up to find out who, and why Killer Clowns are being sent to after them, they are led to Rocket’s home, of Halfworld.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
As the Annihilators battle the evil of the Dire Wraith Queen, all hell literally breaks loose. As the Queen’s magic’s begin to merge the Wraith’s Black Sun, with that of the Galadorian’s sun, which would tear Galador asunder. As the Annihilators have to ultimately brave No-Space, in order to travel to the limbo trapped Wraith-World!
As Rocket Raccoon and Groot confront Rocket’s past, on Halfworld. Rocket finds out that sometimes the past is better left alone, as it can come back to kill you. With the return of his friends Wal-Rus, Lylla, and Blackjack O’Hare, with their lives, and all the rest on Halfworld hanging in the balance. Can Rocket uncover what he has forgotten in time to prevent catastrophe from befalling them all?
With the combined efforts of Abnett & Lanning, this issue still has what it takes to entertain. These two cosmic tales build upon what has come before, but more importantly they surpass the previous issues action, and fully earn the $4.99 cover price.
With dissent in the ranks of the Annihilators, it is shown that these are not all just godly brutes wanting to smash every threat in sight. Some of them are very compassionate characters that understand that the universe is more complicated than just good and evil. There are moral intricacies that can’t be overlooked, and under the pens of Abnett & Lanning, they haven’t. But don’t worry, it’s not bogged down in preachy speeches about what’s the proper way to treat one’s enemies, it remembers that it’s a comic book featuring a talking space dog, as well as a gun totting raccoon. Speaking of which…
Rocket gets to return to his roots, and in doing so acts as a primer of sorts for those who have never read the classic Rocket Raccoon mini-series by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola(by the way, you should check it out if you haven’t already). With this issue filling in a lot of gaps that have somewhat plagued Rockets past, and addressing why has strayed a bit from his classic trappings, it’s revealed here.
Though Abnett & Lanning do a great job bring back Rocket’s supporting cast, the characters don’t necessarily have the room to develop, to breathe. I don’t think that Abnett & Lanning overreached here, but they are just packing into this issue as much content as possible. In doing so the niceties of decompressed story telling have to be thrown by the wayside for page, and series length. It doesn’t detract from the authors attempt to tell the story, but leaves you wanting more, and knowing you have settle for what you are given.
UNCLE WAL-RUS AND THE ELFIN SURFER
The artwork in the Annihilators main story by Tan Eng Huat is 95% fantastic. By that I mean that all the characters, Ikon, Ronan, Beta Ray Bill, and the Wraith Queen look amazing, and are consistent from the get go. But a recurring issue that raises it’s head again in this issue, is Huat’s depiction of Silver Surfer.
The Surfer’s face is distorted, elf-like in appearance. His face is elongated, the nose is quite awkward, and in some panels, I swear that Surfer looks like he has pointed ears. Besides this slight distraction, with the Elfin Surfer, all of the art within the Annihilators tale is fun, and great on the eyes.
Moving onto our boy Rocky and his buddy Groot, the artwork by Timothy Green II takes a stroll down memory lane, a stroll that I enjoyed very much. To once again see Halfworld and those that populate her, other than the loonies, was a treat.
The detail that Timothy has brought in the previous two installments has never been more prevalent than in this third one. While a young Mike Mignola may have been the last to really make Rocket’s supporting cast shine, Timothy Green II takes a extra step and makes them stand out to almost a blinding perfection.
I don’t think I could ever see anyone else that could give these characters as much credence as he has. Timothy has given so much life, such detail to the little fur-ball and his supporting cast, that anyone else wouldn’t come close to bar he has set. They move, look, and act as if they were real, that is not a small feet when you are talking about anthropomorphic animals, and a tree.
To put it simply the Rocket Raccoon “back-up” is nothing but eye candy, and the best thing about that Annihilators comic. Though Huat does a great job, Timothy just brings everything he has got to these pages, and surpasses what he did in issue one, and two.
FINAL VERDICT: TO BE CONTINUED
This comic is why I still read the monthly pamphlet format. I couldn’t read the first issue and not pick up the second, or the third. It’s a great story, with great artwork, great characters, great covers, and at a great price. Forgiving the fact that this comic is targeting the nostalgia centers of the brain, well at least mine, for those who loved the cosmic work of Bill Mantlo(he wrote ROM, Spaceknight; and the Rocket Raccoon mini). This comic is still entertaining, and I could still see it being a gateway for people who might be interested in the cosmic trappings of the Marvel Universe.
This comic book is a rarity, it balances detailed art, cost, and page count, while still being able to fully deliver the promise of a entertaining comic book. For those who like tales of cosmic chaos that you don’t have to read twenty tie-ins to understand this comic may be for you. I for one will be with it until the end, which from all the accounts I can find, looks like it will be coming to a close in the fourth issue.
In closing, Annihilators #3 receives 4.5 Stars, out of 5.