Or – “This Is Highly Irregular, Dave…”


You can’t blame Marvel for trying to recapture the magic of Annihilation… A sprawling cosmic saga starring characters who have been dormant, mistreated, or disrespected for decades doesn’t seem to be an instant winner. But the readers really responded to Nova, Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull and Ronan’s adventures, and the use of nearly every character in Marvel’s space-faring arsenal was a lot of fun for the amateur historians among us. Annihilation: Conquest hasn’t quite put the lightning back in the bottle, but at least some of the same fun is present, even if the Phalanx aren’t quite the villain that Annihilus was. Then again, MOST 90’s characters aren’t up to the standards of a Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four antagonist…

Va1.jpgPreviously, on Nova: The attack by Annihilus left the Kree Empire shaky at best, and the infrastructure so damaged that not only were the Phalanx able to take over, they were able to do it without being discovered, and surround the empire with a nigh-unbreakable force shield. Richard Rider, the last Nova Centurion, was inside the barrier when it went up, and collided with it, leaving him mostly dead. Luckily, the Worldmind was able to find Ko-Rel, a former captain of the Kree, abandoned on the same asteroid that Rich’s body crashed to, and empower her as Nova 0001, first of a new Corps. Tasked with protecting the Worldmind from the Phalanx, Ko-Rel uses her initiative and leads the aliens away from Nova Prime, but doesn’t count on the presence of Adam Warlock’s ex-girlfriend Gamora, who assimilates Rich into the Phalanx covenant (or whatever they call their Cyberman ranks) and leaves the inexperience Nova 0001 as the last of the Corps. She returns home to her ship, only to find tragedy in her wake…


Ko-Rel sweeps in, killing a handful of Phalanx guards, blasting one of them nearly into the atmostphere with a Nova force punch. Entering her ship, Ko-Rel finds the worst: not only are her crew dead, but her other charge, the Nova Prime has been stolen away. The Phalanx have pretty much won this round, and she despairs that all is lost. All she has left is the holographic picture of her son, Zam, lost to her for over a year on Hala…


Good? Oh, dear… Worldmind espousing violence? Things MUST be bad. Ko-Rel sets her course, informing the Worldmind that she intends to use her power to rain down destruction on the Phalanx, once she retrieves it from Richard. Worldmind has other ideas. “It is better that I be destroyed than become an instrument of the Phalanx,” says the combined knowledge of Xandar, whose primary goal is self-presevation. “What are you saying?” asks a disbelieving Ko-Rel.


Why would Nova be on a remote hunk of rock with nothing much going for it? Three words: Drax The Destroyer. The man who killed Thanos is hiding out, well aware of what the Phalanx would do with his skills should he become select. Unfortunately, tough as Drax is, he’s no match for the combined power of the Nova Corps as controlled by the gestalt mind of Phalanx.


Nova quickly dodges his punch and shoots Drax again (in the back.) Gamora warns him to be careful, but Nova scoffs at Drax being a danger to him, asking if it looks like he needs any help. “No. But still, it’s Drax… One of the most notorious warriors in known space. He killed Thanos, remember?” Nova snorts, “And how many years did THAT take him?” Nova blasts the Destroyer to the ground, leaving a crater from sheer power, and offers to take it easy on him if he stops resisting. “Better death that what you’re offering,” replies Drax, moments before Nova takes him out. Delivering Drax for selection, Rich and Gamora discuss how natural it all feels. “I just thought that becoming part of the Phalanx would mean I lost myself I’m amazed I feel so… normal.” She responds that selection has changed, that they’re allowing the selects to retain their instinct, the better to serve the empire. Suddenly, Nova hears a familiar sound, the exit burst of a Stargate, and gets blasted off his perch by a Human (or at least Kree) rocket. He quickly gathers himself to respond, but gets a surprise when he tries…


I understand when a book is set in the future or in space that they like to create slang words that the characters use. But, as with the use of ‘sprock’ and ‘nass’ during the years of the Reboot Legion, I’m finding the use of ‘schlag’ and ‘fark’ to be distracting here. I know it’s a well-respected part of the science-fiction genre, but we’re approaching “More gore for the org!” levels, here. Following Worldmind’s instructions, Ko-Rel manages to to keep just one step ahead of the much more powerful Nova-Prime, bobbing and weaving, taking her shots (which Rich pretty much shrugs off) and racing away. Worldmind directs her attack pattern, and taunts Rich, causing him to become enraged and lose his cool.


Ko-Rel blows open a pipe, causing tons of blazing-hot magma to engulf Rich, knocking him to the floor. “He is vulnerable,” cries Worldmind. “Quickly, Ko-Rel! One shot, FULL power.” She raises her fist, but can’t bring herself to kill… “Do it. DO IT, Ko-Rel. For my sake!” She whispers an apology to her son, assuring him that mama is not a killer, but miscalculates…


Collapsing on the ground, Ko-Rel drops the picture of her lost son. Nova looks at it, wondering what it is before Gamora tells him it doesn’t matter. Smashing the hologram, Nova and Gamora wander off to mack on each other some more, leaving Ko-Rel to reveal she was playing possum… right?



Well, that was somewhat unexpected. I had thought that we would see at least a glimmer of something, indicating that all is not lost. What a depressing ending… Still, it works from the story perspective. After all, the story is called Annihilation: Conquest, not Annihilation: Last Minute Save By The Heroes. But at least something has been shaken loose in Nova Prime’s mind, so there may still be hope.

Depressing as this one was (with all the Kree perishing, Drax, Nova and Gamora assimilated, and Ko-Rel seemingly falling, never to see her long-lost son again) it’s an interesting chapter in the ongoing Annihilation saga. I suspect that we’ll see much more of Ko-Rel in the long-term, and I’m really anticipating what happens next. Nova #6 is also very pretty to look at, with Sean Chen turning in another excellent job, especially in the Nova-a-Nova battle sequences. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have this space-opera thing pretty well down (though we could ease back on the space-cursing) and this issue earns a well-done 3 out of 5 stars.



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. When did Gamora become a villian? Wasn’t she an ally of Adam Warlock? Or is it simply the Phalanx controlling her just like Richard?

  2. Matt E. – Phalanx are controlling her like Nova. She was the one who captured and turned Rich into a Select in the first place. Notice the odd lines around here eyes. Thats the sign of a Select.

    Good review. I’m loving the Conquest so far. Wraith is fairly lackluster and generic, but Quasar is doing well and Starlord and Nova are both excellent. When you mention the first Annihilation note that the mini-series weren’t incredible offerings there either. Nova and Silver Surfer were excellent, filling the Nova nad Starlord spots, with Superskrull being the Quasar of the bunch and Ronan series being odd man out. The main series is where people started to take note of the event and it really gained momentum and I bet when Conquest launches at the end of the year, your opinion on the event will change.

    Kirk Warren
    The Weekly Crisis

  3. Gamora is assimilated, just like Richard. In fact, it was she who assimilated him in the the Borg–er, Cybermen– wait, PHALANX, last issue. Sorry if I didn’t make that as clear as I should have.

  4. Could be worse. At least Rich isn’t yelling “Blue Blazes” like he did in the old days.

    Can’t say I completely blame him for being all borged-out now. If getting assimilated means you get to take showers with Gamora, sign me up.

  5. Swearing doesn’t make you cool, but it’s a natural way a lot of people talk. At least from what I’ve noticed from people aorund me and how I talk.

    It’s very easy for someone to slip in some curse words when they’er talking in an agitated state.

    Alien cursing may come off as a bit hokey, but it’s really the only way a writer can get away with cursing in an all-ages book.

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