A large part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe owes to the cosmic opera that is the original Annihilation event, orchestrated by Keith Giffen and co-written by various other artists and writers. Reducing the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe to a fight for survival, the Annihilation event is a true masterclass in event comics in that it presents one key event and the perspectives of its various key movers in separate yet essential tie-ins that are not per se critical reading. Best among these, from my perspective, is the reinvention of Nova – one that deals with survivor’s guilt, PTSD and a resolve to push through to make things right. There are some hiccups here and there – most prominently the Ronan book, which abandons its premise in the final beats to refocus on the event, as well as the Heralds of Galactus book which feels largely unnecessary. It also raises a few questions about the head villain Annihilus‘ raison d’etre, as he exists in a bid to reclaim territories that he claims were his own before the universe expanded and ate away at his, therefore begging the question of whether he is co-opting an unproven narrative or truly reclaiming what is rightfully his own by unethical means. It does not dwell on this quite enough, sadly, which would make an interesting premise in terms of fleshing out the chitinous villain. This does not ruin the narrative, however, and its sheer scale and core narrative are truly, for lack of a better, word, “cosmic” and one to witness.
Annihilation review by Raphael Borg