06 April 2011

Review of Annihilators #2 from the long-time Rom fan POV

Annihilators #2
"Dark Sun Rise"
Writers: Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning
Penciler: Tan Eng Huat
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Editor: Bill Rosemann

Annihilators #2 came out today. What I said in the first paragraph of my review of #1 still applies, but I'm going to be briefer this time than last. Unfortunately, I found much more to be annoyed by than liked. Many, many spoilers follow.

First, on the very first page, in the recap, it says the team "was alerted to unusual signals from the vicinity of the Dark Nebula, location of Ikon's birth planet Galador". If they meant Galador is in the Dark Nebula, that's just wrong! If they meant Galador is near the Dark Nebula, I guess that depends on your definition of "near" since we're dealing with a galactic scale, but I'd still say it's phrased poorly.

The art is generally good, but there are some oddities, like Doctor Dredd's head sticking out of Quasar's quantum cage. And why on Galador does the Silver Surfer have ears? Did he have ears in #1? I'll have to go back and check.

Deathwings are not physical, but rather energy beings. Here, however, they look simply like black pterodactyls. Dire Wraiths have been known to transform into something like these, which are similar to (and called) Deathwings, but they lacked the soul-numbing abilities of the real thing. I was hoping that maybe what we saw on the last page of #1 was a bunch of Wraiths transformed thus, and while that could still wind up to be the case, that doesn't seem to be where the story is going.

Also, we're told Hellhounds are attacking as well, but I don't see a single one in the art. Speaking of which, once again it appears, except for Brandy, Galador is inhabited by nothing but Spaceknights. Where are the humans? Where are the Angel Elite? Couldn't they have sent some references to Huat???

Another question arises not from Huat's art, but Chung's colors. Why has Brandy Clark's hair changed to black? It should be brown. If they want, they can change the color once she breaks the Wraiths' hold on her and blame it on that. (Told you there'd be spoilers.)

And now her title is Matriarch? What happened to "Lady Prime"?

Fetch Brandy the Starshine armor? First of all, if we're still talking about the original armor, that's not something one can put on and take off. Typical Spaceknights of that generation were cybernetically grafted into it during what appeared to be a long and complicated process. Brandy, however, was mystically bound to it by Wraith magic. I doubt that's something the Galadorians would try to recreate. Second, there was a new Starshine. What happened to her? For that matter, what's happened to Brandy's sons? Were they indeed killed during Annihilation? They don't even rate a mention?

Beta Ray Bill explicitly mentions fighting in the last Wraithwar! Yes, continuity! Now if we can just get Gladiator to mention that he met Rom as well and it's all good.

I really didn't like where they were going with Brandy giving Doctor Dredd information, but I'll accept it as Dire Wraith manipulation. However, where the heck did Volx ("the Wraith Queen") come from? She just appeared out of nowhere! I thought maybe they meant she'd taken on the identity of one of Brandy's advisors, but there was no one there at all the page before!

Also, the same question applies to her as to Doctor Dredd: how is she back from the dead? She wasn't merely banished, Night Thrasher killed her! I'm really hoping we readers get a better explanation than Dredd's bizarre little rant in #1 by the time this series is through.

Finally, I'm simply finding no redeeming qualities to Ikon. Yes, she's a badass, but she lacks pretty much all the qualities that made Rom a great character. She has none of his nobility. I'm hoping, maybe, we'll see some character growth from her by the end of the series, but given that's it's already half over, I'm not hopeful.

Okay, so this was less of a review and more of a kvetching session. I apologize. I think it's great that they're trying to do something with the Wraiths and Spaceknights, but for all it's faults, I'm finding the Spaceknights approach far better than what's being done here so far.


  1. Lee, you make a lot of valid observations about the things that could have been find tuned. but i guess it's stuff that didn't matter to me nearly as much as it mattered to you. however, i think there is still far more to like then dislike. and i couldn't disagree with you more about the Spaceknights 2000 approach better. but i already posted my own rant about how i felt about the anime version of the Spaceknights however. my review for A#2 will probably make you cringe.

  2. ok it's my day off and i feel like i want to give some more detailed feed back.
    1.in ROM #48 the Wraiths describe the Golden Galaxy as being a "neighbor" to the Dark Nebula. so the wording in the recap was really not that far off in stellar terms.
    2. the Surfer having ears, ok i'll give you that since i've seen other people bitching about that too on the net but as a ROM fan it's a pretty minor thing to me.
    3. the issue with the deathwings and missing hell hounds are probably your best points of complaint
    4. Brandy's title, again a really minor thing in the grand cosmic scheme hardly worth mentioning
    5. the issue with the lack of diversity of Galador's population is somewhat valid but then again it's just the second issue, wait for it.
    6. yeah some kind of mention by Gladiator about ROM annual #4 would have been nice but that too may yet come but it's not a critical matter. i speculated about this in a previous posting just prior to Annihilators #1.
    7. the whole "fetch my Starshine armor" could just as well have been another way of saying get the armor ready. i also brought up the issue about what sort of cyborgs this current generation is too. by the way Lee, haven't you ever heard of woman changing their hair color for whatever reason?
    8. as for Vlox, again it's just the second issue Lee. but yes that and Dredd's return warrant some explaining at some point.
    9. and as for IKON vs ROM. no matter how tough she is you can't compare a rookie spaceknight with one who has over 200 years of experience in life and death situations. besides, she's a new character give her time to develop and come into her own.
    10. so just in general Lee, it seems to me that you let a lot of minor stuff get in the way of enjoying what was over all a good story and reprising of the ROM legacy thus far. but at least you didn't talk about rocket raccoon in your review. having too pay for that crap is the biggest draw back of that book by far.

  3. Yes, I'm being nitpicky. Isn't that the fan's job? :-) I had to get it all of my chest, just like a certain other fan and his complaints about Rocket Raccoon. ;-)

    Sorry I don't have time to respond to everything, but here's a couple comments on your comments.

    What I found most intriguing about Brandy asking for the Starshine armor is the possibility that the Galadorians returned to Earth to retrieve it from that mine in Kentucky where it was left. (Or wherever SHIELD might have put it for safekeeping.) Perhaps they also retrieved the original Firefall armor as well?

    The difference between Ikon and Rom isn't the 200 years of experience. Rom was an inspiration to his people from the beginning. I don't recall him ever resorting to petty bickering like Ikon idoes with Quasar. Ikon and Rom simply aren't cut from the same cloth.

  4. dude, IKON is a chick. your a married man. surely you understand? as for this guy who hates Rocket Raccoon i don't know who your talking about :)

  5. I noticed that you disliked Brandy mentioning that they should get the Starshine-armour, that you mentioned that it was a cyborg-body, that contained less human parts than the modern equivalents appear to do.

    But... did you MISS that they reply to her with: "NO!! Your husband would not want you to lose your humanity!"

    That implies to me that they are very much so aware of how the old armours worked. ;)

    Bit of a miss there, Mr Seitz! ^^

    I do wonder... Can Ikonn be related to Rom and Brandy? Kid-sister to two sons? Obviously they must have used cloning-tech, artificial insemination and artificial aging to repopulate the planet, so it doesn't seem out of the blue if Brandy decided to create a girl as well.

    (the two rom-boys must obviously be artificially aged, since it's only been like 3-4 years tops, since the end of Rom's series)

  6. Good catch on the Starshine armor. That's what I get for writing in a hurry. Also, I was shocked that it was on Galador. In my mind, it's been down in that Kentucky mine since ROM ANNUAL #3.

    Interestin theory on Ikon. You're right about the artificial aging. I asked Batista how Rom's sons could be so old when Franklin Richards has barely aged, but the question was a non-starter. I think it got referenced by another reader in a SPACEKNIGHTS letter column as well.

  7. and also Predabot as someone who is working on a ROM rendering you may want to draw some inspiration from a mid-production commission preview a fellow ROM fa sent me. i'll be posting it on my ROM blog this weekend.
    by the way Lee, i thought that whole narrative from the Spaceknight 2000 mini-series was pretty much erased from the Marvel Universe unofficially by now? i mean we saw snippets of those spaceknights in the Annihilation Wave but that's hardly worth mentioning.
    also, did you ever include the ROM#26 cover in that TRON movie trailer into your RSR data base?

  8. Actually, the Spaceknights appearance in Annihilation was what cemented that series to the MU. Before that, it was unclear if it took place "now" or in the future.

    And no, I'm sorry. I was sitting on that appearance until the movie came out to see if it made it. And now that I know it did, I kinda still haven't gotten around to adding it to the page yet.