What is Annihilation?
War. Destruction. Cosmic Mayhem. Universal Chaos.
This is what you can expect as the Annihilation event heads your way this spring; as the mysterious Annihilation Wave lays waste to the cosmos leaving behind destruction in its wake. At this point what has been released is sketchy at best, but what we can be certain of is the fact that there is an intergalactic or cosmic event and war that takes place causing a ripple affect on the Marvel Universe. This ripple comes to involve Nova, the Silver Surfer, Super Skrull, and Ronan the Accuser, who all act as the central characters for the story. Annihilation takes place away from the “regular” Marvel Universe and focuses on the cosmic nature of its characters, so it can be expected that your favorite intergalactic super hero or villain will get at least a small cameo in the event. What exactly the Annihilation Wave is, as of now, a mystery; and who or what it is and what its purpose is, is unknown.
Why should you care?
The Universal Adventure begins in March with the Annihilation Prologue by Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins. Annihilation is a 23-issue (in total) crossover event that takes place in a prologue, four issue miniseries, and one six issue miniseries. The creative architects for this universal event are firstly, Keith Giffen who writes the Annihilation Prologue and mini series itself, followed by Legion writers Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning, television sensation Lost’s own Simon Furman and Javier Grillo Marxuach with artistic direction from the likes of Gabrielle Dell’Otto, Scott Kolins, Kev Walker, Greg Titus, Renato Arlem, and Jorge Lucas.
The science fiction realm of the Marvel Universe has been relatively untouched in past years with brief interest brought about by Captain Marvel, Maximum Security, and Avengers: Infinity, and most recently the Drax miniseries by Annihilation architect Keith Giffen. We can expect a cosmic disaster that shakes the cosmos to its core, reverberating throughout the Marvel Universe.
Over the last few years, the cosmic characters of the Marvel Universe have been untouched, in its place a focus on more street level, urban characters have risen up. And now, this March, a return to the glorious power cosmic arrives. Intergalactic battles, godlike beings, enormous battle cruisers, aliens, fun, excitement, creativity, and anticipation all wait at the edge of the known universe. This event is a return to some of the old school storytelling of days past with a bit of modern sophistication.
Cast of Cosmic Characters
Nova, the Human Rocket, is earthborn Richard Rider, who is a member of the Nova Corps, a policing agency similar to that of the Green Lantern Corps (perhaps named as such as a nod to the Distinguished Competition) that operates out of the planet Xandar. The Nova mini series is by Dan Abnnett and Andy Lanning and Kev Walker. In the Annihilation event, Nova returns to the Nova Corps, a military organization that he has turned his back on in the past.
Expect for Nova to reluctantly team up with the likes of Drax the Destroyer as he is pulled into a battle that he feels he has no place in; as his adopted home of Xandar, home of the Xandarian Space Corps, burns in ruins in the aftermath of an attack from the Annihilation Wave. Nova is forced to face his duties and responsibilities as a member of the Corp and through war will be forced to become something he has of now been unable to attain as his adopted home world burns. This could be Nova’s opportunity to become a serious, respectable hero in the Marvel Universe even if the ‘regular’ Marvel Universe won’t be aware of it. All this, and Nova must deal with the new powers which he has been imbued.
1a. The Planet Xandar
The planet Xandar is home to the Living Computers which act as the primary source of knowledge and power for the planet. Xandarians have preserved the brains of the dead of their race and linked them all together in a massive computerized network known as the Living Computer. They also go by the name of the Worldmind.
1b. The Xandarian Space Corps
The Nova Corps or more accurate Xandarian Space Corps began as a militia and exploration force on the planet Xandar originally consisting of 500 members with ranks, from lower to higher, of Corpsman, Millennian, Denarian, and Centurion. Nova is a Centurion. The force now acts as a policing force throughout the cosmos, protecting enforcing and promoting justice.
1c. Richard Rider
Richard Rider was a regular kid in Queens until a dying member of the Xanadarian Space Corps, known as Rhomann Dey, endowed him with his powers known as the Nova Force. Once suffering a loss of his powers he returned home to Queens and upon having his powers reactivated joined up with the teenage super hero group, The New Warriors. During this time Richard suffered, juggling his dual role as super hero and space officer, responsible for guarding the terran sector of the universe for the Xandar Space Corps.
2. Ronan the Accuser
Ronan the Accuser is a member of the Kree alien race, essentially a policeman for Supreme Kree Intelligence. He acts on their behalf to bring justice against those he believes have worked against the Kree. Ronan the Accuser has the creative force of Simon Furman and Greg Titus. In the Annihilation event the Accuser becomes the Accused and finds himself in a position working against his beloved Kree. In Annihilation, Ronan faces a crisis of identity as everything he has held dear turns on him and he is forced to decide what to do next as he is drawn to a planet attracting many cosmic characters and will be forced to face the deadliest woman in the universe.
2a. Information about The Kree
The Kree race began on the planet Hala, originally having a blue-colored skin, but a second racial group with pink skin resembling that of human emerged; creating a small but powerful blue skinned pure breeds. The Kree race has reached the pinnacle of their evolutionary development, having not significantly changed in any way in tens of thousands of years.
The Kree began their empire over a million years ago, but it was not until the acquisition of interstellar technology from the then-benevolent race of Skrulls that the Kree could arise to the menacing nature that they are known for. The Skrulls were attempting to foster a galactic empire based on free trade, and they landed on Hala to help the natives advance to the point where they could join. Finding that Hala boasted two equally intelligent life forms: the humanoid Kree and the plant-like Cotati, the Skrulls proposed a test to determine the worthier race. The Skrulls took an equal number of Kree and Cotati to the Earth’s moon and fashioning an artificial atmosphere in which to work, bidding the two groups to use their resources to create something of worth from the barren world.
The Kree set about constructing a magnificent industrial city, known as the Blue City. The Cotati produced saplings and grew an equally magnificent garden. The Skrulls judged the Cotati’s achievement worthier. Enraged, the Kree leader incited his fellows to slay the Skrulls and the Cotati and seize the Skrull starship and its attendant technology. It was with this technology that the Kree launched an attack on the Skrull Empire, and led the once-peaceful Skrulls to become increasingly militaristic to repulse them. This was the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War.
The Kree is run by the Kree Supreme Intelligence who is worshipped by the Kree as its religious savior; forcing most citizens to adhere to the Universal Church of Truth. The Kree Supreme Intelligence itself is an organic computer; created by the Kree to compete with the Cosmic Cube of the Skrulls. It is composed of the greatest thinking minds of the Kree intelligence assimilated by one singular entity. Most of the Kree are fanatically devoted to the Intelligence. The Intelligence has, of late, been concerned with jump-starting Kree evolution and the reactivation of Kree genetic potential. It has succeeded in the creation of the race of Ruul.
3. Silver Surfer
The Silver Surfer was once Norrin Radd until his planet was besieged by the cosmic planet eater Galactus and, in an attempt to save his planet, made a proverbial deal with the devil and became the herald of Galactus. The days as a herald are now over, however, and the Silver Surfer surfs the cosmos at times acting as a guardian and at other times as a mysterious foe. The creative team behind the Silver Surfer miniseries is Keith Giffen and Renato Arlem. What has been revealed about his miniseries at this point is that the Surfer faces an army of Galactus’s old heralds and his current herald, an army of individuals’ imbued with the power cosmic; and, in addition, readers actually get to come to an understanding of what the power cosmic actually is.
3a. Who is Galactus?
An important part of the Silver Surfer’s history is his time with Galactus. Galactus is a cosmic being made of pure power cosmic held together by the armor plating he wears. He is the eater of worlds; the devourer of planets. Using his heralds to find ripe planets for him to feast on he travels the cosmos quenching his hunger and sustain his life. He is a force of nature who feeds because it is necessary.
Originally a humanoid creature known as Galan, he is the sole survivor of his planet, where it just so happened, was the location for the end and beginning of his universe. A space explorer, Galan experienced first hand the cosmic rebirth literally standing at the collapse of the universe. His role, as it would appear, is to end worlds. Along with the entities Death, Infinity, Oblivion, and Eternity, Galactus is one of the essential parts of the universe as he plays a central role in keeping the cosmic balance.
3b. The Power Cosmic
Many times throughout continuity, individuals have been imbued with the power cosmic; these powers differ with the individual usually but essentially manifest as some force of nature; i.e. wind, water, fire, earth etc. Additionally, the individuals have manifested strength, invulnerability, energy manipulation, molecular transmutation, and the ability to travel at high speeds in space. What exactly the power cosmic is and where it comes from is unknown. It is thought of as a mystical force from which massive amounts of energy can be drawn and manipulated.
3c. Hero or Villain?
Many times the role the Silver Surfer has taken has been in the grey area, but in the Annihilation event he is sure to take the heroic task, rallying together as many heralds as he can to combat the Annihilation Wavescattering through the cosmos. In the past he has been both a friend and a foe to the planet Earth; leading to an unstable view of him by some of the Earthborn heroes.
3d. Other Heralds
Frankie Raye – an Earthborn girl, Frankie Raye became one of Galactus’s heralds until her death. She volunteered her service to Galactus in order to save the planet and led Galactus to planets uninhabited so she would be able to save life.
Terrax - originally an alien named Tyros, he was a cruel tyrant until the day that Galactus appeared. Galactus empowered him as his herald and imbued him with the power cosmic, transforming him into what we now know as the blood thirsty Terrax. He is the master of all things rock and earth.
Firelord – originally a space captain who went by the name Pyreus, he became a herald whose power cosmic took the form of cosmic flames. His most common attribute is that of his cosmic staff which he uses to create his flames. Pyresus was a member of the Xandarian Nova Corps in his life, serving under Gabriel Lann, who would become the Air-Walker.
Air-Walker – Gabriel Lann, the second of Galactus’s heralds is presumed deceased; but he has died before and was brought back in the form of an android.
Red Shift – Galactus’s most recent herald imbued with the power cosmic.
4. Super Skrull
The Super Skrull is a member of the Skrull race who has opposed the Kree race for ages; Skrulls are a race of shape shifting dominators who have attempted to invade Earth on many occasions. The Super Skrull, similarly to Ronan the Accuser, is a military officer for his people. The Super Skrull has the collective powers of the Fantastic Four. The Super Skrull miniseries is handled by Javier Grillo Marxuach and Jorge Lucas. His role in Annihilation is unknown at this time.
4a. Facts about the Skrulls and Super Skrulls
Fan exposure to the Super Skrull has usually been limited to his contact with the Fantastic Four, and as such, has been as that of a villain or soldier for his people. He battles on the behalf of his people’s beliefs, and does what he can for the honor of the Skrull. He is a warrior chosen by his people to adopt the powers of four super powered individuals who traveled to their home world and thwarted their plans. Recently he has been exiled by his people, and his race has collapsed. He has been in hiding on earth in human disguise until a new emperor was chosen, and the time for his people to regain their legitimacy has come.
The Skrull are an alien race who prides themselves on having the oldest empire in existence. They are conquerors and ,as such, are very imperialistic in nature although they began as a peaceful conquerors; their war with the Kree forced them to become more aggressive. Early in their history, they were visited by a race called the Celestials who experimented upon them. This experimentation resulted in sub-categories of Skrull, one group known as the Deviant Race and a normal sect of their race known as the Dire Wraiths. The majority population gained the ability to shape shift as a result of the Celestial experimentation and sought to exterminate the “normal” species. Upon devastation by the being known as Galactus, the Skrull Empire has been dispersed throughout the cosmos.
The Cosmic Cube – there is an ultimate weapon of destruction that exists in the Marvel Universe known as the Cosmic Cube; it was created by Skrull scientists as a tool for transforming reality.
The Celestials – the Celestials are an offshoot of a supremely powerful species that exists in the universe. They are responsible for the creation of Deviants and Eternals as well as the Skrull ability to shape shift. No one, not even the Watchers, knows who or where they come from. The Watchers are in effect the direct rivals of the Celestials. The Watchers believe that they should not take part in the events that transpire just because they have the power to. The Celestials seemingly believe otherwise, experimenting and interfering when the desire to do so arises.
Who else might be involved: Profiles / Bios
Ego – Ego is known as the living planet for good reason: he looks and “acts” just as a living, “breathing,” and thinking planet. The entity that was once known has Ego has seemingly been consumed by Quasar and has not been seen recently.
Quasar – Quasar is human being Wendell Vaughn, wearer of the powerful quantum bands and the owner of the role of the Protector of the Universe. Often times Quasar has exiled himself into space only reappearing to take part in cosmic adventures that earthborn heroes find themselves. Recently, Quasar has absorbed the essence of Ego, the living planet and has once again exiled himself to space. Quasar can project quantum energy in the form of devastating beams of force or heat, but more commonly employs them to fashion incredibly durable constructs of solid energy and protects himself with a personal force field of quantum energy; all of which arise from the bands that he wears, or more specifically the gems on the bands.
Thanos – Thanos is a mutant of his race of immortal Eternals obsessed with the cosmic entity Death. After committing horrible crimes among his people, Thanos was exiled. Thanos is brothers with an Avenger known as Starfox, who is also known by the alias Eros, and the two meet annually to discuss family matters.
Drax the destroyer – Drax was once a human whose family was killed by Thanos. Drax, also known as Arthur, subsequently was drawn by the rivals of Thanos to the astral plane and was recreated as Drax the Destroyer as a tool for the destruction of Thanos. His brain however was damaged from his death and as a result his thought patterns were what could be described as slow. Recently, his intelligence was restored.
Gamora – “the most dangerous woman in the universe”; is the adopted daughter of Thanos and the last of her race. Finding her at an early age he raised the young “orphan” training her as an assassin until her adulthood where she was supposed to be utilized to assassinate one of Thanos’s rivals.
Moondragon – in his human life Drax had a daughter named Heather, similarly with Drax, she was also rescued by aliens, but in her case she was rescued by Thanos’s father and became Moondragon. Growing up with the alien race, she took up their ways and their abilities of telekinetic and telepathic prowess.
Captain Marvel – is the artificially created son of Kree soldier and earth “super hero” Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell is imbued with the ability of cosmic awareness. Mar-Vell originally rebelled against his people and sided with Earth and was sub subsequently branded a traitor. Mar-Vell contracted an incurable cancer amidst one of his battles and passed away due to exposure to nerve gas. Like his father, Genis wears the Nega Bands, giving him the power of cosmic awareness. There will soon be a new Captain Marvel, however, since Genis has renounced his name.
Adam Warlock – is an artificially created being, made for the purpose of being the perfect human. At many times Adam has been aloof and arrogant; unable to find purpose and driven to the edges of madness by the powers he has wielded.
Past Intergalactic Events
Maximum Security/Avengers Infinity
In this crossover the Earth was designated as a penal colony by a delegation of alien races as a penalty for human intervention in galactic affairs and was subsequently bombarded with the universe’s most dangerous criminals.
The Infinity Gauntlet is one of the oldest and most powerful artifacts in the universe, consisting of the six infinity gems mounted on a golden glove, each granting the wearer complete mastery over one basic facet of the universe: time, space, power, soul, mind, and reality. Having all six gems would grant omnipotence. First in the Thanos Quest, Thanos attempted to acquire the gems from the Elders of the Universe and succeeded. Then, upon acquiring the gems, he began his master plan: to destroy every living being in the universe as a gift for his beloved Death. In response, many of the most powerful beings united to battle Thanos for control over the Gauntlet. Thanos was finally defeated by the being known as Adam Warlock, and the six gems were once again separated and given to six different bearers. In the aftermath, the Living Tribunal decided that the Infinity Gauntlet was too powerful an item in the hands of a single person and therefore, the Living Tribunal used their powers to make the gems unable to function together, preventing anyone from achieving omnipotence by possessing all of the Gems.
The Kree-Skrull War
When the Skrulls first ventured outside their native galaxy into the nearby Greater Magellanic Cloud and Milky Way Galaxy, the Skrulls encountered the Kree, a humanoid race still in its rudimentary stages of civilization, and the Cotati, a race of sentient plants, both of whom inhabited the same planet, Hala. The Skrulls wished to incorporate Hala into their empire, but only wanted to deal with one of its native races. The Skrull Emperor Dorrek went to Hala with a party of other Skrulls to hold a competition between the Kree and Cotati to determine the worthiness of each race. The Skrulls decided in favor of the Cotati. Enraged, the Kree slew the Skrull Emperor, his party and most of the Cotati race and confiscated the Skrull party’s starship and technology. Due to the immense distance between Hala and the Skrull Empire, no word of this atrocity reached the Skrull Empire until the Kree had sufficient time to master the fundamentals of the stolen technology. Decades after the Skrull Emperor’s murder, the Kree ventured into the Andromeda Galaxy and began attacking Skrull outposts and finally the home planet of the Skrulls. The Skrulls, forced to become more militaristic, retaliated. Thus began the series of Kree-Skrull Wars, which were waged over the course of millions of years until very recent times. It was because of the Skrulls’ growing militarism that the Skrull culture and ethics became as ruthless, devious, and aggressive as they are today.