Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are considered the recent architects of the Marvel Cosmic Universe after long healthy runs on event books (Annihilation: Conquest, Thanos Imperative,) team books (Guardians of the Galaxy, Annihilators) and individual titles (Nova.) And with good reason. They've crafted some of the greatest stories I've read in the past few years, regardless of their cosmic setting and scope. GOTG and Nova became some of my all time favorite books, and while their latest miniseries, the Annihilators, left me less than thrilled, the idea behind the team and its natural evolution from what came before was pitch perfect.
So imagine my excitement as I wait for the upcoming Annihilators: Earthfall, not only bringing the team (consisting of Quasar, Ronan, Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, Ikon and frikkin' Gladiator) back to Earth, but putting them into direct conflict with the Avengers.
Click the jump for speculation, preview pages, and excerpts from a DnA interview.
Long before the Annihilators were formed, when Peter Quill/Star-Lord was trying desperately to make the Guardians of the Galaxy a real, effective, disaster-preventing super team, I had many fantasies about them interacting with the Avengers. After all, there were many similarities and connections.
For instance their first mission, solidifying themselves as a legitimate, fated team, was the discovery of Major Victory in a block of time-ice, complete with Captain America shield. Which is exactly what solidified the Avengers as a team in the classic Avengers #4. For God's sake, Vance Astro (though a humble boy from Saugerties) was the future leader of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, which interacted with the Avengers many times, including the famous Korvac saga. And the present version of Vance Astro is the former New Warrior and current teacher at Avengers Academy.
But that's not all. These characters are rich and steeped in Avengers history. Mantis and Moondragon? Full on, former Avengers, who were actually rivals in that whole Celestial Madonna weirdness. Drax fought the Avengers multiple times. Jack Flag interacted and was inspired directly by Captain America. And Phyla-Vell, well, she's especially rich. The daughter of Captain Marvel, one of the dearest and most respected allies of the Avengers, she maintained his legacy for awhile, while also bearing the quantum bands used by Quasar, who is also a former Avenger. Plus, being the son of Mar-Vell makes her the half-sister of Teddy from the Young Avengers. Too bad they never got to meet, let alone learn of each other's existence (they could both have benefited from some more familial support.)
The point being, DnA seem well aware of Avengers history, and steeped their own works so deeply in it that fans often referred to their Guardians team as the Cosmic Avengers (now there's a title I want to read.) The formation of the Annihilators is taking that to a new degree, with several of the A-list powerhouse team members being former Avengers themselves, allies, or erstwhile opponents. Naturally Quasar is the one with the strongest tie to the planet Earth and when I remember how he used to fawn and look up to Captain America in the old days, I pity him and yet cannot wait to see Cap throwing down.
The two teams will be forced to fight, not by the usual confusion of who's an ally and who's an enemy, but because there's just no time to explain.
DnA: This mission is EXTREMELY urgent -- an ultra priority, so there's barely time to talk let along socially interact. They're going in at full throttle to get something done before it's too late. This is the Annihilators at the top of their game doing what they were created to do -- the problem is, it's Earth, not some desolate rock.
John Denning (Editor): The Marvel Universe never gets a day off, does it? "Earthfall" takes place post-"Fear Itself," with everyone still recovering from the trauma. So when the Annihilators arrive, more all-powerful beings falling from the skies and blowing things up, two of them hammer wielders no less, the Avengers are in no mood to ask questions!
The busy, popular, talented writers also teased the return of Adam Warlock's evil counterpart, the Magus, last seen giving the Guardians of the Galaxy a hell of a rough time. I'm not entirely clear on whether that happens during Earthfall, but the main point is, DnA have a lot more stories to tell.
And considering that some of their best characters are just floating out there in the unseen universe, or in a different universe all together as the case may be (StarLord and Nova) this fan fervently hopes they get the chance to tell all those stories.
For now a little cosmic drama with the Avengers will do quite nicely.
Enjoy these preview pages from the upcoming miniseries, and have a great weekend.