I am a fan of Marvel’s “cosmic” characters but I haven’t been following them for some years now (not since 2004, I reckon). I’ve tried to keep my mind in over the years [including Thunderbolts #100 (2006), the Civil War: The Return one-shot (2007) and the five-issue Captain Marvel limited series and The Mighty Avengers #19 (both 2008)], but none of those really seemed to strike my fancy. I don’t know what caused me to pick up the Thanos Imperative: Ignition one-shot a couple of weeks ago, but I had previously read the six-issue “Samaritan” story (Thanos #7-12) by Giffen and Lim (i.e., “someone other than Starlin”), so I figured what the hell.

I know from previous experience that mentioning Jim Starlin’s name is immediately going to polarize the opinions of those reading this, but to them I say to re-read (or read) his last major “cosmic” trilogy for Marvel (Infinity Abyss #1-6, Marvel: The End #1-6 and Thanos #1-6) in a single sitting (as I did just this morning) before rebutting.

Reading Thanos Imperative: Ignition was like opening the floodgates to the past several years’ worth of Marvel’s “cosmic” comics and doing so convinced me that someone other than Starlin can write cosmic Marvel comics. Initially my intention had been to follow just the Thanos Imperative limited series, but after two issues, discussions with Alan and Dagwan, and some research on my own, I decided to backtrack and pick up some of the series I had inadvertently “trade waited.”

I the days to come I will be starting at two different points in the cosmic timeline: at the very beginning with the Annihilation Book 1 tpb (collecting Drax the Detroyer #1-4, Annihilation: Prologue one-shot, and Nova #1-4) as well as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (collecting issues #1-6). In addition, I will be discussing future issues of Thanos Imperative in this thread as they are released.

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I've had most of the comics in that last paragraph sitting to read for quite a while now. I might give them a squiz and keep up with your commentary.

I have no allegiance one way or the other to Marvel's cosmic comics. I'm surprised they haven't had more of them, as there's a whole universe beyond the Earth to explore. (There's a whole Earth beyond NY too, but that's another story.)

I only experienced Starlin's comics at the fag-end, with some The Infinity Gems/Gauntlet tosh. I'm surprised they haven't collected Starlin's stuff systematically as an Essential. I'd imagine it would have lots of takers.

Annihillation onwards seems to have acquired enough of a following that they have extended the storyline, so perhaps they are very good.
I think that the "Captain Marvel" mini was a ploy to tug at longtime readers who actually thought Mar-Vell could return. It would have been nice during a Skrull invasion to have a Kree hero at our side. Strange, that no one thought to bring in the Kree as a temporary alliance but then Norman Osborn wouldn't have been our *savior*!

BTW, is there any reason why Monica Rambeau/Photon/Pulsar can't call herself Captain Marvel now?
ploy

Marketing tactic?

As someone who thinks The Death of Captain Marvel was one of the better things Marvel has put their name to, I was happy that they didn't stick that in the trashcan, which bringing back the real Captain Marvel would have done.

BTW, is there any reason why Monica Rambeau/Photon/Pulsar can't call herself Captain Marvel now?

I guess the kids who followed her in the 90's aren't quite there yet... Their day will come.
So Jeff, is that the 70's Guardians of the Galaxy you're reading as well? I saw the hardback quite cheap lately and was tempted, but it was still out of my price-range. I've only read the Guardians in my cherished 'Michael-era' Avengers comics.

For what its worth, the full reading order of the original Annihilation storyline looks like this apparently:

Reading Order:

Annihilation Prologue #1
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1
Annihilation: Nova #1
Annihilation: Ronan #1
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2
Annihilation: Nova #2
Annihilation: Ronan #2
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #3
Annihilation: Nova #3
Annihilation: Ronan #3
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4
Annihilation: Nova #4
Annihilation: Ronan #4
Annihilation #1
Annihilation #2
Annihilation #3
Annihilation #4
Annihilation #5
Annihilation #6

Related Issues:
Drax the Destroyer #1-4

From here

Can anyone say why Drax the Destroyer is only 'related issues' (without giving away the whole story)? Where do they fit in the reading order?

I'm coming at these characters pretty fresh, so hopefully they'll stand up on their own here...
The Drax mini appeared first. Wikipedia has accounts of the Annihilation series, full of spoilers. From what I can tell, the Drax mini remodelled him and introduced a supporting character who appeared in the Annihilation series.
Before writing the Guardians in Marvel Presents, Gerber had used them in Marvel Two-In-One and Defenders. Those issues should be in the relevant Essentials.
What Luke said. The Drax mini has nothing to do with the storyline of Annihilation, really, except insofar as it puts Drax on the board under a new paradigm.

Figs, I'm assuming Jeff means he's starting with the current Guardians of the Galaxy series, but I could be wrong. It'll be interesting seeing this discussion come from both directions simultaneously; I don't think there's any major spoilage of either book in the other, but there's a lot of "how could they have gotten there from here?" story gaps between the two volumes that should keep you intrigued, Jeff.
The current Guardians series is volume two. Volume one was the 1990-1995 one, initially by Jim Valentino.
Luke Blanchard said:
The current Guardians series is volume two. Volume one was the 1990-1995 one, initially by Jim Valentino.

Right, but the first book of the current series is volume one, too. ;)
[very small voice]Oh.[/very small voice]
The 90s Guardians was pretty cool. Its main strength and main weakness was its emphasis on future versions of Marvel's heroes. The 31st century Spirit of Vengeance (Ghost Rider), Phoenix, Hollywood (Wonder Man) and the finding of Cap's shield. And there was a heroic Skrull (Replica) in that one, too!
I'm surprised they haven't collected Starlin's stuff systematically as an Essential.

I’m not as familiar with the “Essential” line as I am with the “Masterworks” and “Premiere Hardcover” lines, but between the latter two they’ve got most of Starlin’s “cosmic” work covered. Captain Marvel Masterworks Vol. 3 collects issues #23-33 (and Iron Man #55), Warlock Masterworks Vol. 2 collects #9 through Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, The Death of Captain Marvel has been collected many times, most recently in Premiere Hardcover edition of its own, last week (presumably due to interest generated by the current stories) the “Retrun of Thanos” storyline from Silver Surfer and The Thanos Quest (art by Ron Lim) as well as The Infinity Gauntlet (art by George perez and Ron Lim) were both released, and in a few weeks another Premiere Hardcover will feature Marvel: The End. there are a few gaps in there, but that’s the main stuff.

BTW, is there any reason why Monica Rambeau/Photon/Pulsar can't call herself Captain Marvel now?

Well [SPOILER], there’s a Captain Marvel running around in Thanos Imperative. [END SPOILER]. Funny, I was sorting through my “cosmic” box over the weekend and noted that Genis-Vell first copped the Monica’s moniker “Captain Marvel” in Avengers Unplugged when she became Photon, then later became Photon himself when he joined the Thunderbolts.

So Jeff, is that the 70's Guardians of the Galaxy you're reading as well?

Figs, I'm assuming Jeff means he's starting with the current Guardians of the Galaxy series

Right. I’ll be starting with volume two.

Volume one was the 1990-1995 one, initially by Jim Valentino.

I haven’t read too much of that, just a little bit.

Before writing the Guardians in Marvel Presents, Gerber had used them in Marvel Two-In-One and Defenders.

The early Marvel Super Heroes, Defenders and Marvel Two-In One Guardians stories have been collected in one Premiere hardcover, the Marvel Presents series in another…

I've only read the Guardians in my cherished 'Michael-era' Avengers comics.

…and the “Michael Saga” in a third. Is this the “Golden Age of Reprints” or what!?

For what it’s worth, the full reading order of the original Annihilation storyline looks like this apparently

I’ll be reading these via tpbs which lump the mini-series together, but this list’ll come in handy keep track of release order. I’ll be using the freebie “Son of Marvel Reading Chronology” to guide my purchases.

The Drax mini has nothing to do with the storyline of Annihilation, really, except insofar as it puts Drax on the board under a new paradigm.

That’s fine with me. I’m just as interested in catching up with old characters as I am in following the “Annihilation” storyline, anyway, and the first tpb does include the Drax mini-series.

Wikipedia has accounts of the Annihilation series, full of spoilers.

Thanks for the warning. I know the overall direction of the events from the recently released Thanos sourcebook, but I’ll be avoiding specific spoilers.

…there's a lot of "how could they have gotten there from here?" story gaps between the two volumes that should keep you intrigued, Jeff.

I’m really looking forward to it. I can hardly wait until Wednesday!

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