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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According to wikipedia (and the covers of issues #1 & 6) he is, but I find Skottie Young's art (not to mention the series' very premise) to be extrememly unappealing.
Huh. Wouldja look at that; Nova was in it.
CAPTAIN UNIVERSE VS. THE X-MEN: I can’t believe that when I reviewed all those Captain Universe stories a couple of weeks ago I forgot to mention the ultra-rare and super-collectible comic book in which the Enigma Force grants the Uni-Power to… Jeff of Earth-J! The story, art and (especially) characterization isn’t all I had hoped for, but I nevertheless hold this one in a soft place in my heart because it features me! It even came with a Captain Universe trading card featuring all my stats!

There were both male and female versions available (you may recall seeing these advertised in Marvel comic books of the mid-90s), and purchasers were to supply their own name, hometown and the name of a friend. Things were just starting to get serious with the girl I was seeing at the time, and I seriously considered sending her name. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because I didn’t end up with her and the situation would have proven difficult to explain today to my wife! I sent in the name of my dog instead, which made for an unusual scene when I phoned home and spoke to him on the phone!

I was just looking at an ad from a recent DC comic book for Hostess Flash Cakes and Green Lantern Globalls which features a chance to “Be the Hero of Your Own Comic Book Cover!” but it looks to me to be more of a contest than a specialized item available for purchase. In any case, the last time I went to the grocery store I found neither Flash Cakes nor Globalls. :(
It has become increasingly apparent my p&h will not be completely free of pre-orders for some time to come, so I went in to my LCS last week with the intention to bite the bullet and buy the Annihilation Conquest: Book 2 tpb, but when I got there I discovered it was the first week of a progressive six week liquidation sale. I will continue the discussion of Annihilation Conquest someday, but last week I did buy/read The Thanos Imperative #5: another great issue is this series with a shock ending leading to the series conclusion.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
CAPTAIN UNIVERSE VS. THE X-MEN:

I know you are the proud owner of many lovely collections of historically and artistically precious American comicbooks, many in hardback, on finest paper stock, and some perhaps with that little ribbon that only important books like the Bible have, but this is the only comic I am envious of your having...

You appear in a Marvel comic with the X-Men? How cool is that? If you got to zap Gambit across the room with your Uni-Power, please don't tell me, as that would make my jealousy unbearable!

Or 'well-nigh' unbearable, since this is X-Men comics we are talking about.

4Q2K10 has been a good couple of months for comics. Know how I can tell? Because this thread has lain fallow (with no posts requiring the purchase of a new tpb, I mean) since August. I try to limit myself to one collection of archival material each week, but I also give precedence to new items I have pre-ordered rather than those sitting on the shelves. That means Annihilation: Conquest volume two has been bumped from my weekly purchases for the past sixteen weeks in a row due to merchandise I pre-ordered!

 

I must admit that before I proceeded on to Annihilation: Conquest V2 I re-read Annihilation: Conquest V1, just to get myself back in the proper mindset. Then I went back and re-read my thoughts on V1 from August 25 (page 5 of this thread), just to make sure my past and present selves are in synch. (They are, in this case, but that doesn’t always happen.) I really needn’t’ve bothered, though, as the stories I’ve read so far in V2 are more-or-less self-contained.

 

ANNIHILATION CONQUEST V2:

 

NOVA #4-7: These four issues read almost like a mini-series featuring a new Nova, the Kree Captain Ko-Rel, newly drafted as Nova Centurion to replace Nova Prime Richard Ryder, now infected by the Phalanx Virus. (The similarities to HIV/AIDS are unmistakable.) It’s a continuation of the overall Annihilation: conquest storyline, yes, but because this is Nova’s first encounter with the virus, everything the new reader needs to know is contained in these four issues. But Ko-Rel’s tenure as Nova Centurion is not as happy or successful as when Richard Ryder took over from Rhomann Dey.

 

NOVA #8-12 and ANNUAL #1: These issues are not included in the Annihilation Conquest V2 tpb, but Alan M. says they go here, and my long-held motto has been, “If you can’t trust Alan M., who can you trust?” [Also, here’s a long overdue public “thank you” to Alan for sending me the volume under discussion!] Marvel agrees with Alan, too, however, because they’ve inserted a re-cap of these issues between Nova 37 and Wraith #1 in the A:C V2 tpb. I can kinda see why Marvel left these issues out. They are less directly involved with the overall storyline, plus, if they were to include nine issues of Nova plus an annual, it all of a sudden becomes less of an Annihilation collection and more of a Nova collection.

 

This collection is worthwhile if for no other reason than the introduction of Cosmo, the talking Russian astronaut dog. The long arm of co-incidence reaches out once again as Nova traces the Phalanx virus to its home planet, which turns out to be none other than that of the alien machine entity Warlock, featured in New Mutants for a time in the 1980s. I never was too big of a fan of that character and thought he/it was an ill fit for the mutants (despite him actually being a mutant of his own race, as it turns out), and this tie-in seems about as logical as the planet which repaired Voyager 6 and sent it on its merry way (as revealed in Star Trek: TMP) turning out to be the Borg homeworld (as revealed in one of William Shatner’s Star Trek novels). Having said that, though, I enjoyed reading this appearance of the character more than any other Warlock story I have ever read, so there’s that.

 

I’ll be back with my thoughts on Wraith #1-4.

Well, I said I’d be back but I didn’t say when.

When I started this discussion, my intention had been to read all of the preliminary “Annihilation” stuff, then move on to the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy series. I got up to the point that series began and decided to take a break. I spent six months preparing to read the GotG series, then just… stopped. My interest had moved elsewhere. I didn’t even post my thoughts on Wraith or the rest of the final “Annihilation” tpb. But I did just re-read this entire discussion, though. It is all over the place… but intentionally so. I am soon going to resume this discussion with the 2008 GotG series (at last), but see no reason not to continue with various “diversions.”

MICRONAUTS: All of my Micronauts comics fit nicely (if increasingly tightly) within a single short box. About a year ago I was in a Half-Price Bookstore and spotted the five-issue Micronauts Special Edition series (reprinting the first dozen issues of the Mantlo/Golden classic) for $1 apiece. I didn’t really need them, but it too good of a deal to pass up. Besides, it’s not likely we’ll see these issues collected anytime soon because of the rights issues involved. Where to store them, though…? I’ve decided, because of the prominence of Captain Universe and Bug, to put them in my “cosmic” box.

STARLORD:

I recently finished re-reading all the early Star-Lord appearances I mentioned last week in “What Comic Books Have You Read Today?” My intention had been to read some of the more recent Starlord material in an effort to smooth out the discrepancies in his various origin stories. Although I did read the tpb of the first six issues of the 2015 series (numbered volume 3, oddly, of the 2014 series), I no longer feel the need to reconcile the differences because multiple online sources inform me the original Star0Lord and the current Star-Lord are considered two different characters. The current comic book version is more closely in line with the movie version. The new origin story wasn’t bad, though; I may pick up another volume or two in the future to explore her relationship with Kitty Pryde.

Here’s an alternate cover illustrating the two versions side-by-side.

Micronauts Special Edition #2 has a text page by Mantlo describing the origin of the series in the inside front cover.

I think Mantlo was a better writer than he gets credit for having been. His earlier work was always readable and entertaining, and more reliably so than some more admired writers'. He devised some good concepts for Micronauts, especially the sinister Body Banks, and he gave Baron Karza the menace of a top villain.

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