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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THANOS IMPERATIVE #3:

This is my first "all over the place" discussion, but I'm kind of enjoying the chaos of it. I really feel as if I've skipped ahead incomparison to where I'm at in my tpb reading (which, of course, I have). I'll likely cover this issue again in more depth when I read it a second time in the correct chronological sequence, but I do have a few comments to make.

First, remember that panel from FF Annual #5 in which Black Bolt was shown leading the Human Torch, the Thing, Black Panther, Triton, Medusa and Karnak striding purposefully toward the reader and caption read: "We suggest you study this illustration carefully, and perhaps even file it away in some safe repository -- for it is unlikely you will soon see another such awsome aggregation of raw power as now confronts your ever-lovin' eyes!"? Well, in this issue's double-page spread featuring Quasar, Bet Ray Bill, Gladiator, Nova, Silver surfer and Ronan, it's finally happened! And it only took 43 years!

Second, I told you it was a bad idea to put Thanos and Drax on the same team... and this issue shows why!
Just noticed that's a current title. Wow you are jumping around willy nilly there. It'd be interesting to jump from where the cosmic characters are now back to the set-up I'm sure.

It's all good.
The Cosmic books are some of the best stuff coming out of either of the big two in recent years. Nova has finally justified the unyielding love I've had for his story ever since I picked up issue number 1, volume 1 at the newstand decades ago.
Just checked and my local library has two War of Kings books that I'll be able to read if we ever get around to it.

Don't see Annihilation: Conquest though.
Wow you are jumping around willy nilly there.

Told ya.

It'd be interesting to jump from where the cosmic characters are now back to the set-up I'm sure.

Not only that, but I’ve been re-reading the original Nova series in dribs and drabs. Speaking of which…

Nova has finally justified the unyielding love I've had for his story ever since I picked up issue number 1, volume 1 at the newstand decades ago.

Unlike more prominent Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man (unfortunately), Richard Rider has been allowed light years of personal growth as a character between his original incarnation and now. It’s really been quite a startling contrast for me, jumping between old and current comics like I have been!

The Cosmic books are some of the best stuff coming out of either of the big two in recent years.

I know, Rich, I remember you saying so on the old board. It may have taken me a while to come around, but when you’re right, you’re right! In the weeks to come, there will be further examples of me belatedly following your and others’ advice.

Just checked and my local library has two War of Kings books that I'll be able to read if we ever get around to it.

I lied when I said I wasn’t even thinking about War of Kings at this point; I am. Thinking about it, that is. I recently finished both Inhumans Masterworks in preparation, but I’ve got some other “refresher reading” to do as well. If no one else starts a War of Kings discussion first, I will… eventually.

Moving on…

ANNIHILATION BOOK 3

Annihilation #1-6: Okay, this is it! The preliminaries are over and it’s time for the main event! Thing is, if I’d’ve decided to read Annihilation off the shelf but skipped the ancillary lead-in series, I probably would have been way confused. This really isn’t part one of the Annihilation story, it’s part twenty-two of the Annihilation saga! I’m sure marketing it as a series of interconnected mini-series was better for sales than to make it one ongoing series (and I don’t have a problem with that), but I’m glad I’m reading it in collected format!

It’s really more like a novel in that sense. You could read an abridged novel with certain chapters omitted and still get a complete narrative, but you’d miss a lot of the set up and parallels as you would if you read only certain of the annihilation mini-series. Comparing the collected order to the reading order (release order) Figs posted back on page one of this thread, I must say I prefer the collected format. Most scenes are prefaced by a caption which places them chronologically, but the story doesn’t necessarily need to be read in a strictly linear fashion. For the most part, though (with some exceptions), each mini series occurs as the “Annihilation Wave” spreads out, and it helps to think of each mini as chapter of its own, rather than a story comprised of four chapters.

My wife could tell just from the cover this didn’t look like “my kind of comic book.” She came over to take a closer look over my shoulder (right at the scene in which Thanos rips Moondragon’s ear off) and deem that it wasn’t “age appropriate” for me. “What age is appropriate?” I asked. She thought it looked as if it would appeal to a “20-something gamer.” I disagree, though. I think this kind of storytelling represents a whole new paradigm. I’ve seen crossover series like this before, but never as well-executed.

Heralds of Galactus #1-2: Actually, it strikes me that the lead-in Silver Surfer series could well have been sub-titled “Heralds of Galactus.” These two issues present a kind of “epilogue” to the Annihilation event.

The Nova Corps Files: This is a handbook style “who’s who” of the major characters. It’s informative, yet by adhering too closely to its premise it omits the most useful information, namely issue numbers!

On to Annihilation Conquest: Book 1!
Jeff of Earth-J said:
THANOS IMPERATIVE #3:
Second, I told you it was a bad idea to put Thanos and Drax on the same team... and this issue shows why!

Keep in mind that what appears to happen on the last page of this issue can't actually happen in the universe they're in.

I'm looking forward to finding out what the consequences of it being attempted are going to be.

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ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST BOOK 1

PROLOGUE: This one features the characters whose limited series are also collected in this volume and foreshadows the formation of the team not-yet-known-as the Guardians of the Galaxy. I found this prolugur to be much more engaging than the prologue for the first Annihilation series.

STARLORD #1-4: This is what I’ve been waiting for! Although the series is titles “starlord,” it’s really about Starlord and Mantis and Bug and Rocket Raccoon and Groot. It’s great to see these diverse character grouped together, but it’s more than that. You can’t just slap together and characters at random; there has to be a reason, and the writer has to develop chemistry between and among the individual members. In fact, the only one who doesn’t really seem to belong if Deathcry, but even she fulfills a specific function before the story’s done.

QUASAR #1-4: Remember, earlier in this thread, when I mentioned that I once started reading the original Quasar series as backissues and someone “bought them out from under me”? Well, the owner of my LCS speculates that this mini-series, current new at the time, may have been the reason why. No matter. Anyway, what makes this series work for me, more than Phyla-Vell as heir to both Quasar as well as her own father mantle as “Protector of the Universe” is her relationship with Moondragon.

Purposefully written as a character with an attitude, from Avengers to Defenders to Captain Marvel, Moondragon has never been a favorite character of mine. Peter David made her a lesbian, but even he failed to make her interesting. Now she’s not only interesting but likeable. Phyla has softened her rough edges, and the reason why she’s been such a b*tch all of her life has been explained. Unfortunately, something tragic happens during the course of this mini-series which threatens to destroy her newfound happiness.

ANNIHILATION SAGA: As a recap of the first Annihilation series and a lead-in to the second one, this issue logically belongs at the beginning of the collection (which is how I read it), not at the end. Man, a lot happened in that series!

Of the stuff collected in the Annihilation: Conquest Book 1 tpb, the Starlord mini-series was my favorite.
Peter David made her a lesbian ...

I know what you meant, but Holy Cow that made me laugh!
Me, too! (After you pointed it out.) Sorry, Peter!
It's funny in her first Avengers story both Thor and Iron Man were strongly attracted to her, though she did rebuff them. When she was in the Defenders, she used her ESP to heighten her appeal to the Angel and Iceman in order to get them to remove the headband Odin put on her to dampen her powers. I always wondered if she did the same thing to Goldilocks and Shell-head to further whatever agenda she had.
I wouldn't be at all surprised.

It occurs to me I forgot to mention Captain Universe in my treatment of the Starlord mini-series, but I will have more to say about him in a future post.

Also, I neglected to mention an important development from the Quasar mini: the return of Adam Warlock!
Jeff of Earth-J said:
It occurs to me I forgot to mention Captain Universe in my treatment of the Starlord mini-series, but I will have more to say about him in a future post.

I noticed that. I wondered if he might be getting his own post based on the TPB I sent you.

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