Posted by:
Byron Brewer

The Brewer Report: Annihilators 2: Dawkhawk?


I know, I know.


The Annihilators limited series has not even hit stands yet, and already we excited – and, let’s be honest, somewhat angered and ignored – Marvel Cosmic fans are either frothing at the bit for more or panning the project which does not include Nova or our beloved Guardians of the Galaxy. (Just check out the CosmicBookNews forum, for d’ast sake!)

But even though the TI: Devastation one-shot did not touch on many threads from the aftermath of the Cancerverse storyline, serving to instead set up the coming mini  by cosmic scribes Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the use of Cosmo as a unifying vehicle and Knowhere as their future HQ says this is being done in the spirit of GotG and alludes to the fact that if this mini sending heavy hitters Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Quasar, Beta Ray Bill, Ronan and Ikon against the Dire Wraiths blasts off, undoubtedly some of those story threads will be picked up in a second Annihilators LS or, better yet, an ongoing!

And what better second arc could these cosmic champions take on, IMO, than – the continuation of Darkhawk’s mission and the Fraternity of Raptors?

Back in July of last year, as you may recall, a poster byronically named “thepowell” asked Marvel’s own Tom Brevoort in his Friday T&A spot on CBR: “When are we next going to be seeing more of Darkhawk, or at least the Fraternity of Raptors? We saw them running around all over the place during Realm of Kings, but with DH going out of commission in the lead-in to The Thanos Imperative, us Hawk-fans are getting concerned that DnA might not have any further use of him. Can we expect to see him – or at least his evil ‘brothers’ – any time soon?”

Tom referred the question to Marvel Cosmic editor and CBN friend Editor Bill Rosemann, who said: “Darkhawk was last seen in the pages of Nova #36, where, in the course of defending Project Pegasus, he suffered serious injuries – including having his mysterious amulet embedded into his chest! Will he rise again and once again hunt down the cosmic assassins that make up the evil Raptor brotherhood? And will he ever prove that he didn’t assassinate the former Shi’Ar Majestrix Lilandra? Look to the stars!”

Well, we are approaching the March debut of DnA’s Annihilators mini and, with these heavy hitters battling the Dire Wraiths, I would certainly say this book is where the stars are out!

With Richard Rider, Chris Powell’s chum, now among the missing, it would naturally fall to both Gladiator, who had already begun his pursuit of “The Galaxy’s Most Wanted” (DH) before TTI began and who was very loyal to Lilandra, or Cosmo, whose “to-do” list from Peter Quill (also MIA) certainly would include the capture of the accused assassin of the Guardians’ ally, Lilandra.


For those who have been under an asteroid for the past few bleems, the Earth superhero Chris Powell, known as Darkhawk, got involved in the cosmic side of life with the War of Kings event in a four-issue series written by DnA called War of Kings: Ascension. With the Loners series ending with low sales and unlikely to be followed with a sequel, series writer CB Cebulski was assigned to write a two-issue Darkhawk series, with Abnett and Lanning co-scripting the second issue to ensure it tied into their own Ascension.

Therein, a second Darkhawk armor appears near the Powell family home, and the unknown occupant of the armor forces Chris to transform to his own armored form shortly before an explosion rocks the immediate area. Chris' family survives the blast, but his mother is critically injured. The new Darkhawk introduces himself as “Talon” and claims to be part of the “Fraternity of Raptors," an order created as "the curators of history, and the custodians of the future," of which he and Chris are the last two members. He also explains that Chris' anger issues are a direct result of the amulet not being designed to work with humans. Talon offers to assist Chris with the amulet, and after some deliberation he opts to do so; the two then retreat to the Negative Zone.

In War of Kings: Ascension, Chris and Talon are soon fighting a group of Chitinauts, bug troops that serve Catastrophus, a lieutenant of Annihilus, where Talon's brutal techniques horrify Chris. Later, Chris reveals that he wanted to be just like his friend Nova. Talon explains to him that the Nova Corps are nothing compared to the Fraternity. Eventually, after being tricked by Talon into fighting just as lethally, Chris manages to connect to the Datasong of the Null Source, which gives him visions of the true past of the Fraternity -- a history of kidnappings and assassinations which lead Chris to conclude that the Fraternity are the big bads. At this point, Talon attacks him, purging Christopher's consciousness from the armor, which manifests a new persona: Razor!

Talon and Razor then recover the Cosmic Control Rod from Catastrophus, Talon stopping briefly to implant a suggestion in the gestating Annihilus, and proceed onward. Chris' personality is revealed not to have been wholly destroyed yet, and a vision of his father tells him that much of what he believed about the armor was false; the prior history, even Evilhawk himself, was a lie made up by his own mind, the other armor a second configuration that took control to cover earlier anger issues. Horrified, Chris' psyche breaks free of the prison it was locked in, only for Chris to find himself on a great tree adorned with thousands of amulets like his own, where he encounters gargoyle-like creatures that urge him to return to the one which he has just emerged from. Meanwhile, in the Negative Zone, Talon and Razor offer Blastaar (oops, King Blastaar) the Cosmic Control Rod in exchange for his assistance influencing the outcome of the War of Kings.

Chris encounters a Skrull on the great tree who has a relationship with Talon much as Razor has with him. However, the Skrull also confides that humanity, as a newer race, cannot be wholly accounted for or controlled by the Raptors, and that Chris's own outbursts of rage have been growing pains in his own control. With this understanding, Chris is able to reassert control over the Darkhawk armor, but not before Razor shoots several Shi'ar -- and kills Lilandra!


Chris later confronts Talon, and while he is able to force the other raptor to release the Skrull temporarily, he is quick to begin asserting control again. The Skrull commits suicide to prevent Talon from manifesting, but not before he charges Chris with destroying the rest of the Raptor amulets before they can bring the Fraternity of Raptors back.

Following in the umbrella of titles labeled Realm of Kings, new Shi'ar Imperium ruler Gladiator, who watched his queen die, declares Darkhawk the "Galaxy's Most Wanted," making Chris an intergalactic fugitive. His old friend Nova, not willing to believe Chris could be a murderer, tracks him to the planet Shard, which is in danger of falling into the rift in space/time known as the Fault. Nova offers to help Chris clear his name, but they are interrupted by an attacking biomass from the Fault and by the awakening of another Raptor, named Gyre. All three are trapped on the planet as it is disintegrated by the Fault.

Darkhawk finds himself saved, alongside Nova, by Nova's old enemy the Sphinx, who seems unaware of Darkhawk's presence. Together, the two heroes join past versions of Reed Richards, Black Bolt and Namorita in helping the Sphinx combat his younger self. The young Sphinx draws his own warriors, including Gyre, into the battle, and Darkhawk faces and defeats Gyre in single combat, exorcising him from the Kree archaeologist he had possessed.

During the fight, Gyre reveals that many more Raptors are re-awakening. Ultimately, the elder Sphinx defeats his counterpart, and mentally controls Darkhawk into giving him his younger self's Ka Stone. Nevertheless, the heroes are able to defeat the double-powered Sphinx and return to their proper places in time (except Namorita, who is pulled into the normal Marvel U. 616 world).

Darkhawk returns to Earth and Project Pegasus to help Nova fight the evil Quasar from the Cancerverse on the other side of the Fault. The evil Quasar damages Darkhawk so badly that his suit shuts down, leaving him alive but unable to accompany Nova as he goes to warn the universe about the threat posed by the Fault. Nova leaves Darkhawk in the care of Pegasus' medical team.

That was the last we saw of our hero, although Cosmo and others have journeyed to Project Pegasus since the incident. No DH!

But meanwhile, back on the Shi'ar homeworld, Gladiator is still trying to hold his people together. A new female Araki, one of Kallark’s advisors, is already planting a seed which could lead to a war with Earth, but she appears to be loyal to Gladiator. But the female adviser privately reveals herself to be Talon in disguise. Talon seems content with Gladiator as the new ruler of the Shi’ar -- for the present.

With the coming of the Fault, Talon uses his camouflage abilities to stow away aboard the starship of the Starjammers in the guise of the Imperial Guardsman Smasher when Gladiator sends them on an exploration mission. Once there the group comes under attack by several hostile entities, and Talon turns the chaotic situation to his advantage. He does some investigating of his own and finds two more amulets which would birth more of his brethren.

He makes a major mistake by disabling the craft they flew into the Fault with, and his deception was uncovered by Mentor. Acting on the orders of her new IG praetor, Plutonia seizes the amulets, holding them hostage, while Talon is questioned. The interrogation has to wait, though, as the Guard is attacked by a deadly foe. If not for the intervention of Gladiator, all would have perished.

Talon's fate is not assured as Gladiator demands he pay for the murder of Lilandra, but Talon swears it was Darkhawk who committed the crime. As their very survival comes into question, Mentor and Plutonia volunteer to undergo the permanent bond with the amulets in order to increase their chances of making out of the Fault alive.

Little or nothing has been mentioned about the new Raptors coming from Mentor and Plutonia’s sacrifices or Talon’s continued spying, but we do see Araki in both TTI and Devastation. Could this be Talon? If so, Gladiator may be playing into the hands of the Fraternity and not even know about it!

How’s all that for the Annihilators’ second adventure? What say, Marvel? DnA?

Issue #1 of the Annihilators limited series hits stores in March!