As a comic book reader, a Marvel Cosmic fan (yes, we still say “cosmic”) of 40-plus years and a writer, I returned to comics with great interest after a decade-long sabbatical just as Annihilation hit the stands!
Oh joy, oh rapture!
As the incredible space opus was continued by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, one of the questions I continued to have was: Where is Cammi?
Then came a moment in Guardians of the Galaxy where Drax almost went searching for his erstwhile companion of a tender age. But instead, he found his daughter – alive! – and headed into Thanos: Imperative wherein he was killed.
In my fan’s mind, before the events of the ground-breaking and Marvel ED-ignored T:I, I had other thoughts about the return of Cammi to Drax. And they are in this story treatment that I actually did sent to D and A about the same time Marvel ED was probably telling them their books were done (“hiatus,” my arse!) and to wrap everything up in a neat package.
No one’s eyes – except DnA’s – have seen this. But with the return of Cammi and Darkhawk, I thought you, our loyal
(And of course, just for kicks, I threw in Annihilus and -- the Stranger! Enjoy.)
“Re-introducing the Stranger”
Time: Just prior to Thanos: Imperative, when we were all still enjoying DnA on Nova, Guardians of the Galaxyand those great mini-series.
On an unidentified planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, the enigmatic Stranger stands in his laboratory looking at two floating subjects: Cammi, the young girl who was once companion to Drax the Destroyer, and a globe of null energy which holds the original Nega-Bands created long ago by the Kree Intelligence Supreme and recently retrieved by the Stranger from the locked tomb of the deceased Captain Mar-Vell.
Through his vast studies of the Cosmos, the Stranger has discovered that Cammi, like the Terran Rick Jones, possesses latent psionic potential. The Stranger hopes to use the Nega-Bands, which provide a natural gateway into the Negative Zone, to journey unnoticed by denizens of the Zone to the dimension to prevent the hatching of an “egg” containing an ever-growing infant Annihilus.
Although he did not take part in either Annihilation War, the Stranger is concerned with the health of the universe since the release of Black Bolt’s T-bomb and plans to make certain Annihilus never rises again. Moreover, the Stranger has discovered that the wielder of the Kree Nega-Bands is also granted a heightened awareness, Cosmic Awareness. As a scientist, this above all interests the alien as it is a power he does not possess,
Although the Stranger is himself a powerful cosmic being, he has determined (whether correctly or not) that he needs to maintain a link to the positive 616 universe in order to achieve his goals. He has determined the best link for him would be the Earth girl Cammi, once her psionic potential is released.
As the Stranger bathes the Earth girl in multi-hued energies from a device once owned by the Kree Supremer, the planet is approached by a ship containing Drax the Destroyer and his fellow Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord, Bug, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Vance Astro and Drax’s daughter Moondragon. Drax has been on the path of Cammi for months, dating back before the time his daughter Moondragon was discovered alive again. Gossip across merchant vessels and migrating colony arks seeking escape from the Shiar Imperium has led Drax and his fellow Guardians to this uncharted planet.
Drax, in his wars against Thanos, has met and even battled the Stranger before. But that was when he was stronger and could blast cosmic fire from his hands. It was hard for Drax to ask his fellow Guardians to accompany him, putting their lives in danger. But as Richard Rider (Nova) learned from Drax, so too has the former Arthur Douglas learned from the humans he has been exposed to (especially Star-Lord and Jack Flag) about camaraderie and the need for teamwork.
As Cammi screams, energy swirlies surround her head. The Stranger slaps one Nega-Band on Cammi’s wrist while the second is slapped around his opposite wrist. The Stranger violently slaps his wrist against the Earth child’s arm, and the lab explodes in a corona of unearthly energy. As the blast occurs, Drax and his band of Guardians make their way through the rubble of the Stranger’s lab looking for Cammi. What they find is the Stranger, floating in a lotus position contemplating what went wrong: Instead of transporting himself to the Negative Zone, Cammi is gone -- and so are both Nega-Bands!
The Guardians engage the Stranger in battle as best they can while Drax looks through the rubble for Cammi. After a cosmic skirmish, the Stranger determines to hunt out Ravenous, currently held prisoner by the new Nova Corps, in an effort to get to the Negative Zone, put an end to Annihilus before the despot can return to life and retrieve the precious bands.
When Drax finds the Stranger is off to retrieve Cammi (who is attached to the bands), he accompanies the last survivor of Gigantus. With Nova away on a mission, the Stranger finds it child’s play to break through the defenses of the Xandarian ship Resolute Duty and free Ravenous, despite the best efforts of the Nova Corp trainees. Unfortunately, when he releases Ravenous, a few of the Praetorian Guard escape as well. The Stranger, Drax and Ravenous depart in a burst of energy, leaving the Nova Corps to clean up the mess and re-capture the Praetorians.
Ravenous under threat from the Stranger tells the odd duo of a portal on Earth in the headquarters of the Fantastic Four. It takes less than a breath for the Stranger to make it past the HERBIEs of the unoccupied BaxterBuildingand fly through the portal, Drax still in tow.
Simultaneously, Star-Lord and the Guardians arrive at the Resolute Duty and help Philo and the returning Nova recapture the Praetorians, also seeing to injuries among the Corps. Nova and the Guardians prepare to head to Earth via Knowhere’s Continuum Cortex. With the instantaneous transport that bypasses time and space, the group arrives at the BaxterBuildingas the Stranger and Drax vanish through the Negative Zone portal; the Stranger seals it behind him and our heroes are helpless.
In the Negative Zone, Cammi (unknowing of the power she possesses with the Nega-Bands) has been taken prisoner by thralls of the late Catastrophus. Weak but unbound, the plucky youth recognizes the almost-hatched Annihilus in his goo egg and realizes suddenly the weight of what she must do. She picks up a piece of debris and goes over to shatter the egg and kill the almost-adult Annihilus. But just as she goes to strike, Annihilus breaks free of the egg and grabs Cammi, inadvertently slamming her wrists (and thus the two Kree Nega-Bands) together.
In a brilliant light, nu-Annihilus and Cammi disappear from the Negative Zone and reappear in the heart of New York City, outside the Baxter Building where the Guardians are being held by force by a returning FF as Nova desperately (and comically) tries to explain to Dr. Richards who these galactic heroes are.
Ben Grimm (the Thing) notices a noise outside and there stands an Annihilus of Cammi’s stature, glowing with unbelievable power from the Nega-Bands on the streets of New York: nu-Annihilus and Cammi have merged!
Star-Lord, Moondragon and the other Guardians (sans Drax) and the Fantastic Four join forces to battle the mini-Annihilus until Moondragon telepathically senses Cammi’s thoughts in nu-Annihilus’ mind. While they have never met, Cammi has told his daughter much of his missing terran companion.
In the Negative Zone, Drax does battle with the thralls of Catastrophus while an ignored Ravenous escapes. While the battle goes on, the Stranger uses an other-worldly Kirby-esque device to locate Cammi. Survey says both she and nu-Annihilus are gone. The Stranger uses a twin device to trace the merged entity to Earth, where a fierce battle is even then underway.
Energy such as those given off by Sue Richards, Nova – even Johnny Storm’s flames -- are absorbed and redirected toward the heroes. Weapons seem to be equally useless as their energy is absorbed and redirected at the crusaders. Ben and Groot -- those with any enhanced strength -- for once fare better:
“It’s Clobberin’ Time!”
“I am GROOT!!!”
Suddenly, Moondragon is whispered something by Reed Richards. The telepath reaches into the brain of the occupied nu-Annihilus and releases Cammi’s latent psionic energies. The composite creature suddenly finds itself being attacked by physically viable images of the “old” Drax, Paiboc the Power Skrull, the Blood Brothers and Lunatik: the survivors of the crashed Dredge 01!
At this moment, just as Reed and Rocket Raccoon are about to blast nu-Annihilus with a big bad Nick Fury-like gun, the Stranger and Drax appear. The true Drax strikes nu-Annihilus (not fully aware of the merger) in the heart, pulling out goo as the bug-creature screams bloody murder. At that same instant, the Stranger grabs the Nega-Bands, the now-separated body of nu-Annihilus -- and vanishes!
The people of NYC begin exiting the surrounding bars, businesses and high-rises. The heroes surround Drax, who is cradling Cammi in his arms. Her eyes are empty white circles and she is screaming “Oooooooooooooo --”
The experience has driven her mad.