Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover: Alex Garner
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Release Date: January 5th, 2011
With The Thanos Imperative: Devastation, Abnett and Lanning begin to distance themselves from the previous five years worth of Annihilation-era cosmic stories we all have been accustomed to. As seen in the last issue of The Thanos Imperative, Peter Quill, leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Richard Rider, leader of the Nova Corps, have been seemingly wiped off the face of the Marvel U. As with the two Marvel Cosmic mainstays, for the past three years at least, Nova and Star-Lord join their respective titles, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, -- into Oblivion.
Fan-favorite canine, Cosmo, is used to ease the changeover between the old guard and the new - or perhaps "convince" would be the better word. I can't help but think, when Cosmo is describing the Guardians of the Galaxy to be a band of misfits that aren't the very best, that it is more Marvel selling us as to what is to come; as if to say, "sorry these guys weren't good enough, BUT these are."
It almost comes off as offensive; the Guardians of the Galaxy was one of my favorite titles and a book I felt to be one of Marvel's better reads. I only wish the top Brass agreed. As we get inundated with Marvel Studios movie tie-ins - that do not sell any better than Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy - I feel as if I am being treated like a second class reader. Marvel's answer to more cosmic is cosmic with their popular characters (Thor, Cap, X-Men). When the Marvel Cosmic I do enjoy is proven to be a seller, we are only given IFs, something akin to a handicap or poor man's bread. Meanwhile, across the street, the direct competition is set to premiere the biggest blockbuster of the year - a cosmic movie.
As Cosmo makes his way from Annihilator to Annihilator, the group finally comes together to repel the advances of the cowardice (ex?)-leader of the Negative Zone, Blastaar. As seen in the recent issue of Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four (#586), Annihilus is back to bug our heroes. Perhaps, the rest of the story will be told there, or perhaps not as another quality Marvel Cosmic title meets it's doom.
Speaking of the FF, we see in the recent issue of Avengers (#8), Medusa informing Mr. Fantastic, that her husband has perished. Mr. Fantastic, the last to know of the events that went down at the creation of The Fault, as surely most were informed by Nova or perhaps by any of the Mighty Avengers or Star Jammers. However, I do not think Professor X even realizes the person he shares a life-long bond with has met her demise, as well. Can we expect The Annihilators to have a role in the next Marvel Event described as bigger than Civil War? Furthermore, will Ed Brubaker be informing Steve Rogers that his first choice of a cosmic assembler has fallen?
We are witness to flashback scenes where the original idea behind the Annihilators is revealed. Sadly, this person shall not be a member of the Galaxy's Mightiest; the same can be said for his fallen comrade. As the Annihilators made their way annihilating Blastaar, a sense of absence lingered - Nova and Star-Lord not being a part. The two characters that readers most heavily invested in - go out in a blue blaze of wasted glory.
In the end, we see the emergence of the team leader. Gone are the two brothers-in-arms of the Annihilation United Front. Gone is the father-daughter -and lover- team of Drax, Moondragon and Phyla-vell. Gone is the most dangerous woman in the Universe, Gamora. Gone is the Wonderful Warlock known as Adam. Rocket and Groot shall be heard from again come March - but for how long after, I do not know.
Overall, The Thanos Imperative: Devastation was a nice follow-up to the events that transpired in Imperative. Sepulveda's art adequately brought that greatness forth required by a team of heavy hitters such as this - he will be missed. Abnett and Lanning, once again, provided us with a very enjoyable book filled with twists, turns and a great cliff-hanger - leaving you longing for more. I can't help but feeling, with the inclusion of Nova and Star-Lord as part of the future of Marvel Cosmic, it would have been that much better.
I do feel as if Marvel passed on an opportunity with these fantastic books and characters that Andy Schmidt and Keith Giffen bestowed upon us all with Annihilation. A book that critics hail as better than Civil War; a book that didn't get all the hype and promotion that comes with being an Editorial favorite.
Obviously, this will all come off as a bit negative - but I do look forward to The Annihilators as it does star one of my fav's. In addition, it is being written by a team of writers that I have the utmost respect for, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
I just hope this time around, The Annihilators do get the full backing from the new chief; anything else would be devastating.