Waited for the trade: Annihilation Conquest review
A long time a go, in a galaxy far far away I started my review on the two Annihilation events, and here is the second part. Annihilation Conquest
When I first read this book I wasn’t as impressed as I was with the initial Annihilation event, where the first was a trailblazer this one just seemed to coast off the coat tails of the first.
On reflection, after re-reading the book I have realised that this is so much better, a lot tighter, better woven, and much grander in its scope and execution, the big twist had it not been spoilt for me when I first read the book would have been huge, but with now rereading the book, knowing what I know, you can see the seeds that have been planted along the way.
The four tales that are the prologue to the main event are very well written, and they all do a great job of building up to the crescendo that is the main event. The only book I have any real issue with is the Nova tie in, as the four direct issues that are tied into the Annihilation Conquest event are included in the trade, but the next four that are just as important are not, they are covered in a single page text recap, which though concise is rather disappointing as a few major events all happen off panel.
Comparison with the initial event is inevitable, the scope and scale of the invasion is parallel to that of the initial event. There is that same sense of enormity, the huge struggle that is in play, and even with the immense collection of powers, you can feel that these people are really up against it.
One of the main themes that has run over from the first event is the sense of camaraderie between the people involved, where disparate peoples have come together for the greater good, where enemies forge bonds that would not otherwise have been made to secure the safety of all. You can feel a real sense of kinship between these people, you know there is trust, you can sense that they have been through much together, and though they are all very different people, they will risk their lives for these people.
Through the happier moments and the sadder ones the writers across all the books know how to set the mood, there are many moments that made me smirk and smile, there where moments when you felt their loss and sadness. The writers touched your heart strings, they made you care about some of the most obscure of characters, they made the taking raccoon, the living tree, the robots and the various aliens so real, so human that you cannot help but feel for them.
Had someone told me that one of my new favourite characters, and character teams would be a giant tree and a talking racoon I would never have believed them, but the artistry with which these characters where brought to life within the pages of the Annihilation Conquest event made it so.
One of the more interesting aspects of this book and the last was how many of the characters have been turned on their heads, and back again. Villains have become heroes, to becomes villains again and then once more to heroes. The baser instinct of these people come through, whether they are inherently bad or good. The true nature of these people is on show for all to see, and it is a very interesting ride.
Their motivations, their self belief, their personal views of right and wrong are shown, and dissected within the many pages of the event. It is a hefty tome, well two, and though a bit pricy they are well worth the investment. I know this will be a book that I will read time and time again, it is a book that you can read as a whole or just pick the one story you really like, be it the prologues or the main event. The event has been structured in such a way that you have the ability to pick and choose, while the tapestry of the over all story is shown in all its glory when you read the event from beginning to end, it is still an enjoyable read in parts.
Coupled with the great penmanship through this event is the art work, there are slight variations in the style across the books, by this I do not mean that the work is generic, or all exactly the same, but the work is all of a realistic bent. From the likes of Sean Chen through to Tom Raney and the work of Kyle Hotz and Mike Lilly the idiosyncrasies of each artist comes through but they stay true to the overall realistic style.
The artwork in books like this is very difficult to handle, to bring together the huge scope, the enormity of the events and to couple it with the smaller more intimate moments is hard going. There are no grunts in this book, those on the frontlines are people we know, there is no chance to use generic soldiers and get away with plain backgrounds. These books are all about the details, the expressions the emotion, and all are captured perfectly. Especially by Tom Raney, who for me has always had a cartoony style to his work, but in the main Annihilation Conquest book his style has matured, and the sense of realism brings life to the event that his previous style never would have.
Throughout this book there are a number of seeds planted, story ideas and hints that hopefully will be utilised at later dates. There is the spin off from this book, Guardians of the Galaxy, but to date they have not dealt with any of them, and the next cosmic event may not either, as War of Kings to centre around the Shiar empire and Emperor Vulcan and the Inhumans and Blackbolt. The Shiar where not involved with either of the major Annihilation events as they where busy in their own corner of the universe, and the Inhumans have also had issues to deal with, so it will be interesting to see what is done with these people.
If you have not read these books, hopefully my reviews have given you a little more incite in regards to them, and why I have enjoyed them so much. You don’t have to be a sci fi fan, or a fan of events to enjoy these books, they are so well written and brilliantly drawn with great characters that you should enjoy them. They are immense universe shattering stories, but broken down into smaller more intimate ones, they cover the classic tales of love and revenge, of honour and redemption. Within these pages there is a story for everyone, a character that we can all relater to, it will be someone different for everyone of us, we will interoperate events differently, what one of us might see as a heroic sacrifice the other will see as a bad tactical decision. There will be moments that will make some of grin, while others will groan, we can see and believe the most fantastic to be real, while others, even those that read comic books will just not be able to overcome improbability of these events.
Within these books there is everything you could want from a story, you just need to give them a try.