Have a drink. It might help that mortis attitude of yours.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You've Been Annihilated

So for this week's podcast I wanted to discuss Marvel's Annihilation, both the old storyline and Conquest. Unfortunately, out of the five podcasters, only one had read it all the way through (Brooks) and one had read parts of it (me). When I thought about this, it seemed like we mimicked the ratio the shop's customers. Few read it all, few read some of it, but most everyone lets it slide by them. The question for me is: why?

Why is a series-- one that has been going on for over a year and half and spawned accolades and hardcover collections-- getting such little acknowledgement for being cool? The Marvel Marketing Machine turned Illuminati, one big six-issue retcon, into sellouts. Why not something that is good?

I don't think that it's simply because the story takes place in space. After all, Marvel has always tried to make space stories important in their Universe. There was the Kree-Skrull War, Operation Galactic Storm, not to mention the never-ending cosmic events involving the Infinity Gems. Hell, Secret Wars showed the impact of cosmic beings on the Marvel U and toy sales. Heh.


I think it's a question of the type of story that is being told. You have Marvel taking a bunch of D-list heroes and making them cool again. The writers are adding powers and creating legacies while fighting cosmic level threats from bad guys. You have a series on minis leading into one huge self-contained story, which then spawns other minis and self-contained stories.

Marvel space is a dynamic place where there are beings of god-like power fighting for dominance in the great beyond. These characters have children (Drax and Moon Dragon) and familial relationships (Starfox and Thanos). There is a sense of interconnectivity and of legacy. To top it off, these characters are not prone to angst and complaining, although Adam Warlock did brood a lot.

Marvel Space, and as a result Annihilation, is like a DC crossover event. I mean, look who created half of those characters: Mr. DC-space himself, Jim Stralin. Look who penned Annihilation: Keith Giffen! Marvel could easily have connected Planet Hulk into the storyline, and could have easily used the events of House of M and Civil War to make Earth's heroes unprepared for the Annihilation Wave. There are ways to make everything connected, and to make the series impact.

But Marvel didn't. They let it be its own self-contained space opera and thus easily ignored by readers who are only paying money for things that tie together.

5 Comments:

Blogger Gyuss Baaltar said...

For me, it's Quasar and Silver Surfer. If either is involved, I'm out.

I don't know why, and I don't have anything against them, I just can't think of a single story I ever cared about that involved them. Unfortunately, I lump just about every other Marvel space character into their boat.

Now if it had involved Kymellians and Snarks...then I'm there.

1:03 PM

 
Blogger Christopher said...

Given that you've got Starlord, Rocket Racoon, Quasar, Moondragon and good grief who else..I would have gotten it anyway..I LOVE new interps of C and D list characters.

So..wait, there's some Marvel comics using C and D list charactes that is well-written, engaging and has NOTHING to do with Civil War or any other Marvel x-over event??? SIGN ME UP!! I'll buy the trade!! Sounds fantastic!

I don't think you want everything to be TOO interconnected. "Event burnout" gets worse when you've got events crossing over into events...


I also don't understand what you're saying about how "Marvel Space" is like a DC crossover?? And who exactly are you saying created which "half" of characters? Starlin was a huge architect of MARVEL's cosmic character array...not DC's. DC's cosmic character architect is more rightly assigned to Keith Giffen.

10:48 AM

 
Blogger Benhatt said...

Christopher-

I'm saying that currently Marvel space is playing with many more themes that are prevelent in DC comics i.e. very little whining, cosmic beings being cosmic. It doesn't feel like a Marvel series or setting.

My comment about Starlin and DC space, is that currently Starlin is writing a good chunk of the cosmic stuff that DC is handling, such as Mystery in Space and Death of the New Gods. Finally, my point about Giffen and Annihilation is that the creator wrote the series and you don't get more DC than Giffen. Thus, of course Annihilation is going to feel more DC because of who is writing it.

10:55 AM

 
Anonymous Martin said...

Ben,

I'm a huge fiend for the "Annihilation" series and sequels. I think it was expressly designed for the Marvel fans who were tired of the constant "Civil War/Initiative" branding on every comic, and wanted a story that connected, but yet was distinct.

Also, Joe Quesada is on record as saying he prefers the street-level heroes (Spidey, DD, etc.), as do his two top-tier writers, Bendis and Brubaker, and doesn't really get the cosmic characters. It took persuasion from Andy Smith and (I think) Keith Giffen to make it happen. When they saw what a success it was, the natural thought was "Sequel!" :)

Plus, keep in mind that most of your fellow regular podcasters are, to put this charitably, not Marvel fans. :) I'm not at all surprised that Jon Hexagon was the only one who read the series. :)

8:22 AM

 
Blogger Jon Hex said...

Remember, Ben, that the Kree-Skrull War, O:Galatic Storm, & Secret Wars all threatened Earth. Annihilation was pretty much expected to never touch Earth, thus making it unconnected to what's going on in regular titles. People would have to care about the Kree homeworld or any of the characters to want to read the series. I just happen to be one of those people.

7:22 PM

 

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