Under the Radar

This weekend I finally finished going through the absurdly huge stack of comics I took with me camping last week. Yes, along with the gear, food, supplies, and the myriad of other things one usually takes to provide for a week's worth of leisure time in the great outdoors, I brought a large box that contained around 100 comics. Geek, thy name is Soup!

"What's in the box, Dave? More food? Beer?"
"Nope! Comics!"
"You're kidding. Tell us you're kidding...?"

Anyway, out of the entire stack there was one in particular that unexpectedly struck me in just the right way. It's one I never would've picked up on my own, had I not read a few favorable reviews from people with whom I trust and share similar tastes. In fact, it's part of a big event cross-over series and I tend to stay far, far away from those in general. In fact fact, I really don't know why I picked it up; on the surface it's so far out of the realm of what I would typically enjoy.

But, I really really liked it. And I'm betting you will to. Even if you didn't notice it at first. And you probably didn't, so I thought I'd bring it to light.

Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #1
Writer: Keith Giffin
Penciler: Timothy Green II
Inker: Victor Olazaba

Surprise, surprise. Did this one ever come out of nowhere. Bit of the *Spoilers* follow.

The only thing I knew of Starlord before picking up this issue was a vague recollection of him in one of Marvel's 1970s Sci-Fi magazines. Might've been Epic, or Presents. I dunno. And that's all I remember. The only thing I know about the whole Annihilation thing was that it affected no other Marvel books I'm currently reading and therefore I could totally ignore it. I half expected to be completely lost from the get-go when I opened it up, but handily, there's one of those 1st page synopsis recaps that seem to be everywhere these days. And it easily catches you up to speed with all pertinent information for the issue.

In a nutshell: The forces of the Negative Zone started a war with our universe. They were repelled, but the our universe was devastated, which made it easy for a Borg-like race called the Phalanx to conquer the Kree homeworld. Now they're systemically spreading through everything they can while pockets of Kree resistance fight fringe battles with them. Peter Quill, Starlord, was prominent in both battles and is currently in the Kree underground recovering from injuries suffered defending the Kree homeworld.

From there, it's the story of a reluctant hero being pressed into battle once again. There's some nice flashback bits to his former glory days (I'm assuming these are actual old stories - they certainly read that way), some pretty intense scenes of the Kree surgeons repairing him while he's dreaming these memories, and his eventual (but very reluctant) acceptance to his leadership fate.

But, what really gets you with this setup issue and kicks it up several astronomical notches is the team-building sequence. Since Quill is basically on a suicide mission, they assemble several inmates for him to use in his very own intergalactic Suicide Squad. And, brother... the team?!? It's a doozy!

Kree jail cell "volunteer" #1:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's Bug from the Micronaunts. Tell me that doesn't give you a tingle. Just a... *TIK* ...little bit. Man, I loved that character back in the day.

Next up:

Hmmm.. interesting... Could go places with that.

On to #3!:

Ok... that's a Holy Crap! moment there... I always wondered what happened to her! Part of me hopes she still wears that goofy suit. Though it would clash horribly with her new green skin. Then again, what wouldn't clash with that old yellow and green monstrosity!

Our fourth:

Captain Universe?!? Now we're officially into the strangeness territory. This is one crazy space team! The surreality factor, she is high. Starting to look very interesting....

But, let's throw this whole thing over the top. Then whack it hard with a hammer:

OK, ok.. Wowsers! You've sold me. That's.. that's... wow. Just awesome. Only good things could come from this lineup's potential. And, it's Keith freckin' Giffen so it's not only a great premise but it has a great writer behind it.

Ah, but there's one more member of our little team-up:

Ok, that's cool too. Not exactly what I'd pick for a stealth mission, but ... interesting. Plus, it plays for great moments like this:

This is just issue one, but I'm on board for the rest. Giffen is solid as usual, and writing for Quill, Bug, and RR leaves him room for lots of snarky humorous dialog. And he takes advantage. It reads very well - it's a really thick issue, information and set-up wise. Plus, the art is spot on.. it kind of reminds me of a slightly skitchy Moebius with really popping colors. It has a real outer-worldly feel that works very well with the exotic locations required. Very well done.

I usually wait for the trades for the limited series I know will be released that way, but this one's a 4-issue and the price savings will be minimal. I'll get these as they come out, and if the first issue is any indication, I wouldn't want to wait anyway. Recommended.

By the way... the description from the owner of my LCS that eventually sold this issue to me?

"It's Nextwave mixed with Suicide Squad. In space."

Sold! How could you refuse that! Seriously.


SallyP said...

Ok, color me interested. This sounds slightly demented, which by itself would recommend it to me. On the other hand, it is from Marvel, and I'm a little pissed at Marvel lately.

Besides you know I can't resist it when you start flaunting racoons at me.

Chan88 said...

Hey mate! Just wanted to let you know the second issue is already out and it's as solid as the first!