Annihilator is so much more than it appears at first glance. The cheesy antihero trappings are all a deliberate part of this reality-bending look at fiction and the people who create it. We got the chance to read issue one of this six-part graphic novel from Legendary Comics ahead of its release today, and we’ll help you decide if it’s worth a read.
Annihilator is the story of two men on the brink of destruction. While screenwriter Ray Spass (pronounced “space”) is up against a deadline to write the script which will save his career years after his last hit was produced, his protagonist, Max Nomax, fights for his life on the edge of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
This duality follows through the entire book as Nomax and Spass must actually team up to help each other with their problems and save the Universe. Yes, you read that right, but this isn’t your typical “fictional character comes to life story.” To be or not to be Last Action Hero?
It’s hard to review something that’s clearly only the first part of a much larger tale, but that’s not to say issue one doesn’t cover a lot of ground. It has the hard job of doing the heavy lifting to set up the story and provide a hook to keep readers coming back for the next five issues, and it carries that off very well.
Readers are given a taste of the major problems in both Spass and Nomax’s lives, but each of their stories is peppered with details which will leave you wondering what drives them and where the story will go. The art by Frazer Irving has a great “non-commercial” feel to it, and it really fits the story and its surprisingly dark themes perfectly. (We got to speak to him about it, and you can read what he had to say here including a few good comments about creating real, diverse characters, which gave me hope for more of that in future issues.)
It’s hard to say anything about the book without worry of spoiling something, but Annihilator is very much Grant Morrison stretching the boundaries the unique vision he’s brought to other, big name comics. But if you weren’t tipped off by the silly name puns, he’s not letting the overall darkness of the book prevent him from having a little fun.
The story is about a writer, his fictional character, and the culture of Hollywood and creating commercial art to some extent, and Morrison clearly has fun with it. He gives little knowing references to the conceits of genre fiction and the world of the people who produce it.
In our conversation, Irving was tight-lipped on where the story goes after issue one, but I’d recommend at least giving it a try to anyone who’s into comics or sci-fi. This kind of short run really gives someone like Morrison free reign to create something truly unique without the difficult accessibility involved with ongoing comic story lines.
Issue one is available starting today from Legendary Comics.
(images via Legendary Comics/Annihilator)
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