Comics ASSEMBLE!: Annihilation Conquest book 2

It’s been about a year since the first time I read Annihilation Conquest book 1 for the first time (I re-read it for the review I recently did) and now I’ve finally had the chance to read the concluding volume of this cosmic Marvel superhero story. I loved the first book far more than other reviews would have led me to believe I would, and I hoped that book 2 wouldn’t let me down. For the most part, I was very happy with the end result of this story – and though I do have some critiques, they are actually more towards the choices made in collecting these comics together into these volumes than in the story itself. For more, click on the link.

Annihilation Conquest book 2 starts out by catching the reader up with Nova – probably the main character from the original Annihilation event, who was left out of book 1 this time around. Here we get four issues of the regular series devoted to Nova, aka Richard Ryder, a hero not unlike Green Lantern of the DC universe (very similar to the Kyle Rayner version), last of the Nova Guardians – with a supercomputer as his only ally. On a trip from Earth back to the Kree homeworld, he is intercepted by the Phalanx – who’ve invaded all of Kree space. He is soon infected with the techno-organic virus of the Phalanx and made to work for them as a Select (a specialized type Phalanx who’s given more freedom to make unobserved decisions for the benefit of the greater race) – but not before the Nova supercomputer chooses another hero to take up the mantle of Nova Guardian. This Kree woman ultimately sacrifices her life to bring Richard back from Phalanx control – but leaving the Nova story at in an awkward spot – with Nova half way across the universe and being pursued by two former friends of his who are now also Selects of the Phalanx. What’s really odd at this point is that the reader is given a one page text summary of the next few issues of Nova, preparing the reader for his eventual re-appearance later in this volume.

But before that, the story moves on to a new character, called Wraith. He is a Kree who has been endowed with some form of magical powers that the Phalanx seem to fear – though it’s never really explained to my satisfaction. Unfortunately, this part of the story brings back some of the worst elements from the original Annihilation event – namely two of the characters from the second volume of that series, Ronan the Accuser and the Super Skrull. I don’t find either of these characters that interesting, and Wraith wasn’t much better – and here we’ve got another tale of a Select (in the form of Ronan) trying to track down and kill Wraith, and Wraith trying to turn Ronan away from the Phalanx. When Wraith succeeds, this miniseries ends with Ronan ready to do whatever it takes to rid his homeworld of the Phalanx for good – leading directly into…

The finale, which is made up of the six-issue miniseries called Annihilation Conquest. Now we finally pick up on the story threads left hanging at the end of volume 1, where Quasar has revived an amnesiac Warlock – savior of the Kree. Warlock wants to meet up with his father, the High Evolutionary (ah, another X-Men villain I know – things are looking up) to see if he can help repair his memory. But the High Evolutionary has plans for the ultimate evolution of the Kree – and perhaps the Phalanx offer him just the sort of hybrid he’s been searching for. Meanwhile, Star Lord is leading his rag-tag group of misfits on another suicide mission – this time to destroy the Phalanx Babel Tower, a device that is shielding Kree space and cutting it off from the rest of the universe. Outside that shield, Nova is trying to find a way in – while Ronan leads his group on a quest to set out a robot army that will wipe out all life in the Kree system – friend and foe alike – to ensure the Phalanx are not allowed to spread. And there is an ultimate enemy behind the Phalanx that has yet to reveal itself up to this point in the story…

The opening and closing chapters of this volume were very much worth the wait. That said, the Nova issues actually should have been a part of book 1 instead – and I’ve already finished reading the Nova vol 2 TPB (which has the issues that come next), and this would have been better used in Annihilation Conquest book 2. We’re not talking about vast amounts of differences in terms of numbers of issues in each – and we are talking about making more sense out of the overall story. That said, the one page text box is sufficient to catch the reader up – and ultimately the pay off in the final issues of the Conquest story are well worth it. Huge robots versus superheroes, great villains and a number of twists and turns to the story filled with betrayals and deaths of characters you’ve come to like – and ultimately a victory that nicely sets up a new team of galactic heroes… but that’s a review for another time.

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