Saturday, August 20, 2011

Annihilation: Conquest Prologue

*** (three of five stars)

On an outlying world of the Kree Empire, Phyla-Vell, the new Quasar, and Moondragon fight off a group of scavengers attempting to take control of the temple they’re helping to rebuild.  On Hala (the Kree homeworld), Peter Quill – now military advisor to Ronan the Accuser, the Kree’s leader – greets the Spaceknights, who have offered their A-Ware software to upgrade the Kree’s War-Net.  The Spaceknights upload A-Ware into War-Net, and a test of the Kree’s new military capabilities begins.  Meanwhile, the Quantum Bands have told Phyla-Vell to find “the Deliverer,” who is the only one that can end the disaster that the Kree are soon going to experience.  Phyla-Vell begins to tell Moondragon about the conversation, but it is cut short when a Kree Sentry attacks them.  On Hala, the Sentries that were part of the test go haywire and begin attacking military targets.  Quill realizes that the Spaceknights betrayed him just before all the Kree Sentries come under their control.  Quill escapes and watches, with the rest of Hala, as all the Sentries join together in a unified structure, which sends a blast that stretches across the galaxy.  Quasar follows the blast, discovering that the Kree Empire has been surrounded by a force field.  Quill regroups with his unit, which turns on him, displaying the same odd eye covers that the Spaceknights did.  The eye covers are revealed to be the work of the Phalanx, who were the ones controlling the Spaceknights and who have now taken over the Kree as well.

The Review
DnA set up a good story here, showing the desperation and hardship of the aftermath of the Annihilation Wave.  We don’t often see that in comics, where these sort of galactic wars just fade into the background, so I’m intrigued to see where they’re going with the story.

The Good
1) DnA do a great job of letting the action unfold.  They use the Quasar and Moondragon introduction to establish how desperate the Kree Empire is in the wake of the Annihilation Wave, thereby setting up the scenario under which Peter Quill and Ronan the Accuser jumped at the chance to upgrade the Kree’s defense capabilities thanks to the Spaceknight’s A-Ware.  It was pretty clear the Spaceknights were going to betray them, but by firmly establishing Peter and Ronan’s desperation, DnA give a plausible reason why even they turned a blind eye to the possibility.  Most authors would’ve just served up the betrayal without explaining why two fairly savvy guys like Peter and Ronan would’ve fallen for it.  DnA, thankfully, respect the readers more than that.

2) Peter Quill continues to be a rocking character.  I loved all his scenes here, from flirting with Ten-Cor to fighting his way through Hala.

The Unknown
Are we talking about the same Phalanx who almost wiped out the X-Men?   If so, I need to do some Internet research, because it was a while ago and my brain has definitely not retained all that information...

The Bad
As opposed to the Peter Quill scenes, the Phyla-Vell scenes were almost painful to read, despite being key to the plot.  Between the over-the-top “LOOK, WE’RE LESBIANS!” dialogue between her and Moondragon and the constant expository narration, I spent most of her scenes rolling my eyes and waiting impatiently for us to return to Hala.  I hope DnA figure out a way to present a more nuanced character now that they’ve got the exposition out of the way.

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