I loved Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's little corner of Marvel's outer space characters, helmed with titles like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Nova." When the books came to an end with "The Thanos Imperative" mini-series, I feared that would be it for all of our characters that we'd grown to know and love. But now a handful are back in a new "Annihilators" mini-series, and so far?
Well, maybe things will kick in a bit more next month.
It's not a bad opening, but it's not a terribly exciting one either. Too much of the first issue is devoted to a new Space Knight character, Ikon, fighting the members of the Annihilators team. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be showing us the abilities of the characters, or to pump up Ikon's own abilities, but for both of these goals it feels a little lackluster. It's a by-the-numbers opening sequence, and at eleven pages (including exposition) I'll admit I was bored by the end.
When the main plot finally kicks in, there's some potential, but right now (perhaps because none of the characters work together as a group, but instead as a series of individuals) it doesn't feel as cohesive as I'm used to from Abnett and Lanning. There's no real energy, no sense that this is a team of characters fun to read about. Tan Eng Huat's pencils also seem more limp and less detailed than I remember; his work on other books as seemed much more lively and Huat was able to give a great deal of texture and richness to his lines. Here, it just looks like a standard superhero comic, and actually slightly unmemorable.
The back-up story, also written by Abnett and Lanning and drawn by Timothy Green II, held some more promise with a team-up of Rocket Raccoon and the tree-alien known as Groot. But too much time is spent at Rocket Raccoon's new job as a mail clerk in an alien office; it's a funny initial gag but once again, at 15 pages it goes on too long. Even with a killer clown showing up halfway through the sequence, it outstays its welcome. Things pick up a bit once Rocket Raccoon finally gets to Groot's world of Planet X, so I've got some hope for the remaining chapters. But it's a slow, lumbering start.
"Annihilators" is a book I should have loved unreservedly. Instead, it feels like no one involved has their heart in it, save for Green's funky, jagged art style for the back-up feature. This should be a bundle of energy, but right now it feels like no one knew it was show time.