The Annihilation Wave has swept across the universe like a cosmic powered plague of locusts, destroying and consuming everything in its path. Heroes, worlds and even entire civilizations have fallen to the forces of the Annihilation Wave and its master, the Negative Zone tyrant known as Annihilus. This January, the war between the cosmic characters of the Marvel Universe and the Annihilation Wave comes to a close in the pages of "Annihilation" #6, but beginning in February the surviving heroes will have to pick up the pieces of a shattered galaxy as the first of a number of "Annihilation" spin-off titles hits stores. CBR News spoke with Editor Andy Schmidt about these spin-offs.
"Annihilation" will come to a definite conclusion in 2007 and when it is over the cosmic landscape of the Marvel Universe will be drastically redefined. "The story does wrap up pretty concretely by the end of the two specials in February and March," Schmidt told CBR News. "Of course, there will be questions and much fall out over the conclusion of Annihilus' assault on our universe. The couple of things I can say are:
"1. As any astute reader already knows, the Skrull Empire is destroyed.And I mean literally, there are no known worlds left in existence. So, that's a real status quo shift already.
"2. The Kree aren't in much better shape."3. There are new characters in the mix!"
The first two "Annihilation" spin-off titles are one-shot specials that will hit stores in February and March and they focus on the Heralds of Galactus. "There are two loose ends at the conclusion of 'Annihilation,' Schmidt explained. "Each special wraps up one of them. Simply put, Keith, Andrea, and I needed more room. The story was just too big for six issues. Sorry about that folks. On the plus side, I think they're really cool and will make for great stand-alone stories as well as book end the series as a whole. They are thematically connected to one another, yes, but they are in fact one-shots. You won't find one continued into the other. And honestly, if you're done with 'Annihilation' #6 and feel like it ends well, you're under no obligation to buy these – of course, I hope you will, but you won't feel like you're missing out. That's why we chose to do it this way."
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Schmidt was able to confirm that one of the loose ends to be tied up in the "Heralds" one-shots is the story of Tenebrous and Aegis, the mysterious and powerful beings who defeated both Galactus and the Silver Surfer in the pages of "Annihilation" #1. "I was going to fool around with this answer, but yes, that's exactly what one of them is about," Schmidt said. "Ha, didn't see a straight answers coming, did you?"
The "Heralds of Galactus Specials" set the stage for next wave of "Annihilation" spin-offs. One of which is an ongoing series. "Cue music - 'Nova' the ongoing series! This is written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the brains behind the limited series this year," Schmidt said.
Schmidt couldn't comment on the physical and emotional status or even confirm the identity of the title character in Abnett and Lanning's new series. "'Nova' is going to be so killer it's ridiculous," Schmidt stated. "I can't guarantee that Richard Rider makes it out of 'Annihilation' as Nova or even alive at this point. Really, no one is safe, so that's about all I can say."
The exact nature of Nova's goals and purpose Post-Annihilation is also something Schmidt couldn't reveal, but he could reveal one thing that Nova won't be doing. "He's not going to be trying to put together a Nova Corps," Schmidt said. "Been there, done that."
Readers can also expect some of cosmic characters that survived "Annihilation" to play a role in "Nova." "I think we all like these characters too much to let them all go," Schmidt stated.
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The stories in "Nova" will continue to focus more on the science fiction aspects of the character rather than his past as an earthbound costumed champion. "They will be more Science Fiction oriented than super-hero action," Schmidt explained. "There will be plenty of action, but we've got all this great Marvel sci-fi to play with and reshape. The universe is a big place, if Nova's not kicking butt all over it, it seems like a wasted opportunity. But there's also plenty to deal with on Earth as well, and there will be definite key touch points that fans will be clamoring for."
One of the mini-series spinning out of "Annihilation" stars a character that many fans have clamored for the return of since his apparent demise at the end of the "Nova" mini-series. "'Quasar' is a limited series (five issues) by Chris Gage ('Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War')," Schmidt said. "I can't say too much of this without spoiling some cool stuff still to come."
Schmidt was able to confirm that the "Quasar" mini-series took place after "Annihilation," but was unable to reveal if the seemingly dead Wendell Vaughn will appear in the book. "I could, but what fun would that be," Schmidt said. "And after all, he's dead. So how could he star in a book? Everyone knows that death is for real in the Marvel U!"
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Whoever ends up starring in "Quasar" will play a role that is familiar to fans of the character and their mission in the series will focus on the remnants of one of the Marvel Universe's interstellar empires. "Um, well, I guess Cammi – ahem – I mean Quasar is still 'Protector of the Universe,'" Schmidt said. "The plot will center around what is left of the Kree race – which ain't a whole lot. But it will also be building up to something so huge I can't even begin to tell you what it is."
The other announced "Annihilation" spin-off is a four issue mini-series that will feature a character who must sift through the ruins of a destroyed interstellar empire. "'Super Skrull: Exodus' which is by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who wrote the last amazing 'Super Skrull' series. And this one will have major impact, not just on Marvel cosmic, but some big stuff coming up elsewhere in the Marvel Universe as well!" Schmidt stated. "It's also post-'Annihilation,' but I can't say who is in it. Given the state of the Skrull Empire, somebody's got to go into that waste land and see if there are any survivors!"
Readers, whose favorite cosmic characters don't appear in these books shouldn't despair. These are just the first of a number of 'Annihilation' spin-off titles that Marvel has in the works. "'Annihilation' was only the beginning," Schmidt explained "It's about to get hot!"