In 2006, Marvel’s Annihilation event brought a war unlike anything seen before in the comics and introduced a crossover of epic proportions. Bringing with him a wave of warships from the Negative Zone, Annihilus unleashes devastation upon the positive-matter universe, causing millions of planets to be destroyed almost instantly.
The storyline also saw the release of four mini-series, featuring Nova, Super-Skrull, Ronan, and the Heralds of Galactus, that fleshed out the adventures of the main characters at different points of the saga. Furthermore, a prologue detailing the early days of Annihilus’ invasion was also published. To celebrate this masterpiece, we’ve put together the 10 most surprising moments of Marvel’s space epic!
10 Startdust’s Ultimate Sacrifice
The Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus mini-series took place after the Armistice Day of the Annihilation War, but it still managed to shock us to our core, especially whenever the ex-herald Stardust is concerned. Both Red Shift and Stardust had appeared to die fighting off the Centurions earlier on in the Annihilation arc, however, that proved to not be the case.
Stardust had survived, and unsure of her place in the universe, she decided to dedicate herself to her former master, Galactus. In an unexpected turn of events, she decides to feed the last of her race to the Devourer of Worlds, and alongside the Silver Surfer, she becomes a Herald once more.
9 The Supreme Intelligence Is No More
Ronan the Accuser plays a huge role in the Annihilation War. Throughout the storyline, Ronan wants the Kree to fight back against Annihilus but learns that House Fiyero has betrayed the cause, allowing Ravenous and his Centurions to find sanctuary on Hala – his homeworld.
Following a fight that almost leaves Ravenous dead, the Kree stand with Ronan, and after listening to their cries for mercy, he defeats the leaders of House Fiyero, then heads to the Supreme Intelligence. Once there, Ronan offers him death with honor so he no longer lives in pain. Whilst the Supreme Intelligence returned in later comics, it was one final shock to a series already filled with plenty of them.
8 Super Skrull Is Brought Back To Life
After the events of Annihilation: Super-Skrull, it seemed as though Kl’rt was dead, especially when Praxagora arrives on Daedalus 5 carrying his dead body. Readers are left under the impression that he is indeed no more. Unexpectedly, Ravenous and his cronies, along with the Centurions, arrive and start a fight with the United Front.
It is a fight that Nova and Ronan know they cannot win, but thanks to some of the ex-Heralds, they manage to hold them back. In the ensuing battle, Firelord’s energy manages to bring Super-Skrull back to life, and at a time when things weren’t going so well, his resurrection was much appreciated.
7 The Death Of Quasar
In the finale of Nova’s Annihilation mini-series, both Nova and Quasar mount an attack on Annihilus. Thanks to Nova’s newfound power, he manages to send thousands of survivors to safety by sending them through a Stargate created by his power. Upon confronting their enemy, he eliminates Quasar in front of his eyes.
While unexpected, it highlights that anybody can be a casualty of war, even the heroes. We all know that Nova eventually gets his revenge, but not after countless more innocent lives are lost. The mini-series was often humorous in tone; that being said, this death hit hard and left a huge impact on Nova as a result.
6 Galactus’ Revenge
Whilst it seemed like there was no way back following Thanos’ death, Drax managed to retrieve the Silver Surfer to finish what the Mad Titan had started, eventually releasing the Devourer of Worlds from Annihilus’ clutches. Upon his rescue, Galactus went crazy and caused untold amounts of devastation to the supervillain’s forces, leading to the United Front’s eventually victory against the evil army.
All hope seemed lost before Galactus’ return, and when he uses his power to whittle down the warships and their forces, it’s a great moment, leading to a huge success for Nova and his friends.
5 The Betrayal Of R’Kin
Super-Skrull had finally found a way to destroy the Harvester of Sorrows, and his new friend – and fellow Skrull – R’Kin wanted to be the one to pull the trigger. A talented mechanic, R’Kin never experienced the joy of flying the many aircraft he had helped create. Kl’rt put his trust in his friend, but when the moment arose for the Harvester of Sorrows to be destroyed, R’Kin was nowhere in sight.
It turned out that R’Kin blames Kl’rt for his father’s death and opts to betray Super-Skrull. Upon realizing the betrayal, Admiral Salo forces him to watch Zaragz’na explode thanks to the deadly weapon. Kl’rt later has his revenge and manages to destroy the Harvester of Sorrows with a little bit of help from Praxagora; however, at that moment, it seemed as though victory was unreachable.
4 Nova Rips Out Annihilus’ Spine
As the story approached its conclusion, the battle between Annihilus himself and the United Front reached epic proportions. With the villain in control of Quasar’s Quantum Bands, it seems as though the heroes have no hope in becoming victorious. Luckily, Phyla manages to recover the Quantum Bands, permitting the good guys to regain the upper hand!
Nova goes in for the money shot and, following a fight with the insectoid leader, he reaches into the one weak point Annihilus never protected – his mouth. Rider thrusts his arm down the villain's throat and pulls out his spine. It may have seemed as though Annihilus would lose after Galactus’ resurrection, but not in such graphic fashion.
3 The Skrulls Left Devastated By The Annihilation Wave
Thanks to one of Annihilus’ weapon the Harvester of Sorrows, much of the Skrull empire is laid to waste by its immense power. When Kl’rt asks for his people’s help to destroy the weapon, they turn their back on him, making him a fugitive and an enemy of the Skrull.
This leads to Super-Skrull leading a suicide mission to destroy the weapon, but not after he witnesses the planet of Zaragz’na - the home of his son - being destroyed. It’s a heart-breaking story arc for Kl’rt, and it highlights the severity of the Annihilation Wave, along with what the entire storyline means for the cosmic entities involved.
2 Xandar And The Nova Corps Are Destroyed
When Annihilus broke through the Crunch, it was the galactic space prison and border between the two universes known as the Kyln that was destroyed first. Following that, the Nova Corps’ homeworld of Xandar was completely destroyed, leaving only Richard Rider AKA Nova and the Xandar Worldmind left alive.
For years the Nova Corps had kept the balance of chaos on a level playing field, but watching it turn to dust was a hugely surprising moment and one that gave great weight to Annihilus’ attempted destruction of the universe. Although the Nova Corps was destroyed, Nova absorbed the Worldmind and became immensely powerful as a result.
1 Drax Takes Out Thanos
When Moondragon uses her psychic abilities to show Thanos Annihilus’ true intentions of ruling a galaxy void of life, the Mad Titan decides to release Galactus. Just as he’s about to succeed, Drax bursts through the wall after hunting him down across the galaxy and attacks him, despite his daughter’s pleas to leave him alone.
Drax the Destroyer exists solely to eliminate Thanos, so when the opportunity arises, he seizes it. Thrusting his fist through the Mad Titan’s back, he grabs his heart and forces it through his chest. Knowing his actions have seemingly cost the United Front victory against Annihilus, Moondragon asks him if he knows what he’s done. Drax simply replies, “what I was created to do.”