When the war against the forces of the Annihilation Wave came to an end, the survivors hoped that they had seen the last of interstellar war in the Marvel Universe. However, the residents of their various galactic cultures will soon find their history will mirror that of Earth's. When the people of Earth we're recovering from the devastation of World War I they inadvertently found themselves on a path to World War II. This July, just as the survivors of "Annihilation" are starting to rebuild, the fires of cosmic war erupt again and "Annihilation: Conquest" begins. CBR News spoke with Marvel Comics Editor Bill Rosemann about the new mega-story.
"Annihilation: Conquest" came about because of the positive reader response to the first cosmic storyline, "Annihilation." "Editor Andy Schmidt – who deserves an official Kree salute for masterminding and championing the first 'Annihilation' event – was given the greenlight to continue exploring Marvel's sci-fi battlefield," Rosemann told CBR News. "So he and Tom Brevoort got the ball rolling with discussions of the titles involved and what the main threat could be. Then, when I returned to Marvel in October, I was asked to take the throttle and blast off. So over the next four months we hammered out the specifics - deciding the exact list of characters involved, the titles themselves, casting the full creative teams, and working closely with writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning on the spine of 'Annihilation: Conquest.'"
"Conquest" is a sequel, but new readers don't need to have read any of the original "Annihilation" story to enjoy it. "'Annihilation: Conquest' - like 'Annihilation' before it – is being designed for complete cosmic rookies," Rosemann said. "In fact, as each script comes in, I ask myself, if I had never read a single Annihilation comic - or a single comic, period - would I understand this? So each writer is paying particular attention to providing all necessary info for new readers to join the fun. That said, if you have read the excellent 'Annihilation' event, you'll see many familiar friends, foes and themes continue here. And if you're more of an Earth-based Marvel fan, keep your eyes on the lookout for some key characters!"
"Annihilation: Conquest" is structured the same way the original event was. "Readers seemed to enjoy the structure of 'Annihilation,' so we're mirroring that roll-out here," Rosemann explained. "So look for 'Annihilation: Conquest Prologue' in June, by the creative team of writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning ('Annihilation: Nova'), rising star Brian Denham ('Iron Man: Hypervelocity') on pencils and inks, colorists Guru eFX, and cover artist Aleksi Briclot (a phenomenally talented gaming artist who's worked on projects such as 'World of Warcraft' and 'Splinter Cell')."
Following the Prologue a number of mini-series focusing on individual characters will be the next stage of "Annihilation: Conquest." They are:
"'Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar', starring Phyla - who happens to be the daughter of the original Captain Marvel, the sister of the now deceased second Captain Marvel, and the successor of the legendary Wendell Vaughan - hits in July," Rosemann stated. "This four-issue mini is written by Christos N. Gage ('Union Jack') and penciled by Top Cow's Eric Basaldua ('X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong'), with Privateer Press gaming artist Matt Wilson on covers.
"'Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord', starring Peter Quill - but now back in costume - hits the same month. It is also four issues and will be brought to you by writer Keith Giffen ('Annihilation') and penciler Timothy Green (who I'm bringing over from DC where he drew 'Rush City' for me), inker Victor Olazaba and colorist Nathan Fairbairn, with painter Nic Klein on covers. Oh, and did I mention that it will also star groovy co-stars such as Bug and Rocket Raccoon? Believe it!
"'Annihilation: Conquest – Wraith' also hits in July - and yes, this four-issue mini stars an all-new character who makes his debut right here! Writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach ('Annihilation: Super-Skrull' - and a little something called 'Lost'), artist Kyle Hotz ('Zombie') and colorist Gina Going are unleashing a wicked new force into Marvel's cosmic cauldron - and wait until you see the covers by gaming artist Clint Langley ('Magic: The Gathering')!
"'Nova' #4 - #7 - by the ongoing creative team of writers Abnett &Lanning, penciler Sean Chen, inker Scott Hanna, colorists Guru eFX and cover artist Adi Granov - complete the four stories that spin out of the Prologue."
When the individual mini-series wrap, the action continues in the main six-issue mini-series. "'Annihilation: Conquest' launches in November by the team of writers Abnett & Lanning, penciler Tom Raney, inker Scott Hanna and colorist Frank D'Armata, with Aleksi Briclot returning to craft six more gorgeous covers."
Rosemann couldn't give away too many plot points, but could reveal that readers can expect "Conquest," like the original "Annihilation," to provide gripping and hard hitting, science fiction, war stories. "While the characters and the settings may change, we're continuing the winning recipe of gritty interstellar war that 'Annihilation' so successfully served up," he explained.
In the original "Annihilation" event Thanos played a key role and perished at the end. While "dead" may be a relative term in comic books, readers probably shouldn't expect the Mad Titan to play any sort of key role in "Conquest." "Thanos looked pretty dead and pretty content to me, so can't we give the big guy a moment of peace?" Rosemann asked.
The characters that do play key roles in "Annihilation: Conquest" will be a mix familiar and new faces. "One of the things that readers enjoyed so much about 'Annihilation' was the cool revamps of existing characters," Rosemann said. "I mean, how tough do Nova and Drax look now? So we're continuing that tradition here and kicking it up a notch by introducing Wraith, who we hope readers dig."
Readers can also expect a similar formula for the threats that the heroes of "Conquest" will be battling. "I'd bet on both old and new threats," Rosemann hinted. "It's double the trouble!"
The trouble the heroes of "Annihilation: Conquest" run up against will be huge. Readers can expect an epic story with a huge scope. "There will be clashing armies, doomed worlds, and a galaxy on the brink of extinction - that big enough for ya?" Rosemann asked.
Rosemann understands that readers can be naturally skeptical when it comes to sequels to quality stories like "Annihilation," but he and all the creators involved with "Annihilation: Conquest" are committed to providing readers with a worthy sequel to Marvel's last cosmic powered sci-fi epic. "All of us on the Conquest Crew are busting our butts to live up to the excitement and quality that Annihilation delivered. The bar was set pretty high, but we've got our jet-packs strapped on tight. So if you're hungry for a mix of desperate heroes, insurmountable odds, mind-blowing visuals, and down-in-the-trenches warfare, we've cooked up a sci-fi stew just for you!"