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"Verbal log. Nova Corps Operative: 11249-44396 / Richard Rider... I...I was there...the last day of Nova Corps... I was there... I'm still here... God help me, I'm still here."
—Richard Rider, Annihilation Day Plus 7
In 2006, Marvel Comics had their big Crisis Crossover Civil War. But this conflict was confined only to Earth and the Marvel Universe contained many, many characters that were space-based. So they had a simultaneous Crisis Crossover just for them: Annihilation. Being a Space Opera it received less attention than the politically relevant Civil War but benefited from having a more consistent narrative.
At the maximum security prison the Kyln, in the area of space known as "the Crunch," a massive armada called the Annihilation Wave destroys nearly everything. Nothing can stand in the Annihilation Wave's path, especially as it destroys one of the first obstacles: the Nova Corps, where Richard Rider, Earth's Nova, is the only survivor. Elsewhere, the Silver Surfer senses an infestation; Kl'rt the Super-Skrull hears rumors of a strange superweapon; Ronan the Accuser becomes the accused; and Thanos has a conversation with Death, who tells him "something wonderful" is going to happen. And as the Annihilation Wave bears down on the universe, at its head is Annihilus who shouts "Annihilus is the will and the way and he will not be denied!"
Annihilation was spread out over a number of mini-series:
- Drax the Destroyer: Earth Fall 1-4 (actually a prelude)
- Annihilation Prologue
- Annihilation: Nova 1-4
- Annihilation: Silver Surfer 1-4
- Annihilation: Super-Skrull 1-4
- Annihilation: Ronan 1-4
- Annihilation 1-6
In addition, there was an Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus spin-off (tying up some loose ends) and a sequel: Annihilation: Conquest. The fallout of these events would form part of Marvel's subsequent Space Opera crossovers, the War of Kings in 2009, and The Thanos Imperative in 2010.
Tropes used include:
- Alliterative Name: Richard Rider.
- Unfortunate Names: Dick Rider.
- Anti-Villain: Super-Skrull, who maims, tortures, and kills in his way to stop the Harvester of Sorrow.
- And This Is For: "THIS IS FOR NOVA CORPS!"
- Anyone Can Die: Quasar, though in a different series, he got better. Same goes for the Super-Skrull. And Thanos. The only ones who's stayed dead so far are the heralds of Galactus.
- Moondragon in Conquest but like the above example, she got better. Honestly, even in cosmic Marvel, no one stays dead.
- Half of the killed heralds also turned out Only Mostly Dead in Heralds. The majority of the universal population weren't so lucky though.
- Badass: Drax. The. Destroyer.
- Badass Normal: Peter Quill, the former Star-Lord, is probably the only normal human fighter in resistance. He doesn't like to talk about what happened to his powers.
- Big Bad: Annihilus.
- Ultron for the sequel, Annihilation:Conquest
- Bittersweet Ending: They saved the universe, but billions are dead, the Nova Corps is destroyed, the Skrulls are on the verge of extinction...and after Annihilus's death, they still have to cede territories to Ravenous and the leftover Annihilation Wave just so the fighting will stop, and Surfer has been largely stripped of his morals by Galactus. Oh and Annihilus isn't quite dead and let's not get started when The Phalanx decided to take advantage of this.
- Blatant Lies: On several occasions after introducing himself, Drax is met with some variation of "You mean, the Destroyer?" & his response is simple "No."
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Technically the victims of the Phalanx during the Conquest arc. Some of the characters being Richard Rider, Gamora and Drax.
- Bug War
- Captain's Log: Richard Rider keeps a Nova Corps log.
- Civvie Spandex: By the last mini-series, Richard Rider has gone from a normal costume to wearing a jacket over it.
- Continuity Lock Out: Somewhat averted, since pretty much everything is explained in the series, but still, some things people won't understand until they've read back issues from the '70s, like who the heck Gamora is or what the history is between Thanos and Drax. (Which lead to Marvel releasing a trade called Annihilation: Classic).
- Dating Catwoman: Nova and Gamora.
- Little Miss Snarker: Drax the Destroyer and Cammi, who's a ten year old girl.
- Doomsday Device: Annihilus wants to turn Galactus into a universe-destroying bomb.
- Drop the Hammer: Ronan's hammer, which can also restructure molecules.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Averted. The Annihilation Wave doesn't touch Earth, which is probably a good thing, since its heroes were pretty busy fighting Civil War.
- What If: Annihilation showed what would have happened if it had done - One of Annihilus's ships crashed in New York... Right where the climactic battle was taking place, with Nova promptly calling all of the heroes out over their petty squabble about their secret identities whilst the rest of the galaxy is trying to stop the Annihilation Wave.
- Earthshattering Kaboom: Terrax does this in Heralds when the inhabitants annoy him by asking for help.
- Eldritch Abomination: Tenebous of the Darkness Between and Aegis, Lady of All Sorrows.
- Enemy Mine: Blastaar, usually an antagonist to the Nova Corps and the Fantastic Four, supplies Nova, Peter Quill and Phyla-Vell with teleportation tubes that will allow them to get them close to Annihilus.
- Also, Ronan and Super-Skrull are usually villains but help Nova and the others defeat the Annihilation Wave. In fact, Ronan and Super-Skrull being on the same side counts as well; Kree and Skrulls hate each other.
- The End Of The Universe As We Know It
- Green Lantern Ring: Kl'rt the Super-Skrull has all the powers of the Fantastic Four, although he uses them a little more...dangerously. Like stretching his arm so thin that it becomes like razor-wire and then cutting enemies in half with it.
- Quasar's Quantum-Bands
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Moondragon, somewhat. For a completely straight example, there is also Gamora, the Deadliest Woman in the Universe.
- Hive Mind: Pretty much all of the Annihilation Wave is controlled through Annihilus and his Queens. Which is good, since killing him or the Queens will pretty much leave the wave without direction.
- Hulk Speak: Drax starts out speaking like this. Then he dies and comes back to life smarter.
- Knight Templar: Ronan the Accuser. Although he generally kills bad people, he really doesn't care about the consequences or what happens afterwards.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Okay, let's see: we have the main characters, Nova, Drax, Kl'rt, Silver Surfer, Ronan, and then we have side characters like Firelord (and the rest of the Heralds), Paibok the Power Skrull, Gamora, Moondragon, Thanos, Phyla-Vell, Quasar, Star-Lord, and many, many others. Suffice to say, if they're a space hero, they were probably seen, even if only in a cameo.
- The Mole: R'kin, who turns on Kl'rt just as he was about to destroy the Harvester of Sorrow.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: A boatload. There's Drax the Destroyer, Annihilus, Ravenous, Thanos, and, of course, the Harvester of Sorrow.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Drax suddenly develops the ability to home in on Thanos and then 1-shots the Nigh Invulnerable villain, to whom he was previously just an annoyance.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Annihilus, who wants to destroy both the regular universe and the Negative Zone just so he can be the last living thing standing. Even Thanos tries to stop him after that.
- One-Winged Angel: Ultron tries this at the end of Conquest to stave off defeat by forming all of Ronan's Kree Sentries into a giant version of himself.
- Planet Eater: Besides Galactus, there's the Harvester of Sorrow. After Super-Skrull blows that up, Annihilus and Thanos capture Galactus and make him into one.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: A lot of the final battles in Annihilation end with one large battle cry. Special mentions go to Ronan's "GUILTY!", Galactus "HERALD MY RAGE!" and Nova's defiant "THIS IS FOR THE NOVA CORPS!" as he finally kills Annihilus, ending the war.
- Redemption Equals Death: Super-Skrull, although he later gets better.
- The Alliance: the United Front.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In the beginning of the universe, Galactus imprisoned Tenebrous of the Darkness Between and Aegis Lady of All Sorrows in the Kyln. The Annihilation Wave set them free.
- Space Cold War: This is the status quo post-Annihilation.
- Space Police: The Nova Corps. They don't last long.
- Villainous Rescue: Galactus plays a vital role in bringing down the Annihilation Wave.
- War Arc: Self explanatory.
- You Will Be Assimilated: The Phalanx do this to a number of characters during the Conquest story. Some of its victims include Richard Rider, Gamora and Drax.