Thee Comic Column #101: Grant Morrison & Frazer Irving’s Annihilator

2014-09-10-AnnilhatorCoverI first heard about Annihilator back somewhere around this past January. Excited at the prospect of one of my favorite writers having a new original book again I waited anxiously for it to arrive. Time passed as it always does – too quickly; I didn’t hear anything else and then forgot about Annihilator in the tide of all the other great books that have been knocking me out all year. Plus, Morrison’s stuff tends to hit in waves, so somewhere inside I think I recognized that shortly after the also long-awaited Multiversity hit Annihilator might rear it’s pincered head as well (now, where’s that Wonder Woman book? And yes, Grant Morrison is the only person that could get me to read WW). And lo and behold, it did! Dropping this past Wednesday from seemingly out of the blue, Annihilator is a new original series published by Legendary Comics and created by Mr. Morrison and Frazer Irving. Mr. Irving, whose beautifully unique style you may remember from other GM projects like the Seven Soldiers of Victory series Klarion the Witch Boy or the amazing penultimate stint on Batman & Robin. Frazer’s dark tone doesn’t fit all of Morrison’s projects, but the writer has a dark side that goes deep and for the ones that really get out there Mr. Irving is the perfect artist to bring them to life. Thus, if Irving’s presence and the set-up of this first issue are any indication, Annihilator is going to go to some terrifying dark places. We’re talking black hole dark, and fittingly Annihilator #1 opens at the edge of a black hole, specifically the real life IE 1740.7 2942. Sagittarius A*. From there we follow the character on the cover, one Max Nomax, who is not only something of an intergalactic super villain but also the main character in one-time wunderkind Hollywood screenwriter Ray Spass’s (pronounced “Space”) new screenplay. Spass needs this Max Nomax script to dig him out of the money-burning black hole he’s put himself in with drugs, booze, hookers and a handful of years since his most notable success. But Max Nomax may have other plans for Mr. Spass…

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Reading issue one was a very similar experience to what I expected, and that most definitely is not always the case with a Grant Morrison book. People can bag on GM’s tendencies all they want, the guy still turns out some of the most mind-blowing books to ever grace the medium. And yes, it might be suspect to have seven years of Batman that requires annotations to fully appreciate, but hey, think about it. Some ideas are so ambitious that in order to do them within the constraints of your medium you have to work around the limitations of that medium. This is often the case with GM: from the climax of his 80’s run on Animal Man, to the final panel of The Invisibles, to the off-putting and sometimes frightening neurological experiment contained within The Filth, to the decade-spanning landscape that all Morrison’s work in the DCU starting with his mid-90’s run on JLA ties together in order to create, not everything the man does is easy to ‘get’, but all of it pushes the boundaries of comics and for that I love his work. Annihilator, while so far another Russian doll-like map of multiple realities colored by Meta narrative techniques, is a book that I’m hoping will fit in nicely with the aforementioned Invisibles and The Filth – two of my most favorite comics ever. So far, we’re off to a pretty good start.

Plus, without spoiling anything, the idea of a haunted house yarn adapted to a space station is just fantastic!

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Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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