In a matter of days, Annihilation Scourge Alpha #1 will hit the shelves at your comic store, adding on to the classic Annihilation tales that have come before it. All in all, the one-shot will lead to five other one-shots with each one focusing on a different cosmic hero before ultimately culminating in Annihilation Scourge Omega. The mini-event promises to be a fast-moving epic that fans of the original space-faring tales will enjoy, according to event architect Matt Rosenberg.
ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with Rosenberg via e-mail and talked all things Annihilation Scourge. Keep scrolling to see what the writer has to say about the return of Annihilus, characters like Beta Ray Bill getting their chance o shine, and more!
You've said before the original Annihilation and its follow-up Annihilation: Conquest have been some of your favorite Marvel tales of all time. Did that ultimately direct you to pitch this mini-event or was it something Marvel planned and you had to lobby for the writing gig?
No, I didn't pitch on it because I didn't know it was something Marvel was looking for. But I have been very vocal about my love of the original series and it's follow up. Probably too vocal. So when it came up Darren Shan, who is the editor on the book, reached out to see if I wanted it. And of course I said yes. I think deep down Darren just knew that I'd hunt down anyone else he gave the book to, so he was just worrying about the safety of all the other Marvel writers. Poor Darren. But lucky me.
This isn’t the typical Marvel event but rather, a series of one-shots. Tell us about the workflow involved with this. Since you’re writing about half of the stories, were you able to concoct this entire story arc?
The format of Annihilation Scourge is so much fun. Our goal was to have 6 issues that you could read on their own and get a whole story, but if you put them together, you get a much bigger picture. Each issue has some clues and some reveals towards what is really going on. So if you're a Silver Surfer fan and just want to read that issue, you can. Or a Fantastic Four fan. But if you read them all you get more answers and a much bigger story. The Alpha issue sets it all up, so we hope everyone will grab that. And all of them come together in a big way in the Omega issue. We really hope you read all of it, because it's fun and crazy and each issue has a different tone and feel and is a different piece of a bigger puzzle, but you do you.
As for how we made it, initially I wrote an outline for the whole story and how I thought each issue would work. Then we brought that to Dan Abnett, Christos Gage, and Michael Moreci and told them to rip it apart and rebuild something that worked for them. Then I came back in and made sure that all the separate pieces made sense together. So it's a real collaboration and a ton of work, but I think we came away with something special. And coordinating this all probably only took a few years off the lives of our editors Darren and Lauren Amaro. Worth it.
It wouldn’t be Annihilation without Richard Rider. But then on top of Nova — Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, and the Fantastic Four are each getting their own one-shots. What’s the thought process behind the choices of giving those characters their own story rather than say Phyla-Vell, Blastaar, or any of the Guardians of the Galaxy?
When I got the call, the first thing I said is it had to have Rich Rider in it. Nova is the heart of Annihilation and he's been gone from the spotlight too long. The other cast was sort of a big back and forth. I wanted to make sure Annihilus and Blastaar had big roles, but what those roles are may be a bit of a shock to fans. The Surfer has been through a lot recently in Silver Surfer: Black and we wanted to make sure he had a chance to try and do some good here. Beta Ray Bill is one of my favorite Marvel heroes and any chance I get to use him, I'm going to jump at. And lastly the Fantastic Four. I can't go too much into why they are here, but when you read the Alpha issue you'll see that we didn't have a choice.
Speaking of the little furry guy, Blastaar managed to make the cover of Alpha, due out Wednesday. Anytime you can get him involved, it’s likely to be a cosmic epic of sizable proportions. Would it be safe to say cosmic Marvel fans are in store for some more cosmic surprises throughout the six issues?
Yes. It's safe to say that. People have been getting really excited about seeing Blastaar, Nova, Annihilus, and everyone together. But we have quite a few surprises we aren't going to give up. Let's just say there is a double-page spread that people are going to be staring at for a long, long time.
Also looming large on the cover is Annihilus. The last time we saw him, I think he was busy getting his hand cut off by Hela. Judging by the solicitation, it looks like he turns face. I know you can’t spoil too much, but what can you tell us about his role in this story?
Well, he doesn't have a hand. Donny Cates called me and made sure I didn't give him his hand back. As for him becoming a good guy... bug... It's not quite so simple as that. He plays a major role in the story and I think this will be Annihilus like you haven't seen him before. But he is still doing Annihilus stuff because that’s what he does.
Annihilation Scourge is coming out at a pretty pivotal point for the cosmic Marvel stories. Donny’s run on Guardians is winding down, Silver Surfer: Black just wrapped. With the timing of this all, is Scourge going to end up setting the stage for the next batch of Marvel cosmic comics or is it something pretty contained in and of itself?
I can't talk too much about it, but there is definitely stuff that will come out of this. The cosmic universe is in grave danger and the folks who protect it are going to be stretched pretty thin. We will see a lot of that in Annihilation and what follows will make more sense.
Kind of a two-parter here. For fans of the original Annihilation, what can they expect from this story that’s similar enough to draw them back? On the flip side of that, what are some different aspects that will keep things fresh and exciting?
When we started this I tried to make a list of what I loved about the original Annihilation and what made it unique. We really focused on trying to recapture or recontextualize a lot of those elements. First and foremost it's the scale. This is huge, fate of the Universe stuff. It also has to be a war story. There are superheroes and sci-fi characters, but it's a war. That made the original Annihilation stand out from other Marvel books back then and we are hoping it still will today. And lastly the real stakes. People died in Annihilation. Characters were forever changed. Things broke and new things rose to take their place. We are definitely trying to do all that. The stakes are high and we shouldn't expect that everyone will make it through this okay.
As for what we did differently, there is a pretty big twist on the original idea that you'll see in the Alpha issue. But it changes everything. Who is fighting, why, how, and what it means, are all called into question from the start. Add in the one-shot structure, the new characters, the twists on old characters, and you end up with something that should please Annihilation fans but won't feel like a retread, and will be accessible to new readers without throwing out what came before. It's going to be epic, crazy, a little terrifying, and a ton of fun. Just like space.0comments
Do you have Annihilation Scourge on your pull list? Who's your favorite cosmic hero? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt to chat all things cosmic Marvel!