Just like that, Marvel's very quickly paced Annihilation - Scourge mini-event begins to draw to a close with its Beta Ray Bill-starring one-shot. Unfortunately for fans enjoying the series so far, it's certainly the weakest of this bunch of books. The comic starts out with Beta Ray Bill and his trusty canine companion Lockjaw saving a planet, something that winds up taking the majority of the issue. Sure, before long The Sentry pops in to provide at least a little bit of connective tissue to the rest of the books in the event, but it's a pretty light smattering of threads.
There's a lot going on in this issue that has nothing to do with the larger tale at hand. It's fun to see Beta Ray Bill and Lockjaw romp amidst the cosmos, but once the Annihilation aspect of it begins to pour in, they can suddenly take care of the first "threat," with no concerns at all. From beginning to end, Bill's narrative comes off as short and one-dimensional, repeating things we've either heard many times before or things that don't further his character development or the story.
Major criticisms aside, Alberto Alburquerque and Jay David Ramos team up for some pretty killer art throughout this entire issue. There are at least two action set pieces that stand out—one where the starring duo takes on a horde of Cancerverse-infected aliens and another where Bill battles the Cancerverse's Doctor Strange. When you have monstrosities like Cancerverse dwellers entering the fray, there are many places you can take a story and judging by what we get here, you can tell the art team had fun with it.
When it comes to being a one-shot, the comic ends in a difficult place by stripping Bill of Stormbreaker and, consequently, his powers. A bombshell like that should take some time to develop as the character goes on his soul-searching path, but now it would appear that's set to start and end in the span of two issues.
For some odd reason, this issue possesses a different tone than the others in the series. While the others, for the most part, are pretty doom and gloom, Annihilation - Scourge: Beta Ray Bill #1 has a lighthearted tone throughout that's jarring and out of place. That having been said, the humor isn't all bad, though it does feel forced at times. Out of the four one-shots in Annihilation - Scourge, this one may be the most inconsequential as it feels more like a standalone issue with few connections to what must come next.
Published by Marvel Comics
On December 11, 2019
Written by Michael Moreci
Art by Alberto Alburquerque
Colors by Jay David Ramos
Letters by Joe Sabino
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