Earthfall #1 cover.Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have revitalized Marvel's cosmic characters for nearly a half-decade, since the Annihilation event back in 2006. Since then, they've cultivated a loyal fanbase and helped build a mini-franchise, with the latest installment, the four-issue miniseries Annihilators: Earthfall, debuting later this month.
The Annihilators were introduced in a titular miniseries earlier this year, and is a team comprised of the very heaviest hitters on an intergalactic scale: Gladiator, Quasar, Ronan the Accuser, Ikon and Beta-Ray Bill. This time around, not only is the team headed for Earth, their mission puts them in direct conflict with the planet's mightiest heroes — The Avengers.
Newsarama reached out to Abnett and Lanning — answering collectively as "DnA," as is their custom — via email to talk pitting the Annihilators versus the Avengers, re-teaming with artist Tan Eng Huat and the latest Rocket Raccoon and Groot adventure, appearing as a back-up throughout the series. Plus, check out brand-new art from Annihilators: Earthfall #1, courtesy of Marvel.
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Annihilators: Earthfall #1.Newsarama: Dan, Andy, you're returning for another round with the Annihilators in Earthfall, but this time around, as the title pretty clearly states, the cosmic characters are coming to Earth. How much fun is exploring that contrast for you guys?
DnA: It’s huge fun! When this team was first unveiled, Marvel described them as the Cosmic Avengers, so it’s really cool to have them finally meet the actual Avengers. Cosmic fans will know it’s always a very good thing when cosmic characters meet Earth heroes... it helps embed them in the greater Marvel continuity, and the reader gets to fully appreciate them and understand how they work in relation to others. It helps to make the cosmic stuff relatable... which brings more readers out into deep space!
Nrama: The big marketing hook for the series is that this features the Annihilators vs. the Avengers. So far in covers we've seen Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Red Hulk, Valkyrie and Wolverine — how did you arrive at this team of Avengers? And are there more members that show up in the book?
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Annihilators: Earthfall #1.DnA: How about the Thing, Spider-Man, Iron Man...? We asked the Mighty Avengers office who we could and should use, and we (enthusiastically) took the team they rolled out. This is who the Avengers office thinks you’d need to field to stop the Annihilators!
Nrama: One member that sticks out from that list is Ms. Marvel, who has her own obvious ties to the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe — how significant (if at all) is that element of her character within the series?
DnA: Ah, you noticed that? Wait and see. [Laughs.]
Nrama: The first two covers of Earthfall show the Annihilators and Avengers directly squaring off. Does this conflict drive the series, or is it more of the classic hero vs. hero encounter that starts as a skirmish and leads to a team-up?
DnA: We wanted to avoid that cliché. For reasons specific to this threat and story, the Annihilators have to come in without asking and waiting for permission. It’s a huge emergency and they are not kidding around. The Avengers are very unhappy about what the Annihilators are doing on Earth and how they’re doing it. This is a proper clash.
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Annihilators: Earthfall #1.Nrama: As revealed in the solicitations for issue #3, Magus plays a major role in the series. What motivated you to get him involved? And how much might it tie back to his previous appearances in your comics?
DnA: Although new readers need not worry, this is direct progression of our “Magus” continuity. He’s the external threat. Never underestimate just how lethal and dangerous he is. Cosmic alpha plus. He’s up there with Thanos. He’s the Loki of space.
Nrama: The nature of such phenomenally powered cosmic characters dictates that each time we see them, the threats have to continue to be worthy of their power level. What kind of challenge is it to continue raising the stakes in these series, which you've been writing since Annihilation?
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Annihilators: Earthfall #1.DnA: We’ve got the Avnegers and the Magus, so the Earth may not end up in one piece. It’s great fun. You’ve just got to try and think big. Kirby big. Cosmic big.
Nrama: Tan Eng Huat is back on art again for this series. Visually, though, is it fair to guess that this is a pretty different visual experience from the first Annihilators mini — given the setting and involvement of Avengers — despite having the same artist?
Earthfall #2 cover.DnA: Tan’s really risen to this. His art on this series is truly awesome. His Avengers are amazing. We were already fans, but this is breathtaking.
Nrama: Can't let you guys go without talking about the Rocket and Groot back-up. Looks like this one sees their paths crossing with Mojo. What can you say about their story? And does it seem that as reality TV gets more and more absurd, Mojo continues to seem relevant despite being created 25 years ago?
DnA: He does. And that’s what we’re exploring here. Though not in any deep, philosophical way, of course. It’s a walking tree and a talking raccoon and lots of fun and blasters. Plus more awesome artwork from Tim Green.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!