I read this one a few years back when I was obsessed with all things space and superheroes, and it was only the beginning. After Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest I had to continue reading about all the characters I was now invested in. While technically I think these events follow Secret Invasion, they really have nothing to do with that event.
Abnet has been working in the industry since 1988. I don’t want to downplay his career but he seems mostly under the radar. I guess a more fair assessment would be that I have not really read anything he has written. He has worked on Judge Dredd, Duram Red, Rogue Trooper, 2000 AD, among so many other works. Upon researching about him I found that he wrote Annihilation: Conquest, so I guess I have read some of his work before. I also found that he was responsible for most if not all of the “cosmic” characters that Marvel has out there, and the majority of which appear in this series as well as GOTG and Nova. He is also the writer of another series of novels that were picked up by Angry Robot (I am actually reading a book they published called vN by Madeline Ashby). What I could not understand was if he had already written them or if he was going to write the series. Either way I think this guy might be one of my new favorite writers that I never knew about.
As I mentioned above this story starts out at the end of Secret Invasion. The Skrulls have been more or less destroyed and Inhumans are trying to cool tensions between themselves and the Kree. Ronan is going to marry Crystal in an elaborate ceremony that is interrupted by the Sh’iar Imperial Guard, in particular Gladiator. He quickly abducts Lilandra and retreats after causing mass destruction. What follows is a tussling of the GOTG, Nova, Vulcan, and the Imperial Guard. In the end two empires will be without a ruler as the result from a massive explosion, leaving a void that will take some of the most powerful beings in the universe to repair.
There are a few metaphors in that last sentence, if you have read this one you know what I’m talking about. I liked this one it is super action packed and has a decent story to go along with it. The other thing that is cool is that you really start to see a lot of different things being set into motion while continuing to following all the same characters.
There are tons of epic battle scenes with a lot of my favorite characters. Vulcan vs. Black Bold, need I say more, talk about a knock down drag out! There is also Gladiator beating some major ass in this one as well. You know you are in for a battle royal when you throw all those overpowered guys into the mix.
There are a couple other talking points that I liked about this story line. One is the character of Gladiator. I never knew much about him other than he was really strong and he could whop just about anyone. I will never forget in the 90’s X-Men cartoon series when he made an appearance and Juggernaut went to punch him, Gladiator took the blow no problem. In fact he then picked up Juggernaut and threw him half way around the world. WOW! From that moment Gladiator had a special place in m heart. In this series you really get to see him add some depth to his character and see what he is all about. Also, he has a lot more on his mind that the simple protection of the throne. I always like to see characters develop more as a story goes along esp. a character that is known to say few words and let his fists do the talking. The other thing is that you get the reemergence of a popular (or maybe not) 90’s character that I had mostly forgot about, Darkhawk. I can remember barely in the 90’s when this guy burst on the scene he was this cool character that was very Spider-Manesque. But he ultimately faded and I cannot remember the last time I saw this character in any series. So this is both good and bad as I kind of felt that he was just thrown in, but the story they give him mostly makes sense. I would also say that I think the story would have been just fine without him, but it’s whatever I guess.
The artwork in this one is solid all the way through the series. It is very traditional and what you would expect from a top notch Marvel series. I loved the artwork as you know with each page turn you can seriously just enjoy the scene and the story. You don’t have to worry about what you will get in this one. The page layouts and scenes are great as well. I love the deep space battles and just looking at them always makes my mind wonder as they are so beautifully done. Colors are great as well, you get a full range of the spectrum from the dark rich colors to the bright energy blasts that jump off the page. The only thing I will say is that there is a small drop off of quality in the WOK: Warriors trade in one of the side stories, but that was the only one I noticed. Otherwise the artwork is really great in this one from start to finish in both the WOK and the WOK: Warriors trades.
I highly recommend this one as I loved it. It is one of my top cosmic story lines in the Marvel universe. I would just stay with the main storyline unless you really into it and if you are into the cosmic stuff then you will want to buy the WOK: Warriors trade. I also wanted to mention that there is a very lengthy interview at the end with Abnet where he discusses all sorts of odds and ends about the story and characters. Where this gets really harry is when you start talking about the other crossovers this series entails. It crosses over GOTG and Nova, but I will save those reviews for another post. I would say stay away from those if you are not reading them as you go as they all kind of go together, but if you feel the need then go ahead and read those titles. One is Nova: War of Kings the other is GOTH: War of Kings, should be easy to spot! All in all I liked this series then when you start getting into the crossovers it gets more fun, but it also gets expensive. If you plan on reading everything check out your local book store as you may be able to pick up a few issues cheaply. If you just stick to the main storyline you will still get an exciting story that will have you turning the page as fast as you can. There is also a sequel to this one call Realm of Kings, review on that one is coming soon. Check this one out when you get a chance.