“Welcome to Oblivion” by Abnett & Lanning, and Craig
When we last saw Drax and Phyla-vell, they had traveled to the planet Titan, looking for Moondragon, Phyla’s lover and Drax’s daughter. Upon their arrival, Mentor, Moondragon’s step-father, killed them.
Here, start with Phyla waking up in some sort of celestial netherworld.
Immediately, her quantum bands, the source of her power, fall off and are lost in the sand beneath her. Behind her, she hears a familiar voice, the voice of her father, Captain Mar-vell…
Ohmygod, it’s EVIL ZOMBIE CAPTAIN MAR-VELL! He and his army of evil zombie creatures pounce on the vulnerable Phyla-vell. Right on cue, Drax leaps into the fray and kicks their asses. He explains to Phyla that what she saw were ghosts, representative of all of her doubts and fears, and her regrets. Drax does not seem to have have any fears or regrets himself.
As they make their way through the weird in-between world, Drax explains that it is not the realm of death, or limbo, but one of the “half-way” places that exist on the fringes of reality. Everything about them is symbolic, to help give itself meaning and structure.
In the middle of all his existential mumbo jumbo, he notices Phyla’s quantum bands are gone. Not a good sign. Because they aren’t alone.
Maelstrom is, for all intents and purposes, Drax’s opposite. While Drax was created to “limit Death by destroying its champion” (Thanos), Maelstrom was created as an “instrument of cosmic finality” (basically, the Loki to Drax’s Thor) and he has lured Drax and Phyla to him in order to get out of Oblivion (it turns out he was the one responsible for the trail of clues about Moondragon).
He assures Drax and Phyla that Moondragon does, in fact, exist and offers to take them to her.
Turns out the Moondragon they knew was just a conduit for this “Dragon of the Moon.” She ultimately would have changed into draconian form, had Ultron not killed her when he did. Maelstrom explains that when it reawakens, in another million years, it will search for another Heather Douglas and try again, and potentially “wreak cosmic Armageddon.”
As if that weren’t bad enough, Maelstrom discovers the quantum bands…
Okay, I think this might be my least favorite book in the series so far. Not because it focuses entirely on Drax and Quasar and none of the rest, but because the entire story deals with threads leftover from (I’m guessing) Annihilation: Conquest. Abnett and Lanning don’t do much in this series to catch new readers up to speed, so I’m left wondering who some of these people are. I wasn’t sure why Drax and Quasar decided to postpone their search for Cammi to find this other girl named Heather (aka Moondragon). I learned from the summary at the beginning of the book that Heather (Moondragon) was Phyla’s lover and Drax’s daughter. I still don’t have a very good idea of who she was, even through context clues.
While I get that this book was spawned from the Annihilation: Conquest event, and it’s going to have some residual elements, it relies too heavily on that. I’m sure when this series was first published, there were people like me who picked it up, not having read the Annihilation: Conquest books and were just as confused as I am. I hope this arc doesn’t last long. This series needs to establish itself a little more. I mean, I’ve read almost a year’s worth of comics and they’re still hanging on to the past.
On the plus side, I enjoyed the change in the artwork. Wes Craig brings a new, sorta sleek, sorta glossy look to the characters, which I like. It works well with all the spacey content. I know he does the pencilling for the next issue, and then we’re back to Brad Walker, who I like, but I’d like to see more from Craig at some point.