As we get ever closer to the Omega issue of Annihilation: Scourge we must take a moment to respect the great one-shot style and focus on character. There’s no better example of this than with Michael Moreci and Alberto Alburquerque’s Beta Ray Bill issue. In it, we get epic action, intimate character study, and key moments that play a part in the bigger story. It’s like the perfect tie-in slash event chapter!
This book comes out of the gate swinging, featuring Beta Ray Bill taking down a Fing Fang Foom-looking space monster. By his side is his trusty Lockjaw and they soon make short work of this space dragon. Cut to the hall of a kingdom where Beta Ray Bill drinks his fill and is bored out of his mind. Moreci does a great job capturing the heart of this hero who relishes battle and has no inner purpose beyond fighting. The events of this issue give him plenty to do, with three major battles taking place in this issue alone. That gives the book more value and makes it feel like an event unto itself. Even the ending is raucous and entertaining and I dare you to not want to read the next Omega issue!
In the quieter beats, there is great comedy and humanity too. Beta Ray Bill is tempted to leave the kingdom, but they don’t want their personal dragonslayer to leave. The comedic bit that ensues is quite good and again captures Beta Ray Bill’s personality well. I’ve always liked this character but Moreci writes him in a way that leads me to believe we’ve only just started to get to know him.
Alburquerque’s art is everything you’d want in a superhero book, especially one in space. Characters looked ripped and detailed while expressions are spot on. You can feel Beta Ray Bill’s pure joy as he rips through the space dragon and I imagine that’s not easy to do considering Beta Ray Bill doesn’t have a conventional face. There is also an incredible amount of energy in Lockjaw and his movements. Typically he’s drawn like a giant rock in a scene with little movement or a look that would suggest he could move. Not so here, as he’s bending every which way vanquishing and lapping up justice.
Color by Jay David Ramos and letters by Joe Sabino do well to capture the cosmic brightness of the Marvel universe from the cosmos behind characters to the revelry after Beta Ray Bill vanquishes a monster. There is a great moment with Lockjaw as he looks up at blue electricity and his usually brown fur is now white. It gives the scene a bit of magic and foreboding.
I’m a fan of cosmic Marvel stories, but only when they’re done right. Speaking as someone who hasn’t even read every Annihilation: Scourge book, I loved this one and I have to recommend this to everyone who likes a lot of fun and big action in their comics. This is an easy pick up even if you haven’t been reading the series and quite possibly one of the best Beta Ray Bill stories ever. Put it on the list!
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