Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Alberto Alburquerque
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Josemaria Casanovas; Patch Zircher & Mike Spicer
Release Date: December 11th, 2019
The Cancerverse is spreading and it’s up to the unlikely duo of Beta Ray Bill and Lockjaw to send the cause back where it came from! Are they up to the task? Let’s find out in Michael Moreci’s ANNIHILATION – SCOURGE: BETA RAY BILL #1!
The issue begins with a bit of a prologue, namely Sentry ripping open the almost-closed hole Annihilus used to escape the Negative Zone. Which is a pretty big deal, because now the Cancerverse has access to the Positive Zone. The full page spread of Sentry busting through demonstrates the art we’ll be getting from Alberto Alburquerque. It’s over-the-top, but fits the wackiness of the story okay. Unfortunately it does gradually worsen as the book goes on.
Next up is our hideous hero himself, Beta Ray Bill. Not to ugly shame, but if I had a dog with a face like Bill’s, I’d shave his ass and walk him backwards. Bill fell out of the ugly tree, hit every branch on the way down, then climbed back up for round two. Bill looks like the buck-toothed, knock-kneed, horse-faced space dog Lone Starr was expecting Princess Vespa to be in “Spaceballs”. Ok, enough of that.
Bill is facing off against a space dragon in a two-page spread. There are a lot of spreads in this book. Which while nice for the artist, usually indicates not much story for the reader. Sadly, this is the case. Lockjaw shows up to do the heavy lifting, dispatching the monster with ease. The two friends then head to the planet below to be treated to a hero’s welcome, complete with booze, food, and even a statue. After a week, Bill begins to get bored of this, and surely readers will sympathize, as this part drags a bit too long. This IS an ANNIHILATION – SCOURGE tie-in, right?
Just as Bill and Lockjaw are leaving the planet, Baluurian ships being attacked by Cancerverse space squids pour through a rip in space. On another two-page spread. At least there’s some Scourge action happening, and it gets kicked up a notch with the appearance of Cancerverse Doctor Strange. Who other than using some magic to take out Lockjaw and looking like Stephen Strange, just doesn’t feel like the evil doppelgänger of the Master of the Mystic Arts, as bizarre as that may sound.
Bill dispatches C-verse Strange with Stormbreaker, before turning his attention to BMOC Sentry, who has just arrived. To say there are some progression issues would be putting it mildly. At any rate, Bill knows he can’t beat one of Earth’s strongest beings, so instead flings Stormbreaker at him, sending Sentry and the weapon back into the tear in space before it closes.
Lockjaw recovers, Bill loses his horse face, and the two set off to rescue Stormbreaker. Yep. That’s his main motivation for the upcoming ANNIHILATION – SCOURGE: OMEGA.
ANNIHILATION – SCOURGE: BETA RAY BILL #1 feels unnecessary to an event many would argue is unnecessary. An inconsistent tone, thin story, and questionable “hero” choice hurts what has been a mostly enjoyable little series. For a mini event to work, every tie-in book has to matter, and ANNIHILATION – SCOURGE: BETA RAY BILL #1 just doesn’t feel like it does.