Annihilator is the new comic from writer Grant Morrison which is described by it’s publisher Legendary Comics as:
Washed-up Hollywood screenwriter Ray Spass is caught in a downward spiral of broken relationships, wild parties and self-destruction. Out of luck and out of chances, he’s one failed script away from fading into obscurity. Little does he know he’s about to write the story of his life. As his imagination runs rampant, Ray must join forces with his own fictional character Max Nomax on a reality-bending race to stop the entire universe from imploding – without blowing his own mind in the process.
If it sounds a bit familiar it’s because the idea of an ordinary, ‘real’ person meeting their fictional creation, or vice-versa, is something Morrison has used over and over again in works like Animal Man. Morrison has throughout his career explored this idea to the point where it’s become ‘his’ thing, which is fine as long as the work is good, but I’ve a feeling Morrison is in second gear cruising a lot of the time. Now Morrison’s cruising in second gear is most mainstream comic writers turbo power, but this isn’t to say that Morrison is excused from, frankly, being really fucking complacent.
This isn’t to say Annihilator is complacent. It isn’t and for a start, something this beautifully drawn could never be complacent. Fraser Irving’s art is wonderful.
I think there’s something Morrison is trying to tell us in this story of a failed Hollywood writer trying to make it big. From the moment we’re introduced to the writer Ray Spass, he’s looking at a new home in Hollywood that’s going cheap because of it’s dubious past, it feels that Morrison, is well, telling us something about himself. After all he’s tried and failed to get his work into film while his protege Mark Millar has had three of his comics adapted for film and a fourth is on it’s way next year, while Alan Moore doesn’t want anything to do with his works Hollywood adapts which is something which must drive Morrison barmy.
Spass is your very typically egocentric Hollywood writer, and his creation Max Nomax has a touch of the Gideon Stargrave about him, but it is the story of Spass and his dealings with Hollywood that’s treading water. In fact it reads like a conservative version of The Auteur, a wonderfully sharp satire on Hollywood that didn’t treat itself as important as Annihilator does at times. It’s the world of Nomax that’s more interesting, even if it’s just a space opera.
As the first issue of a six issue series it would be unfair to put too much into the one issue but it’s trying to feel young and exciting while it reads at times like a 50 year old buying a red Ferrari and wearing tight jeans. It feels a tad middle aged and weary. This said, it is worth getting for Irving’s lovely art but this might be one to sit back and wait for the collected edition.