Saturday, March 2, 2013

Super Saturday - Marvel Annihilation

I admit - I didn't read this one when it was out. A lot of people thought it was a big deal, and it's the next Event book for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, so I thought that I should. Short version: It's not really my thing.

It's well done, but intergalactic war stories are not something I am short on - from Star Wars to Warhammer 40,000 to the Lensman series I've read a lot of space war stories, and I realized after reading this that I don't particularly care for them crossing over into my superhero stuff.

Summarizing the story: The Tyranids from 40K invade the Marvel Universe. Sure, they're led by Annihilus but they're a swarm of near-infinite biological life forms that are wiping out entire planets as they advance. A lot of things die and the story is particularly hard on Galactus' former heralds as they are targeted specifically. Galactus himself is also targeted and that part of it would make a pretty cool movie. There's some stuff with Drax the Destroyer running around killing bugs while keeping a pre-teen earth girl out of trouble (still not sure why) and there are a lot of things blowing up and organizations and empires being wiped out but there's so much of it that it seems kind of pointless. It's a big reboot to the "cosmic" part of the Marvel Universe.

Part of the problem is the cast: This all happens so far from earth that none of the Marvel poster children are involved. Your leading lights here are Nova (the Judge Dredd/Shogun looking guy, not the female herald of Galactus), the Silver Surfer and the various heralds, and Drax and ... not a whole lot else. So for the casual fan this is a lot of "who dat's" and no Avengers or X-Men or the like.

So, to the RPG: I don't know if I will get this one. I really like the game but I don't particularly care for this event. I like most of what the company is doing and I want to support them but I don't think this one is for me. I may just go back and pick up the supplementary books for Civil War since those may finally be available in print.Other than these I suspect my next pickup in  the superhero RPG department will be something for M&M (Emerald City?) or ICONS.


Barking Alien said...

Funny, I am more excited about this one then I was about Civil War.

My problem with Civil War as an event book was, well, my problem with all the stuff for Marvel Heroic. I don't want to be Spider Man or Captain America. I don't want to retread a story I've already read. Nothing really new happens in the event books to give you ideas about making the event your own.

In Annihilation you get stuff I would use in a Marvel game that ISN'T more Marvel Heroes for me to play that I don't want to play. Sure, you get Nova and Beta Ray Bill (two of my favorite second/third tier Marvel heroes) but you also get Galactus and Annihilus. As a GM/Watcher, that is what I really want.

Also, the book has Race/Class templates of a sort for Marvel's space setting. Finally! I can say, I want to be a Shi'ar Pilot or a Kree Soldier and make MY OWN GUY easily.

For me, yet another book where the X-Men or Avengers are the stars is boring. Yes, the Avengers are main heroes of Marvel. Yes, yes the X-Men are the most popular. Good, fine, I know. Want to impress me? Show me the book with the lesser known characters doing cool stuff and acting all awesome. That takes skill and talent.

Oh, and lastly, Green Lantern, Legion of Superheroes, Nova, Fantastic Four fan here. Bring on the Superhero Space Wars! Kree/Skrull War for the win baby!

Blacksteel said...

I didn't think Civil War was terrible in the how-to-customize department but it and Annihilation are both completely atypical examples when it comes to "how superhero campaigns have been presented for the last 30 years". I think CW was a bigger deal because it was the first big book for a new system and had a bunch of hero stats in it. That focus on hero vs. hero and legal status and all is nothing like anything I have ever run and wasn't something I was really looking for either - kind of like Annihilation.

I know MWP has decided to focus on Big Events as the core of their line but I'd much rather see something like "Avengers 100 - 400" as a big hardcover book of plots, foes, heroes, supporting cast, milestones, and ideas on how it could have gone differently covering 20+ years of comic book continuity and how to use it as a resource for your own campaign. They could still do a big event or two each year but if we could have one book a year like that it would be much easier to "do our own thing" as a campaign than the specific plot/setting/cast books that we have now.

I liked Kree/Skrull War, I'd like to see that book - but notice it wasn't a bunch of c-listers half a galaxy away - it was the big guns. I think a lot of the GL stuff could work as a campaign. I think there is plenty of room for a space-based supers campaign, I just think Annihilation isn't the one I want.

Barking Alien said...

Again, I like the C-Listers. In both Marvel and DC I'd much rather read about Nova than Spiderman, The Legion of Superheroes than Superman.

Spidey and Superman, Batman and Ironman...I'm tired of them. The market is oversaturated with books about them. What's that? Another X-Men title? What does that make it, 12 now?

My favorite incarnation of the Justice League was Giffen and MacGuire's JLA featuring Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, Doctor Fate, Captain Marvel and Elongated Man. Not an A-Lister in the bunch (well, Captain Marvel but not the way he's been treated by DC for the last 25+ years).

I am loving the new Avengers line up. Captain Universe! Hyperion! HYPERION people! Smasher from the Imperial Guard. Shang-Freakin'-Chi! And these characters are teamed up with Capt. America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel and a host of other well known heroes.

Seriously though, Tony Stark can stay in his lab working on a 3-D Holographic Interface thingamajig. Relax Captain America we got this. Hyperion and Captain Universe on the same team? Sit down Hulk, we'll call you if we need you.

Justin Isaac said...

I haven't picked this up yet, but I'm looking forward to it, based on what I've read I'm looking forward to this one. While it may not have any of Marvel's big players it did give us the Guardians fo the Galaxy, which is one of my new favorite teams.