One of my earliest memories involving comics growing up was when the Phalanx attacked the X-Men. I apologize if that makes some of you feel old, but I can't alter when I was born. Just deal, it'll be alright. Anyways, I remember being transfixed by these cybernetic aliens that were taking over everyone on Earth. They had such a weird design, like they were made of moving strips of yellow and black metal. They absorbed people, and turned their bodies into techno organic material. What a creepy, yet cool enemy!
Now that we have that bit of Chadistory (made up word involving myself) in place, imagine my excitement when I found that the Phalanx were the villains in Annihilation: Conquest. If you can imagine me doing backflips on a pogo stick, while eating buffalo wings, and singing "Spacelord" by Monster Magnet, then you pretty much have it down. It really was a great combination. They had cool villains from the past and updated heroes of the present. This was going to be great.
In this story, the Phalanx have infiltrated the Kree homeworld of Hala. For those of you who may not know about the Kree, they have an interstellar empire. They have a substantial presence that is felt across galaxies. As far as alien races go, in the Marvel U, these guys are pretty much the tops. Well imagine that there homeworld, and empire, are crippled within hours due to the Phalanx absorbing its populace. It's intergalactic genocide! Luckily, the space heroes of the Marvel U are trying to stop them. It's an intense battle against impossible odds, with an entire race hanging in the balance. This is some fantastic stuff guys.
Like Annihilation, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Conquest provides some characters with some new looks. The most notable visual update is for the Phalanx. They no longer sport the yellow and black look that I adored so much as a youth. They now look more like skeletons wearing black jumpuits with neon accents. It's a radical departure, to put it lightly. The change makes more sense once you realize they're trying to emulate their leader, Ultron.
Yeah, Ultron, the Avengers villain. After a battle with the Mighty Avengers (Initiative era), Ultron's consciousness is blasted out into space where it meets up with the Phalanx. Ultron assumes control of the Phalanx and takes over the Kree home world. His reason for doing so is to track down the perfect organic being for him to transfer his consciousness into, which apparently is on Hala. He believes doing this will make him the perfect merge between man and machine. The being he's looking for turns out to be a staple of Marvel space comics, thought to be dead. I won't spoil it for you though. You should read it.
Ultron is really what makes this story so great to me. It's a classic Marvel villain taken out of his element and given a chance to really open up and be ruthless. He murders main characters with a twisted metal smile in this book, and you can't look away from the page. They also gave him a cape and some attitude. He's just a real sonofabitch, and it works so well. It's just more of the creative recycling that Abnett and Lanning have become known for with their space comics.
We also get introduced to a few new characters. There's Wraith, a shadowy fellow that has the ability to disable the Phalanx. A new Quasar that is the daughter of the original Captain Marvel. This is also the first time that the Guardians of the Galaxy really come together as a team. I know I talked about the Guardians before this, but I just really like that book and I jumped the gun. Sue me. While being able to put a fresh face on older characters, it was cool to see interesting new ones thrown into the fray as well.
There's so much I'm not telling you guys, but there needs to be some surprises left for you. There's just so much going on, and it's all solid gold. Epic space fantasy at its finest.
Sweeping changes of the status quo are the norm for these series thus far, and Conquest is no different. After an epic final confrontation, which naturally involves massive explosions, the stage is set for the next big space event. War of Kings is up next, and things will never be the same for two space empires.