"Verbal log. Nova Corps Operative: 11249-44396 / Richard Rider... I...I was there...the last day of Nova Corps... I was there... I'm still here... God help me, I'm still here."
— Richard Rider, Annihilation Day Plus 7
In 2006, Marvel Comics had their big Crisis CrossoverCivil War. But this conflict was confined only to Earth and the Marvel Universe contained many, many characters that were space-based. So they had a simultaneous Crisis Crossover just for them: Annihilation. Being a Space Opera it received less attention than the politically relevant Civil War but benefited from having a more consistent narrative.At the maximum security prison the Kyln, in the area of space known as "the Crunch," a massive armada called the Annihilation Wave destroys nearly everything. Nothing can stand in the Annihilation Wave's path, especially as it destroys one of the first obstacles: the Nova Corps, where Richard Rider, Earth's Nova, is the only survivor. Elsewhere, the Silver Surfer senses an infestation; Kl'rt the Super-Skrull hears rumors of a strange superweapon; Ronan the Accuser becomes the accused; and Thanos has a conversation with Death, who tells him "something wonderful" is going to happen. And as the Annihilation Wave bears down on the universe, at its head is Annihilus who shouts "Annihilus is the will and the way and he will not be denied!"Annihilation was spread out over a number of mini-series:
Drax the Destroyer: Earth Fall 1-4 (actually a prelude)
Annihilation: Nova 1-4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer 1-4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull 1-4
Annihilation: Ronan 1-4
In addition, there was an Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus spin-off (tying up some loose ends) and a sequel: Annihilation: Conquest. The fallout of these events would form part of Marvel's subsequent Space Opera crossovers, the War of Kings in 2009, and The Thanos Imperative in 2010.
Big Damn Heroes: In Conquest, Nova and his allies, especially Warlock of the Technarchy. Dramatic punches from offscreen stop Ultron from laying a beatdown on one of our heroes twice in three pages.
Warlock: Ultron-Phalanx! You face the wrath of your parent race! And we are not pleased!
Another one comes earlier, when Peter Quill is saved from death by Rocket Racoon in his usual style.
Rocket Racoon: (After having killed every Phalanx in the room) "And that is how we do things in the Racooniverse!"
Bittersweet Ending: They saved the universe, but billions are dead, the Nova Corps is destroyed, the Skrulls are on the verge of extinction...and after Annihilus's death, they still have to cede territories to Ravenous and the leftover Annihilation Wave just so the fighting will stop, and Surfer has been largely stripped of his morals by Galactus. Oh and Annihilus isn't quite dead and let's not get started when The Phalanx decided to take advantage of this.
Blatant Lies: On several occasions after introducing himself, Drax is met with some variation of "You mean, the Destroyer?" & his response is simple "No."
Brainwashed and Crazy: Technically the victims of the Phalanx during the Conquest arc. Some of the characters being Richard Rider, Gamora and Drax.
Curiously, some of them know they're brainwashed, and are angry about it, yet still praise being Phalanx.
Continuity Lockout: Somewhat averted, since pretty much everything is explained in the series, but still, some things people won't understand until they've read back issues from the '70s, like who the heck Gamora is or what the history is between Thanos and Drax. (Which lead to Marvel releasing a trade called Annihilation: Classic).
Curb-Stomp Battle: Nova tries to take on Annihilus single-handed. He gets his ass handed to him.
Ronan versus Ravenous, who only a few months before (in-universe) survived fights with the Silver Surfer. Ronan takes a good chunk of Ravenous's face off.
Enemy Mine: Blastaar, usually an antagonist to the Nova Corps and the Fantastic Four, supplies Nova, Peter Quill and Phyla-Vell with teleportation tubes that will allow them to get them close to Annihilus.
Also, Ronan and Super-Skrull are usually villains but help Nova and the others defeat the Annihilation Wave. In fact, Ronan and Super-Skrull being on the same side counts as well; Kree and Skrulls hate each other.
Five Second Foreshadowing: Mantis mentions that they've lost three team members, confusing Star-Lord, who points out they've only lost two so far, so why's she saying three?
Mantis: "Because this is the part where Ultron teleports in and kills me."
(Cue Ultron teleporting in)
Freudian Slip: During a particularly heated argument, Nova calls the Worldmind "Dad".
From Bad to Worse: From day one. First the Nova Corps is wiped out. Then Quasar gets killed, allowing Annihilus to take his quantum bands, becoming even more powerful. Then the Wave ploughs through the Skrull Empire. The United Front manages to hold them off for a while, and then the Wave manages to capture Galactus, and turn him into a weapon. After that, the United Front just gives up, forcing Nova, Phyla-Vell and Quill to try and take on Annihilus alone.
And just when the heroes finally "killed" Annihilus and started bringing stability to the universe, Ultron and the Phalanx come a-knockin'.
The Gadfly: The Super-Skrull loves making pithy comments at Ronan's expense every few seconds.
Godzilla Threshold: In an attempt to break through the Phalanx's barrier, the Badoon use something called a Continuum Ram. The captain of the lead ship on hearing this remarks that he doesn't know which is worse; that the Badoon have such a weapon, that they don't care whether everyone else knows it exists, or that it didn't work.
Got Volunteered: Peter Quill's squad. They were all in prison before hand, most of them for minor acts. Rocket Racoon, for example, was in there for parking tickets. But since none of them are Kree, they're the perfect choice to send on a Suicide Mission.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Okay, let's see: we have the main characters, Nova, Drax, Kl'rt, Silver Surfer, Ronan, and then we have side characters like Firelord (and the rest of the Heralds), Paibok the Power Skrull, Gamora, Moondragon, Thanos, Phyla-Vell, Quasar, Star-Lord, and many, many others. Suffice to say, if they're a space hero, they were probably seen, even if only in a cameo.
Mercy Kill: Ronan does this to the Supreme Intelligence, once he finds what House Fiyero have done to it.
The Mole: R'kin, who turns on Kl'rt just as he was about to destroy the Harvester of Sorrow.
Not So Different: Ravenous claims he and the Silver Surfer are this, being servants to a higher power, when really Ravenous is just a murderous thug.
Omnicidal Maniac: Annihilus, who wants to destroy both the regular universe and the Negative Zone just so he can be the last living thing standing. Even Thanos tries to stop him after that.
One-Winged Angel: Ultron tries this at the end of Conquest to stave off defeat by forming all of Ronan's Kree Sentries into a giant version of himself.
Planet Eater: Besides Galactus, there's the Harvester of Sorrow. After Super-Skrull blows that up, Annihilus and Thanos capture Galactus and make him into one (well... More of one).
Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: A lot of the final battles in Annihilation end with one large battle cry. Special mentions go to Ronan's "GUILTY!", Galactus "HERALD MY RAGE!" and Nova's defiant "THIS IS FOR THE NOVA CORPS!"as he finally kills Annihilus, ending the war.
Sanity Slippage: Richard Rider is unwilling to take the entire Nova Force because this happened to the last person who did it. Ultimately, there isn't much choice. He does have a momentary burst of rage, but beyond that, nothing.
The fact that he's got the Worldmind and Drax nearby helps.
Sealed Evil in a Can: In the beginning of the universe, Galactus imprisoned Tenebrous of the Darkness Between and Aegis Lady of All Sorrows in the Kyln. The Annihilation Wave set them free.