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Comic Book / Annihilator

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Even a monster can dream...

"You're a fallen specimen, Ray. Weak and Self-Indulgent. This so-called screenplay of yours is the work of a contemptuous, self-loathing creator. Your notes are illegible. There's no outline. What's the lead's motivation? And the tone! Is it science fiction or gothic space horror or some bizarre post-modern romance thing? Where are you going with this?"
Max Nomax

Ray Spass (pronounced "Space") is a Hollywood screenwriter who hasn't produced a working script in two years. He's low on money, wired on illicit substances, and to top it all off, he's been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. A pretty grim and melodramatic fellow, he decides to commit suicide in the (supposedly) haunted house he recently purchased, only to be stopped by the mysterious Max Nomax, who claims that there's a very different kind of bullet in his head all ready.

Max Nomax is the star of the story Ray is currently writing, an intergalactic fugitive who was imprisoned on a derelict space station for committing the ultimate crime. Now he is in Ray's living room, claiming that he is suffering from a light case of amnesia and the tumour in Ray's head is actually a humongous data packet containing his recent memories that Max shot into the dimension he was escaping to so he could recover them later. The only way to purge it is to put the whole sordid affair out there in a nice, readable bundle.


Ray only has seven days to do it though. Because Max Nomax is a very wanted man and the script for "Annihilator" might just be crucial in preventing his pursuers from destroying all of existence. Or it might not. Max is a bit of a deceitful prick.

Grant Morrison's double-edged love letter to Hollywood and the creative process with Frazer Irving providing his usual barrage of gorgeous and grotesque artwork, Annihilator is a tale of scoundrels and scribes that blends the mundane with the cosmic in a pensive, action-packed study on what makes a villain and what makes a protagonist.



  • Arc Words: Annihilator. There are several entities known by this title including Max, Makro, VADA's elite guard, Ray's screenplay, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the special bass note Max invents to shatter Olympia's coffin.
  • Animal Motifs: Ants for Max and Sharks for Makro. Ray's agent, Josh Smiles, is sometimes unfavorably compared to a reptile.
  • Anti-Hero: Ray starts out as a truly nasty customer, but grows into this over the course of the story. On the other hand, Max is initially promoted as a "supercool rebel anti-hero fighting an authoritarian space empire," but turns out to be something else entirely.
  • Asshole Victim: Much of Ray's suffering that isn't nightmarish or overwhelmingly depressing is largely deserved.
  • Attention Whore: Max, who doesn't like it when Ray has the script focus on other characters and their subplots, and constantly mocks VADA during his imprisonment to get his attention.
  • Batman Gambit: VADA's plan to have Max, Makro, and the Oorga kill each other on Dis relied on Max trying to escape the space station, the still loyal Makro accepting a ludicrously redundant assassination order, and the Oorga being too much for either of them to handle alone. Time Dilation and Max's love for Olympia put a crimp on this scheme as Makro arrives 500 years too late for the planned Mêlée à Trois to happen.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Max claims that he can catch a bullet with his teeth in the second issue. He does just that in the finale when Makro shoots him with a pistol, but it proves to be a largely useless ability as his attacker just starts beating him with his fists.
  • Damsel in Distress: Luna eventually realises that Max dragged her into his and Ray's caper because he needed her to act as both a muse and a living incentive to force Ray to work harder lest the woman he still loves perishes as a result of his failure. By the end, she makes it clear that she'd rather die than have any of it. Olympia in her state of undeath is framed as this, but she berates Max for bringing her back to life since that's not what she wanted.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Oorga is as wicked as it gets, but its biomass helps bring Bug Eyes and Olympia back to life none the worse for wear. Max, however, tries to live up to this trope.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Neither Ray nor Max manages to get back together with their former loves, but Ray is at least on "texting" terms with Luna at the end.
  • Easily Forgiven: VADA is revealed to have been incredibly lenient towards Max's antics. It isn't until Max forces Olympia into a coma that he begins taking drastic measures.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Oorga.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Max is confused that Luna doesn't find his lying to Ray about his tumour being a data bullet hilarious or just as she just recently told him about how abusive Ray was to her when they were dating.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: Ultimately, Max doesn't really care if VADA destroys our universe because he'll just make a better one when given the chance.
  • Foreshadowing: The third issue is brimming with it, particularly Makro's contempt for our universe as he considers it "The World of Nomax."
  • From a Single Cell: The Oorga survived being tossed into the black hole Dis orbits around because it managed to leave a bit of itself behind. The fragment was enough to drive the research team onboard insane and eventually subsumed them into its new body. Max only manages to get rid of it by inflicting so much pain on it all at once with a miniature universe that the Oorga decides that death is better then the agony it's being inflicted with.
  • Genre Shift: the screenplay starts out as mixture of Sci-Fi, Modern Faust, and Bad Romance before revealing its true shape as a Creation Myth.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: VADA is brutal in dispelling conflicts in his dominion, will deconstruct an entire universe if he deems it a threat, and tries to have Makro killed under the belief that he might possibly betray him, but he's largely benevolent and makes sure his subjects are comfortable. Max, on the other hand, a self-confessed villain, couldn't care less about what he creates and is more likely to criticise his works for not living up to his genius.
  • God Is Evil: Max Nomax created our universe to feed his own ego and to spite VADA further, he's terribly unsympathetic to all the suffering his sloppiness has wrought.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Whatever Max once was before rebelling against VADA, made the computer exceptionally paranoid that he would be betrayed again. He winds up needlessly sending Makro to assassinate Max, hoping the two would kill each other because he feared his greatest enforcer would also stab him in the back.
  • Hero Antagonist: Makro can be a brutal foe and is willing to use trickery and violence if he must, but it's usually in service of brining peace and order to VADA's dominion and he can be reasoned with. This is ultimately why VADA wants him dead as the computer feared reprisal if Makro ever deemed him unworthy of rulership.
  • Heroic Willpower: How Makro prevents the ACTUAL data bullet Max fired into his head from killing him. Breaking this focus is integral to his defeat.
  • Hypocrite: On paper and at his repeated insistence, Max despises VADA's empire, but upon finding himself in a universe completely free of the computer's influence, he starts to complain about how bad the food and drugs are as well as how underdeveloped all the technology is.
  • Ignored Epiphany: There are several points in the story where Max seems to be on the cusp of admitting that his actions and person are flawed and petty, but he remains unrepentant until the very end.
  • Insufferable Genius: Both Ray and Max are skilled and ambitious artists, but their selfishness and vitriol makes them toxic to be around for too long.
  • It's All About Me: Deconstructed. Max is so self-absorbed that even the things he does for other people are just roundabout ways of flattering himself.
  • Licked by the Dog: Bug Eyes does his best to comfort and protect Max during his imprisonment on Dis despite him arguably not deserving any of it
  • Light Is Not Good: Though their colour schemes vary from scene to scene, the fascistic VADA and his Annihilators are often glowing when they appear. Max himself drives the Oorga to suicide by smashing it with a fiery, home-brew universe.
  • Lovable Rogue: Ray wants to tweak the script to make Max less of a "pompous asshole." And while Max loves being a bad guy, his ego demands that others adore him at the same time.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Max Nomax tricks, exploits, and betrays almost everyone he comes across. Even if someone knows how rotten he is, Max often makes the situation so dire that they have no choice but to do what he says anyway.
  • Mind Rape: The Oorga produces chemicals that erode the neural connections in the brain so that just being near it causes accute physical revulsion and existential horror.
  • Mundane Utility: Max has a special eyeball sigil on his right hand that he can use to hypnotise the weak-minded. He mostly uses it so he and Ray don't have to pay for meals or hotel rooms.
  • Nightmare Face: The artwork twists and contorts whenever Ray's condition worsens and Max sports a number of these over the course of the story with and without his mask on.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Max was originally of a noble line in VADA's Dominion before becoming an outlaw. This betrayal and the ensuing damage struck VADA so profoundly that he thought Makro would do the same.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Ray's tumour is surgically removed by a disguised Max. Whether the villain did it out of the goodness of his heart that he claims doesn't exist or because it was (as he claims) a "challenge" is up for interpretation.
    • Max gives Olympia his Power Armor during the climax of the story while he makes do with an inferior and much less-protected suit to jump into the Great Annihilator with her.
  • Rage Against the Author: With Max being at the core of all the instances involving this trope.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: As he moves past Act 1, Ray's puzzled as to why the Max in the story is seemingly less of a jerk than the one he's currently in cahoots with; he wises up in time. Later, Max supplies this page's quote when he thinks that the script is too unfocused and murky when it's a nearly perfect depiction of what actually happened to him on Dis.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Josh Smiles is patient with Ray to the point of leniency and actually tries to get him to give up writing the screenplay so they can focus on getting his tumor treated.
  • Serial Escalation: In the third issue, Ray remembers that Max Nomax is a public domain character that had his start as a surrealist in-joke, then became a Gothic Horror Villain Protagonist a la Fantômas, was reimagined as a pulp Diabolik-esque master criminal for an Italian comic book series, before Ray "reinterpreted" the broad strokes from all these previous iterations into "the ultimate haunted house space." An outlandish departure that, funnily enough, turns out to be the most accurate depiction of Max's exploits.
  • Sequel Hook: Though Morrison has expressed a faint interest in writing a follow-up series, the closing panel with the words, Max Nomax will return in "The Devil's Walk," feels more like satire on Hollywood's many Film Series attempts. At the start of the book, Josh Smiles reminds Ray that the studio they're signed on with wants to make a franchise springing off of Annihilator if it proves to be a success.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The tumour being a data bullet was a lie and Max didn't want the screenplay to save the world, but to help him find Olympia. Besides letting him know that she's probably still alive, it doesn't even help him much on that front either.
  • Sigil Spam: Thumbprint smudges occasionally pop up in the otherwise pristine artwork and are revealed to be Max's "signature" that he leaves behind on all his "art." Holes and black circles symbolising holes often appear as well.
  • Straw Nihilist: Ray starts out as one of these, but grows out of it by the end.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Averted. By the story's close, Ray and Luna lose all sympathy for Max, but have to fake it or VADA will have their universe destroyed.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Luna gets Makro to let her go by moving him with her backstory and Ray revealing how VADA betrayed him makes him vulnerable to the bullet Max shot into his head way back at the start of the comic. Max's own attempts to do so against VADA and the other Annihilators a few minutes later fail and it's up to Ray and Luna to make their pitch for all they hold dear.
  • Title Drop: Constantly as there are a lot of "Annihilators" in the book.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Ray has a taste for bad decisions, substance abuse, and the occult, but expresses fear and hesitation at the prospect of Max actually being the devil.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As he completes the screenplay himself, Max is overcome with grief and shame as he recalls his final moments with Olympia on Dis and all but surrenders himself to VADA's Annihilators when they arrive.
  • Where It All Began: Luna is incredulous that they drove around for hours trying to shake Makro in the city and the desert only to end up back in Ray's house.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: The Oorga lives to corrupt and consume all life.