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Comic Book / The Attack of the Annihilator

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The Attack of the Annihilator is a Batman 1981 storyline written and drawn by Cary Burkett and Jose Delbo and published in Detective Comics #508-510.

Barbara Gordon must protect Gotham from the self-named Annihilator, a scientist called Kenneth Anderson who evolved into a super-powerful mutant after being exposed to alien energies during an experiment, and now wishes to raze Gotham to the ground.

The Annihilator is both mad and powerful, and he might be more than Batgirl can handle. Fortunately, a certain Linda Danvers happens to be visiting Gotham and joins the battle when she feels her old friend is in trouble.

Since the Batman is off on a Justice League mission, it is up to both heroines to save Gotham from the newest dangerous lunatic threatening innocent lives.

Tropes found in this storyline:

  • A God Am I: After being transformed into a mutated superhuman, Kenneth Anderson declares he has become a god.
  • Alliterative Name: Bob Barton, one of the colleagues of Barbara Gordon in the "Humanities Research & Development" Center.
  • Always Someone Better: Several times Barbara ponders bitterly she looks useless standing next to Kara. Ironically, Supergirl cannot stop gushing over how much she loves teaming up with her incredibly cool and smart friend.
  • Antagonist Title: "The Annihilator" is the Big Bad who plans to burn Gotham down.
  • Badass in Distress: When the Annihilator grabs Supergirl and starts draining her life force, Batgirl must snatch her friend from his grasp.
  • Big Bad: Once a disturbed and selfish scientist, Kenneth Anderson was turned into a psychic super-being by exposure to alien energies, whereupon he decided to name himself "The Annihilator" and take revenge on those who supposedly scorned his latest discovery. Upon evolving further, the Annihilator modifies his plans to destroy Gotham and build his own private kingdom upon the ashes.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Annihilator has paralyzed Batgirl telekinetically and is about to turn her into another mutant when Supergirl swoops in and shields Batgirl with her own body.
  • Bio-Augmentation: The Annihilator builds a raygun powered by the alien rock's mutating energies with the purpose of transforming a woman into another psychic mutant like himself.
  • Blown Across the Room: When he is confronted in his lab, the Annihilator shoots a psychic blast powerful enough to smash Supergirl through the wall and send her flying for several miles.
  • Bridal Carry: Supergirl holds Batgirl in this position while taking her to safety after the latter has been shot down by the Annihilator.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Barbara uses an unconscious but still invulnerable Kara as a shield against the Annihilator's psychic blasts.
  • Buried Alive: Supergirl walls the Annihilator up to contain him while she and Batgirl decide what to do with him.
  • By the Hair: The Annihilator grabs onto Supergirl's hair while he is draining her energy.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: After blasting Supergirl out of his lab, the Annihilator reassures Batgirl he does not intend to kill her, since he has other plans for her.
  • Catch a Falling Star: When Batgirl gets thrown off a building by the Annihilator's blasts, Supergirl suddenly shows up, catches Barbara and transports her to safety.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Barbara briefly watches a talk show interviewing Linda Danvers shortly before being saved from the Annihilator by Linda herself.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Wanting to cheer Barbara up, her friend Doreen switches on a TV set right when a talk show is interviewing Linda Danvers (subtly informing readers that Supergirl is in the area). Suddenly the show is interrupted by an emergency broadcast reporting some lunatic is blasting holes into a research laboratory.
  • De-power: The Annihilator gets permanently devolved into his non-powered human state when he is encased in ice by Kara and Babs.
  • Deflector Shields: The Annihilator creates psychic shields to bounce Supergirl's blasts back at her.
  • Destination Defenestration: Batgirl gets shot out of a rooftop by the Annihilator's telekinetic pulses. Fortunately, she is caught by Supergirl, who happened to be visiting Gotham City.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: After being augmented by the energies of the meteorite, the Annihilator starts ranting about being turned into an angry, punishing deity while floating around and blasting buildings.
  • Dynamic Entry: When the Annihilator is absorbing Supergirl's life energy, Batgirl throws a smoke bomb, grabs Supergirl and swings away in quick succession.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Supergirl builds a whole underground base for Batgirl beneath the streets of Gotham, containing a garage, an armory, a supercomputer, and a secret exit.
  • Energy Absorption: The Annihilator can absorb someone else's lifeforce by touching them.
  • Evil Is Petty: Kenneth Anderson is obsessed with destroying Gotham City because his discovery of a new alien energy source was not given the biggest headlines.
  • Evil Gloating: Rather than freezing Batgirl telekinetically in place and shooting her as soon as he spots her, the Annihilator wastes time gloating about his newest form, and then complaining about Batgirl dodging his shots. When he at last decides to use his telekinesis, Supergirl shows up and shields Batgirl.
  • Evil Plan: After evolving further, the Annihilator comes up with the idea to raze Gotham to the ground, rebuild the city in his image, and repopulate it with his super-evolved offspring. Since he needs a female for the third step, he decides Batgirl is good enough.
  • Falling into His Arms: Batgirl gets blasted off a building and caught by Supergirl.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The Annihilator misses every time he shoots Batgirl, and he tries to freeze her in the spot only once.
  • Friendship Moment: After the Annihilator has been taken out for good, Supergirl praises Batgirl's intelligence and expresses how much she enjoyed teaming up with Barbara. Batgirl, who had been feeling painfully inadequate most of the time, feels more cheered up and agrees they should work together more often.
  • Glass Cannon: The Annihilator's energy blasts are powerful enough to bring buildings down, but physically he is still a regular human, and he can be knocked down by regular punches and kicks.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together: Kenneth Anderson clutches his head in pain when his body is bathed by mutating alien energies.
  • Green Rocks: A glowing meteorite shard found by Dr. Anderson can transform people into psychically-empowered mutants.
  • Hacker Cave: Supergirl builds one underground base, brimming with monitors and computers, for her pal Batgirl.
  • House Fire: The Annihilator attempts to kill all his former co-workers by setting his old workplace on fire. Fortunately, Supergirl's freezing breath puts off the fire quickly.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: When Supergirl tries to talk the Annihilator into reversing his transformation, he answers he has no intention whatsoever to go back to his non-powered state.
    Supergirl: Okay, mister— Calm down! Whatever has happened to you can't be permanent! We want to help you— find some way to reverse the process!
    Annihilator: Reverse the process? Are you fool enough to believe that I desire to revert to my pitiful human status? Does a man wish to return to his amoeba stage?
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Annihilator's blasts miss Batgirl while she is swinging away despite being a relatively slow-moving target hindered by Supergirl's dead weight. Justified because he is a scientist, not a hitman.
  • It's All About Me: While watching the news, Kenneth Anderson gets mad because journalists are talking about the prison reform pushed by Barbara Gordon instead of discussing further about him and his amazing discovery.
  • Just in Time: Batgirl falls to her death after being blasted out of the sky by the Annihilator, but she is promptly saved by Supergirl's timely arrival.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Annihilator attempts to burn his former co-workers to ashes.
  • Kill It with Ice: Downplayed. The Annihilator's mutation is catalyzed by heat, and he is defeated and depowered when he is encased in solid ice by Supergirl's freezing breath.
  • Kneel Before Zod: As his power grows, the Annihilator demands everyone bows down to him.
    The Annihilator: Hear me people!! Now that I have absorbed the energies of this Maid of Might, I am powerful beyond comprehension! Bow, then before me... Bow before your new god— Bow before— THE ANNIHILATOR!!
  • Lovely Angels: Kara and Barbara team up to take the Annihilator down. Batgirl feels she has little to contribute, whereas Supergirl is delighted to fight alongside her.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Kenneth Anderson is turned into a psychic mutant while running experiments on alien energies, and he decides to destroy Gotham.
  • Mundane Utility: Supergirl uses her super-strength, super-speed and heat vision to build a new garage for Batgirl's Batcycle.
  • My Brain Is Big: The Annihilator has an oversized bulbous head, a hint of his fearsome psychic powers.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A seriously disturbed and self-centered scientist called Kenneth Anderson is transformed into a psychic mutant, whereupon he renames himself "The Annihilator" to show off both his destructive powers and his intention to obliterate Gotham.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Batgirl points out his little show of force has started a lab fire, the Annihilator notices the flames and comes up with the idea to burn the whole building and its occupants to ashes.
  • No-Sell: The Annihilator's blasts have no effect on Supergirl other than waking her up.
    '''Amazing—! That blast would have fried me... But it only served to revive Supergirl.
  • Playing with Fire: The Annihilator has some measure of control about fire and flames.
  • Power Floats: Kenneth Anderson's body starts floating when exposure to alien energies causes him to evolve into a mutated super-being.
  • Power Glows: The alien rock found by Kenneth Anderson gives off an eerie red glow. When Anderson evolves into the Annihilator by exposure to the rock's hidden energies, a glowing red aura surrounds his body.
  • Power Parasite: Subverted. When the Annihilator grabs Supergirl, Batgirl thinks he is absorbing her powers until she spots a scar on his hand and notices his sweaty forehead. Since he could not possibly be injured or tired if he had absorbed Supergirl's powers, Batgirl deduces he is merely draining her life energy.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Supergirl when the final confrontation begins:
    Supergirl: Hang on, Batgirl! I'll block this blast— and then we'll get this jerk on his swelled head!
  • Psychic Powers: Kenneth gains psychic powers as he evolves into the Annihilator: he can levitate, shoot energy blasts, absorb life energy and use a limited form of precognition.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Annihilator's eyes glow red when he builds a psychic shield to deflect Supergirl's heat beams back at her.
  • Redemption Rejection: When Supergirl offers to look for a way to turn him back to normal, the Annihilator answers by blasting her out of the building, trying to turn Batgirl into another mutant, and setting the building on fire to kill everyone.
  • Rule of Perception: The Annihilator's precognition is visually depicted as an image of Supergirl and Batgirl inside his humongous cranium.
  • Sanity Slippage: Dr. Anderson was merely an embittered jerkass of a scientist before being exposed to unknown alien energies; whereupon he declares he has become a god as blasting holes into buildings in revenge for being supposedly belittled by his peers. As his body continues to mutate, Anderson -now calling himself "the Annihilator"- decides Gotham not only must be destroyed but also rebuilt and repopulated with his superior mutant offspring.
  • Secret-Keeper: After many years fighting together, Kara at last reveals her secret identity to Barbara after saving her from a deadly fall. In the aftermath, Barbara also reveals her civilian name to her friend.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Batgirl is not impressed by Annihilator's offer to become his mate.
    Annihilator: Fool of a woman! Do you not comprehend the glory I can give you? I am offering you a life as a superior being... Life as one like myself... My own mate!
    Batgirl: I hope you didn't spend all your money on the honeymoon tickets, chum! I've been wanting to lose weight, but your method seems a little extreme!
  • Smoke Out: Batgirl throws a smoke bomb at the Annihilator to blind him while she makes off with Supergirl.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": After his transformation, Kenneth Anderson stresses that his name is "THE Annihilator".
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Justified when the Annihilator manages to grasp Supergirl's upper arms and starts to drain her energy right away.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Barbara sneaks out to put on her costume while her friend Doreen is distracted watching the news.
    Doreen Gray: I don't believe it! It must be some crazy mistake! What do you think, Barbara? Barbara...? I don't get it! She was right behind me a minute ago! Where did she disappear to?
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Inverted. Supergirl comes to Batgirl's help when a super-powerful lunatic strikes Gotham, while Batman is off on a mission of the Justice League.
  • Transformation Ray: The Annihilator builds an evolving raygun to transform another human being into a mutant.
  • Tunnel King: Supergirl builds a whole underground lair in a matter of minutes for Batgirl only because Babs mentions in passing that she needs one.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When his body starts mutating in the middle of a battle, the Annihilator decides to flee to study his new physical changes instead of continuing to engage Batgirl and Supergirl.
  • Villain Teleportation: After engaging Batgirl and Supergirl for the first time, the Annihilator teleports himself away.
  • Villainous Crush: The Annihilator decides to make Batgirl his mate because Barbara seems physically fit.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Batgirl realizes the Annihilator evolved further every time he was exposed to great heat, so she reasons that extreme cold might reverse his transformation. Hence, she swiftly douses him in water, Supergirl freezes him, and he goes back to normal.
  • We Need a Distraction: Batgirl hurls a smoke bomb to keep the Annihilator confused and distracted while she picks Supergirl and runs away.
  • The Worf Effect: Batgirl realizes the Annihilator is more dangerous that she previously thought when he grabs Supergirl's wrists and starts absorbing her life force.