Is Aiwass really Galactus?

So I was reading some old Silver Surfer comics the other day, and I found something… odd. Really odd.

It’s this panel:
"Every man and Every Woman is a Star"

In which Galactus, the Eater of Worlds and generally one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, speaks a line of philosophical gibberish. Except that it’s not just any line of philosophical gibberish. No indeed. It is, in fact, a direct quote of Aleister Crowley’s Liber vel Legis (or The Book of the Law, in English). Specifically, chapter one, verse three. (See for yourself.) And it seems rather unlikely that Steve Englehart, who is a very deliberate sort of a writer, used the line by chance. He at least was no doubt aware of its significance and origins (unlike his editor and a large number of his readers).

Funny thing about Liber vel Legis: Crowley always claimed that it was dictated to him by a spirit across April 8, 9 and 10, 1904. A spirit that Crowley referred to be the name Aiwass, and claimed was his own personal Holy Guardian Angel (caps in original).

Now, many later occultists have theorised that Aiwass was simply a part of Crowley’s subconscious (and I lean toward that interpretation myself). Maybe that is the case – in our world! The Marvel Universe, on the other hand, is considerably weirder than our world, though, and since it seems rather unlikely that Galactus would be reading the works of human occultists, I have to assume that the causal relationship runs in the opposite direction, and that it was Galactus who dictated Liber vel Legis to Crowley. Which might explain why Galactus is always finding reasons not to eat our particular world.

So there you go.

Except that there’s more.

You see, Aleister Crowley claimed that Lewis Carroll – the pen name of Charles Dodgson, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Jabberwocky and Through The Looking Glass – was a holy seer of sorts. Robert Anton Wilson took this one step further, claiming that the Alice books were dictated to Dodgson by a spirit he called Lewis (in case you’re wondering: Carroll because the spirit allegedly sang, or caroled, the books to Dodgson), and that Lewis and Aiwass are one and the same.

So there’s a case to be made that in the Marvel Universe, this guy:
Galactus
is the true author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Jabberwocky, Through The Looking Glass and Liber vel Legis

Civil War

Civil War

One of those rare crossovers that really does change everything. Like, for example, the long-established personalities of various characters.

You can see where it fits into the larger timeline here.

The Road to Civil War:
New Avengers: Illuminati The Road to Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
New Warriors #1 [1] Civil War Prelude: New Warriors
New Warriors #2 Civil War Prelude: New Warriors
New Warriors #3 Civil War Prelude: New Warriors
New Warriors #4 Civil War Prelude: New Warriors
New Warriors #5 Civil War Prelude: New Warriors
New Warriors #6 Civil War Prelude: New Warriors
Fantastic Four #536 The Road to Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four #537 The Road to Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Amazing Spider-Man #529 The Road to Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #530 The Road to Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #531 The Road to Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
The Civil War:
Civil War #1 Civil War
She-Hulk #8 Civil War: Marvel Universe
She-Hulk, vol.4: Laws of Attraction
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Wolverine #42 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
X-Factor #8 Civil War: X-Men Universe
X-Factor, vol.2: Life and Death Matters
Civil War: X-Men
New Avengers #21 New Avengers, vol.5: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Black Panther #17 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Front Line #1 Civil War: Front Line, Book 1
Civil War: Front Line
Amazing Spider-Man #532 The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Civil War #2 Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man #533 The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Civil War: Front Line #2 Civil War: Front Line, Book 1
Civil War: Front Line
Eternals #1 [2] Eternals
She-Hulk #9 She-Hulk, vol.4: Laws of Attraction
Thunderbolts #103 Civil War: Thunderbolts
Civil War: The Underside
New Avengers #22 New Avengers, vol.5: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Blade #4 Blade, vol.1: Undead Again
Sensational Spider-Man #28 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Spider-Man
X-Factor #9 Civil War: X-Men Universe
X-Factor, vol.2: Life and Death Matters
Civil War: X-Men
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #11 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, vol.2: Mystery Date
Civil War: Spider-Man
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, vol.2: Mystery Date
Civil War: Spider-Man
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #13 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, vol.2: Mystery Date
Civil War: Spider-Man
Civil War: Front Line #3 Civil War: Front Line, Book 1
Civil War: Front Line
Heroes For Hire #1 Civil War: Heroes for Hire
Civil War: The Underside
Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways #1 Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways #2 Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways #3 Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways #4 Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Thunderbolts #104 Civil War: Thunderbolts
Civil War: The Underside
Thunderbolts #105 Civil War: Thunderbolts
Civil War: The Underside
Cable & Deadpool #30 Civil War: X-Men Universe
Cable & Deadpool, vol.6: Paved with Good Intentions
Civil War: X-Men
Fantastic Four #538 Fantastic Four: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
New X-Men #28 New X-Men: Childhood’s End, vol.3
New X-Men #29 New X-Men: Childhood’s End, vol.3
New X-Men #30 New X-Men: Childhood’s End, vol.3
New X-Men #31 New X-Men: Childhood’s End, vol.3
New X-Men #32 New X-Men: Childhood’s End, vol.3
Black Panther #18 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Frontline #4 Civil War: Front Line, Book 1
Civil War: Front Line
Civil War: Choosing Sides #1 Civil War: Marvel Universe
Civil War: Front Line
Black Panther #19 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Iron Man #13 Iron Man: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Black Panther #20 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Front Line #5 Civil War: Front Line, Book 1
Civil War: Front Line
Sensational Spider-Man #29 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-ManCivil War: Spider-Man
Sensational Spider-Man #30 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Spider-Man
Sensational Spider-Man #31 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Spider-Man
Eternals #3 [2] Eternals
Civil War #3 Civil War
Civil War #4 Civil War
Civil War: Front Line #6 Civil War: Front Line, Book 1
Civil War: Front Line
Eternals #5 [2] Eternals
Eternals #6 [2] Eternals
Cable & Deadpool #31 Civil War: X-Men Universe
Cable & Deadpool, vol.6: Paved with Good Intentions
Civil War: X-Men
Cable & Deadpool #32 Civil War: X-Men Universe
Cable & Deadpool, vol.6: Paved with Good Intentions
Civil War: X-Men
Wolverine #43 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
Wolverine #44 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
Wolverine #45 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
Captain America #22 Captain America: Civil War
Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection
Civil War: Avengers
Captain America #23 Captain America: Civil War
Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: Front Line #7 Civil War: Front Line, Book 2
Civil War: Front Line
Amazing Spider-Man #534 The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Fantastic Four #539 Fantastic Four: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Black Panther #21 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Black Panther #22 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: X-Men #1 Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men #2 Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men #3 Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men #4 Civil War: X-Men
Civil War: X-Men
Heroes For Hire #2 Civil War: Heroes for Hire
Civil War: The Underside
Heroes For Hire #3 Civil War: Heroes for Hire
Civil War: The Underside
Ms. Marvel #6 Civil War: Ms. Marvel
Civil War: Avengers
Ms. Marvel #7 Civil War: Ms. Marvel
Civil War: Avengers
Ms. Marvel #8 Civil War: Ms. Marvel
Civil War: Avengers
New Avengers #23 New Avengers, vol.5: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
New Avengers #24 New Avengers, vol.5: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: The Return Civil War: Marvel Universe
Civil War: Front Line
Captain America/Iron Man: Casualties of War Iron Man: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Wolverine #46 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
Wolverine #47 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
Black Panther #23 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Captain America #24 Captain America: Civil War
Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: Front Line #8 Civil War: Front Line, Book 2
Civil War: Front Line
Wolverine #48 Wolverine: Civil War
Civil War: X-Men
Fantastic Four #540 [3] Fantastic Four: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Amazing Spider-Man #535 [3] The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Civil War #5 Civil War
Punisher War Journal #1 Punisher War Journal, vol.1: Civil War
Civil War: The Underside
Fantastic Four #541 Fantastic Four: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: War Crimes #1 Civil War: War Crimes
Civil War: The Underside
Civil War: Front Line #9 Civil War: Front Line, Book 2
Civil War: Front Line
Moon Knight #7 Moon Knight, vol.2: Midnight Sun
Civil War: The Underside
Moon Knight #8 Moon Knight, vol.2: Midnight Sun
Civil War: The Underside
Moon Knight #9 Moon Knight, vol.2: Midnight Sun
Civil War: The Underside
Moon Knight #10 Moon Knight, vol.2: Midnight Sun
Civil War: The Underside
Fantastic Four #542 Fantastic Four: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Amazing Spider-Man #536 The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Iron Man #14 Iron Man: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, vol.2: Mystery Date
Civil War: Spider-Man
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #15 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, vol.2: Mystery Date
Civil War: Spider-Man
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #16 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, vol.2: Mystery DateCivil War: Spider-Man
Blade #5 Blade, vol.1: Undead Again
Civil War: X-Men
Sensational Spider-Man #32 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Spider-Man
Sensational Spider-Man #33 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Spider-Man
Sensational Spider-Man #34 Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Spider-Man
Winter Solider: Winter Kills #1 Captain America: Civil War
Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection
Civil War: Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man #537 The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Black Panther #24 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Punisher War Journal #2 Punisher War Journal, vol.1: Civil War
Civil War: The Underside
Civil War #6 Civil War
Punisher War Journal #3 Punisher War Journal, vol.1: Civil War
Civil War: The Underside
Thunderbolts #106 [4] Thunderbolts: Guardian Protocols
Thunderbolts #107 [4] Thunderbolts: Guardian Protocols
Thunderbolts #108 [4] Thunderbolts: Guardian Protocols
Thunderbolts #109 [4] Thunderbolts: Guardian Protocols
New Avengers #25 New Avengers, vol.5: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: Front Line #10 Civil War: Front Line, Book 2
Civil War: Front Line
Civil War #7 Civil War
Epilogues and Spinoffs:
Black Panther #25 Black Panther: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Amazing Spider-Man #538 The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Civil War: Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #539 [5] Spider-Man: Back in Black
Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 5
Fantastic Four #543 Fantastic Four: Civil War
Civil War: Fantastic Four
Civil War: Front Line #11 Civil War: Front Line, Book 2
Civil War: Front Line
Ghost Rider #8 Ghost Rider, vol.2: The Life & Death of Johnny Blaze
Civil War: The Underside
Ghost Rider #9 Ghost Rider, vol.2: The Life & Death of Johnny Blaze
Civil War: The Underside
Ghost Rider #10 Ghost Rider, vol.2: The Life & Death of Johnny Blaze
Civil War: The Underside
Ghost Rider #11 Ghost Rider, vol.2: The Life & Death of Johnny Blaze
Civil War: The Underside
Captain America #25 The Death of Captain America, vol.1: The Death of the Dream
Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: Fallen Son #1 Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
Civil War: Fallen Son #2 Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
Civil War: Fallen Son #3 Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
Civil War: Fallen Son #4 Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
Civil War: The Initiative #1 Civil War: Marvel Universe
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: The Confession Iron Man: Civil War
Civil War: Avengers
Civil War: Fallen Son #5 Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
Eternals #7 [2] Eternals
The Order #1 The Order, vol.1: The Next Right Thing
Omega Flight #1 Omega Flight: Alpha to Omega
Mighty Avengers #1 Mighty Avengers, vol.1: The Ultron Initiative
Avengers: The Initiative #1 Avengers: The Initiative, vol.1: Basic Training

 

Footnotes:

  1. Not originally considered a part of Civil War but recently re-issued as a prequel series.
  2. The Eternals series is not bannered as a crossover, but clearly takes place during Civil War.
  3. Fantastic Four #540 and Amazing Spider-Man #535 also cross over with each other.
  4. Takes place during Civil War but is not bannered as a crossover.
  5. This is the fist issue of the Back in Black crossover storyline.

Shocktoxin

Shocktoxin was created by an unrevealed US military contractor for use by S.H.I.E.L.D., who in turn issued them to members of the Secret Avengers team. Crafted into flechettes with a monofilament edge, Shocktoxin projectiles could slice through almost any armour, and shots that missed left little evidence as the compound dissolved in minutes if left in the open air.

A hit from a Shocktoxin flechette would allow the never toxin to do its work – and a single flechette can knock out a healthy bull for about six hours. Human test subjects reported experiencing truly horrifying nightmares while knocked out by the drug. It is not known what the bull experienced.

Fang

A drug made from the hemoglobin of vampires, Fang is dangerous and (thankfully) rare. Created by a 2000 year old vampire named Negus (who apparently once defeated Dracula in hand to hand combat), it was brought to New York City by him. Here, he abducted homeless people, dosed them with the drug and forced them to battle each other in cage match fights, until Spider-Man and Blade intervened.

The effects of Fang are temporary, but massive while they last. They effectively give the human user the physical traits of a vampire – fangs, super strength, really bad skin – for a few hours, plus a berserker rage that lasts for roughly three days even after the other effects wear off. Intense doses of UV light can make the effects wear off sooner, and there appears to be little lasting damage to the minds or bodies of the users afterwards (other than whatever injuries they may receive in the cage fights).

War of Kings

War of Kings

The next crossover in the line that began with the Annihilation events, as well as being a followup to Secret Invasion. Another brilliant story by Abnett and Lanning.

To see how this event fits into the larger chronology, go here.

Prologue:
War of Kings Saga #1 Road to War of Kings
X-Men – Divided We Stand #2: “The Hole” Road to War of Kings
X-Men: Divided We Stand
X-Men – Kingbreaker #1 Road to War of Kings
Guardians of the Galaxy #7 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2: War of Kings, Book 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #8 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2: War of Kings, Book 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #9 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2: War of Kings, Book 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #10 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2: War of Kings, Book 1
X-Men – Kingbreaker #2 Road to War of Kings
Secret Invasion – War of Kings #1 War of Kings Omnibus
Road to War of Kings
X-Men – Kingbreaker #3 Road to War of Kings
X-Men – Kingbreaker #4 Road to War of Kings
War of Kings – Warriors #1 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
War of Kings – Warriors #2 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
War of Kings – Darkhawk #1 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
War of Kings – Darkhawk #2 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
War of Kings – Ascension #1 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
Guardians of the Galaxy #11 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2: War of Kings, Book 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #12 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2: War of Kings, Book 1
The War of Kings
War of Kings #1 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings
Nova #23 Nova, vol.5: War of Kings
Nova #24 Nova, vol.5: War of Kings
Nova #25 Nova, vol.5: War of Kings
War of Kings #2 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings
War of Kings – Ascension #2 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
Guardians of the Galaxy #13 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.3: War of Kings, Book 2
War of Kings #3 War of Kings
War of Kings – The Savage World of Skaar #1 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
War of Kings #4 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings
War of Kings – Ascension #3 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
Guardians of the Galaxy #14 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.3: War of Kings, Book 2
Guardians of the Galaxy #15 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.3: War of Kings, Book 2
War of Kings #5 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings
War of Kings – Ascension #4 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings: Warriors
Nova #26 Nova, vol.5: War of Kings
Nova #27 Nova, vol.5: War of Kings
Guardians of the Galaxy #16 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.3: War of Kings, Book 2
War of Kings #6 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings
Epilogue:
Guardians of the Galaxy #17 Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.3: War of Kings, Book 2
Nova #28 Nova, vol.5: War of Kings
War of Kings – Who Will Rule? #1 War of Kings Omnibus
War of Kings

Maximum Security

Maximum Security

This one had an interesting premise, but the execution wasn’t the equal of it. Still, it’s nice to see the Avengers and X-Men on the same side for a change.

To see how this event fits into the larger chronology, go here.

Prelude:
Thor Vs. Ego (reprint of Thor #133) [1] Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, vol.5
Essential Thor, vol.2
Thor Vs. Ego (reprint of Thor #160) [1] Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, vol.7
Essential Thor, vol.3
Thor Vs. Ego (reprint of Thor #161) [1] Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, vol.7
Essential Thor, vol.3
Avengers Infinity #1 [2] Avengers Infinity Classic
Avengers Infinity #2 Avengers Infinity Classic
Avengers Infinity #3 Avengers Infinity Classic
Avengers Infinity #4 Avengers Infinity Classic
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Maximum Security
Maximum Security #1 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Thor #30 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Uncanny X-Men #387 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Amazing Spider-Man #24 uncollected
Black Panther #25 Marvel Super Hero Team-Up
Iron Man #35 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Captain America #36 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Captain Marvel #12 Captain Marvel, vol.2: Coven
Incredible Hulk #21 Incredible Hulk: Past Perfect
Peter Parker, Spider-Man #24 uncollected
Thunderbolts #45 uncollected
Bishop: The Last X-Man #15 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Maximum Security #2 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Marvel Knights #6 uncollected
Gambit #23 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
X-Men #107 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
X-Men Unlimited #29 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Avengers #35 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security
Maximum Security #3 Avengers / X-Men: Maximum Security

Footnotes:

  1. The Thor Vs Ego one shot consisted entirely of reprints of earlier Thor issues.
  2. This story immediately precedes and leads into the main event.

Annihiliation: Conquest

Annihiliation: Conquest

The second of Marvel’s big cosmic events, not quite as good as its predecessor, but still pretty damned good.

To see how this event fits into the larger chronology, go here.

Prologue:
Annihilation Saga [1] Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Mighty Avengers [2] Mighty Avengers, vol.1: The Ultron Initiative
Nova #1 [3, 4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
Nova #2 [3, 4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
Nova #3 [3, 4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
The Conquest
Annihilation: Conquest Prologue Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Nova #4 [4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Nova #5 [4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Nova #6 [4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Nova #7 [4] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest
Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Wraith #1 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest – Wraith #2 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest – Wraith #3 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest – Wraith #4 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord #1 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord #2 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord #3 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord #4 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar #1 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar #2 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar #3 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar #4 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 1
Annihilation: Conquest #1 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest #2 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest #3 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest #4 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Annihilation: Conquest #5 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Nova #8 [4, 5] Nova, vol.2: Knowhere
Nova #9 [4, 5] Nova, vol.2: Knowhere
Nova #10 [4, 5] Nova, vol.2: Knowhere
Nova Annual #1 [4, 5] Nova, vol.2: Knowhere
Nova #11 [4, 5] Nova, vol.2: Knowhere
Nova #12 [4, 5] Nova, vol.2: Knowhere
Annihilation: Conquest #6 Annihilation: Conquest, Book 2
Epilogues
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 [4, 6] Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.1: Legacy
Nova #13 [4, 7] Nova, vol.3: Secret Invasion

Footnotes:

  1. Provides a detailed summary of the original Annihilation crossover.
  2. The last previous appearance of a pivotal character in the storyline.
  3. These three issues of Nova parallel the action of the Prologue, taking place over a very brief span and end just as the conclusion of the Prologue play out.
  4. It should go without saying, but just in case: the Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy series appearing in this crossover are vastly superior to the current incarnations of those two titles.
  5. Not bannered as part of the crossover, but absolutely vital to understanding its conclusion.
  6. The launch of a new ongoing series, following on from this crossover, particularly the Star-Lord series.
  7. The next issue of the ongoing series, and as the title suggests, a part of the next big crossover.

Annihiliation

ANNIHILATION

The first of Marvel’s big cosmic events, and the start of a really special time in the Marvel Universe. For just a few years, it was heaven in the heavens for fans of Andy Lanning& Dan Abnett.

To see how this event fits into the larger chronology, go here.

Prologue:
Thanos #7 [1] Thanos: Redemption
Thanos #8 Thanos: Redemption
Thanos #9 Thanos: Redemption
Thanos #10 Thanos: Redemption
Thanos #11 Thanos: Redemption
Thanos #12 Thanos: Redemption
Drax the Destroyer #1 Annihilation, Book 1
Drax the Destroyer #2 Annihilation, Book 1
Drax the Destroyer #3 Annihilation, Book 1
Drax the Destroyer #4 Annihilation, Book 1
The Annihilation
Annihilation: Prologue Annihilation, Book 1
Annihilation: Nova #1 Annihilation, Book 1
Annihilation: Nova #2 Annihilation, Book 1
Annihilation: Nova #3 Annihilation, Book 1
Annihilation: Nova #4 Annihilation, Book 1
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Super Skrull #1 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Super Skrull #2 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Super Skrull #3 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Super Skrull #4 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Ronan #1 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Ronan #2 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Ronan #3 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: Ronan #4 Annihilation, Book 2
Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation #1 Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation #2 Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation #3 Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation #4 Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation #5 Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation #6 Annihilation, Book 3
Epilogues
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 Annihilation, Book 3
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 Annihilation, Book 3
Nova #1 [2] Nova, vol.1: Annihilation – Conquest

Footnotes:

  1. Introduces several characters and concepts that will prove important in Annihilation.
  2. This new series of Nova spun out of this storyline, and lasted for several years. And it was damned good – if you’re picking up the first volume, don’t stop there.

Secret Wars

The one that started it all: the crossover before there were crossovers. Not a great artistic success, but a fantastic commercial one.

You can see where it fits into the larger timeline here.

Harbingers:
X-Men #178 Essential X-Men, vol.4
Departures
Iron Man #181 un-collected
Captain America #292 Captain America: Death of the Red Skull
Avengers #241 Avengers: Absolute Vision Book 1
Thor #341 (pp1-2) [1] Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus
Avengers #242 Avengers: Absolute Vision Book 2
Thor #342 (bonus panels only) [1] Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus
X-Men #179 Essential X-Men, vol.4
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #89 [2] Essential Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, vol.4
Marvel Team-Up #140 [2] un-collected
Amazing Spider-Man #251 [2] Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin
Incredible Hulk #294 Incredible Hulk: Regression
Fantastic Four #264 Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus, vol.2
The Thing #10 The Thing Classic, vol.1
The Secret War
Secret Wars #1 Secret Wars Omnibus
Spider-Man & The Secret Wars
Secret Wars #2 Secret Wars Omnibus
Secret Wars #3 Secret Wars Omnibus
She-Hulk #10 [3] Secret Wars Omnibus
She-Hulk, vol.2: Superhuman Law
Thor #383 [4] Secret Wars Omnibus
Secret Wars #4 Secret Wars Omnibus
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #1 [5] Spider-Man & The Secret Wars
Secret Wars #5 Secret Wars Omnibus
Secret Wars #6 Secret Wars Omnibus
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #2 [6] Spider-Man & The Secret Wars
Secret Wars #7 Secret Wars Omnibus
Secret Wars #8 Secret Wars Omnibus
Spider-Man: Birth of Venom
Secret Wars #9 Secret Wars Omnibus
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #3 [7] Spider-Man & The Secret Wars
Secret Wars #10 Secret Wars Omnibus
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #4 [8] Spider-Man & The Secret Wars
Secret Wars #11 Secret Wars Omnibus
Secret Wars #12 Secret Wars Omnibus
Returns and Epilogues
Avengers #243 [9] Avengers: Absolute Vision Book 2
Iron Man #182 [9] un-collected
Thor #341 (p3 onwards) [1] Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus
Amazing Spider-Man #252 [2] Spider-Man: Birth of Venom
Spider-Man: The Complete Alien Costume Saga Book 1
Marvel Team-Up #140 [2] un-collected
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #90 [2] Essential Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, vol.4
Spider-Man: The Complete Alien Costume Saga Book 1
X-Men #180 Essential X-Men, vol.5
X-Men #181 Essential X-Men, vol.5
X-Men #182 [10] Essential X-Men, vol.5
Incredible Hulk #295 Incredible Hulk: Regression
Fantastic Four #265 Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus, vol.2
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #4 Marvels: Eye of the Camera
The Thing #11 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #12 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #13 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #14 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #15 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #16 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #17 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #18 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #19 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #20 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #21 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
The Thing #22 [11] The Thing Classic , vol.2
Fantastic Four #274 [12] The Thing Classic , vol.2
Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus, vol.2
Spider-Man: Birth of Venom

Footnotes:

  1. The entirety of Secret Wars takes place between pages 2 & 3 of Thor #341. In #341, there were three whited out panels – panels which were provided the following month in the letter column of #342.
  2. These two sets of three issues all happen at around the same time.
  3. This story depicts an expanded version of the origin of Titania seen in Secret Wars #3.
  4. The vast majority of this issue takes place at this point.
  5. Takes place entirely within Secret Wars #4
  6. Appears to take place around the time of Secret Wars #6
  7. Jumps around a bit chronologically, but after Secret Wars #9 is the best fit.
  8. Takes place entirely within Secret Wars #10
  9. Iron Man returns with the Avengers.
  10. An epilogue, but probably the single best issue of the whole storyline.
  11. The Thing remained on Battleworld for 12 issues of his own title before returning to Earth.
  12. The Thing finally returned to Earth in this issue.

Chaos War

Chaos War was the fantastic culmination of eight awesome volumes of The Incredible Hercules, which are just about the most fun you can have reading comics. You really don’t need to read anything other than the main series, but the Ares, Dead Avengers and Incredible Hulks tie-ins are particularly good.

It fits into the larger timeline here.

The Lead-Up:
Heroic Age: Prince of Power #4 Incredible Hercules: The New Prince of Power
Chaos War: Chaos King Chaos War: X-Men
The Chaos War:
Chaos War #1 Chaos War
Chaos War #2 Chaos War
Chaos War: Ares Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War: Dead Avengers #1 Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War: X-Men #1 Chaos War: X-Men
Chaos War #3 Chaos War
Chaos War: God Squad Chaos War: X-Men
Incredible Hulks #618 Chaos War: Incredible Hulks
Chaos War: Dead Avengers #2 Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War: Alpha Flight Chaos War: X-Men
Chaos War: X-Men #2 Chaos War: X-Men
Chaos War #4 Chaos War
Incredible Hulks #619 Chaos War: Incredible Hulks
Incredible Hulks #620 Chaos War: Incredible Hulks
Chaos War: Thor #1 Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War: Thor #2 Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War: Dead Avengers #3 Chaos War: Avengers
Chaos War #5 Chaos War
Epilogues:
Incredible Hulks #621 Chaos War: Incredible Hulks
Incredible Hulks #622 Chaos War: Incredible Hulks
Herc #1 [1] Herc: The Complete Series
Fear Itself: Herc
Alpha Flight #0.1 [2] Alpha Flight: The Complete Series

Footnotes:

  1. Herc is Hercules’ new series spinning out of Chaos War.
  2. Alpha Flight picks up from the resurrection of the team in the pages of Chaos War.

The Inevitable Super-Villain Army

It’s a time-honoured trope of superhero comics: sooner or later, one or another of the various A-list supervillains will decide to gather all the other (and hence, lesser) villain under their command, and be-devil the heroes with them. There’s a number of reasons why this idea is flawed to the point of suckage, and why it should be given a nice long rest:
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Forever Compound

The Forever Compund is an alchemical serum produced by the Brotherhood of the Shield. It is a diluted form of the Elixir of Immortality developed by Isaac Newton in 1652.

While it still retains the life-prolonging properties of its parent elixir, it doesn’t keep any of the other properties. In particular, it does not prevent the mind or body of the person injected with it from decaying.

Newton administered it to Nostradamus in 1652, which kept the seer alive and also kept his prophetic gifts intact until Nostradamus took the Elixir of Immortality three hundred years later.

Happy Pills

Little is known of Happy Pills, a highly addictive drug apparently created by Shi’ar criminals. Indeed, it’s likely that Happy Pills is only a nickname for the drug.

What little can be inferred regarding the drug suggests that is a potent painkiller that induces mild euphoria – no doubt the Shi’ar physiology’s equivalent of an opiate.