Comic Connoisseur: Annihilator is an outlandish and peculiar odyssey

Ray Spass is a Hollywood screenwriter with a penchant for hard narcotics, wild parties, and black magic. Tasked with writing the most important screenplay of his career, Spass comes face to face with two bitter realizations in the process of completing his story on a tight deadline.

First, his writer’s block can’t seem to get him past his opening act, and worse, he has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour that could kill him at any moment. Thrown into a depressive downward spiral, Spass opts to end his life, but is stopped by Max Nomax — who just happens to the main character of his screenplay.

Now, try and follow me here, because this is where things can get confusing: as it turns out, Spass’ tumour is not a tumour at all: it’s a concentrated packet of information Nomax desperately needs. It’s up to Spass to remember or imagine the rest of his screenplay to help unlock the information inside of himself. Time is also of the essence, as Sass’s deadline for his script fast approaches coinciding with the deadly threat of a super enhanced assassin on the hunt for Nomax. Trust me when I say that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this eccentric escapade.

Annihilator is what I would best characterize as a high-maintenance work of art. One’s understanding of events, characters, and general themes is not meant to come easy. It can be a challenging graphic novel to sift through, filled with puzzling perceptions and even more bizarre dialogue. However, a sense of deep reward and satisfaction is to be garnered from achieving an understanding of this complex work. Just keep in mind it might not come about on the first try.

Frazer Irving’s artwork is by far one of the most captivating draws of the whole crazed chronicle. Irving’s artwork is unlike anything you’ll see in mainstream comics. Every page is gritty, demented, and nightmarishly cerebral — made all the more macabre and alluring with a colour pallet of orange, pink, purple, and blue.

For those familiar with the work of Grant Morrison, this is yet another walk on the wild side we have come to expect from the anarchistic visionary. However, for the uninitiated, Annihilator could be the equivalent to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride after three lines of Peruvian blow with a hallucinogenic garnish of magic mushrooms.

It isn’t hyperbolic to say that Annihilator is one of the most unique sci-fi comics of the last decade — if not of all time. However, that distinction does come with a catch. Annihilator is an all-around challenging read that will test the literary prowess of even the most scholarly-inclined. Unapologetically disorienting and masterfully mind-boggling, Annihilator is comparable to a night on the town with a full inventory of pharmaceuticals coursing through your veins; you might not comprehend what you were doing, but you’ll remember the events well after they’re over.

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