And then there were the good old cosmic days of Annihilation and beyond. Keith Giffen appeared out of nowhere (he doesn’t seem to work at Marvel very often) and wrote this amazing space epic that got just about every still-living cosmic character involved and subsequently revamped.
Most notably was the revamp of Nova, who got a massive power upgrade and his own new series out of it. It wasn’t long at all before Annihilation got a sequel, which spun off another new book, a new Guardians of the Galaxy. Callbacks to the Starlin days, the early 90s days of New Warriors and original Guardians of the Galaxy, and just about every other cosmic thing ever, were frequent and wonderful (This was all almost entirely written by Abnett/Lanning by the way. RIP Abnett/Lanning! (they’re not dead, they just “broke up”)).
Unfortunately comic fans are fucking horrible people and everyone was too busy reading about the red Hulk’s pants falling off, or whatever the fuck, to read these awesome books. They tried one more time to save this cosmic corner of the Marvel universe with the War of Kings and Realm of Kings events, but despite those being awesome, they had little to no effect.
The Annihilation era went out with a bang in one final mini-series, The Thanos Imperative, which wrapped up the long running storylines of the various books with a big final battle against some crazy world of Cthulhu Avengers. There were a few more attempts to hang on with a couple Annihilators mini-series, but it just wasn’t the same…
and then there were the recent Thanos OGNs. Thanos and Warlock get together to destroy and rebuild the entire universe yet again. In some ways it feels a little too similar to previous cosmic Starlin stories, but it changes things up enough that it still feels like its own thing and serves up a decent enough fix of cosmic nostalgia. These have been the only good cosmic Marvel books in the last several years, as these days the cosmic stuff has been handed to Bendis and friends, who have turned it into an ugly clone of the movie version of the Guardians of the Galaxy, that I just cannot find any enjoyment in, despite several serious attempts to get into it. We just have to wait however many years it takes for them to decide to relaunch the cosmic books again, sans-Bendis, and hope that the characters come out the other end in better shape than he left the X-Men. Oh welllllllll.