Annihilator - Pact with the devil: the review

Annihilator - Pact with the devil: the review

Annihilator - Pact with the devil

The relationship between art and artist, between creation and creator, is not without its hitches: doubts, hesitation, lack of inspiration, pressure and expectations from others. In short, a real disaster. Could it be for this reason that the world in which men are immersed is also a huge mess? Did the creator of mankind and the universe all have to undergo "writer's block"? Probably these are the questions that Grant Morrison asked himself when he made the screenplay of Annihilator - Patto con il diavolo, a sci-fi comic that arrives in Italy thanks to the publication by saldaPress. Entrusted to the astounding artistic talent of Frazer Irving, the creation of Annihilator - Pact with the devil thus follows the dilemmas, anxieties, even the perversions of the artist who became the creator of an entire world, with rules and protagonists forced to live in the uncomfortable space that it has been assigned to him. However, it's not all as simple as it appears (especially when it comes to Grant Morrison), so with our review of this extraordinary and psychedelic comic, we also try to pull the strings of the existential chaos celebrated in Annihilator. You are ready?

If you evoke the devil, you risk creating a work of art

Probably those who know Grant Morrison as an author already know they can expect the writing of a work that if on the one hand it is sometimes very complex and out of any traditional style, on the other hand it (almost always) gives the reader the satisfaction of having understood the mechanics of a world of which we have only begun to scratch the surface. Morrison is in fact known for having created one of the most debated X-Men cycles ever, or New X-Men, one of those series that either love or hate; as well as the complex and crazy universe of The Invisibles, a pindaric flight from which some readers are still trying to recover; without forgetting that crazy graphic novel (in every sense) that is Batman: Arkham Asylum or the contributions of the British author to anti-heroes like Hellblazer and the Doom Patrol.

Therefore, those who know Morrison and his non-conformism do not will be disappointed by Annihilator - Pact with the devil and, very importantly, will also manage to extricate himself within the complex plot that involves a Hollywood screenwriter, an intergalactic supervillain, divinities and satanic rituals, but also magic and science fiction, interpersonal relationships and love, towards oneself and towards others. However, we do not guarantee that those who read this comic will not be burned by it, for better or for worse. We could not help but be fascinated by it, trapped in the dense web created in the style of that crazy spider that is Grant Morrison, accompanied on this space journey by an illustrator with an unmatched style, namely Frazer Irving.

The story is this: Ray Spass (you read "speis", the S is silent) is a Hollywood screenwriter who has written some noteworthy works and who now finds himself having to write down a new script for a film. To combat that horrible blank page on which Spass has to write down something that his employers can appreciate, the author thinks well of buying a house that is said to be haunted, and then organizing a nice black mass based on it. of orgies, alcohol and drugs. Result? Max Nomax, the criminal par excellence, the most evil and Machiavellian delinquent that exists in the universe, has been captured and sentenced to serve his sentence in a frightening space station, a sort of haunted house on the edge of the universe, which gravitates around to an equally frightening black hole: the Annihilator.

When Spass believes he has finally started the story of a character that will guarantee him success, the unexpected comes out: the screenwriter has a tumor terminal to the brain. Demoralized and convinced that his existence is now at an end, Ray Spass receives at home a visit from a particular doctor: Max Nomax. Hard to believe that he is facing a fictional character (his character!), Spass is urged by Nomax to complete his script in just seven days and thus help him to reconstruct the last days of the supervillain's life. he has totally forgotten, otherwise the brain tumor will advance and kill the author. Not only that, but the fate of the interior planet Earth is in the hands of the cynical and alcoholic Spass, as the agents of the Annihilator are on the trail of Max Nomax and are ready to clean up everything they encounter in their path. Will Ray Spass then be able to write the final line?

The universe is a canvas by Pollock

What is most striking when reading Annihilator - Pact with the devil, by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving? Basically everything. For example, already when we get to know the protagonist, Ray Spass, we know that we will have to deal with an uncomfortable, often unpleasant, cynical character with little regard for others: it is sometimes difficult to understand if he has at least the slightest idea. that there are other human beings with feelings outside of themselves. And despite this it is impossible not to cheer for this down-and-out screenwriter addicted to alcohol, drugs and black masses: a writer with an undeniable talent who was able to create an entire narrative universe and who, we discover, suffers like any other. human being, looking for the perfect escape route in art.

He is essentially an anti-hero, despite himself. A great son of a bitch who through his story, his science fiction universe, his ink characters, could make a difference in the world by making it a safer place from those who threaten to destroy it. Here we enter the field of another very interesting aspect in the narrative put together by Grant Morrison: it was Ray Spass who created a world from scratch with his art or rather it was the latter who shaped his world piece by piece. ? Morrison in fact creates a story within the story, playing a lot on the presence of metanarrative elements. On closer inspection, a game of Chinese boxes in which it is easy to ask "Who contains who?".

In the end, however, it is not important to provide an exact answer, but rather to play the game and get carried away in this narration that outlines the chaotic world of the artist and his works, hiding in a not too veiled way elements that self-identify the author. A sort of parody of the creative process, of the world of cinema and comics, which in its bitter irony inserts the incessant human drama that is consumed every day. A parody that leaves us speechless in front of certain plot twists and pleasantly lost when we admire the final work of art: a disrupted canvas that includes stars, galaxies, planets and the disjointed tangle of human existences.

Grant Morrison, however, does not stop there. In his Annihilator - Pact with the devil he manages to create a mixture of sci-fi themes, urban settings and languages, thrillers, here and there vaguely horror notes. To bear the weight of all this there is not a single titular character, Ray Spass, but we find the charismatic and perfidious Max Nomax: at times a mirror of his author, at times a complete antithesis capable of sometimes placing himself on humanly higher steps than Spass although in theory it is a fictional character, or at least an "alien". The result is not an indistinct cauldron of unrelated elements, on the contrary they are perfectly linked and in tune, although we must not be fooled: the whole screenplay of the graphic novel is completely crazy, a succession of caustic and licentious jokes, daring escapes, human dramas and black humor in a euphemistically psychedelic setting. A roller coaster ride that at the end of the reading will make you say "Let's do another one!".

And then in Annihilator - Pact with the devil there is also Frazer Irving

If you need another valid reason to read Annihilator - Pact with the devil, we will give you one : Frazer Irving. The latter, after making his debut in 2000 AD and having played on several issues of Judge Dredd, has also lent his talent to DC and Marvel, boasting an enviable series of covers made thanks to his strongly plastic and "pictorial" style. Indeed, his illustrations have a marked and surprisingly realistic trait; it focuses heavily on human figures with well-defined and manicured proportions and facial expressions which, although sometimes they are often exaggerated and highlight the more grotesque and "cartoonistic" side of the characters, are undeniably well made and adherent to the vast range of human mimicry.

Irving's characters seem to come out of the pages, they are so much alive: it is often difficult not to wonder if the cartoonist has not actually used real models for his illustrations. However, his work does not end with the realization of the drawings. Frazer Irving does it by himself and does it for three, also taking care of the colors of Annihilator - Pact with the devil: acid and psychedelic, but also deep and rich in lights and shadows, full and full-bodied in order to capture every detail. With his contribution to the comic, the more lysergic character of the work is highlighted, that acid side that makes the story even more crazy and adrenaline-pumping. Reading Annihilator - Pact with the devil you can admire every single illustration for a long time before moving on to the next one, with those dedicated to the science fiction world of Max Nomax undoubtedly the master. In short, there is only one thing to do: read Annihilator - Pact with the devil.

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