The Annihilation Wave is the major antagonist faction of the Marvel Comics cosmic themed storyline Annihilation. They are a vast fleet of insectoid starships and monsters ruled by classic Fantastic Four villain Annihilus.
When Annihilus learned that the positive universe was swallowing the Negative Zone up as it expanded he led an invasion force to reclaim what he thought was rightfully his. In reality, Annihilus wanted to purge the positive universe of life due to his extreme paranoia.
Crossing the dimensional gulf known as the Crunch, the Annihilation Wave started to destroy and devour everything that stood in his path including the Klyn prison, the Nova Corps and large portions of the Kree and Skrulls Empires. On the first day, they Annihilation Wave slaughtered a million worlds. Though as to whether that was due to the destructive power of the invading forces or if the devastation was a result of them crossing the Crunch thereby causing a cataclysmic reaction is not clear.
Many space heroes and villains also fell in combat with Annihilus' forces, including Wendel Vaughn, the classic Quasar, whose Quantum Bands were stolen by Annihilus himself. Galactus and a majority of his Heralds also fell prey to the Wave and their allies, the proemial gods Aegis and Tenebrous, and were transformed into a weapon that nearly obliterated every trace of life within sight, that is until Thanos and Drax the Destroyer managed to free Galactus and Silver Surfer and wipe out almost all of the Annihilation Wave currently stationed in the positive universe.
Annihilus himself was killed by Richard Rider, one of the few survivors of the Nova Corps, leaving Ravenous to pick up the pieces and take control over the Wave forces now occupying some planets of Kree space until Annihilus' reincarnated form could mature. During the course of their journey through The Negative Zone, Talon and Darkhawk (who was eventually possessed by Talon's companion, Razor) came into contact with the Wave many times, killed Catastrophus (one of Annihilus' puppet kings and caretaker) even stole the Cosmic Control Rod from the infant Annihilus, who had been using it to accelerate his growth.
A reformed Annihilation Wave under the command of Annihilus' Anti-Priest , the head of the Cult of Annihilus, fought The Universal Inhumans and later, under Annihilus Junior personal command, they initially breached The Negative Zone portal in the Fantastic Four's HQ, the Baxter Building in an attempt to ignite the Second Great Annihilation War. The Human Torch managed to hold them off until the gateway could be completely sealed and was cut down shortly afterward by the vast wave of insectoid cultists and their child lord, much to the dismay and horror of a powerless Thing.
- The Annihilation Wave is similar to the Arachnids from Starship Troopers, the Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 and the Zerg from Starcraft. All of them are races of giant man-eating insectoid aliens who attack in overwhelming swarms.
- With the difference being that the Arthrosians of the Annihilation Wave seem to have a degree of individuality or free will, and unlike the aforementioned races they not only possess bio-mechanical technology but also conventional technology (electronics, computers, metallurgy, directed energy weapons, etc).