One of the basic questions that comes with a fictional world is, “If this exists, then what else?” We accept the Green Goblin because we accept Spider-Man. The Joker is an extension of Batman. If there’s a Green Lantern Corps, then surely there are other colors. Dr. Manhattan may be the only super-being of his world, but the science behind him can be used and abused.
Now Mark Waid and Neal Adams are asking the same kind of question about Galactus. If Galactus exists, then so should the Antithesis. While details are scarce, there appears to be some kind of anti-Galactus and we’ll be seeing his story begin in Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1, coming out in August.
Mark Waid has written a ton of comics over the years and his take on Fantastic Four with the late-great Mike Wieringo is considered defining for Marvel Comics’ First Family. What’s rather shocking is that not only is this Waid’s first time collaborating with Neal Adams, but it’s the first full-length Fantastic Four story ever drawn by the legend. And considering the recent-enough lunacy Adams brought us with Batman: Odyssey, his style might go hand-in-hand with the weirdness that Reed and the rest bring to the table.
“I have always had the sense of missing the chance to draw the Fantastic Four,” Adams said in a statement. “It was a quiet sense, since I’ve had every opportunity to do my favorites. More, I felt Kirby and Buscema had done it all, hadn’t they…? When Marvel’s Tom Brevoort asked if I’d like to do the Fantastic Four, I knew I had to ask for Galactus and the Silver Surfer as well. I am humbled and thankful to Tom for the opportunity.”
While this is the first time we’ll be seeing the Antithesis, there are other instances of beings who have acted as counter-existences to Galactus. In the early 2000’s, when Galactus was actually killed off, a being known as Abraxas appeared to cause havoc on a universal scale. Technically, he was described as the antithesis of Eternity, but it took the resurrection of Galactus to take him out of the picture.
During the Annihilation event, they introduced cosmic beings Tenebrous and Aegis as counterparts of Galactus who were corrupted in the universe’s youth and sealed away. They were mainly brought in for the sake of explaining how Annihilus had Galactus captured. “Two evil Galactuses beat up neutral Galactus,” is a pretty easy explanation.
Then there’s Galactus’ role in Earth X, a miniseries about an alternate dystopian future. In this continuity, it’s explained that Galactus’ great role in the universe is to keep Celestials in check by devouring their eggs (which, as it turns out, are hidden inside planets, such as Earth). Mutants and other enhanced humans are the Celestials creating white blood cells to stave off Galactus. Either way, it’s not good news for Earth.
In recent times, Galactus became his own antithesis when he was reborn as the Lifebringer. Instead of devouring worlds to absorb energy, he would go from planet to planet, releasing his own energy to make the worlds inhabitable. Coincidentally, this is an idea first introduced in the Spider-Girl MC2 continuity after Galactus and Silver Surfer merged into one being.
That in itself makes it curious what the Antithesis’ deal is. How does one be the opposite of Galactus and also be a threat? Is it going to be like the Lifebringer concept, only in an over-the-top way, like terraforming the universe to a deadly degree? Is that why there’s all that twisted foliage in the background of that cover? Does the Antithesis have a sensible hat but ridiculous footwear? I suppose we’ll find out this August.