Fantastic Four: Anthesis Treasury Edition by Mark Waid and Neal Adams (graphic novel review).

May 20, 2021 | By | Reply More

When I recently discovered that Neal Adams had drawn the mini-series ‘Fantastic Four: Anthesis’, a little investigating also found it had been released as a treasury edition recently. If you’ve ever seen American originally drawn comicbook pages, then you would also know that the traditional Treasury edition is generally a third up from that. Well, that is until now, where this Treasury is about a quarter of the size bigger, closer to the size of original comicbook page sizes of the early 1960s.

When normally drawn, with the art reduced to the standard comicbook size, even with today’s refined printing, simplified lines for background details makes sense. With enlargement, there’s more of a need to fret about such things, although people out there will no doubt gush over the detail.

The hodge-podge of what is the actual reality of the Marvel Universe today certainly isn’t a match to what I grew up with in the 1960s-1980s, although this certainly belongs to that era of sorts. I think its thrown a little when there is no acknowledge of codenames. I can see that between the FF themselves but with other people, including a defrocked Galactus? Even the Silver Surfer is called Norrin than his nom de guerre. The original mini-series was released in 2020 and noted as the first time Neal Adams has drawn a Fantastic Four story. I’d love to see him have another go at the Inhumans. He has the distinction of being the first artist to draw both Magneto and Black Bolt unmasked.

The Fantastic Four have succeeded in driving Annihilus back into the Negative Zone when several vents have opened up. They then stop a meteor crashing into New York only to discover it’s the Silver…sorry Norrin Radd whose barely survived a fight between Galactus and a Negative Zone being leaving his master apparently dead. Well, as they discover later, he’s back to being Galan and Annihilus is back in our universe seeking vengeance.

Galan isn’t without some influence and, when they get to his spaceship, endows the FF with the power cosmic to enable them to fight the hordes. Along the way, Reed Richards goes up to Galactus proportions and they have to persuade him to return to normal. There’s more detail than that but you wouldn’t be buying this treasury edition otherwise.

A lot of the plot details is almost like a checklist of what things both Mark Waid and Adams wanted to cover in a mini-series and I wouldn’t be surprised if turning Richards into Galactus was the latter’s idea.

I like Neal Adams’ work, ever since I first saw it when he drew the X-Men in the late 1960s and one of his stories, # 65 with the mutant team versus the Z’Nox, is included in this treasury to up the page count. It also draws (sic) attention to how good he was then to now. Having read many of the interviews with Neal Adams and something from his ‘Sketchbook’ chats, his keynotes is always to have plenty of action and a lot of facial expressions. These days, there’s also a lot more teeth and, unlike some of his other work in recent years, they don’t look like they have a problem fitting in their mouths with one exception here.

The interpretation of Ben Grimm as the Thing has essentially given him a smaller head a lot of the time to his body and I think this does him a disservice. The Thing is large in every way, head included but that’s the only irritation and a lot closer in the cover illustration. Well, that and showing the Surfer’s eyes to emphasise a point. Seeing the final story here from 1998 with art from Mike Wieringo in whatever volume FF # 60 was in, the size of the Thing’s head is still a little variable there as well.

I know the head size was changed a bit with the Hulk, but how smart you are isn’t dependent on brain size. The Thing is a mutated human and rocky all over as well so he’s bound to have a larger head size.

Mmmm…my pet peeve is coming out a little out of proportion to the rest of the book. I should point out that FF # 60 is about the team’s PR image needing to be reinforced and a man sent to watch them for a week. Written by Mark Waid, it plays into the humour and a nice touch to end on.

The original mini-series is still available but I suspect the Adams fans will pull this edition as well.

GF Willmetts

May 2021

(pub: Marvel, 2021. 144 page treasury edition. Price: I pulled my copy for about £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-302-92863-6)

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Category: Comics, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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