This Wednesday, Fantastic Four alum Mark Waid returns to the team Waid wrote to great fan acclaim for several years back in the early '00s, with the four-issue series Fantastic Four: Antithesis.
But Waid's not showing up alone – he's bringing legendary artist Neal Adams with him for Adams' first full-length Fantastic Four story in his decades-long career, which has touched on every major hero from Batman, to Superman, to the X-Men, the Avengers, and beyond.
With Waid coming back to characters he helped modernize and teaming up with one of the most well-regarded artists in the industry, Newsarama spoke with the writer to set the stage for Antithesis, talking about writing Galactus, the Silver Surfer, and a host of other FF characters alongside Adams's legendary art.
Newsarama: Mark, let's start with the obvious – this is a return to the Fantastic Four for you, but it's a little different from your classic run. What's it like coming back to Marvel's first family with a story like Antithesis?
Mark Waid: Easy as can be. I know these characters and their voices better than I know some of my best friends. The FF has such a unique dynamic that it's easy to click back into their world.
Nrama: How did you get involved with this story? What made you decide to come back to the FF?
Waid: Tom Brevoort knew that working with Neal Adams has been a bucket-list item of mine for decades, so when Neal expressed his interest in doing an FF story, Tom did me a solid and contacted me immediately.
Nrama: On that note, what's it like working with Neal Adams as he draws his first full FF story? Did you work in the 'Marvel Method'?
Waid: Funnily enough, no - though I offered. I wanted Neal's experience to be as positive as possible, so from the start, I wanted to knock ideas around with him. Ultimately, once we had a sense of the overall story, Neal said he'd prefer to work off full scripts, which was fine by me.
Nrama: Getting into the specifics, what can you tell us about whoever or whatever the 'Antithesis' to Galactus is? What's at stake here?
Waid: Galactus stories are always of the highest-stakes, and the universe is in jeopardy this time. An 'anti-Galactus,' if you will, has broken out of the Negative Zone, and without giving too much away, I'll just say that his abilities are very much a dark mirror to those of Galactus.
Nrama: Neal Adams mentioned when this story was announced that he wanted to draw Galactus and Silver Surfer along with the Fantastic Four. What characters or bits of FF lore did you just know you had to work in to see his take on them?
Waid: The Negative Zone. Annihilus. Agatha Harkness. And more, but no spoilers.
Nrama: You said many years ago when you first wrote the Fantastic Four ongoing series that you hadn't connected with the characters before writing them. What is your perspective on them now that you're returning to them?
Waid: I totally get them. I wish I could take credit for this, but it's a Karl Kesel observation: everyone always describes them as a "dysfunctional family," which is dead wrong. They've saved the Earth countless times. They're always effective. They do their job. They're extraordinarily functional.
Nrama: The Fantastic Four had a few years away from the Marvel Universe. Now they're back and central to the current Marvel U. What do you think makes them so important to Marvel, and to comics overall?
Waid: They're just so unique. Unlike most heroes, they exist in a lane that's wholly their own - the family-as-superheroes lane. There are other families in the Marvel Universe, true, but the FF owns this space. That you can wring great, low-key family drama from them on one page and, on the next, go cosmic - that's what makes them special.
Nrama: Bottom line, what do you want fans to know going into Fantastic Four: Antithesis?
Waid: They're in for a mindbendingly good time. Neal's at the top of his game, there's a major threat in Antithesis, there's a minor threat in that something's wrong with Reed, and when you put all that together, it's amazing.