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Archrivals: The Fantastic Four vs Annihilus

Marvel's First Family goes bug-hunting after their fierce foe from the Negative Zone

By Jim Beard

Born from spores released by dying aliens in the Negative Zone, Annihilus seeks to preserve his own existence by eliminating all life around him. This tends to sit poorly with the Fantastic Four, thus they oppose him at every turn.

To Annihilus' credit he wields the Cosmic Control Rod with surgical skill. To the FF's credit they brandish justice and liberty with equal finesse.

Recently, Annihilus released the dreaded Annihilation Wave upon the universe in a bid for ultimate destruction. On April 28, in FANTASTIC FOUR #578, he turns his baneful eye once more upon those who first opposed him. Ponder this brief listing of their prior clashes to gain further insight into the state of war that exists between these players.


Element X! To save the life of his unborn child, Reed Richards traveled to the Negative Zone to procure the elusive substance. Unfortunately, Annihilus politely declined to give it up. Well, actually he set the entire Zone against the FF to prevent them from seizing the element, but clever Reed snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and returned to Earth to welcome the arrival of his son, Franklin.


It seemed so simple: Annihilus captured Franklin Richards to subject him to a kooky "gene transmuter" and siphon the boy's untapped mutant power for his own. But quicker than you can yell "Yancy Street," the Fantastic Four knocked ol' Mandible Jaws to the mat and spirited Franklin home to the Baxter Building, where Reed shut down the kid's rapidly expanding brain with an anti-matter gun.


The FF-in the Negative Zone! Annihilus-not there! Invading the Baxter Building while the team explored his native dimension, the vile villain trussed and tortured poor Alicia Masters and threatened little Franklin. Then, Reed and the gang came home. Ever seen a bug-like alien thrashed and trashed by not only the FF but the mighty Avengers too? It ain't pretty and then some!


Blastaar tricked the Fantastic Four into resuscitating Annihilus in the Negative Zone. Then, the two villains fought viciously for supremacy. Oh, you want more? Okay, the FF, caught in the middle, insisted on saving Earth by stopping Annihilus' mad thirst for power and selfless Reed boldly sacrificed his life to do so. Mister Fantastic sealed off the Negative Zone from our universe forever. Or at least for a while.


So, Annihilus got all steamed because the mysterious Gideon Trust, using stolen FF technology, weakened the divide between our universe and the Negative Zone with their "mining." Then things became very, very strange. The Fantastic Four entered the picture, the Trust snatched the Cosmic Control Rod-which was subsequently shattered by a dude named Hellscout, the descendent of 17th century Puritans stuck in the Zone-and then Annihilus lost his head. For real.


Seemingly dead, Annihilus still managed to spawn a new menace for the Fantastic Four: a younger, more powerful version of himself. Actually, two versions. The Annihilus twins discovered the FF trying to set up a prison in the Negative Zone and desperate to recover the Cosmic Control Rod they took to squabbling among themselves. The Fantastic Four slipped away quietly, thankful for the diversion.


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