Saturday, September 7, 2013
The Answer Revealed!
In this comparison of the original cover to Fantastic Four #53 and its reinterpretation for Marvel's Greatest Comics, we follow up on the prior issue which introduced the Black Panther and join the FF as they and the Wakandan king confront his old enemy, Klaw, the Master of Sound--and we also read of the Panther's origin. Original artist Jack Kirby and the cover artist for MGC, Sal Buscema, seem to agree on the basic format of the issue cover for Part 2, which has the Panther and his allies meeting and battling Klaw's sound constructs:
Though the Panther's origin takes up a fair amount of story space, neither Kirby nor Buscema feel that it merits any indication on their respective covers, trusting in the cover captions to give a nod to that part of the tale. Both artists, instead, focus on the story's action; but while Buscema gives a more clear indication of what the Panther and the FF are up against, without knowing the details of this "crimson gorilla" it's almost impossible to understand at face value why it poses a threat to the Fantastic Four, who have taken on opponents of such size before and with deadlier abilities than mere bulk (e.g., the Thinker's "awesome android"). Perhaps that's the reason Kirby only offers a vague occluded representation of the threat--I doubt the FF battling wild animals, whatever their unusual tint, would be much of a marketing draw.
In fact, the cover almost implies these heroes are facing a more humanoid threat (with "costuming" that could resemble our friend, the Answer). Inside the issue, the outline of the "creature" on the cover shifts to more closely resemble the gorilla-like profile of the true construct:
Buscema, like Jim Starlin in the prior issue, also brings the Panther's appearance up to date with other contemporary issues featuring the character--adding blue tinting to his costume, and disposing of the Panther's cape. And unlike Kirby, he has the FF more engaged with the creature, as they were in the issue itself.
Generally speaking, though, I'd have to say that Kirby's cover is more visually striking--as well as attention-getting. I'm not particularly excited about reading of the FF's battle with a giant gorilla--but I am curious about what exactly they and the Panther are confronting in Kirby's rendering. It's threatening, it's mysterious, it's obviously powerful--and there's probably more to it than meets the eye.
By the way, Reed, I'm going to tell you one more time: Sue is wearing an FF uniform, in case you hadn't noticed. Stop gesturing to her to stay back while you and the rest of your team charge forward to meet the threat. How about her taking point for a change?