Top 10: Galactus Tales

This time around, the big G, the Devourer, the Alpha/The Omega, GALACTUS! While doing some previous articles, I encountered Galactus quite a bit, and I got that “tingle”. If I can find 10 great stories for a character I don’t like (Darkseid), it shouldn’t be too hard to knock one off on a character I DO like quite a bit.

I’m not sure what it is I like about the character; he’s visually interesting thanks to a great Jack Kirby design, and despite being a planet eating monster, has a sense of nobility. Unlike Darkseid, the Big G does most of his own heavy lifting. I like spectacle and Galactus by his very nature is a spectacular character.

The top two slots are a tie.

10-galactus-11a. Fantastic Four #48-50: “Galactus Begins”
It’s all here, the funky character design, the Silver Surfer (a classic character dreamed up by Jack Kirby out of whole cloth), and, of course, SPECTACLE! The only misstep was the grotesque green coloring and big “G” on his chest on the last page of issue #48.

The Fantastic Four fight a battle against a foe they have no hope of beating. Only the assistance of the Watcher saves the day. Most long time fans and comics professionals consider this the best Marvel story of all-time. I don’t have an unbiased opinion on the Fantastic Four anymore, as I read and re-read the first 100 issues of this genre-changing series waaaaaay too many times as a kid. As much as I enjoy them, I still can’t re-read them, as I know them too well. Same reason I can no longer watch Star Wars or Wrath of Khan.

1b. Annihilation volume 1 #1-6
For the longest time, this was my undisputed #1 story, but I knew I had to include Fantastic Four #48-50 on top of the list. Anyway, on to Annihilation, which was probably one of the most spectacular (there’s that word again) stories in comics’ history. A galaxy spanning battle where the fate of the Universe hangs by a single thread, as Annihilus invades our dimension with a huge army from the Negative Zone. It’s also one of the biggest suspense stories in recent Marvel history. Galactus and the Surfer are taken down in the first issue and are captured by Thanos and Annihilus. Thanos puts Galactus and his planet eating machinery to a unique use.

I fully planned to ignore the series but seeing Galactus chained up in issue two was a classic “WTF!” moment. Any story that accomplishes that is worth a look. Next to Sinestro Corps, Annihilation was my favourite storyline of the past few years.

Nova put it best: “They’ve turned Galactus into a weapon. Think about that for a minute.” You knew that Galactus was going to get loose and when he did it was going to be good. And it was: a pissed off Galactus takes out all of Annihilus’ forces and a whole bunch of star systems with one tantrum. Great stuff.

3. Fantastic Four #143-144
This was a great little John Byrne ditty where Galactus comes to earth for lunch and has his party crashed by the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and Doctor Strange. It was fun watching Marvel’s brightest and strongest finally take down Galactus and THEN turning their attention to saving his life.

10-galactus-24. Superman/Fantastic Four
A really clever story. Superman obtains info that it was Galactus who destroyed Krypton and travels to the Marvel Universe for revenge. He enlists the aid of the Fantastic Four to find the big G, but Superman winds up becoming Galactus’ new herald. What happens when you combine Kryptonian might with power cosmic? The answer’s here.

This one might actually be rated a bit high, but it’s a clever story combing Marvel’s greatest team with DC’s greatest hero. (And they managed to keep Doctor Doom out of the equation!)

5. Darkseid/Galactus: The Hunger
Covered previously in my Top 10 Darkseid stories. I’ve reread it twice in the past couple weeks– just a great story. (One wonders though what Darkseid/Thanos would be like– they’re more evenly matched and diametrically opposed. I’d really like to see that one some day.)

6. Galactus: The Devourer #1-6
This is a much over-looked story about what happens when the citizens of the Marvel Universe finally get tired of living in fear that some day a purple armoured marauder might show up on their doorstep and start chowing down.

It’s a free for all with literally EVERYBODY taking on Galactus: The Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men, Shiar, Kree, Skrulls, his former heralds, and anyone else who happened to be passing by. Six issues of super-hero battles and pure carnage. Unique in it’s scope and a common sense approach to dealing with the largest perceived threat in the Marvel U. The strange thing about the story is that the assembled army succeeds in offing Galactus in #6. It wasn’t long before Galactus was back and marauding around the universe. No explanation was ever given as to how he was resurrected but I guess when you’re dealing with a nearly omnipotent being, a minor thin like a resurrection is child’s play.

7. Thor #160-162 & 168-169
One of the greatest Thor storylines of all time as well. First, Thor gets caught in a battle between a rock (Galactus) and a hard place (Ego the Living Planet) and then hunts down Galactus by himself. Notable in telling the origin of Galactus. Like Darkseid, maybe it was a story best never told, as it cheapens the mystique.

10-galactus-38. The Silver Surfer: Parable
Stan Lee and Moebius retell the story of Fantastic Four #48-50 without the Fantastic Four. It doesn’t really add anything new to the story and you either like Moebius or you don’t. I do and the story is effective.

9. The Silver Surfer by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
The first Marvel graphic novel. Lee and Kirby do an all-new Surfer story for Fireside Press who at the time were publishing all those “Origins of Marvel Comics” TPBs. Yet another retelling of Fantastic Four #48-50 without the Fantastic Four. This was arguably Kirby’s last GREAT work full of his characteristic grandeur and wacky imagery. Long out of print and strangely never reprinted. I’m betting only a handful of this site’s readers have even SEEN a copy much less read it. Mine is long gone.

10. Silver Surfer: Requiem #4
I reserve my #10 slots for off the wall loopy story choices and this is another one of those. Silver Surfer: Requiem #4 by JMS and somebody. An imaginary story where the Silver Surfer is dying and eventually returns to Zenn La. Galactus shows up at the end, offers to try and heal the Surfer, but the Surfer chooses to die instead. Galactus stands vigil to show his respect. Galactus vows to never eat Zenn-La out of respect and is welcomed as a friend any time he chooses. Yes, it’s sappy, wonky, and everybody is completely out of character but it works. (Ken Boechler)

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About caperaway

I’m a publisher writer of graphic novels and short fiction. Published works include Acts of Violence: An Anthology of Crime Comics, The Grim Collection, Black Salt, and Psychosis.

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