Aug 19, 2008

[Comics] The Fantastic Four: The Galactus Trilogy

Fantastic Four: Galactus TrilogyMarvel really hit it big when they introduced the planet-eating cosmic being known as Galactus. I have to admit that I've always been fascinated by him given the scale that he has to operate on in terms of traveling the cosmos in search of suitable planets and all that. What can I say - I guess to some extent a lot of us just like them bigger, right?

When the creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came up with the idea of Galactus, they were thinking of changing the nature of the villains their heroes were facing. Instead of just another costumed super-human, they came up with a threat that was far greater than anything else that they had ever faced before and this resulted in Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer.

The original story of the Devourer of Worlds appeared way back in 1966 in Fantastic Four issues 48-50 in what was eventually tagged as The Galactus Trilogy since it took up three issues.

The story is well-known enough that the core elements should be pretty familiar. The Earth seems to be under threat when the sky appears to be on fire for no reason even though the flames have no heat. Upon closer investigation, it turns out that this was an attempt down by another cosmic being known as The Watcher, who is trying to hide the world from the interests of the Silver Surfer, herald to Galactus. After another illusion involving asteroids put around the planet, his efforts ultimately fail given the Silver Surfer gets past the barrier and identifies Earth to be a suitable planet for his master to consume and thus call him. The rest of the story deals with how the Fantastic Four try to stop Galactus from consuming the planet while the Silver Surfer inadvertently learns more about humankind through the sightless eyes of Alicia Masters.

This was a classic example of epic storytelling at its core. While the art may not survive today's standards, the plot in itself is timeless and one of the key reasons why Marvel remains alive and kicking today. It covers everything from conflict on an epic scale to love and compassion on a human level.

Galactus, as perceived by various alien races....Image via Wikipedia On top of the story of course is the character of Galactus himself and the Silver Surfer as well. To be able to dream up a character like this who is practically a god and still have Earth's heroes even attempt to defeat him seems like a battle doomed to failure. Still they persevered and eventually found a way to succeed in a manner that still worked for all sides involved, most importantly that of the audience.

Despite the semi-hokey nature of such older comics by today's standards, I definitely see myself being able to re-read this book time and time again. It's only a shame that the last Fantastic Four movie, Rise of the Silver Surfer, couldn't have been more faithful in following this story given the film was based on it. They added too much fluff and tried to build up Jessica Alba's portrayal of the Invisible Woman when they really should have just left it alone.

Stories like this don't come around very often and you'd be a fool not to try and get your hands on a copy of this epic tale.


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