Galactus

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Galactus is a comic book character, a cosmic entity in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as an antagonist for the Fantastic Four, the character first appeared in the comic book Fantastic Four #48 (Mar. 1966), the first part of a three-issue story later known as "The Galactus Trilogy". Thomas, Roy, Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe (Sterling Publishing, New York, 2006), "Moment 29: The Galactus Trilogy", pp. 112-115.

Contents

Publication history

Following his introduction in the superhero-team title Fantastic Four #48-50 (March-May 1966), Galactus next appeared in a flashback cameo in Daredevil #37 (Feb. 1968) before physically returning to Earth to retrieve his herald, the Silver Surfer, in actual and behind-the-scenes appearances throughout Fantastic Four #72-77 (March-Aug. 1968). He appears extensively in flashback, in the heretofore unrevealed origin of the Silver Surfer, in The Silver Surfer #1 (Aug. 1968).

Galactus' origin story climaxed a series of appearances in Thor #160-162 (Jan.-March 1969) and #168-169 (Sept.-Oct. 1969), the latter of which, by writer Stan Lee, penciller and co-plotter Jack Kirby and inker George Klein, revealed the character's beginnings. Super-Villain Classics #1 (May 1983) reprinted that 20-page tale with additions, edits, and deletions by writer Mark Gruenwald, pencillers John Byrne and Ron Wilson, and inkers Jack Abel and Vince Colletta to create an updated, 23-page origin story titled "Galactus". This in turn was reprinted as Origin of Galactus #1 (Feb. 1996).

Galactus has made numerous guest appearances throughout the decades, and starred in the six-issue miniseries Galactus the Devourer (Sept. 1999 - March 2000).

Fictional character biography

Rebirth

The Sentience of the Universe merges with Galan of Taa in the Cosmic egg.
The Sentience of the Universe merges with Galan of Taa in the Cosmic egg.

Galan is initially a space explorer investigating the impending end of his universe. Eventually, Taa is engulfed by a radiation plague that kills almost all its inhabitants. At the last second, Galan escapes the doomed planet in a starship with a few other survivors. Rather than perish from the lethal radiation that has extinguished all life across the universe, Galan proposes to his crew mates that they pilot their craft directly into the center of the Big Crunch. As he approaches the Cosmic egg — the focal point of the Big Crunch and the source of the exterminating radiation — his ship and crew are promptly destroyed. At the moment Galan's universe meets its end, the incarnation of that reality's Phoenix Force amasses the positive emotions of all living beings in the cosmos to preserve them from eternal damnation, enabling the "Sentience of the Universe" — that universe's incarnation of Eternity — to meet with Galan.Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Data Corrections Fantastic Four 2005. URL last checked 2006-09-01.Adventures of X-Men #12 Within the Cosmic Egg the Sentience of the Universe reveals itself to Galan and informs him that though they both will die in the impending cataclysm, they will survive through a joint heir born into the next universe. The Sentience of the Universe then merges itself with the mortal Galan, establishing Galan as the sole survivor of the ensuing Big Crunch. This union ultimately leads to his rebirth in the present universe as Galactus.Thor #168-169 Super-Villain Classics #1 (May 1983) After the Big Bang and the birth of the present reality, Galactus gestates in a cocoon of cosmic energy to complete his metamorphosis, and after an undetermined period of time emerges as an entity of vast cosmic power who is essential and intrinsic to the newly formed universe. Upon emerging from his incubation ship, he destroys his first planet, Archeopia.Thor #162

Galactus is considered one of the three essential entities within the Marvel Universe alongside Eternity and Death and has been referred to as the "third force of the universe." Silver Surfer vol. 3 #10 (April 1988) Eternity and Death consider Galactus a peer and a sibling, with Death actually referring to Galactus on one occasion as "husband, father, brother, and son." Fantastic Four #257 (Aug. 1983)

In the prime Marvel Universe, Galactus is one of the three beings that has representation on one of the faces of the Living Tribunal, with each face representing one of the essential forces of reality.Silver Surfer vol. 3, #31 (Dec, 1989)

The Devourer of Worlds

Due to his vast power and intrinsic, natural role in the universal order, Galactus considers himself a higher being than all non-abstracts, coming to embody a force of cosmic nature necessary for universal existence. Galactus maintains his existence by devouring planets that have the potential for supporting life. In so doing, he has consumed countless worlds, resulting in the elimination of entire extra-terrestrial civilizations. Frequently, Galactus utilizes a herald to scour the universe in search of sustenance. Upon pinpointing the requisite planetary body, the herald will signal Galactus, resulting in the Devourer's arrival on the world's surface and the deployment of the Elemental Converter — a colossal machine capable of draining all life energy from the planet within minutes. While the Converter makes consumption of the planet's energy more efficient, Galactus is capable of feeding without its aid.

Galactus has appointed a number of beings to act as his herald, with each bestowed a fraction of the Power Cosmic.

Galactus spares the planet Zenn-La when Norrin Radd offers his services as a herald in exchange. Galactus transforms Norrin Radd into his herald, the Silver Surfer.The Silver Surfer #1

Earth

Fantastic Four #49 (April 1966), featuring Galactus. Cover art by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott.
Fantastic Four #49 (April 1966), featuring Galactus. Cover art by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott.

Galactus has threatened to consume the Earth on several occasions. During his first encounter with humans, the cosmic entity the Watcher and Galactus' rebellious herald, the Silver Surfer, aid the Fantastic Four. Galactus is defeated when Mister Fantastic threatens him with the Ultimate Nullifier, which was retrieved by the Human Torch from Taa II. Galactus exiles the Silver Surfer to Earth, then leaves and vows to never attack the Earth again.Fantastic Four #48-50 (March-May 1966) He eventually returns to Earth, however, seeking the Silver Surfer.Fantastic Four #74-77 (May-Aug 1968) Later, Mr. Fantastic petitions Galactus to stop the threat of the cosmic entity the Sphinx on Earth, releasing Galactus from his vow.Fantastic Four #210-213 (Sept.-Dec. 1979)

In one encounter, Galactus returns to Earth in pursuit of his rebellious herald, Terrax. Galactus expends a considerable amount of energy in the pursuit, and finally arrives with the intention of consuming Earth to replenish himself. A hungry and weakened Galactus resolves the issue with Terrax, but is so diminished in power that he is defeated by the combined efforts of the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Doctor Strange. However, rather than let Galactus die of hunger, Mister Fantastic uses a device powered by the thunder god Thor to sustain him. Grateful, Galactus proclaims that Earth is safe from his feedings before departing.Fantastic Four #242-244 (May-July 1982)

Mister Fantastic's actions have consequences, however, as he is later placed on trial by a consortium of alien worlds for saving Galactus, which would indirectly cause the deaths of the worlds Galactus would later consume. The Shi'ar preside over the trial, and look to execute Mister Fantastic until the cosmic entity Eternity is summoned by the combined efforts of Galactus and the Watcher. Eternity then enables the millions of alien onlookers to momentarily become one with the universe, temporarily granting them the clarity that Galactus is an essential part of the natural order of the cosmos.Fantastic Four #262 (Jan. 1984) Some time after this, Galactus plays an important role in the Infinity War against the evil Magus, helping Earth's heroes organize a defense against the powerful adversary, as well as appealing to the Living Tribunal for the temporary restoration of the Infinity Gauntlet. Infinity War #1-6, June-November 1992

Temporary death

Galactus is seemingly destroyed when the Silver Surfer turns Galactus' own Elemental Converter against him. As Galactus disperses he warns that his death will allow a great evil to surface. After his death, Galactus' remains take the form of a star, the second in the Chandilar system.Galactus the Devourer #1-6 (Sept. 1999 - March 2000) The great evil Galactus spoke of later emerges in the form of the Biblical demon Abraxas, the universal embodiment of destruction and the antithesis of Eternity. The Fantastic Four discover that much of the energy Galactus harvests from planets is devoted to keeping Abraxas imprisoned. Fantastic Four Annual 2001 Realizing only Galactus can stop Abraxas, Franklin Richards pools all of his power with that of his sister, Valeria Von Doom, and focuses it on the second star of the Chandilar system, thereby reconstituting Galactus; however, the siblings permanently burn out their powers in the act. The newly revived Galactus reclaims the Ultimate Nullifier from Abraxas, and Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards uses the device to realign reality and reimprison Abraxas. Galactus reveals that the Ultimate Nullifier is actually an aspect of his being.Fantastic Four #478 (Jan. 2002)

Later, however, Reed Richards designs a weapon with the express purpose of stripping Galactus of the Power Cosmic. The creation of the device is made possible with help from Quasar and Johnny Storm, who is cosmically aware at this time.As herald - Fantastic Four #520-523 (Jan.-April 2005) The weapon succeeds in separating Galactus into his two core components — Galan and the Power Cosmic. Galan then exiles himself in another dimension, hoping that this act will prevent the Power Cosmic from finding him.Fantastic Four #520-523 (Jan.-April 2005) The ruse fails, however, as the alien warrior Beta Ray Bill encounters a fully reformed Galactus shortly afterward. Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill #1-6 (March-Aug. 2005)

Annihilation

Long ago, Galactus fought and vanquished a race of Proemial Gods known as the "Cosmic Balance" in a brutal war. Only three members of the Cosmic Balance survived — Antiphon the Overseer, Tenebrous of the Darkness Between, and Aegis the Lady of All Sorrows — all of whom Galactus imprisoned in the Kyln. When the Annihilation Wave enters the universe the Kyln is damaged, allowing Tenebrous and Aegis to awake from stasis and escape. Sensing their presence, Galactus petitions the Silver Surfer to become his Herald once more; the Surfer accepts and Galactus further augments his power. Tenebrous and Aegis eventually engage and defeat Galactus and the Silver Surfer in battle. Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4 (June-Sept. 2006) The ensuing events bring Galactus into contact with the beings Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, and Annihilus, the mastermind behind the Annihilation Wave. Finally, most of the Annihilation Wave are destroyed by a massive, omnidirectional blast from Galactus resulting in an armistice between all parties. The blast also destroys a Watcher along with more than three star systems. Annihilation #1-6 (Oct. 2006 - March 2007).

Powers and abilities

Galactus is the physical, metamorphosed embodiment of a cosmos, the product of the union between the Sentience of the Universe and Galan. Fantastic Four #522 (March 2005) As such, Galactus wields the Power Cosmic and has been described as "the most awesome living entity in the cosmos" Thor #134 (Nov. 1966) and as "the universe's most powerful creature." Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 (July 2006) Galactus can employ the Power Cosmic to produce nearly any effect he desires, including the molecular restructuring and transmutation of matter, the teleportation of objects — even entire galaxies— across space and time,Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 (Jan. 1985) size-alteration,Rom #27 (Feb. 1982) the projection of energy with vast destructive force,The Silver Surfer vol. 3, #18 (Dec. 1988) the erection of nearly impenetrable force fields, the creation of interdimensionalThanos #3 (Feb. 2004) and intra-dimensional portals,Thanos #12 (Sept. 2004)telepathy,Fantastic Four #242 (May 1982) psychokinesis|telekinesis, Fantastic Four #49 (April 1966) and cosmic awareness on a universal scale. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #9 (Jan. 1985)

Galactus has even shown the abilities to create sentient life in the form of Tyrant,Cosmic Powers Unlimited #2 (Sept. 1995) resurrect his herald Morg,Silver Surfer vol. 3, #76 (Jan. 1993) manipulate mortal souls,Silver Surfer vol. 3, #49 (May 1991) manipulate memories and emotions,<ref name="surfer130">Silver Surfer vol. 3 #130 (Aug. 1997) and remake dead worlds — including their populations — in every detail.<ref name="surfer130"/>

Galactus requires his armor to help regulate his internal energies. As Galactus must continuously feed to sustain himself, his power levels are inconsistent throughout any given period. For this reason, Earth's heroes have been able to achieve various degrees of success in repelling, or defeating, a starving, weakened Galactus.Fantastic Four #243 (June 1982)

As the oldest known living entity in the universe, Galactus employs science that the most brilliant minds on Earth cannot begin to grasp. Fantastic Four #210 (Sept. 1979) The Ultimate Nullifier and Taa II are prime examples of Galactus' technology.

Physical appearance

As a being who is both an abstract entity (e.g. Death, Eternity, et al) and a physical creature, Galactus' true form and nature are beyond the capability of mortal beings to comprehend.Fantastic Four #521 (Feb. 2005) Despite being frequently illustrated as a giant, armored humanoid, each species perceives Galactus to be a form it can understand. Galactus has adopted the appearance of a roughly humanoid energy being on at least three occasions. Silver Surfer vol. 3, #10 (April 1988), Infinity Gauntlet #5 (Nov. 1991), and Super-Villain Classics #1 (May 1983)

Other versions

DC Universe

Galactus has appeared in three projects associated with the DC Universe. Superman, Fantastic Four: Infinite Destruction (1999) and Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger (1995) JLA:Avengers # 1- 3 (2003 - 2004), in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (2006)

Earth X

Galactus also appears in the non-canon Earth X series. In Earth X Galactus is one of the three essential entities in the universe keeping the cosmic entities the Celestials in check. By destroying planets - actually "eggs" of the Celestials - Galactus prevents the Celestials from overpopulating the universe. Earth X #1-12 (2000 - 2001)

Epic Illustrated

The anthology comics-magazine Epic Illustrated #26-34 (Oct, 1984 - Feb. 1986) published the first nine serialized installments of a projected 10-part tale, "The Last Galactus Story", by writer-penciler John Byrne and inker Terry Austin. Each ran six pages, with the exception of part eight, which ran 12 pages. The magazine was canceled at this point, leaving the story unfinished.

Set 100,000,000 years in the future, Galactus devours a now uninhabited Earth. Accompanied by Nova, Galactus follows the trail of destroyed galaxies to the core of the Milky Way. Byrne wrote on his website that the story's conclusion involved Galactus combating a rogue Watcher until the death of the universe. When only Galactus and his herald, Nova, remain, Galactus cracks open his armor, releasing a new Big Bang. With the end of Galactus and the birth of a new universe, Nova is transformed into the Galactus for the new universe.Byrne Robotics: Frequently Asked Questions - Questions about Aborted Storylines

Exiles

The Exiles encountered one reality where Galactus is the restorer, rather than devourer of worlds; however, he only restores worlds that have been destroyed by the Blight, thus resulting in the rebellion of the Silver Surfer when he refused to grant the Surfer the power to restore his own world. Exiles #86 - 87

Heroes Reborn

Galactus appears in the pocket universe created by Franklin Richards - after the events of the Onslaught saga - and deploys several heralds at once. He actually succeeds in consuming the Earth twice, although this is undone by Doctor Doom with the use of his time machine until the Surfer is finally convinced to turn against his master and give the heroes the chance to drive Galactus away. Heroes Reborn (1996 - 1997)

Mangaverse

In the Earth-2301 universe Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes (2005) the Manga Galactus appears as a gigantic, planet-sized life-form (similar to Ego the Living Planet and Unicron). It appears to have a single massive eye and has tentacles which drain the life from planets. It is covered in various life-forms (referred to as "Galactus Spores") which aid its digestive process. New Mangaverse v2 #1 - 5 (2005 - 2006)

Marvel Zombies

Galactus appears in "classic" form and battles the Marvel Zombies, who have recently consumed the Silver Surfer and acquired portions of his cosmic power. With the help of some advanced technology, they manage to overpower, ultimately defeat and consume Galactus, thus absorbing his powers and becoming his 'successors' and later traveling to different planets for sustenance.Marvel Zombies (2005 - 2006)

MC2

Galactus, accompanied by a new herald named Dominas, appears in the MC2 universe.

Ultimate Gah Lak Tus

See Ultimate Galactus trilogy Ultimate Galactus, called Gah Lak Tus, was introduced in a trilogy written by Warren Ellis. Gah Lak Tus is first mentioned by Ultimate Vision, which is an early-warning system for worlds under threat by Gah Lak Tus and describes Gah Lak Tus as an immense (approx. 100,000 miles long) group mind of city-sized robotic drones that attacks worlds using envoys (resembling the Silver Surfer) followed by a flesh-eating virus that destroys all life. After this the entity breaks open the dying world and sucks all thermal energy from the core. Gah Lak Tus considers all forms and expressions of organic life to be so abhorrent it believes itself desecrated when telepathically contacted by Professor X. It is eventually driven back by Mister Fantastic via his use of the Ultimate Nullifier—here, a weapon that taps into the energies released by the Big Bang of a young universe—destroying 20% of Gah Lak Tus's mass and forcing the drones to retreat. Ultimate Nightmare (2004); Ultimate Secret (2005) & Ultimate Extinction (2006).

In other media

Television

Video games

Movies

Galactus as he appears in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Galactus as he appears in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Galactus appears in the 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the story of which was based upon the character's debut and his Ultimate incarnation. The official novelization of the film names the character as "the Gah Lak Tus".

20th Century Fox's rationale for having the character as a cloud was to keep him discreet.<ref name=vfx/> Visual effects studio Weta Digital convinced Fox to add physical hints of the comic book incarnation, such as a shadow and the fiery mass within the cloud resembling a helmet. Director Tim Story claimed he made Galactus a cloud so that the future Silver Surfer spin-off film would have a chance to be unique and introduce the character as he normally appears. J. Michael Straczynski, the spin-off's writer, confirmed Galactus is in his script and that "You don't want to sort of blow out something that big and massive for one quick shot in the first movie."

Games

  • Galactus appears in the Vs System TCG.
  • Galactus has appeared twice in the Heroclix CMG

See also

References

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