121. The Mysterious Mind-Blowing Secret of Gabriel

Issue One Hundred and Twenty-One, April 1972

Issue One Hundred and Twenty-One, April 1972

“When walking through a field, do you consider the ant beneath your feet? I am Gabriel! To me you are far less than ants!”

The Fantastic Four continue to confront Gabriel, the Air-Walker, who continues to thwart them. All of humanity becomes despondent at Gabriel’s arrival and some of them try to kill the FF to appease this new villain. The Silver Surfer sees the conflict and fights Gabriel, ripping his cloak, which is the source of his power. He plunges to the ground and breaks open, revealing mechanical innards. Galactus appears in the sky — Gabriel was one of his heralds, he intends to destroy the world.

This is a fairly inconsequential issue. There is a lot that doesn’t make sense, centrally: why does Galactus need a herald in this instance? Previously, it was the Silver Surfer who found planets with a life force he could consume, but since he already knows about earth, what is Gabriel’s purpose. Why doesn’t he just show up and eat it?

121powerbThe time scale also niggles. Gabriel does very little until the Silver Surfer arrives. But in this time, the FF are attacked and bounce around the city, to their base and back. And in this amount of time, all of humanity gets depressed and stops working.

When Galactus arrives, it’s not as much of a surprise as it should be because it is fairly obvious that this issue is an exercise in revisiting past successes. But by trying to broaden the scope of the problem’s effects on the planet, the creators have failed to broaden the problem itself, and so the plot comes across as sluggish. After it becomes apparent that Gabriel doesn’t want to actually cause any destruction, why do the FF bother attacking him? Why doesn’t Reed go straight to his lab and start researching and building?


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