122. Galactus Unleashed

Issue One Hundred and Twenty-Two, May 1972

Issue One Hundred and Twenty-Two, May 1972

“Meddlesome humans! You sought to deceive me! Where have you hidden my once and former herald?”

The Fantastic Four confront Galactus and discover that he wants the Silver Surfer to be his herald again or he’ll destroy the planet. The Surfer doesn’t want to go with him and so they all fight. Reed and Sue slip away and head into space, finding Galactus’ ship which Reed navigates back to Manhattan. He gives Galactus an ultimatum — leave earth or Reed will destroy his ship, stranding him there forever.

Again, this is an issue with thin motivations and a rather senselessly constructed plot.

No reason is given for why Galactus wants his ‘once and former herald’ back. Really, nearly any reason would have been better than no reason. And with the display that we saw Gabriel make in the previous two issues, Silver Surfer isn’t a whole lot more powerful than any other replacement he could have made himself.

Galactus in his hot-weather 'Coney Island Summer' variant suit.
Galactus in his hot-weather ‘Coney Island Summer’ variant suit.


Secondly, why is Galactus so angry? He’s furious to a degree that we’ve rarely seen any of the Fantastic Four’s foes be. He is an eternal, cosmically aware being and he’s just pissy throughout the whole story. It really minimizes the awe of the character. As does placing part of the conflict in a fun fair. Galactus is less a world-eater in this issue and more of a King Kong, but without (and it’s no exaggeration to say this) the emotional depth.

Reed and Sue travelling to Galactus’s ship makes sense, and it’s a visually compelling break, but not Reed’s threat to blow it up — as if that might be easy. Surely he could have exploited some other mechanism within it, or made a better bargain than just mutually assured destruction — a Cuban missile crisis type stand-off that is ten years too late to be an effective metaphor.



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