While on their way back to NY after a mission, the Fantastic Four notice that the sky now holds two suns. Afterwards, the sky becomes consumed by flames and the entire city is thrown into chaos. Later on, the sky goes through another unexplainable change. The FF are baffled on what is taking place until they're greeted by the cosmic entity The Watcher. He explains to the Fantastic Four that he's responsible for the disturbances in his attempt to conceal the Earth from the Silver Surfer, a powerful being who is the advance scout for the World Devourer Galactus. His attempt fails and the Silver Surfer is able to send off a message to his master alerting him of the planet. Galactus lands on the planet and announces that he will drain the planet of all elements and revert it to energy. -summary
When I take a look back at these early Marvel tales that have been regarded as Marvel Milestones; The Galactus Trilogy aka The Coming of Galactus, stands above a lot of them. In my mind, there aren't many that come close or even surpasses it, off the top of my head, I would probably rate The Kree vs. Skrull War above it simply due to its larger sci-fi backdrop and interstellar warfare setting, and maybe the Death of Gwen Stacy, since it was such a tragic storyline, but that's probably where it will stop. This story on the otherhand felt dangerously close to the end. Yeah, we all know that the good guys are going to always win in the end, but this story had moments where it felt like this was it, because Marvel's First Family, which is among the most powerful teams on the planet, were very close to powerless against this new threat.
Originally written in 1966 by Stan Lee and co-plotted by Jack Kirby, Silver Surfer: The Coming of Galactus reprints Fantastic Four issues #48 - #50 and it also features the first appearances of Silver Surfer and Galactus. The last two issues are in their entirety, while the former features only the segment concerning Silver Surfer on his scouting mission. The story is an epic tale depicting the FF fighting in vain against the greatest threat the Earth has ever witnessed. The writing does a splendid job in developing its characters and bringing the reader into its imaginary world. It's highly entertaining with the right amount of dialogue, and it never felt too wordy for me, because the danger of the situation was so well described.
This story features the ultimate all powerful super villain. Galactus is a very intimidating being; first of all he's a giant, he regards all smaller beings as insects who are completely inferior to him, and most of all, the Watcher even appeared afraid of him. That says a lot right there. To prove how powerful Galactus is, he stands up to the full power of the Human Torch's Nova Flame, and whatever offense the FF used to push him back, they only appeared to annoy Galactus even more, until he sent another one of his workers after them.
The story isn't all action, as the Silver Surfer is heavily developed, and his change in character would become an important piece to the plot. And speaking of the plot, I never found it boring because it delivered a good amount of action, plus the subplot concerning the Human Torch was also well written. As far as I'm concerned, there was never a dull moment.
The artwork feels dated no doubt about it, and the Silver Surfer looks very bland, completely lacking the definition you will see in later stories. However, Galactus still looks good, and the action panels are real cool. The backgrounds are bland and featureless most of the time, but the story and cool action pretty much conceals that issue.
The Coming of Galactus is definitely among the most important Marvel story lines, and it's influence can be seen in just about any type of later work concerning the Fanastic Four; the FF TV series and even the second live action movie Rise of the Silver Surfer. This is among my favorite Marvel stories and I highly recommend it to fans of comics and FF fans who may have missed it. The book is 48 pages.
-Action and character development
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