Comics Reviews

How Marvel’s Galactus Became A Hero and Why He’s Evil Again

Galactus has been the world eater since the days of Lee and Kirby. He once became the antithesis to his own destruction, until it was all undone.

Marvel’s classic planet-eating god Galactus has been one of the most enduring and consistently written characters in comics. As a being who is hungry rather than evil, he’s long served as a refreshing pace-breaker from the universe’s more maniacal villains. But until very recently, the world-eater had actually been something of a galactic savior, before returning to his role as the great devourer.

Following the universe colliding event of 2015’s Secret Wars (Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribić, and Ive Svorcina) a new version of the Ultimates was born. In Ultimates Vol 3 #2 (by Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort, and Dan Brown), the team forced Galactus back into the incubator that made him the devourer in the first place. As he emerged from the incubator, he was now able to construct and populate worlds rather than decimate them. As the Lifebringer, Galactus went to work restoring Archeopia, the first planet claimed by his cosmic hunger.

Related: Galactus May Debut in the MCU Phase 4 – But His Most Powerful Herald Legally Can’t

In Dan Slott’s 2016 run of Silver Surfer (with art by Michael Allred and Laura Allred), the Surfer considered eliminating Galactus while in the past before his hunger ever developed. Remembering his Lifebringer form, he decided to spare him instead. Silver Surfer: Black (Donny Cates, Tradd Moore, and Dave Stewart) took a similar route, having the Surfer encounter Galan, the man who would become Galactus, and once again considering to end his life. Lifebringer Galactus, however, is not mentioned. Instead, the Surfer spared Galan out of sheer moral altruism. What happened to Galactus that led his good deeds to go forgotten?

Infinity Countdown (by Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder), a five-issue miniseries building up to Infinity Wars (by Gerry Duggan and Frank Martin) began to bring the Lifebringer back to his traditional status quo. In this comic, Ultron chased the restored Infinity Gems to conquer the universe, conquering the entire planet of Saiph with his virus. In order to stop the spread of the Ultron Virus, the Silver Surfer pleaded with Galactus to consume Saiph, despite his change of heart. Though reluctant at first, the titan agreed to devour the world in order to save the universe.

Related: Marvel Is About to Prove Why Ultron Is Not Its Most Dangerous Killer Robot

Donny Cates’ recent run of Thor (by Donny cates, Nic Klein and Matt Wilson) brought Galactus back into his full, unapologetic hunger. Colliding into Asgard, he warned of the coming Black Winter, a mystical title for the end of the universe. Gone is any allusion to Galactus’ benevolence, as Thor considered him a cosmic war criminal before even letting the titan speak. Thor eventually became a herald of the devourer in order to prevent the Black Winter, feeding him planets to help fight the Black Winter. At the end of the arc, however, Thor discovered that this cosmic threat hungered only for Galactus. Betrayed, Thor used his newfound power cosmic to smite Galactus once and for all. Galactus’ classic purple helmet now sits over the grand entrance to Asgard.

Infinity Countdown left Galactus’ an open path back to bringing life, but the recent events of Thor seem to disregard his brief heroic stint. It’s unlikely the devourer will stay deceased forever, but will the Lifebringer ever return? Maybe that plotline simply wasn’t iconic enough, and Galactus will always return to a cosmic hunger. But for those who enjoyed Galan’s redemption, this might be a little unsatisfying. Perhaps the devourer had to die in order for the Lifebringer to return.

KEEP READING: How Galactus Could Appear In Eternals 2

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