Saturday, May 27, 2017

Galactus - Back To The Beginning!

The mystery of Galactus is finally solved in a pair of Thor comics by Jack "King" Kirby, Stan Lee and inker George Klein when Thor is tasked by his father Odin to find the World Eater. The burden is partially a result of Thor's having fallen victim to a berserker rage in conflict with the creature Him. To expiate this sin of wrath Thor is sent into the depths of space to find Galactus which he imagines might take many years. As it turns out it didn't.

Thor is actually found by Galactus who captures his ship and then offers up a sit down with the Son of Asgard, an opportunity to get acquainted. It seems that Galactus needs to open up to someone and he tells Thor about his own enigmatic origins. We meet a Watcher who finds a sole survivor of plague ship and we know we have seen the beginning of the story.

The story Galactus tells (and using arcane science shows) Thor begins on a planet named Taa which was a wonder and glorious place filled with erudite people who traveled about using spheres of pure thought. Into this splendid land comes a plague which is tracking relentlessly across the cosmos.

The people of Taa see the demise of their civilization and seem at a loss at how to save it.

One adventurous soul fights against the despair which the plague has brought and gathers some of his fellows, a few survivors and they use a spaceship to attempt to immolate themselves in a great sun before the disease can take them. They fail and while the ship enters the sun all die save one, the one who weirdly becomes something new and different.

It's that survivor who is saved by the Watcher who then sees this survivor becomes a creature of awesome unstoppable energy. The creature escapes the Watcher's confines and goes into space where it develops instrumentality to finish its transformation, making a great armor and fashioning a vast cube. Going into the cube the creature matures and when it emerges it has become Galactus. Thor is humbled by the tale and then is swept away by Odin back to Earth where he will join Balder and the Warriors Three against a deadly robot menace dubbed the Thermal Man.

This origin was reprinted in the 80's in a singular comic which bore the title of Super Villain Classics and featured Galactus. It sports a handsome cover by Bob Layton. The story presents us with a different kind of Galactus, less a force of impersonal nature and more a man who seems possessed of passions and perhaps even regret. Now reports say that Stan Lee injected his own opinions on this story and had Kirby do some major alterations as according to some he did not agree with Kirby's attempts to humanize the character. This is one of the last stories that Kirby had a major influence on before he left for the Distinguished Competition and to be honest these issues are somewhat cramped by Kirby standards of the day. The story is told swiftly in two issues when to accommodate the splendor of the art clearly three seemed needed. Much of the issues are taken up with another narrative entirely, making the important Galactus tale less front and center as I think it properly ought to have been.

When Jack "King" Kirby returns to a new Galactus story many years will have passed indeed.

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