Silver Surfer: The Coming of Galactus
Pros: Epic story, action and character development
Cons: Contains a portion of issue 48, dated artwork for some
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 whom 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
The Fantastic Four had quickly became one of Marvels more lucrative properties by this time. The title was known not only for its growing rogues gallery, but for how it handled its sci-fi element. Along with The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four was among Stan Lee’s most ambitious projects and one can tell this was one of his babies along with the wall-crawler. There was this feel as if he wanted every story to feel epic, and even though I don’t think he pulled it off often in this series early run. He definitely accomplished this goal with The Coming of Galactus. This storyline which was re-titled as a Silver Surfer story took place in Fantastic Four issues 48 – 50; and it featured the first appearances of Silver Surfer and Galactus.
I will always love the opening to this Marvel Milestone. It begins with an immediate end of the world feel, as the all powerful Silver Surfer speeds through the space ways, then appears on Earth and performs his duty as if no on else is on the planet. Then the mighty Galactus appears treating everyone, even the Fantastic Four like insects beneath his notice; and he quickly proves that he’s far more talk as he brushes off a blow to the ankles by the Thing and Human Torch’s Nova Flame. It quickly becomes clear this is a threat like no one has ever faced.
This story handles its build up very well. There’s always this feel something is coming and the outcome usually delivered. There was plenty of imagination and good action for this time period. In addition the characters are developed well enough, with the Silver Surfer eventually breaking his mold, plus Reed Richards and Thing’s bickering remains entertaining. This is one of those earlier stories I still don’t find a chore to read.
Jack Kirby’s legendary artwork was definitely getting better by this point, but for some reason it always felt like he brought his best to this book. I’m guessing it had more to do with Lee’s enthusiasm and simply having a lot more to work with. The energy wielding battles are definitely a spectacle and get enough time to develop across these short issues. There is quite a bit of detail during its sci-fi elements which is something the FF books usually did well. It can make a reader new to them want to see more. Unfortunately, the artwork does have a dated feel that can put off more modern readers, but this is by far easier to get through when compared to the first ten issues for example.
While this is a great short story arc on its own packed with some good action and overall amazing storytelling. I would recommend Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Vol. 5 TPB instead and simply skipping this book. This can be a good introduction to the FF, but the TPB is the best choice as one will get a much better feel of the FF’s world. Bother with this book only if you’re a serious FF completest.