No, I didn’t forget. Let’s finish this!
Fantastic Four #522
Writer: Mark Waid
Pencils: Mike Wieringo
Inks: Karl Kesel
The Fantastic Four have found Johnny Storm and Galactus, and are attempting to find some way to free him from the clutches of his master without any kind of bodily harm. This isn’t exactly something that comes easily. Remember the Surfer’s knock down drag out in the Galactus trilogy? Or Frankie Raye getting an axe in the back? Or all those times that Air-Walker died (and it was a lot of times)? It’s rare that a herald leaves the employ of Galactus without suffering in some fashion beyond having the power cosmic removed (if it is removed, which usually doesn’t happen). So this issue is about saving Johnny Storm.
But we have to begin at the beginning. Johnny Storm uses his new powers to recap the origin of Galactus. Galan of Taa was a scientist in the universe previous to the one the Fantastic Four calls their own, and was out on an expedition at the center of the universe when everything died. Galan was wrapped in the cosmic egg by the sentience of the universe, and was reborn as Galactus. This origin is nothing new. It’s pretty much a blow by blow recap of the original telling of his origin, even down to a redraw of the infamous panel of Galan inside the cosmic egg as the sentience of the universe convinces him to combine and be reborn, with all that crazy green energy flying everywhere. It’s good stuff.
But the big news about this issue is the end. We’ve seen how Reed switched Sue and Johnny’s powers (which is nice from the perspective of only reading this trade on its own; it lets you know what was going on prior to 520), and there’s some crazy machine that allows this as a possibility. So Reed, in his infinite wisdom, finds a way to alter the machine to use it as a weapon against Galactus. And it works. The issue ends with Richards siphoning the power cosmic away from Galactus, and all we see is the empty husk of his armor. Is he dead? Are we going to get another Abraxas situation coming on here? Not quite, folks. Because as soon as you think the worst is coming, Galan emerges from the wreckage in his human form. And all bets are off as we head toward the fourth and final issue of the arc.
I must say, as such a Galactus fan, I loved this issue. Galan is one of those characters that I’ve always wanted to see more of. He had a VS card, and I’ve since learned that the art from that card comes from this story arc (see next issue). It’s a great way to take Galactus off the table for a bit without actually taking Galactus off the table entirely. How’s he going to interact? It’s a hell of a set up for the final issue, and the best of the issues so far. Great stuff.
This post was written to the tune of Depeche Mode’s Songs of Faith and Devotion