Evil Geek Book Report – The Trial Of Galactus
The Trial Of Galactus Trade Paper Back (Fantastic Four #242-244, 257-262) is collected from John Byrne’s much heralded run on the series during the 1980s. This was my first exposure to Byrne’s writing, I had encountered his art during the beginning of Claremont’s excellent run on X-Men. Other than the non-continuity 12 issue Heroes Reborn: Fantastic Four by Jim Lee, this was my real introduction to them. Of course being an elaborate portion of the backbone of the Marvel universe I’ve been utterly aware of the FF ever since I knew about comics. I was never interested though, until now.
The story breaks up roughly into 3 acts. The first involves Terrax, a herald of Galactus who comes down to wreak havoc on NYC to get the Fantastic Four’s attention. He literally separates the Island of Manhattan and brings it into orbit. He knows that the FF has defeated the planet consuming Galactus in the past and wants them to strike him now while he is in a weakened and hungry state. The Fantastic Four refuses and Galactus basically beats the shit out of Terrax and strips him of his powers. Then he comes to Earth pissed and it takes just about all the heroes in the Marvel universe to put him down. As they are about to deliver the death blow, humanitarian Reed Richards convinces them to spare Galactus. Despite the fact that he kills millions of people on the regular. He’s not doing it maliciously, a man needs to eat, right?
The second act involves a badly beaten Terrax who is suffering from amnesia being abducted by Dr. Doom. Doom infuses him with a science project he’s been working on to harness the “Power Cosmic” which is something that only Galactus can do. Wikipedia describes the power cosmic as ” replacing the “auras” (or souls) of the characters imbued with its properties, causing each wielder’s physical form to uniquely adapt in order to store and manipulate it according to how they desire” so basically it makes anyone who has it insanely strong in a ridiculously awesome way. The only caveat in Doom’s plan is that in order for Terrax to wield that power he must use it to destroy the Fantastic Four.
The third act involves Reed being abducted and put on trial in space by other alien races for saving Galactus. The FF and even John Byrne (stupid Marvel gimmick) are able to at the very least, join him to witness the verdict. (If you REALLY want to geek out, I found an actual break down of how a lawyer would have treated the case but be forewarned about spoilers. You can read that here).
I’ll refrain from telling you too much more and avoid major spoilers. I did think the trial verdict was a bit of a cop out. Byrne seems to be a very good writer but perhaps wrote himself into a corner with this one. All in all, for a piece meal collection of issues this TPB flows excellently. Byrne writes in the forward of the collection that he was asked to return the character of Galactus back to his former glory. I can’t argue with that, he’s a character that should be used sparingly but used with reverence.
This wasn’t quite the cosmic spanning space opera I had been hoping for but a very enjoyable and worthwhile read. It got me interested enough in both the Fantastic Four and John Byrne to check out more of his time on the series. I recommend picking it up if you can find it at a good price.
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