Fantastic Friday: Planets on the menu

  • Reading the Fantastic Four comcis from the start. Issue #521 gets deep into just what it’s like to be a herald of Galactus – something we’ve all thought about from time to time, I’m sure.

Recap: Aliens obsessed with using invisibility to hide from Galactus came to Earth wanting to destroy Sue for her powers. Reed faked them out by switching Sue’s power with Johnny. Then Galactus himself showed up and made Johnny his new herald. While Johnny and Sue adjust to their new powers, Reed, Sue, Ben and special guest star Nova head off into space to confront Galactus and get Johnny back.

While flying through space, Sue worries that becoming a herald has made Johnny cold and inhuman, like the Silver Surfer was when we first met him. Turn the page, and we see Johnny enjoying the perks of being a herald as he flies around in an outer space hot rod. Later, Galactus’ ship appears above an alien planet. The aliens believe their planet is undetectable, and they have seen no sign of a herald. Then Johnny appears before them. They aliens attack him, only for him to easily defend himself. He talks to the planet’s leader, saying he has no intention of delivering their planet to Galactus, but he might have no choice unless he finds an uninhabited planet that can satisfy Galactus’ hunger. The aliens try to convince Johnny to sic Galactus on their enemies, and Johnny won’t have it, saying “People really are alike all over.”

Johnny tries another planet, only for the inhabitants there to fire nukes at him. He uses his invisibility powers to find the missiles’ detonators and then he uses force fields to separate the detonators from the missiles. He remarks that the Galactus’ power cosmic gives him senses and knowledge he didn’t have before. He tries a few more planets until he finds one that seems suitable. But then he’s attacked by the planet’s intelligent larvae.

Galactus teleports Johnny back to his ship, and Johnny realizes that the power cosmic has given the invisibility powers a “cosmic sight” where he can automatically sense anything hidden. He asks Galactus for more time. Galactus zaps him while he pleads for just another day. Johnny says through the pain, “Please, I’m begging you, don’t make me a murderer.” After the pain subsides, Johnny questions why a godlike being like Galactus would even need a herald at all.

It then dawns on Johnny that Galactus needs Johnny for Johnny’s humanity. Galactus only appears humanoid to other humans because that’s how human brains process his appearance. In reality, Galactus is a being so cosmic that human senses are beneath him. Johnny then calls Galactus by his original name, Galen. This gets Galactus’ attention. He turns to Johnny and says, “Go on.” And with that, the story is…

To be continued!

Unstable molecule: While the team flies through space, Reed is so lost in thought that he doesn’t realize Quasar is speaking to him.

Fade out: Although the cover shows Sue possibly losing control of her new fire powers, she doesn’t use them in her one scene in this issue.

Clobberin’ time: Ben and Quasar mention that the heroes had already stopped to get something to eat while traveling through space. I wonder what that scene was like.

Flame on: Johnny uses his cool hot rod only once, using the rest of the issue to fly around on invisible force fields.

Trivia time: The alien planets seen in this issue are Rohnyn III, Silocus, Aquion, Sqaav, and Brum. The Marvel Wiki states that this is the only appearance of the first four, while poor Brum doesn’t get an entry at all.  

Somebody behind the scenes at the Marvel Wiki thinks they’re being cute by listing Sue as “The Human Torch” and Johnny as “The Invisible Man” for this issue.

Fantastic or frightful? A fun solo story for Johnny, that shows him not just learning his new powers, but learning his new powers on a cosmic level. It also shows his heart, in his refusal to kill others. I’m reminded of all the guilt Johnny experienced after he accidentally destroyed part of Empire State University back in issue #371. Marvel editorial no doubt wants to sweep those issues under the rug, but I like that to think that experience helped inform Johnny’s actions in this issue.

Next: Taa-an again.

  • * * * *

Want more? Check out my new ongoing serial, THE SUBTERKNIGHTS, on Kindle Vella. A man searches for his missing sister in a city full of far-out technology and hidden dark magic. The first three chapters are FREE, so give it a shot! Click here for a list of all my books and serials.

About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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