Galactus In Animation - A Retrospective
Part One -
If you’re a Galactus fanboy who yearns to see every appearance of him, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much, but there’s nothing that’s going to crush your spirits here either.
Oddly (thankfully?) missing from the 1978 series, Big G would have to wait until 1994 to make his return to TV to the terror of fans everywhere. The first season of Fantastic Four is truly one of the great horrors in history. Even now, after having watched it a handful of times and created a website reviewing every single episode, I fail to see any redeeming factors. Well, some of the cast.
The Silver Surfer And The Coming Of Galactus has two whole episodes to introduce the two title characters and The Watcher, a being of immense power who arrives on Earth to warn Sue and the crew that Galactus intends to feed upon their world.
The Silver Surfer then arrives from the sky, boasting that this new world will allow Galactus to feast like never before. Surfer’s getting his own retrospective soon (probably) so I’ll spare you the story of how my eyes started to bleed as soon as I looked at his design.
Galactus than walks about his giant spaceship bubble thing, without even the slightest bit of oomph to it. Considering the scale that they were dealing with here and the threat Galactus is supposed to impose, his introduction simply falls flat. The man is as tall as a skyscraper, he arrives in a gigantic dome and no one seems to bat an eyelid. I wouldn’t usually mind but for such an important visual, they really dropped the ball here. They also struggled to find a consistent look for the giant, it seems nearly ever other season that his model was changing. It never actually looked good, but it just kept getting worse and worse. The animators/designers had similar problems with Dr. Doom in his irredeemable origin story, The Mask Of Doom.
Galactus spends the rest of the episode preparing his machines to eat the planet as the Four spend the episode on the rooftop, twiddling their thumbs. Firelord and Terrax make quick appearances in a rather pointless fight scene before Johnny goes to space to get the Ultimate Nullifier and Galactus promptly pisses his pants and vows never to attack Earth again. 39 minutes build up and that was it?! Apparently so.
Galactus once again returns in the season finale, The Silver Surfer and The Return Of Galactus in which Dr. Doom steals The Surfer’s power cosmic. He only really appears at the very end as the rest of the episode sees The Fantastic Four failing to defeat Doom Almighty and Reed attempting to cure/help a severely weakened Silver Surfer. They eventually visit Galactus’ ship and The Surfer explains that his powers were stolen by Doom. Clearly unimpressed with the theft of his former heralds’ power being taken by a pitiful human; he takes them from Doom and gives them back to The Surfer. The episode was lousy. I don’t think I have to explain why.
The one saving grace of this seasons depiction of Galactus should come as no surprise – it’s Tony Jay. The veteran brought presence and depth to a character that was absent in both. While many of the villains would be recast in season two, to dare replace Tony Jay would’ve been foolish beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, Jay passed away earlier in the year. Another great voice actor lost…