Favorite Fictional Characters, #124: Galactus
I've been in a mood lately, fending off a minor streak of bad luck, But you know what? I'm not the sole survivor of the universe that existed before the Big Bang. I'm not endowed with the cosmic power of a god and yet an insatiable hunger that can only be briefly assuaged by devouring the life energy of inhabited planets. I don't travel the cosmos in search of worlds to ingest, an instrument of terrible, unending genocide. I am not alone with the memory of the billions of years of galactic carnage I have wrought. So I suppose there are worse fates.
I've always enjoyed Galactus. He's an absurdly overpowered purple-pantsuited god-machine, part of Marvel's larger cosmic universe, and yet he's a compelling, tragic, strangely human entity. He's driven by hunger no one else can understand, and operates on his own incomprehensible moral scale. His complicated rivalry with Reed Richards has given rise to some wonderfully textured stories (The Trial of Galactus in particular), but it's his participation in the original Secret Wars that stays with me. That's most likely because those were the first comic books I really read, and the characters of the Marvel Universe will in many ways always exist to me as they did in that mid-80s 12-issue limited series. Galactus appears in that story as a conflicted, weary, practical being, destructive but not evil, powerful yet not omnipotent.
And now...I hunger!