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Review and Media by Jon T

Episode #14 - Galactus
Original Airdate - December 16, 1967

Another Sun suddenly appears in the sky, which soon disappears and gives way to millions of floating rocks in the sky. A being known as the Watcher appears to the team and tells them that he caused the illusions, trying to hide the Earth from the Silver Surfer, a being who serves Galactus, who drains planets of their energy. Unfortunately, the Surfer finds the Earth and signals Galactus, who quickly announces that he will drain this world as he has done others. Ben knocks out the Surfer, who is then found and looked after by Sue, while the rest of the team try to fight Galactus. As Sue cares for the Surfer, who quickly begins to appreciate humanity, Galactus begins construction of his Elemental Convertor to drain the Earth's energy. The Watcher sends Johnny on a journey to Galactus' space station to retrieve a weapon known as the Ultimate Nullifier, and the Silver Surfer decides to betray his master and assist the Fantastic Four in defeating Galactus.

Notes: Based on "The Coming Of Galactus!", "If This Be Doomsday!" & "The Startling Saga Of The Silver Surfer!" from Fantastic Four #48-50 (March 1966-May 1966), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.

Review: If there's one 'must watch' episode of this series, then this is it.

Naturally there're some shortcuts and compressions in fitting the whole 'Galactus trilogy' into one episode, most notably with Sue being given Alicia's role of (re)introducing the Silver Surfer to emotions.

There are some fantastic visualizations and concepts in this story, from the two Suns and rocks in the sky hiding the Earth, to the celestial barrier, to the elemental converter. There are even some wonderful short moments of characterization, such as the opening scene with Sue upset that Reed spends too much time studying away from her, and Ben reassuring Sue that Reed is still crazy about her.

Galactus, the Silver Surfer and the Watcher all make appearances, and they are far more faithfully portrayed here than in the laughable version of this story seen in the 90s Fantastic Four show (that had twice as much time for the story as well!), although Galactus is colored differently and is a little on the short side than compared to his usual appearances. He's still all-powerful and ambivalent about Earth's fate, and we even get the simple, but true statement from the Watcher that Galactus is not evil. No simplistic shortcuts with the characterizations here!

Having Sue being the one dealing with the Silver Surfer does take her out of the story too much for my liking, but it's understandable since including even more characters would have cramped the episode. The Surfer himself is something of a blank slate by virtue of this being the first time he's motivated to defy Galactus, but once he finds his conscience, he's just as noble as ever.

One minor nit-pick; the Watcher's transportation device looks just like the Ultimate Nullifier - obviously an animation oversight, but it does stand out since the Nullifier is such an important part of the plot.