The Real Reason Why Galactus Can Only Eat Planets With Life

Warning: contains spoilers for Fantastic Four: Life Story #5!

Marvel's Galactus is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and the most deadly; as the Devourer of Worlds, he consumes planets and all life upon them. Aided by the Silver Surfer, Galactus travels from planet to planet, consuming seemingly without guilt or remorse. But he seems to target planets with life more than 'dead' worlds, and in Fantastic Four: Life Story #5, Marvel reveals the reason why.

Galactus first appeared in the Galactus Trilogy in the Fantastic Four during the Silver Age. In the three-issue story, the Watcher pleads with the Devourer not to consume the Earth, but Galactus ignores the Watcher's cries. The Silver Surfer has a change of heart after talking to Alicia Masters and fights his master, but it's ultimately the Human Torch retrieving a dangerous weapon (the Ultimate Nullifier) from Galactus' ship that finally persuades him to leave Earth untouched. But why did Galactus attempt to consume Earth when every other planet in the local solar system was devoid of life?

Related: A Surprise Marvel Hero Just Defeated Galactus In Epic Fashion

In Fantastic Four: Life Story #5, readers receive their answer. In this series, Galactus is a looming threat from the very beginning of the Fantastic Four's career, and the super-genius Reed Richards spends most of his life attempting to stop Galactus when he finally arrives. The team is eventually paid a visit by the Silver Surfer, who admits he was only able to save his own world by becoming Galactus' herald, dooming millions of others just to save Zenn-La. "Of all the forces in the universe, there are none more concentrated than the power of consciousness. Nothing beckons destruction more than the awareness that you are being destroyed." This is what fuels the Power Cosmic, explains the Surfer - the force used by Galactus (and the Surfer).

This is why Galactus targets worlds with life; it is the only way to restore his energy. Fantastic Four: Life Story adds an extra wrinkle to the Galactus narrative, however: Galactus isn't coming for Earth...he's coming for Reed. The Surfer is growing old, and Galactus desires another herald. Galactus hopes that Reed Richards will direct the devourer to more worlds in an effort to spare his own. A refusal from Reed results in the destruction of Earth.

The Power Cosmic is an incredibly powerful force in the Marvel Universe, and now readers know it is powered by the conscious thoughts of beings. This also tragically means Galactus can't simply consume a world with only vegetation or single-celled organisms; he must replenish his energy with sapient beings. While Galactus is not outwardly malevolent like other classic comic book villains, he's certainly one of the most destructive in the Marvel Universe.

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