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Fantastic Four

The Galactus Origin Story, The Creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Devourer of Worlds

Appearing for the first time in 1966 in Fantastic Four #48, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby (see our guide to the Fantastic Four series), Galactus was at first just another super-villain that was imagined to be bigger than the previous antagonists. In order to differentiate him from the others and avoid delivering a stereotypical bad guy, Lee and Kirby decided to go all in. The writer wanted him to be really evil, the artist went biblical. They wanted something new and created it.

Also known as the Devourer of Worlds, Galactus was at the heart of what is now called the Galactus Trilogy, Fantastic Four #48 to #50 (part of our best Marvel comic to read selection), and that was supposed to be the end of his story, but he became extremely popular and this prompt Lee and Kirby to bring him back (see Fantastic Four #120–123, #172–175, #208–213, or Thor #225–228). He became a mainstay in the Marvel Universe.

And in 1978, in the one-shot graphic novel The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience!, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby reunited to tell an out-of-continuity origin story of Galactus and the Silver Surfer without the Fantastic Four! It would not be the last time the origins and motivations of the characters would be explored though.

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Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four Reading Order

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Jonathan Hickman Fantastic Four Reading Order

Following “Secret Invasion,” the 2008 crossover storyline, came the “Dark Reign” era which leads to a shift of power in the Marvel Universe toward “reformed supervillain” Norman Osborn. Mark Millar who was writing the Fantastic Four series – with art by Bryan Hitch – left the title and Jonathan Hickman took over and started to revamp and redefine Marvel’s First Family.

Here is the official synopsis: it all begins when Mr. Fantastic decides to solve everything! As the team contends with Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign, an older Franklin arrives from the future with an ominous warning! And as the Fantastic Four fight the War of the Four Cities, Mr. Fantastic assembles a band of genius youngsters. But when Nathaniel Richards returns, Galactus rises and a new Annihilation Wave threatens to invade from the Negative Zone, tragedy suddenly strikes. Grieving, the surviving members of the Fantastic Four dissolve the team – but from its ashes rises the Future Foundation!
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Last Updated on November 29, 2022.

Annihilation Scourge Reading Order

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Annihilation Scourge Reading Order - Nova

Back in 2006, Marvel relaunched its Cosmic Universe with the Annihilation crossover event. It led to a series of events of the same kind, but also to a new Guardians of the Galaxy series and more. You can find here our reading guide of that era piloted by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

Since C. B. Cebulski became Marvel’s editor-in-chief in 2017, a lot of names associated with popular events of the past have been reused. It was the case in 2019 with Annihilation. This time though, it was not as ambitious as the first time. In fact, Annihilation Scourge works like a 6-part miniseries.

Here is the official synopsis: The Negative Zone is under siege! Now the Lord of the Negative Zone, Annihilus, makes a call for help to the very heroes he once fought against! It’s an all-out battle as Nova, Silver Surfer and some of your favorite cosmic heroes try to prevent the next annihilation.

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Last Updated on August 17, 2022.

Onslaught Reading Order, a X-Men Crossover

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Onslaught Reading Order Marvel

After the massive Age Apocalypse (reading order here), another huge X-Men event followed. At its center, there was Onslaught, a sentient psionic entity created from the consciousness of Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto. The character co-created by writers Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, and artist Andy Kubert became one of the biggest villains in the X-Men Mythology. The event spread among multiple X-Men related or not like Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, Cable, X-Force, X-Man, X-Men (vol. 2), X-Men Unlimited, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, X-Factor, Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man, Punisher, Thor, Excalibur and more.

Here is the official synopsis: The psionic force of nature known only as Onslaught sprang forth from the fractured psyche of mutant mentor Charles Xavier and the genetic terrorist called Magneto. Powered by his progenitors’ rage, Onslaught laid siege to humanity — touching off a cataclysmic conflict destined to deprive a world of its most revered icons!

What to read before Onslaught?

For more information on the ’90s X-Men era, check out our ’90s X-Men Reading Order. That said, the essential stories have been collected by Marvel in three books:

  • X-Men: Road to Onslaught vol. 1
    Collects X-Men (vol. 2) #42–45; X-Men Annual ’95;plus Uncanny X-Men #322–326; X-Men: Prime; X-Men Unlimited #8.
  • X-Men: Road to Onslaught vol. 2
    Collects X-Men/Clandestine #1-2; Uncanny X-Men #327-328, Annual ’95; X-Men (vol. 2) #46-49; X-Men Unlimited (1993) #9; Sabretooth (1995) #1
  • X-Men: Road to Onslaught vol. 3
    Collects Uncanny X-Men #329-332, Archangel #1, X-Men/Brood #1-2, X-Men Unlimited #10, X-Men (vol. 2) #50-52, Wolverine #101, Xavier Institute Alumni Yearbook.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2022.