"I am power incarnate! To Galactus, nothing is impossible!"
"Of all the creatures in the vastness of the Universe, there is none like me. I was present at the birth of the Universe, and I shall be there at its end. Though I ravage worlds to live, I bear no malice toward any living thing. I simply do what I must to survive. And why must Galactus survive? For, no matter how many worlds I devour ... How many civilizations I destroy ... It is my destiny to one day give back to the Universe – Infinitely more than I have ever taken from it. So speaks Galactus!"
Galactus is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He first appeared in Fantastic Four #48 (March, 1966).Sole survivor of the universe existing before the Big Bang, Galactus is perhaps the most feared being in the cosmos. Untold billions of years ago, he was born the humanoid Galan on the planet Taa, a wondrous paradise of scientific and social achievement. However, his universe was in its final stages, with all matter plunging towards a central point via the "Big Crunch", collapsing into a new "Cosmic Egg", a sphere of disorganized, compact primordial matter. Galan, a space explorer, discovered a radiation plague threatening all of Taa. Though he was initially scoffed at, the truth became clear as the people of surrounding planets perished. Despite the efforts of Taa's greatest scientists, no cure could be found, and the population began to die off. Galan convinced the handful of remaining survivors to die gloriously by flying a starship into the blazing cosmic cauldron. The others were killed by the intense radiation, but Galan was filled with new energy and saved by the sentience of the dying universe. The sentient energy spoke to Galan as it brought him into the egg.With the next Big Bang, the Cosmic Egg matter exploded outwards, eventually condensing into stars and planets. The future Galactus and his starship were re-created simultaneously with the embodiments of Eternity and Death, though he drifted inert for billions of years while new life began to populate the universe. The starship crashed on an unnamed planet, where Ecce The Watcher saw its occupant emerge as raw energy. Ecce recognized the danger the nascent being would pose and could have destroyed him then, but instead chose to abide by his oath of non-interference. Launching his ship back into space, the being ejected its lifeless companions into the void, there to drift in endless flight. He then created a suit of armor to harness and regulate his awesome energies, and transformed his ship into an incubation chamber, where he spent countless centuries evolving into his current form. Eventually his craft again fell into orbit around a verdant planet, Archeopia. The advanced natives scanned the craft, detected its awesome energies, and wisely left it undisturbed.Galactus initially went centuries between feedings, seeking out uninhabited worlds that could support life; but he gradually hungered more frequently, and began consuming inhabited worlds if he could find no others. He rationalized his actions by deeming himself a higher being, a belief made easier after learning of a prophecy that he would eventually compensate for all his destruction. In addition, he eventually encountered Eternity and Death, and the three beings hypothesized that Galactus represented a balancing force between the two opposites.Lonely, Galactus created a being in his own image; however, while Galactus was content to survive, his creation craved conquest. The creation, becoming known as Tyrant, battled his creator in a struggle beyond description. Galactus eventually triumphed, possibly aided by the Spinsterhood order of women warriors, banishing Tyrant to parts unknown. Since then, Galactus has used many mindless servants, chief among which are the Punishers, possibly living beings enslaved or created by Galactus. Eventually, the world-devourer realized it was more efficient to send a herald to seek out worlds for him. His first herald was eventually cast out and imprisoned, presumably due to its corrupt and violent nature. This former herald, the Fallen One, escaped many times over the millennia, each time heading directly after its previous master, who always defeated it.Galactus threatened to devour the planet Zenn-La, but was persuaded by native Norrin Radd to spare it in exchange for becoming a new herald. Galactus transformed Radd into the Silver Surfer, suppressing his morals so that he would lead Galactus to inhabited worlds when necessary, such as a symbiote-ruled planet, and the Kree planet Tarsis. The Surfer once even led Galactus into ending the threat of the murderous warlord Kallreich the Unconquerable by consuming a world he had invaded. When the Silver Surfer brought Galactus to Earth, despite the efforts of Uatu The Watcher to hide the planet, Alicia Masters reached Norrin's long-submerged emotions, convincing him to turn against his master. Galactus had easily overpowered the Fantastic Four, but the Surfer's power delayed Galactus' meal long enough for Reed Richards to present him with his first defeat. Uatu sent the Human Torch to Galactus' worldship to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier, a device allegedly having the power to destroy even mighty Galactus; Reed used it to force him to spare Earth, but Galactus punished the Surfer for his betrayal by trapping him on Earth.Soon after, Galactus sensed abundant energy sources within the enigmatic Black Galaxy, but Galactus was distracted when Dr. Doom usurped the Silver Surfer's power and crashed into Galactus' barrier; sensing this disturbance, Galactus scanned Doom, but found him beneath his notice and sent him back to Latveria. Galactus soon sent his Punishers to retrieve the Surfer from Earth; the Fantastic Four held it off long enough for the Surfer to escape into the microverse. Galactus forced them to help him find the Surfer, who located an uninhabited planet for him, after which he left the Surfer trapped on Earth for easy future location.Galactus currently has a daughter, Galacta, who suffers from the same hunger issues that he has, but chooses to prevent the destruction of most forms of life by instead consuming malevolent sources that would end up destroying life if left unchecked.
Ultimate Marvel miniseries Ultimate Nightmare, Ultimate Secret, and Ultimate Extinction; collectively the "Ultimate Galactus Trilogy" (though the Ultimate version's proper name is "Gah Lak Tus"). The Ultimate Vision miniseries spun off from this also has to do with Gah Lak Tus.
Hunger - A four issue limited series in which Galactus finds himself in Marvel's Ultimate Universe following the massive tears in the time space continuum at the conclusion of Age Of Ultron and merges with Gah Lak Tus.
Silver Surfer: Galactus makes a cameo appearance in the 1990 video game, sending the Silver Surfer to the Magik Domain to collect the Cosmic Device.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance: Galactus is the boss of the "Skrull Planet" level. The Silver Surfer appears to fight alongside the heroes, dishing out the damage while the player characters activate three consoles that will overload Galactus's machines.
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet: Galactus is the boss of Episode 8: Taste of a Throneworld.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The final boss of the game, Galactus takes up the entire right side of the screen. In order to reach this fight, the player characters must defeat two randomly-selected "Heralds": silver versions of some of the game's playable villain characters.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Same deal, except there's now an unlockable mode where you play as Galactus.
Lego Marvel Superheroes: Galactus is the game's Big Bad, and also an unlockable character upon completing the game. Sadly, He's only playable as a minifigure, smaller even than Big Figure characters like the Hulk.
Above Good and Evil: Galactus considers himself as neither good nor evil, merely a predator going about his business to survive. He is also a natural function of the universe to fix the imbalances between Eternity and Death. Galactus is also a restraining bolt for a force that seeks to destroy the universe.
A God Am I: He's actually more powerful than even the ordinary Marvel gods, but still.
"I am Galactus. The be-all and end-all."
A God I Am Not: Though he doesn't seem to consider himself a god, despite his ego. He even told Sphinx in no uncertain terms that he isn't a god and criticized the mortal belief that power makes you one.
"Sphinx! You share the folly of all your lowly species. You believe that power itself makes one a God! But even Galactus, to whom all is possible, even Galactus whose every passing whim becomes reality — even Galactus is no God."
Always a Bigger Fish: He is this to many galactic Threats, like (regular) Thanos, the Kree or Darkseid in a crossover, but he has also experienced quite often that he is not at the very top of the food chain. The 3 most well-known examples are probably when he was stomped by Beyonder in Secret Wars, Krona, in JLA/Avengers, and the Chaos King in Chaos Wars.
Attack Drone: What Gah Lak Tus becomes after it merges with Galactus in Hunger.
Back from the Dead: Galactus was actually killed once in the Marvel-616 universe. The universe would soon discover that the death of Galactus would unleash Abraxas, one of the antitheses to the cosmic entity known as Eternity. He is a Multiversal Conqueror who immediately proceeded to destroy alternate universes and the Galactus that existed in each of them. It took the combined force of the Fantastic Four and Galactus' own Ultimate Nullifier device to defeat Abraxas and bring Galactus back to life.
Badass: One of the more powerful forces in the Marvel Multiverse. He can take on Darkseid's Omega Beams in one crossover (notable for being able to kill Superman) without a scratch, dining upon entire solar systems at a time, move far faster than the speed of light without needing to teleport, and can through the use of the Power Cosmic boost his strength to a level easily able to take down characters capable of shattering planets in one blow like Hulk and Thor.
Beam Spam: One of his attacks in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Galactus fires energy beams from his eyes and all ten of his fingers, filling the screen with a barrage of unavoidable firepower. All the player can do is block and suffer massive chip damage.
Blue and Orange Morality: Depending on the Writer. In Kirby's original story, Galactus was outright stated to be beyond good and evil and incapable of being judged by any human morality system. He more resembles a natural disaster than a man.
If the obscure The Adventures of the X-Men is to be considered canon, than the "previous universe" he hails from is the one in which all of the 1990s-era Marvel animated series took place in.
Captain Ersatz: Another multi-universal devourer of worlds: Unicron the Dark God, the Chaos Bringer. When the Transformers' Marvel Comics series retooled Unicron's being and backstory, the similarities between Galactus and Unicron were so great that Unicron is often seen as the Transformers version of Galactus, right down to You Cannot Grasp the True Form. Unsurprisingly, this has led to many fanworks and fanwanks about a Galactus vs. Unicron showdown and their squabbling over worlds to devour. As far as motives go however, they couldn't be more different. Unlike Galactus, Unicron doesn't even need to eat worlds and only does it out of sheer hatred. Also, Galactus has to absorb biospheric energy from planets. Unicron literally just eats them and consumes their mass.
Cool Helmet: Galactus' helmet is easily his most recognizable feature. In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the cloud entity called Galactus takes on a familiar shape once the Silver Surfer reaches its center. The helmet itself becomes a prized possession of MODOK in his Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ending. His daughter Galacta also has a helmet modeled after his. Par for the course for Jack Kirby, of course. His helmet is not unlike many of the helmets the New Gods wear.
Tasked with finding a way to save Taa, Galan piloted his ship into the heart of a Big Crunch singularity as a last resort. Galan would not stop, surviving radiation that killed not only his shipmates, but most of the life in the universe. Eventually, Galan gets the attention of the Sentience of the Universe, who gives rebirth to Galan as Galactus, and bids farewell to him when sent away into the new universe.
Galan became this again after being depowered. Initially considering his merging with the Power Cosmic as it seeks him out to be inevitable, he became inspired after seeing the people around him struggling against the inevitable to survive. He used the Four's teleportation technology to warp to another dimension in an attempt to escape the Power Cosmic. Galan knew it would find him again sooner or later, but he realized he had to try.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In the comics, the battle between Galactus and Tyrant is said to destroy entire galaxies before its conclusion. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Galactus destroys Earth if the player loses the final battle.
Even Evil Has Standards: Galactus is outraged at Darkseid for the massive waste of life, throwing his Parademons and troops at Galactus knowing they didn't stand a chance and knowing that there was no life force on Apokolips for Galactus to feed on. He's mollified by Darkseid stating that he did it because it's in his nature - Galactus nods and states that he and Darkseid are Not So Different, since feeding life energy from planets is also in his nature, and both he and Darkseid are slaves to it.
Galactus also has no love for Cyborg Superman either.
This tends to be why some regard Galactus more as neutral than evil. He does what he must to survive and can rightly be considered a higher being. He always keeps his word, pays his debts, and is willing to leave sentient beings alone or escape doomed planets as long as they don't bother him. He tends to show disgust at those who cause meaningless destruction like Tyrant and the Fallen One. And if it's one of his own that's causing it, he'll usually do something about it when someone brings it to his attention.
On the other hand, for example, he also tried to kill every sentient being on Counter-Earth out of self-stated spite, simply because they had succeeded in killing a future version of himself in self-defense, which renders much of the above claims of his nobility and lack of pettiness null and void. In addition, it has been established that he can just as easily feed on stars or non-sentient cosmic energy sources instead of wiping out trillions of sentient beings, yet he only rarely does seek out such sources.
This is case of Depending on the Writer since sometimes he is portrayed as only capalbe of surviving for a short time on those sources and sooner or later needs to go back to planets.
Fridge Horror: In Annihilation, it is revealed by Thanos that the Power Cosmic displaces and destroys the soul of Galactus's Heralds. No afterlife for them.
Fusion Dance: Galactus is sucked into the Ultimate Marvel Universe when Wolverine breaks reality during the Age of Ultron event, and is attacked by his counterpart Gah Lak Tus, which tries to eat and ends up fusing with him, creating an even more powerful and ravenous entity.
Hand Blast: Galactus can project powerful energy blasts from his hands capable of knocking Darkseid off his feet.
Holier Than Thou: Often displays this attitude. Justified in his case though, as he indeed is a natural part of the Cosmic Balance, in contrary to many self-proclaimed Gods. His mere existance also keeps Abraxas at bay, a far worse entity.
No Sell: In a big way. Galactus has even shrugged off Darkseid's Omega Effect (which wasn't due to the Effect's power level not being enough, but the Effect must find the victim's weakness - Galactus has no such inherent weakness.) Galactus himself is not immune to being No Sell'd, including by The Marquis Of Death, Mikaboshi, and The Beyonder.
One-Hit KO: In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Galactus will start using an instant knock-out attack when he's low on health. The only way to avoid it is to stun him before he can complete the long charge time for the attack.
One-Track-Minded Hunger: Galactus himself. His hunger defines his character, and it's pretty much the only thing he ever does.
Only Friend: Galactus' first post-Surfer Herald was the Xandarian Gabrial Lan, called the Air-Walker. He and Galactus became friends and Lan ended up sacrificing himself to buy a severely malnourished Galactus the time needed to escape from a race of aliens that might have been able to destroy him. Its been insinuated many times that Galactus regrets not being able to save Lan's life.
Parental Abandonment: After creating Galacta and placing her on Earth, Galactus left for parts unknown to continue his own existence, with no intention of watching over how she developed. Galacta doesn't enjoy the fact that she's related to him. In fact she outright hates him because of what he does. However, in her greatest moment of need, Galactus shows Galacta that he still cares for her with what he would consider to be unconditional love by saving her from death by starvation.
Power Limiter: Depending on how somebody chooses to cherry-pick information. In one instance Galactus mentioned◊ that he felt that the Ultimate Nullifier was closer to him than his own heart, and recalled it to his hand at will. Some people have perceived this as that it is an actual part of his being, but it could just as easily have been figuratively speaking, especially given that this instance contradicts his first Lee/Kirby appearance, in which he could not recall the Nullifier, and he showed great fear from it being used against him.
There's also his own armor, which serves as a self-imposed Power Limiter. The power inside Galactus is so overwhelming that he needs the armor to control it, and if he were to ever remove it, he'd be consumed from within and turned into a small star.
Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Galactus is the can holding Omnicidal Maniac Abraxas sealed; he's so incredibly hungry that he needs to eat planets because most of his energy is going to keeping Abraxas locked up, and, as bad as Galactus is, Abraxas is worse. In another sense, the Galactus armor itself is a can; Galactus is said to look differently to each race that perceives him, and outside of the armor he's basically a blob of energy.
Size Shifter: His physical size directly reflects his own strength and power. A severely weakened Galactus will be relatively humanoid in size.
Strong as They Need to Be: In his case, as much he has eaten. When starving even normally far weaker beings can hurt him, and the Thing once knocked him out. When he is fully fed however, he is extremely formidable, and can destroy an armada spanning several solar systems in a single attack. Between that, it varies depending on the story.
Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Even taking into fact he was once a man who became an energy being, most of Galactus's power really comes from technology. His form is encased in a special suit and even his planet eating is done with machinery. He apparently doesn't need his toys but survival would be a lot more difficult for him without them. Basically, the Taa II (his ship) lets him travel without using his own power, and the extraction machines he uses to drain planets are more efficient than he is.
The Heralds of Galactus receive a portion of the Power Cosmic while they serve, usually granting them access to power greater than the majority of most Earth-based heroes. To put it another way, in the Galactus/Darkseid crossover The Hunger, the Silver Surfer hit a severely weakened Galactus with a full-power blast. Galactus shrugged it off like it was nothing and proceeded to beat the Surfer down in the dirt.
Up to Eleven when Galactus made Superman his Herald. Yes, a demigod superhero endowed with godlike cosmic power. Cyborg Superman wanted this power for his own, but Galactus immediately knew he was unfit. He did grant him "perfection" - unfortunately for Cyborg Superman, he used Exact Words and turned him into a brick of metal, a perfect alloy with no imperfections.
Superhero Sobriquets: The Devourer of Worlds, the World Eater, the Ravager of Planets, the god of Genocide etc.
Truly Single Parent: Galactus created Galacta spontaneously from the Power Cosmic within him. Unbeknownest to her, she had the same capacity, which has already triggered and created the "Tapeworm" that drives her hunger.
Weapon of Mass Destruction: During Annihilation, Annihilus planned to turn Galactus into a cosmic bomb capable of destroying all life in the universe and the Negative Zone. Annihilus was able to capture Galactus because he'd acquired the aid of two of the oldest cosmic beings, each individually almost as powerful as Galactus is.
The Worf Effect: Being a very recognizable, incredibly powerful character, Galactus has a tendency to be the one to suffer in order to establish that the new cosmic bad guy is a serious threat.
Narrator: A million and more alien eyes look upon him who is Galactus, and for each race the vision differs. For Galactus is truly no longer a being in the absolute, physical sense. He is as Odin named him, a force of nature. And each mind that views him struggles as best it can to perceive that unguessable force as an image it can comprehend.
Galan is/was humanoid, so the Galactus that we see is perhaps closest to the real deal.
Uniqueness Decay: Jack Kirby never intended for Galactus to be used past the first story he appeared in. He objected to all the character background later given for Galactus as well as the characterization for Silver Surfer in later stories. He wanted Galactus and his herald to remain a mystery and felt that overexposure and excessive character development would undermine the character's effect. Given that there are so many "gods" and other cosmic entities in the Marvel Universe, he was right.
Ultimate Universe: Is portrayed as a fleet of sentient ships called Gah-Lak-Tus in Earth 1610 who hate all organic life with a passion. Galactus himself merges with them after the events of Age Of Ultron tore up reality.