Sunday, February 23, 2014

Master of the Galaxy! Lord of Floss!


With apologies to artist Herb Trimpe, I always thought this was one of the most ridiculous-looking villains of all time:



A big space energy blob with fangs. Not exactly awe-inspiring, is it. The Hulk, even with his limited grasp of vocabulary, still manages to adequately sum up the appearance of the Galaxy Master: "mouth-monster." When you find yourself agreeing with the simple assessment of the Hulk, it's probably an indication that your villain needs to be sent back to the drawing board.

The Galaxy Master's singular goal is also uncomplicated, a sort of kill-you-before-you-can-kill-me philosophy, which one of its thralls explains:



Which sort of mirrors the mindset of your friend and mine, Annihilus:



The Galaxy Master, needless to say, possesses a great deal of power, and it also has the ability to change its shape depending on the circumstances. That's fortunate for the Hulk, since even he would find it hard to grapple with an energy blob. Though we can give him a little credit for surviving its withering attack:



The various forms that the Galaxy Master takes also make little headway against the Hulk. But this villain didn't get his rep by not being resourceful, so he takes the form of the one thing the Hulk has little defense against:



But in this encounter, the Hulk is lucky enough to have allies, who distract the Galaxy Master with admittedly futile attacks. When one of them is captured by the Galaxy Master and beamed into its domain, the Hulk uses his head and decides to tag along, where he can finally do some serious damage:



And poof, the Galaxy Master is dispersed. It would later reform and renew its mission of conquest, this time using the Abomination to soften up its targets. But eventually the battle again comes down to the Galaxy Master and the Hulk--and the Hulk vs. a mouth-monster isn't exactly the most sensational battle you'll ever lay eyes on:



Nevertheless, you guessed it--the Galaxy Master is once again toast.


Other than perhaps a sense of nostalgia, which played heavily throughout writer Bill Mantlo's run on Incredible Hulk, I don't know what would make anyone decide to bring back the Galaxy Master a third time. Putting aside for a moment the fact that a threat to the galaxy which has easily beaten armadas can somehow be repeatedly thwarted by the Hulk, two of Marvel's premiere artists (Trimpe and, later, Sal Buscema) have failed to bring to life the kind of fearsome foe that Marvel obviously wants the Galaxy Master to represent.  I'm not saying that every villain needs to have appendages, or even physical form--but the only foe I can imagine the Galaxy Master facing would be someone like Ego or Galactus.  Or maybe a good dentist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't care much for Galaxy Master, but Annihilus has always been one of my favorite villains.
He's actually scary. I suspect Kirby had a lot to do with creating that character.
Cross a grasshopper, a giant vampire bat, throw in a little Galactus and Doc Doom, and you get Annihilus.

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