When you are known as the Devourer of Worlds, there aren't a lot of people that can defeat you. That's certainly true for Marvel's Galactus. He was born from the death of the previous universe and is so immensely powerful, almost nothing can stop him. He gains his powers from the life force of planets and empowers his heralds with the Power Cosmic, making them incredibly powerful beings in their own right. Even Stan "The Man" Lee considers Galactus to be the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe.
Of course, comics being what they are, Marvel would have had to stop publishing books back when "Fantastic Four" #48-50 hit the shelves in 1966 if Galactus had gotten his way and eaten up the planet's life force. Fortunately for everyone, that didn't happen and Galactus was thwarted. With that in mind, we've found 15 characters who have stopped, thwarted, beaten, and in some cases even killed Galactus at one time or another.
15 THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Speaking of those Fantastic Four books from the '60s, those issues we mentioned before featured a story called "The Coming of Galactus," written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby, which gave us the first appearances of the Silver Surfer, Galactus, and the Ultimate Nullifier. After the Silver Surfer led Galactus to Earth, he becomes convinced through the kindness of Alicia Masters that the planet is worth saving. This brings him to challenge his master and engage in an epic battle (more on that in a minute). Meanwhile, Uatu The Watcher indirectly pushes Johnny Storm to find the Ultimate Nullifier aboard Galactus' massive ship.
The Nullifier is the only weapon Galactus fears, and after realizing it was the Watcher who helped the FF find it, he accusingly says, "You have given a match to a child who lives in a tinderbox!" Ultimately, Uatu and Reed Richards help to convince Galactus that he should spare the Earth, finally stopping his plans to consume the planet by threatening to use the weapon. While they didn't beat him in combat (by any means), they thwarted his plans; for a being like Galactus, that's saying something.
14 SQUIRREL GIRL
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the character that Squirrel Girl has stopped Galactus in his tracks. The battle between cosmic deity and Doreen Green went down in 2014's "Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" #1-4, written by Ryan North and penciled by Erica Henderson. Galactus makes his way towards Earth while Doreen takes some time to hit up Freshman orientation at school. With only a couple of hours remaining for her to save the world, ol' Squirrel Girl "borrows" some Iron Man armor via her army of squirrels and heads to the moon to take care of Galactus.
Doreen demands a meeting and the two get to talking about Galactus' need to consume the life force of a planet. SG mentions that she once took down Thanos and he replies that "He's a tool" and takes a shine to her. To dissuade Galactus from chowing down on Earth, Doreen hooks Galactus up with a planet full of nuts and convinces him to bail on his plan. He is so thankful for her help, he even hands her a card and tells her to give him a call if she ever wants to get into the Heralding game.
13 MARVEL ZOMBIES
"Marvel Zombies" was a great series of books that Marvel launched back in 2006 involving nearly their entire catalog of heroes and villains. The question everyone had apparently been asking for years had finally been answered: "What would happen if all the superheroes and villains of the Marvel Universe suddenly became zombies?" Well, it turns out that they eat every single human on the planet they can find who doesn't have any powers or special skills. None of those folks turn into zombies themselves due to their consumption, so we are left with the likes of Spider-Man, the Hulk and more looking for food.
When it starts to look like there is nothing left to eat, along comes Galactus, who prepares to do what he does best and consume what little life force remains on the planet. This isn't something the Zombies are too appreciative of so they get busy doing what they do best: they eat Galactus! Not only did they devour the Devourer of Worlds, they also consumed his power and became a zombie swarm of Galacti all their own, traveling the universe and consuming all life in only five years. Insatiable little buggers, aren't they?
Given all the shenanigans Thanos has pulled over the years, it's no wonder he has come toe-to-toe with Galactus... multiple times. The most obvious choice for a Thanos v Galactus fight happened during the first "Infinity Gauntlet" event, written by Jim Starlin and penciled by George Pérez, where Thanos acquired all of the Infinity Gems and became the most powerful being in the universe. Galactus sensed this threat and was even thwarted from consuming a planet that crumbled due to the Mad Titan's rage. As you can imagine, Galactus was somewhat upset over the loss of a good meal so he did something he rarely considers; he allied himself with a mortal.
Galactus and Adam Warlock came to an alliance in order to challenge Thanos alongside other cosmic beings. Thanos defeated them fairly easily and the cosmic defenders were subjugated. Thanos then usurped the cosmic entity, Eternity, and became reality itself. Of course, things didn't go as planned and Thanos was ultimately defeated, but not before taking out Galactus. Thanos is incredibly powerful without the Gauntlet and could pose a challenge of sorts to the World Eater, but when he carried around the Infinity Gems, he was nearly unstoppable.
11 SILVER SURFER
Under his own power, Silver Surfer cannot beat Galactus in a fight and there's a good reason why: Galactus made him what he is and could, if he wanted to, take his powers away from him as easily as he gave them. The Surfer could possibly beat Galactus if he were weakened from hunger, but for the most part, the only true way Norrin Radd has beaten his master was when he defied him and thwarted his hunger.
One encounter they had whereing Silver Surfer actually bested his former master was in the original "Guardians of the Galaxy" run, in 1990's issue #25, by writer and artist, Jim Valentino. In this possible future, the Surfer has been recently recharged with the power cosmic by a renegade Watcher, as well as double-powered by Quasar's Quantum bands. Having fought the original Guardians and already on the brink of hunger, Norrin fells the big fella with a concentrated blast. He is about to kill Galactus, but is convinced instead to feed the devourer with his vast energies. The Surfer then decided to once again travel with Galactus, sustaining his hunger indefinitely. Killing 'em with kindness? Pretty Radd, Norrin.
10 AEGIS & TENEBROUS
During the "Annihilation Event," the Annihilation Wave destroyed a prison that had contained Aegis and Tenebrous, two Proemial Gods from the earliest days of the universe. They were imprisoned by Galactus so they may have held a bit of a grudge when they were finally released. Another released from the prison was the Fallen One, Galactus' first herald. Tenebrous' powers come from The Crunch, the wall of energy marking the edge of the universe and though he is a being of great power, he quickly drained the power of the Fallen One in order to increase his own might.
With his increased strength, he and Aegis banded together and quickly beat both Galactus and the Silver Surfer, who had agreed for a time to return to his heralding duties. Shortly after this confrontation, Thanos arrived with a Chaos Mite and drained the Power Cosmic from both vanquished foes. With Galactus and the Surfer defeated and most of their power drained, they were handed over to Annihilus.
This battle took place in "Fantastic Four" #546 by Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier. The character known as Gravity was reborn at a time when Galactus was hungrier than he had been before. This came about following the events of Annihilation and he became a threat to more than just the life forces of planets, he became a threat to the cosmic entity Epoch. Epoch had recently resurrected Gravity as the new Protector of the Universe following the death of Quasar and seeing his benefactor come under threat from Galactus, he decided to step in and do something about it. This is one of those instances where Galactus' plans were thwarted from his original intent.
As powerful as he is with his new powers, Gravity chooses not to harm Galactus, but instead to feed him. He channels all of his Cosmic Awareness energies directly into Galactus, which serves to feed his hunger. No longer requiring the sustenance that Epoch would have provided, Galactus' hunger is sated and he no longer poses a threat. Gravity returned to Earth in an attempt to resume his life having played an integral part in the protection of the universe.
The forgotten son of The Hulk, conceived during his time on an alien planet, Hiro-Kala absorbed the residue of Old Power after Galactus destroyed his homeworld of Sakaar and vowed to make him suffer. Hiro-Kala began his life as a slave but eventually became a god to the people of the planet Giausar, where he dominated over the population. His use of the Old Power begins to destroy the planet, which lures Galactus over to enjoy a hearty snack. Hiro then creates a new power within himself, combining the Old Power and the Power Cosmic so he can poison the World Eater. When Galactus consumes the poison, he immediately begins to feel the pain and suffering of every soul he just consumed from the planet.
Hiro-Kala defiantly confronts his enemy and informs him that any time Galactus consumes the Old Power in the future, he will be again stricken with the same fate, further implying that there is no way to know which planets he may have poisoned. Galactus eventually recovers from this attack, but there is no doubt Hiro-Kala took the fight to one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe and won.
Mikaboshi is one of the most powerful entities ever created for Marvel Comics and he exists as an aspect of oblivion, though the Japanese believe him to be the God of Evil and Chaos. Soon after the "Secret Invasion" event began, Mikaboshi set out to take control of the gods... and he did. He banished Mistress Death from reality, making it impossible for anyone to die. He then created an army of every soul to have ever died and entered into the Underworlds, making him ruler of the dead. He then sent Zeus, Hera and Ares to Earth along with his army of the dead to take out anyone who might get in the way of his conquest.
Using Zeus, Mikaboshi defeated Galactus with relative ease. He then was able to trick Hercules into revealing the location to the realms of the Skyfathers. As soon as this worked, he sprung from Zeus' corpse revealing that he had been using it as a gruesome puppet. After a great deal of destruction, Mikaboshi was finally banned to a prison universe by Galactus and Amadeus Cho, returning reality to some semblance of order.
6 ULTIMATE RICK JONES
Following the "Age of Ultron" event, Galactus was pulled from the Earth-616 universe into the Ultimate Universe of Earth-1610. He was immediately set upon by his local counterpart, the Gah Lak Tus swarm, which he quickly took over as his new herald. Finding a new universe ripe with life and a new herald capable of doing pretty much what he could do, Galactus set about doing what he does best. His antics came to the attention of the Silver Searcher, who went out to warn the rest of the universe of this new threat.
In the Ultimate Universe, the Hulk's pal, Rick Jones, was able to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel following the sacrifice of Captain Mahr Vehl, making him incredibly powerful... so powerful in fact that he and Galactus came into conflict almost immediately. They battled and with his newfound power, as well as a weapon designed to destroy the Gah Lak Tus swarm, Jones was able to severely damage Galactus, nearly blowing him in half and weakening him immensely.
5 THE BEYONDER
During the "Secret Wars" event, The Beyonder teleports the most powerful characters of Earth (as well as Galactus) to Battleworld, where he intends to pit them against one another in a battle between good and evil. Of course, the recently-transported folks aren't too happy with this predicament and it isn't long before they turn on one another and get to fighting. When the Beyonder presents himself as the one causing all the trouble, he gets their attention away from one another and solely on him. Almost immediately following their arrival, Doctor Doom and Galactus attack the Beyonder, who defeats them as if they were nothing. He even knocks Galactus unconscious, which is not an easy thing to do.
Compared to the Beyonder, Galactus is pretty insignificant. After he is knocked down to the planet with Doom, he regains consciousness and gets involved in the fighting, but a direct confrontation with the Beyonder is clearly not something Galactus is interested in doing after his first attempt.
4 THE HUNGER
The Hunger is a powerful multidimensional entity who consumes whole realities, much like Galactus consumes planets. It was incapable of entering the Earth-616 dimension without the help of someone on the inside so it successfully manipulated Galactus' mind to do his bidding. Galactus became convinced that the reassembled Infinity Gems would sate his hunger and make his unending need to consume life to fight his hunger a thing of the past. Because Galactus started doing things that were out of the ordinary, like going after the Soul Gem, other powerful folks got a little nervous, and Thanos went to Galactus' ship to plead with him to stop.
Because of their interactions in the past, Galactus refused to believe the Titan and after a short battle, Galactus continued his actions. The Hunger ends up succeeding and invades reality, only to immediately begin consuming Galactus' vessel and the energy unleashed against him. The Hunger makes it into the dimension and taunts Galactus, thanking him for allowing The Hunger entry into the Earth-616 dimension. The Hunger's ability to completely manipulate and control Galactus was an amazing feat nobody in Galactus' own reality has been able to duplicate.
Galactus originally created Tyrant as a sort of companion, making him nearly a match in size and power. Their relationship soured after a bit and the two battled across space destroying galaxies in their wake until Tyrant was ultimately defeated and sent to the edge of the universe. Tyrant finally returned when he captured Morg, bringing Galactus to his fortress to confront him. Not wanting to destroy the universe in a battle, Galactus left Tyrant to his own devices essentially handing him a victory, but Tyrant later confronts his creator on Galactus' ship and the two engage in a heated battle.
The battle is so intense it draws the attention of the Surfer who arrives to find his former master nearly defeated. Morg is able to grab the Ultimate Nullifier and attempts to use it to stop Tyrant, but it nearly kills him before the Surfer can do anything about it. In an attempt to stop the massive energy that is about to be released, Galactus tells the Surfer to escape and he attempts to contain the blast. His ship explodes, killing Tyrant, Morg, and even Galactus... or so it seems.
Following the return of Tyrant, the World Devourer began to go insane. The madness that was consuming him had been creeping up for eons and it affected his behavior. With his new herald, Red Shift, working for him, he began to consume the life force of worlds with intelligent life purposefully, which was something he had shied away from doing. This brought him back to the Surfer's attention, who takes over Galactus' ship and opens a warp that turned Galactus into pure energy. Now calmed from the madness that was plaguing him, he tells the Surfer that a great horror will follow his demise.
What comes after the death of Galactus was called Abraxas, a powerful cosmic entity that was kept inert over the eons due to Galactus' consumption across the universe. Abraxas' only purpose is to collapse all realities but he required the Ultimate Nullifier to do so. He decapitated Galactus in one reality and sent the head to the Fantastic Four as a warning to Johnny Storm, the only one who knew the location of the Nullifier. Once he has been released, Abraxas is able to kill Galactus from any reality at will... and he did.
1 FRANKLIN RICHARDS
Franklin Richards didn't exactly beat Galactus, he just made him his herald. That's right, Franklin Richards made Galactus, the one who creates extremely powerful heralds to do his bidding, into his very own herald after he revived him. Franklin is, after all, a god for all intents and purposes. He has the ability to recreate reality in any way he chooses and was so powerful as a child, his father had to put limits on his powers so he didn't turn everyone into bunny rabbits on a whim (he could do that if he wanted to).
Franklin had the opportunity to resurrect the fallen Galactus when the whole Abraxas situation was getting out of hand. When he did this, Galactus became his herald and the two of them became friends... or became as friendly as Galactus could be towards anyone. Consider how powerful Franklin actually is if he can make a being as powerful as Galactus work for him. Franklin has even taken on the Celestials and won. He takes the top spot on this list only because he could defeat Galactus an infinite number of times in an infinite number of ways if he was so inclined.
Who else can beat Galactus? Let us know in the comments!