WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Fantastic Four #6, from Dan Slott, Aaron Kuder, Marte Gracia, Erick Arciniega and VC’s Joe Caramagna, out now.
The latest issue of Fantastic Four sees Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds once again return to Earth, seeking to satisfy his hunger. Rather than New York however, this time he lands in Latveria, meaning that if he wants to consume our planet, he’ll have to go through that country’s ruler: Doctor Doom. you might think Doom would have things under control, but his attempts to defeat Galactus turn out to be ineffective
The massive cosmic force of nature appears to be completely immune to magic.
Galactus is -- both literally and figuratively -- a huge part of the Marvel Cosmic Universe. He’s a cosmic constant, an essential part of the cycle of death and rebirth in the universe, helping to maintain necessary balance and order. While he might bring about the end of entire civilizations, he’s deemed by the universe to be an unavoidable aspect of the fabric of being. One of the consequences of this grand plan seems to be that the laws of magic apparently have no real effect on him.
That doesn’t stop Doctor Doom from trying, though. At the end of Fantastic Four #5, Doctor Doom interrupted the wedding of Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters to announce that Galactus had returned to Earth in the skies above Latveria, but that he alone would tackle the threat. Not trusting the fate of the entire planet to someone who's tried to conquer it multiple times, the FF finish the wedding and take off for Latveria to face Galactus -- and Doom, if necessary.
As one of the most powerful magic users in the Marvel Universe, you’d imagine that Doom has more than a fair chance against the Devourer, but unfortunately, he learns the hard way that Galactus is immune to magic when he breaks free of the mystical bonds that all-too-briefly hold him in place.
Doctor Doom is no stranger to the mystic arts, having first encountered magic when he was a young boy. His mother Cynthia was a powerful witch who summoned the demon Mephisto, striking a deal with the devil in order to give her people the power to rule their own homeland. The cost of this was an eternity of damnation, which Mephisto collected in due course, leading to Victor to invent the Necrophone, a powerful machine that could see through dimensions, straight into Hell itself. The accident that scarred his face and led to him becoming Doom was due to the Necrophone exploding as he tried to return to Earth. Undeterred, and driven by an insatiable curiosity for the arcane, Victor has dedicated a large part of his life to embracing and mastering magic, a goal he was so obsessed with he once sacrificed his girlfriend Valeria's life in exchange for arcane powers he once only dreamed of possessing.
Since then, powerful sorcery has been as much a part of his character as a mastery of science, two worlds which collide in Fantastic Four #6 as he takes on Galactus, enveloping the Devourer in the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, a powerful binding spell often used by Doctor Strange. Super strong characters like Juggernaut and Hulk have been bound by this spell in the past, but Galactus breaks free with ease. Magic is, as the Devourer explains, “a force bound to the nature of the universe.” And since Galactus consumes the nature of the universe, it's little trouble to break free of the Crimson Bands.
It’s rare that a being like Galactus comes up against pure ancient magic like this. Even something like the Infinity Gauntlet isn’t strictly magic; it’s more like a supremely sophisticated manipulator of energy and matter. So while this revelation may be brand new information, it’s rare that we see a cosmic character interact with the magical side of the Marvel Universe so directly. It will be interesting to see how this revelation plays out for Doom, who clearly has plans for Galactus moving forward, but you have ti imagine the Devourer of Worlds just got that little bit harder to control.