With “Independence Day: Resurgence” arriving in theaters this weekend, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to count down the 12 greatest alien invasion stories in comic books.
10 “Secret Invasion”
9 “Starro the Conqueror!”
8 “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali”
7 “The Origin of the Justice League!”
6 “Micro Ducks From Outer Space”
5 “The Fantastic Four Meet the Skrulls of Outer Space”
4 “A New World Order”
3 “DC: The New Frontier”
1 “El Eternauta”
1. “The Galactus Trilogy”
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott were probably at their peak when they delivered this classic storyline from “Fantastic Four” #48-50, in which Earth is visited by Silver Surfer, the herald of Galactus — the devourer of worlds!
The enormous cosmic entity was here to literally eat Earth, and the Fantastic Four appeared powerless to stop him. Lee and Kirby did a brilliant job capturing the sheer hopelessness of our heroes’ ordeal: One of the most famous panels in the comic is a bearded Reed Richard, who had cooped himself up trying to think of solutions, but came up empty.
During a battle with the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer is injured, and then saved by The Thing’s girlfriend Alicia Masters, who convinces him it’s wrong to allow Earth to die. And so, for the first time ever, Silver Surfer decided to stand up against Galactus and try to defend the planet. That was largely a symbolic effort, as Galactus had given the Surfer his “Power Cosmic,” and thus didn’t seem as if he would be taken down by it. However, it was a distraction that lasted long enough for the Human Torch to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier, a device that could destroy the entire universe. The Watcher, who wasn’t supposed to get involved, totally stepped in by sending the Torch to get the device. Threatened with the Nullifier, Galactus to leave Earth, going hungry for the first time in his long life.
This trilogy unfolded in a historic stretch of issues book-ended by the introduction of the Inhumans and Black Panther.