June 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #442: Air-Walker

Galactus has had many Heralds. Only one tried to be his friend.

Huh.  I’ve been spelling this guy’s name without the hyphen lately.  I better not tell Jimmy.

Oh, yeah, another Herald of Galactus this time around.  This one was different.  Galactus almost saw him as a friend.

Air-Walker, real name Gabriel Lan, was the captain of a diplomatic vessel and a member of the Nova Corps when his ship crossed paths with Galactus.  The Devourer of Worlds kidnaps Lan and offers to make him a new Herald like the Silver Surfer, something Lan agrees to, becoming Air-Walker, a character I honestly feel looks a lot like Firestorm, except I think Air-Walker came first.  Regardless, what made Air-Walker different from most Heralds is he was apparently the closest Galactus had to a friend.  Lan apparently inspired that sort of devotion since his first officer on his old ship, a fellow by the name of Pyreus Kril, went looking for his good friend and eventually became the Herald called Firelord in exchange for information from Galactus on what happened to Lan.

But the friendship thing is worth noting since most of the Heralds either have a more servile relationship with Galactus while they’re working for him, as with the Silver Surfer or Nova, or they can be somewhat hostile like Morg.  Naturally, this means Aor-Walker would be the Herald that got killed when Galactus went to feed on one world when the natives fought back, causing Galactus to actually put Air-Walker’s consciousness inside an android.

That android is actually the form he took in his first appearance in Fantastic Four #120 in March of 1970.  Written by Stan Lee and drawn by John Buscema, Galactus was trying again, only the android was somewhat less than satisfying.  Reed Richards eventually reprogrammed Galactus’s ship to take the big guy to the Negative Zone while the remains of the Air-Walker robot fell into the hands of the supervillain Machinesmith.  A revived Air-Walker would believe he was the real thing, get into a fight with Thor, and Thor breaks him again.  Firelord, newly made into a Herald, would take Air-Walker back into space, and later, he and the Silver Surfer would revive the guy to battle Morg.

After that battle, Air-Walker and Firelord would serve together as Herald, and eventually, Air-Walker would be uploaded into Galactus’s ship to guide the World-Eater to uninhabited planets that would satisfy the big guy’s hunger.  That would work until the evil Tyrant would damage the ship enough in a fight with Galactus that only ended when Morg took out both with the Ultimate Nullifier.

Now, Air-Walker would return without any sort of explanation during an Annhilation event, but that seems to be par for the course for a lot of allegedly dead Heralds.  A silent version of the character was among the Heralds to appear in the final episode of the animated Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as well.

But that was Air-Walker, a guy who became a Herald, was almost Galactus’s friend, and seems to have spent more time as a robot than his flesh-and-blood self.

What Herald will I cover next time?  I’m not sure.  I’m running out of them.