Anyway, since this series first came out in 1988, that places me at about thirteen years old when I first read it. I'm sure that I read it a few times after that, but adulthood brings fewer rereadings of comics, and it's safe to say that I haven't read these comics in over twenty years.
How does it hold up? Pretty well.
It's a solid story, and it doesn't read like what Stan did back in the 1960s. Even if you don't like the story, it's pretty clear that we have a master of the art form. He knows when to just let the pictures tell the story, and unlike some of the comics from the Silver Age, he doesn't bog it down in a lot of redundant exposition.
I should also say something about Jean "Moebius" Giraud. For those who don't know, he's a French artist, and this is one of the few American comics that he's done. I've read some of his other works, including the Western Blueberry, and some of The Incal. While I appreciated the art, I just couldn't get into them. Don't get me wrong, this is not me telling you to avoid them. By all means, check them out, because he has a lot of fans and is well-respected all over the world. The problem might be me.
Any story that features the world-devouring Galactus needs to make him look not just like a giant, but downright god-like. That's exactly what you get from this. It's especially important because in this out-of-continuity story, Galactus essentially comes down as just that - a god. Moebius really sells it, and the reader can really feel the terrifying grandeur of the character on each page.
When Galactus first arrives, he just stands there in the middle of the city. He doesn't break out his machines in order to devour the planet. He's like an old-time religious idol, and he's worshiped as one. This is exactly his plan, as he knows that the presence of a god will lead to chaos and the destruction of humanity, as nothing inspires people to kill like doing the will of a god. He doesn't even make any commandments, as he (rightfully) figures that some human will claim to speak for him soon enough. It's not until the Silver Surfer blasphemes this god that Galactus begins to move and shows what he truly is - a force of destruction. I don't want to say anything else about the story, as I hope that you're able to read it for yourself.
After reading a few interviews with Stan Lee, it's safe to say that he lies somewhere on the agnostic-atheist side of things when it comes to belief in God. But just like a lot of us nonbelievers, he's clearly interested in the subject and explores it here. As I said before, I was just a kid when I read this. It really stuck with me though, and I remember that this was an example of why I'd insist to adults that comics were not just for little kids. While I wouldn't tell you that it's like reading a book by a religious philosopher, it does throw out enough interesting ideas to get you thinking. This was certainly the case when I was 13, but even at 44 I'm finding that I can't get it off my mind.