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Arishem vs Galactus: Who would win in a battle?

Bruno Cooke January 16, 2022
arishem vs galactus

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Chloe Zhao and her team’s rendering of Arishem the Judge has titillated fans who have praised its execution of scale as well as the directorial decision to transition from the standard aspect ratio to the IMAX ratio whenever he appeared on screen – though it wasn’t for everyone. But it also set audiences wondering who would win head to head in a fightArishem vs Galactus.

How big is Arishem in the comics and in The Eternals?

In the comics, Arishem is (usually) 2,000ft tall. Shortly after its release, however, Eternals viewers remarked that Arishem’s size appeared to vary throughout the movie – and between movies. 

In Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, for example, Peter Quill’s biological father, Ego, is a Celestial the size of a human. At least, that’s how he chooses to appear.

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Source: YouTube [Marvel Entertainment]

Meanwhile, in The Eternals, Arishem – also a Celestial – is big enough to hold a galaxy. Too big to quantify using measures we know and understand. 

Therefore, people have concluded a Celestial’s size is variable. Given the power they have, they appear to be able to adjust their size to suit the circumstances. 

How big and powerful is Galactus, and is he bigger than Arishem?

Galactus’ initial origin story was that of a space explorer named Galan from the planet Taa. When he passed near a star, he gained cosmic abilities. Simple. 

But writer Mark Gruenwald then decided to take it further. Galan lived in the universe that precedes the Marvel universe. A cataclysmic event triggered the death and rebirth of the universe, destroying everything – almost – in the process. 

But Galan survived. As the new universe came into existence, he merged with the Sentience Of The Universe and became Galactus. Galactus is very big and very hungry, and needs to consume planets to survive. 

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He is therefore, argues IGN, “one of the more important villains ever created”.

“Galactus is one of the few villains on our list to really defy the definition of an evil-doer. He’s compelled to destroy worlds because of one simple fact – he’s hungry.”

His size is also variable and depends on how much he’s consumed: “the hungrier Galactus gets, he shrinks”. Marvel calls him the “embodiment of the universe’s appetite”.

Arishem vs Galactus: Who would win?

So, who would win in a fight between Arishem and Galactus?

When he’s fully fed, Galactus’ power is almost boundless. Meanwhile, in terms of stories that have actually played out in Marvel comics – people argue – “on feats alone”, Arishem basically always triumphs.

A better way to pit them against each other, reckons one poster in the subreddit r/whowouldwin, is to organise the Arishem vs Galactus battle into five rounds. 

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Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Final Trailer

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Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Final Trailer
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In the first, Galactus is starving; in round two, he’s hungry; round three, well fed; round four, “extremely well fed”; and finally, in round five, it’s Arishem, Hyperion and Ikaris vs a well-fed Galactus plus Silver Surfer.

Arishem would “easily win” round one, reads the top comment, and lose the fourth.

“Round 2 might go either way. Eating two planets would be enough for Galactus to win, but eating one wouldn’t be quite enough for reliable victory.”

Based on their relative powers and back stories, who do you think would win between Galactus – the embodiment of the universe’s appetite – and Arishem the Judge, with his immaculate track record?

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.