Silver Surfer Volume 1 #21-22
Written by Matt Hamilton,
Edited by Marvelite
At the end of Silver Surfer Vol. 1 Issue #18 (published in 1970 and written by Stan Lee), the Silver Surfer, still trapped on earth for betraying Galactus and still feared and hated by all of society, declared revenge on the human race. This is a continuation of that series.
Issue #21 - "Terminal Ferocity" Part 3
"Master!" cried Toad, seemingly overjoyed by Magneto’s
appearance. He quickly sprung to the top of the mountain of wrecked cars
surrounding the Surfer.
The X-Men knew they were in no position to take on the Master of Magnetism because they were still recovering from the short battle with the sky-rider! Cyclops was defiant; he called out boldly to the evil mutant.
"What are you doing here, Magneto? What scheme are you hatching?"
Magneto sneered behind his helmet. "You and your X-Men do not figure in any scheme of mine today, Cyclops. I leave you now!"
Magneto waved his arms, and the pile of cars compressed themselves around the Surfer's limp body and his silver board. He gave the newly recovered Quicksilver time to grab Mastermind and the Scarlet Witch, then levitated the cars, the mutants and himself into the air!
The X-Men watched as the Mutants disappeared. They turned back to their chopper.
"Well," said the Angel, "we can only hope that the damage was temporary. It's a long walk home!"
The Surfer had not truly been affected by the impact of the wrecked vehicles.
He opted to feign unconsciousness in order to learn more about this
"Magneto." Using his cosmic senses he tracked their movement through
the sky, so he knew their exact location when they came to rest on an island off
the East Coast of the US.
Once they were on terra firma, Magneto unwrapped the Surfer from his automobile prison. Only a compressed bumper was left around the Surfer, pinning his arms to his torso. Still feigning injury, Norrin Radd slowly rose to his feet. His board righted itself, and hovered obediently behind him.
"I know not who you are, silver one. I do, however, know that you are not human! Therefore it may be pertinent to keep you around in the ensuing meeting."
"What meeting do you speak of, Magneto?" replied the Surfer.
The mutant gestured, and a car dragged itself up behind the surfer. The metal chassis peeled away, leaving only the car seat. "Sit down, alien, and listen closely." The Surfer sat, thinking it best to learn Magneto's plan before engaging him in combat.
"Many months ago I discovered an alien craft, motionless… just outside our solar system. Somehow it has been able to evade the radar of the Homo-sapiens," he spat the term, "but my machinery far outclasses theirs.
"Using a combination of technology and mysticism I was able to make contact with the craft, and learn of its crew. It seems that there is only one being aboard the ship, and he travels from system to system stripping planets of their resources for personal use."
At this, bells began to ring within the Surfer's mind. Galactus! Could he be returning to Earth? Would the mighty one break his vow?
"I also discovered that this alien has immense power, and was able to strike a deal. I will make its stay on this planet short and bountiful, and in return it will grant me power enough to rule over what's left of the world."
This madman did not realize Galactus' intent! Even if the devourer kept his side of the bargain, and bestowed power upon Magneto, the mutant would be left with a dead world to rule! Try as he might to hate this world, the Surfer would not see it consumed by Galactus; after all he had been through to save it!
"I have directed our visitor to the Australian outback. It's a good place for him to start his . . . collection . . . as it is rich in uranium. We'll move on from there as he sees fit. I have two more stops before we reach there, and since he will be arriving in less than 24 hours, I suggest we move once again. This time, however, the trip will be a little more comfortable."
Magneto turned to a grassy hillock off to his right, and as he waved, the ground opened up to reveal a hidden warehouse. Inside was a large transport craft, and the mutant motioned towards it!
"Join us, please," he said to the Surfer, and they all boarded the plane.
Once aboard the craft, and seated forcibly by his "captor," the
Surfer began to contemplate the return of his former master.
For countless centuries he had served Galactus, free to roam the corridors of space in search of uninhabited worlds for his master to devour!
Then he had found Earth. Something had snapped within him, then, and he had challenged mighty Galactus. With the help of the Fantastic Four, he had driven his master from this world, thus saving it from total destruction. The world's salvation, however, had come at the price of his freedom.
Now, the Surfer realized he would be happier back in the servitude of Galactus than trapped here on Earth. The constant bickering and chastisement of its people frustrated him. He longed to bathe once again in the light of the stars, to surf the cosmic waves.
Perhaps the return of Galactus would spark a new chapter in the life of Norrin Radd? Perhaps he could arrange to serve the devourer once again for a short time, in the hope of eventually returning to his beloved Zenn-La?
A smile almost traced its way across the silver face of Norrin Radd. When the plane landed he would leave this group of misfits, and head for the upper reaches of the atmosphere, to meet Galactus on this side of the barrier.
The Devourer of Worlds surveyed the planet on his long-range scanners. He had
visited this system before, and knew the world! It teemed with life. Billions of
inhabitants interacted on its surface. Trillions of life forms. His to absorb!
He would be upon the planet soon. It was time to choose a herald.
Slowly Magneto's craft came to rest. The Surfer was almost stopped by
Quicksilver as he rose from his seat, but a quick glare silenced the mutant.
After disembarking, the Surfer looked around. They seemed to be on the outskirts of a small town. Somewhere, Norrin guessed, in southeast USA. He followed Magneto to the other side of the craft, and discovered that they had landed close to some sort of travelling circus?
Magneto walked briskly towards the fair, leaving the confused Surfer standing beneath the nose of the plane. After a few minutes, curiosity got the better of him, and he decided to end his charade of captivity. He clenched his fists, and the steel bumper encircling his chest began to glow red, then white hot. Eventually it became so hot that it sublimed, skipping the liquid state altogether.
Free of his bindings, the Surfer jumped onto his board and headed off in the direction Magneto had taken!
The great ship passed Earth's moon, and began to slow. Its defensive
technology prevented it from being detected by the scanners of the planet below.
Only one of the inhabitants had made contact with its mighty pilot thus far, and
a deal had been struck. In return for power… the spoils of the world.
The alien contemplated the turns this deal would take once he arrived on the planet's surface.
From what he considered a safe distance, the Silver Surfer watched Magneto
walk through the circus seemingly unhindered. The general public, he mused,
would believe the mutant to be just another sideshow performer.
After some time, magneto turned and entered a small tent. When he emerged several minutes later, a man larger than any the Surfer had seen followed him during his stay on Earth.
Norrin Radd made the decision to waste no more time with these mutants. Galactus, and indeed his home world of Zenn-La, waited! He turned to leave, but was surprised by the visage of an army of alien soldiers descending upon him! Quickly he flew down to Earth in order to protect the innocent circus-goers, but realized too late that he had been tricked by an illusion cast by Mastermind!
"Leaving us, silver one?" smiled Magneto. "I must implore you to stay!" He gestured to the huge man beside him, who grabbed the Surfer's wrist. "Allow me to introduce you to an old friend of mine. This is the Blob, and he'd be very insulted if you were to leave so soon. Blob, this is- I'm sorry, alien, I don't believe I caught your name."
The Surfer could not believe the grip this "Blob" had on his arm! This was obviously another mutant. No matter, he thought, I shall simply lift this mutant to an altitude beyond which he can breathe!
With that, Norrin Radd attempted to ascend into the upper atmosphere but found that he could not lift the mutant! He pulled harder, channeling more and more of his power cosmic into raw physical strength, and yet the Blob maintained his purchase on the ground! Other forces are at work here, thought the Surfer, and scanned the mutant with his inhuman senses. Gravity waves exuded by the Blob were holding the mutant and his captor to the Earth!
"I am the Silver Surfer, mutant," he finally replied to Magneto, "and you test my patience!"
"You'll find that the Blob's strength is more than enough to keep you here. I'd suggest that you surrender before he decides to embrace you in one of his bear hugs!" Magneto laughed.
This only enraged the Surfer more. He raised is other arm, and redirected the cosmic energy within him to his free hand. "Your strength is formidable, Blob, but you are only human. Taste the power of a herald of Galactus!" He pointed is hand, and a wide beam of brilliant light bathed the behemoth.
The Blob screamed, releasing the Surfer, by clutching his eyes!
"His blindness will only be temporary, Magneto! Whereas I fear that your moral blindness is a permanent affliction! You do not understand the fates you tempt when you deal with Galactus! I shall see you in Australia. Pray that I reach the devourer before you do!"
The Surfer flew off at mind-numbing speed, leaving Magneto to lead the Blob to his transport.
Issue #22 - "Terminal Ferocity" Part 4
The Surfer's glimmering form moved swiftly through the sky over the Pacific.
Passing the equator, he barely noticed a tropical storm. The dark clouds reacted
with tendrils of turbulence as they formed a wake behind him. Within minutes the
sun had set as he outran the spin of the Earth in his haste to reach Australia
before the arrival of his former Master.
Just hours before, Norrin Radd had learned from the mutant known as Magneto that a huge spacecraft was headed towards Earth. Magneto had made contact with the sole inhabitant of the craft - a being he had described as "immensely powerful". The alien apparently traveled from world to world, stripping planets of their resources.
There was no other way for a human to describe the Devourer of Worlds… the mighty Galactus! The Silver Surfer had served him for centuries, until he came to Earth! Now, his former master was returning, and Norrin Radd had decided to serve Galactus once more, if it meant leaving his Earthly prison.
Moving at several times the speed of sound, he passed the South Pacific islands. He shot past the top end of New Zealand, and flew over the cities of Northeast Australia. Using his cosmic senses, he located a large deposit of uranium in the center of the large island, and corrected his course.
Galactus began the processes which would deploy the various regulators and
siphons from his huge ship. By the time the ship was past the orbit of the
planet below, it would be ready to begin the absorption. Using his own power and
the ship's technology, the great devourer would absorb all of the life energy
from the world, except the one life he would save: his new herald.
Slowly the ship moved past the moon, and towards the blue-green sphere.
His destination reached, the Silver Surfer came to rest upon the great rock
Uluru. The natives below treated the rock as a holy place, and stories of the
angelic silver man would propagate among their tribes for some time henceforth.
He stepped off his board and sat on the red surface.
Looking up at the night sky, the Surfer could make out the great ship so many hundreds of thousands of kilometers away. It was unlike any craft he had seen Galactus use: A huge cylinder, as wide as three city blocks, and twice as tall, bristling with spikes which Norrin Radd recognized as sensors rather than weapons. Certainly not the usual mode of transport used by the Great Devourer, but it had been almost a decade, and his former master had access to a vast array of resources.
The Surfer could, however, feel the energy within the craft. He knew that it housed a powerful being! It had that familiar smell… of the power cosmic!
It would be a while before Galactus reached the surface. Typically his craft would hover in a planet's orbit for several hours while he prepared himself for feeding. With this in mind, Norrin slipped into a meditative state, contemplating his imminent return to Zenn-La, and his beloved Shalla Bal.
Hours passed, until slowly the craft began to descend. It moved out of Earth's orbit with deliberate intent, and the Silver Surfer moved too. He mounted his board, and ascended into the black sky. He traveled as far as he could, to a point a few hundred meters below the barrier, and hovered in wait for his former master.
In less than an hour the ship was hovering just above the gleaming form of the Surfer. Less than a minute passed by as the former herald had realized, that without seeing the inside of the vessel, the being on board was not his former master.
Galactus surveyed the city below. It consisted of a humanoid race, with deep
blue skin tones and bright shades of hair. After some time he selected one among
them as distinct from the others. A lawmaker for his people... A keeper of the
peace... A man with a strong sense of loyalty, and of harmony.
Perfect, mused Galactus.
While the tendrils of his great ship snaked down to the planet's surface, Galactus gestured, and encased his selection in a sphere of glowing energy. The alien began to rise - slowly at first, but ever accelerating, until it hovered in the air before the immense seated form of the Devourer.
"Who . . . what art thou?" spoke the alien.
"I am Galactus. Brother to Eternity… sibling to Mistress Death. I am the Was, the Is, and the Yet to Be. The bringer of order to a universe of chaos." Galactus' brow furrowed as he scanned the mind of the alien before him. "And you, Legis Tahrn, last survivor of your people, shall be my herald."
"Last Survivor? What dost thou--"
"Silence! Watch and learn, herald-to-be, for your future awaits!"
Tahrn turned to face his world below, his city lost in cloud cover. Suddenly he became aware of the power of Galactus, as it seethed around him, stretching out to the planet. With more of a sense of awe than the horror he thought he should feel, he watched the giant absorb the life from the world, until, minutes later, it was a barren desert. It was as if life had never existed there at all.
Gradually a sickening feeling of anger rose within Legis Tahrn. He knew he had no power over the beast before him, yet he could not stand idle after watching the destruction of his world! Words began to form in his throat, and his right hand reached instinctively for the lash on his belt, when suddenly the hand of Galactus rose above him. He felt a bath of cosmic energy wash over him, and his mind was at ease.
"You will know," boomed the Devourer, "the power of Galactus. You will know the truth of his existence. Question not what you see, nor what you do. Find for me worlds to devour, and in return all the wonders of the universe are yours to explore. You shall be like the word of Galactus: A Fundamental Truth.
"Legis Tahrn is no more. There is only AXIOM."
The Silver Surfer watched the ship hover in space above him, just outside the
barrier, which held him on Earth. After several hours, it resumed it's descent.
Unsure of the nature of the creature within, the Surfer decided to descend with
the craft, from what he considered to be a safe distance.
Once the craft was only a few hundred meters from the surface below, it paused. The Surfer flew closer, eager to learn of the craft's occupant. Perhaps it was a being powerful enough to free him from this world anyway! Perhaps he would not need to resume his tenure with Galactus!
At length, a crack appeared in the great hull of the ship, and it circled its way around an area some hundred feet in diameter, until it formed a hatch, which opened upwards. Within, the Surfer could make out little, but he could feel the power emanating from the darkness.
Curiosity eventual overcame Norrin Radd, and he slowly glided towards the open hatch. Suddenly, however, a huge blast of energy shot forth, enveloping the Surfer, and knocking him senseless. He fell limply back to earth, severely injured. Above him, a towering armored form, perhaps 100 feet high, stepped out from the craft. An enormous lance in its right hand glowed with energy.
"And so the first gnat is swatted by the mighty Terminus, ravager of worlds!!!"
"Nebulae unfolding!" thought the Surfer, "This is not my master, but his power is unmistakably that of Galactus! I know this being!!!" And with that, he lost consciousness.
To be continued...
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