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CoverGalactus: The Devourer #1
Published by Marvel Comics, Sep. 1999
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"HUNGER!"

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Jon J. Muth
Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Letterer: RS & Comicraft
Assistant Editor: Brian Smith
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Editor in Chief: Bob Harras

Original Price: $3.50

History Behind Issue: Due to poor sales, Marvel Comics canceled the Silver Surfer's third volume with issue #146.  In hopes of bringing stronger sales, they made Louise Simonson's story into a mini-series titled Galactus: The Devourer instead of using it in a regular Silver Surfer issue.  Jon J. Muth pencils issue #1, but the rest of the series will be drawn by Volume 1 veteran John Buscema.

Issue Synopsis by James "Marvelite" Pedrick: The title says Galactus, but this was a Silver Surfer issue. Galactus is only seen at the beginning and the end. At the beginning he is devouring a planet, and at the end, he is still hungry for more! Sending his new herald, who we know nothing about to find him a new planet to munch on. All of which leaves plenty of good questions for the next issue. Such as, where has Galactus been? Why can’t he get enough to eat? Who is his new herald (who previews tell us is named Red Shift)? And where did this new herald come from?

Though there isn’t a whole lot of Galactus... there is plenty of Silver Surfer. You can certainly tell Louise Simonson originally wrote this issue to be Silver Surfer #147 not Galactus: The Devourer #1. Overall, it makes an all right Silver Surfer issue too. The story starts off with Alicia Masters preparing for her new Heroes for the Millennium Gallery opening, featuring her sculptures of various Marvel heroes. The Silver Surfer stops by to see how things are going and saves some construction workers and pedestrians in the process. (Which leads to an interesting scene where the Silver Surfer responds to a boy’s request for an autograph by carving his name into his skate board with the Power Cosmic.) Silver Surfer then visits his current girlfriend, the blind Alicia Masters, who was the former girl of the Fantastic Four’s Thing. Through the course of their conversation, we learn that, thanks to the Daily Bugle’s Alfie O’Mally, New York City knows that the Silver Surfer did not attack the city, way back in the later issues of Silver Surfer Volume 3, but that it was his evil doppelganger.

The story then takes us to the Fantastic Four, where they are discussing rather or not to attend Alicia’s opening. The Thing insists that him and Alicia are still friends, despite the fact Alicia is not hooked up with the Surfer.

Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer is contemplating why he is and if he should be allowed to be happy. Bringing up all his past memories and blaming himself for the deaths of the billions he killed as herald of Galactus. He then returns to visit Alicia again, who is now all dressed up and pointing where she wants each sculpture to go. The Silver Surfer offers to transform himself into a more human look with a suit on, but Alicia wants him just the way he is.

The gallery opening then begins. Mole Man is sneaking around above watching and listening in on all the people arriving, including much of Manhattan’s superheroes and the Daily Bugle’s Alfie O’Mally. The Silver Surfer and Thing even bump heads, as the Thing asks the Surfer why he isn’t dressed up in a "monkey suit," and the Surfer replies because he’s not a monkey.

All the while, Mole Man is watching from above. He is listening on what people are saying using his sonic transmuter. He decides his best way to distract all the heroes below would be to exploit the rivalry between the Surfer and Thing. He attempts to do so by striking them each with a wave of solid sound why they are standing next to each other. They each look to each other, but decide someone else must have done it to get them to fight. To decide who, they decide to go along with it and pretend to get in a brawl.

So, the Thing punches the Surfer through the wall, but Norrin uses his phasing powers to be sure that he doesn’t break anything. While outside, he uses a type of X-ray vision to see the Mole Man hiding in the shadows, and he detects that his staff has the same energy, as the one which was used to strike him. So the Silver Surfer returns and then throws Thing through the ceiling and onto the roof, where Mile Man is hiding.

Thing and the Surfer go after him, but Mole Man and his Moloids get away through the ventilation system and deciding to go to Plan B. The Surfer and Thing then learn what Plan B is when the gallery begins to rumble and the several heroes present work together to stop the building from falling. During which time, Alicia Masters finds herself transforming into the armored suit the robot Cyphyrr gave her in the Macroverse, which she thought she had lost back in issue #146 of Silver Surfer Volume 3.

Once everyone is safe, the heroes try to figure out why Mole Man would do such a thing. They find out why when Alfie O’Mally finds out the sewage treatment plant is disappearing into the Hudson River. The heroes rush to the scene to see what is going on. There, they learn that the Mole Man is trying to save his Moloids, who are apparently dying due because their recent exposure to the surface world has led them sensitive to the pollution in the aquifers around them.

The heroes let him go, as a greater threat makes its appearance. A meteor is coming toward New York City and could threaten the entire Eastern Coast. The heroes can’t figure out a way to stop it. The Silver Surfer says he cannot stop it, but he can deflect it and alter its speed, in hopes of landing it in the space left empty by the now disappeared treatment plant. Thor and Alicia offer to help, but the Surfer says it would throw off his calculations.

He heads straight for it. The impact sends it flying into the water and the Surfer falling downward unconscience. The Silver Surfer recovers, while Thing finds that the meteor was a spacecraft and an alien being was in it. The being crawls out, burning from the flames. Before dying, it telepathically tells the Surfer it was attacked and that "He’s coming." The heroes mourn his death and wonder who is coming and who stopped this alien from warning earth alive.  All to be continued in the next issue.

 

Review by James "Marvelite" Pedrick:

STORY: Overall, I liked the book. I thought the writing was fantastic and really enjoyed the descriptions of who Galactus is and what he does. That being the Devourer and devouring. I didn’t care for Alicia Masters as a super heroine though. And I really didn’t like the portrayal of the meteor as such a threat. Even if the Silver Surfer couldn’t simply evaporate it, I would think he could withstand impact to it and that all those heroes put together could have done more than just stand by and see what would happen. I hope they don’t just stand around and watch Galactus too, when he comes for a visit.

Still the issue was well written. The scenes with Galactus leave you waiting for more. And that new herald keeps you pretty curious as well. I also enjoyed much of the interaction between the Surfer and others, such as when he gives the boy an autograph and when Alicia tells him to go to the party as himself (I prefer her more like that, than as a heroine). I also liked the Surfer’s entanglements with Thing and the art critic telling the Surfer he didn’t look lifelike enough, before learning that the Surfer wasn’t a statue.

Overall, I’d give the writing four out of five stars. Good writing.

ART: The art, on the other hand, is a little disappointing at first. It certainly isn’t the same as the classic Kirby Surfer or Buscema’s Volume 1 Surfer or Ron Lim’s Silver Surfer. While Muth’s earlier Silver Surfer issues had more of a Moebius look, this didn’t seem to carry on as much of that. But while I didn’t care as much for his art at first, a closer look at certain panels made me appreciate them more. And while the Silver Surfer looks pretty puny on the cover, he did seem to have more muscles in the pages of the issues.

Overall, I’d give the art three stars. It grows on you, but I can’t wait to see what John Buscema has in store for us for issues #2-6!

OVER ALL: Overall, I liked the book. It wasn’t a Galactus book, however, it was a Silver Surfer book. And despite its negatives, I’d still give it four stars. It’s a good read and just builds your anticipation more. This issue seemed like a wrap up of Volume 3. It was the last issue of Volume 3's last regular penciler and it was more of a prelude to Galactus: The Devourer than the beginning. Next issue should be exciting as Louise Simonson and John Buscema uncover their plans for Galactus, the Silver Surfer, and Red Shift!

Overall: Four Out of Five Stars.  A Good issue.

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