CoverSilver Surfer #4, Vol. 1
Published by Marvel Comics
November, 1968

"The Good, The Bad, The Uncanny"

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciling: John Buscema
Inks: Sal Buscema
Letters: Artie Simek

Original Price: $0.25
Current Value: $425.00

History Behind Issue: People wanted to know who was stronger Silver Surfer or Thor, and this issue was the first test between them.

Plot: This issue starts off with Loki in his throne room deep in thought on how to achieve the death of Thor. Loki having tasted defeat by Thor many times believes that another must serve in his stead, "Another must bear the wounds--while the triumph will be mine!"

So Loki creates a potion that sets his spirit free, so that it may roam the earth looking for his champion unaffected by Time and Space. The first being Loki comes upon is the Hulk. "But, though in brute STRENGTH he seems boundless " Thinks Loki "He is lacking in SKILL!" the search continued. Next was The Thing, but turned down because "Surely no MORTAL may oppose mighty Thor".

Lastly Loki looks at Hercules but again there is a sting in the tail "Would that thy might were to enlist!" he muses "But, not even Loki would brave the wrath of OLYMPUS ASSEMBLED!"

Leaving the earth Loki comes upon The Surfer hurtling himself at a hidden barrier again and again. "Though less than godling his power SURPASSETH that of a mortal!"

Thinks Loki "Hath Loki thus found him who shall slay the thunder God?"

Now, That Loki is intrigued by the Surfer he wants to learn more, so he casts a Temporeal spell, that allows Loki a look through the Surfers origin. Having a plan Loki returns to his body and rides off on his horse and comes upon the Warriors Three and boasts to them that at last he has a way of defeating Thor.

Hearing Loki's boast they run off to tell Thor so that he can be prepared for battle.
Loki now travels to Earth to confront the surfer in battle. Loki fights the surfer with various attacks, each attack testing, to see if he will be able to withstand the power of Thor. Eventually the fight ends with the two combatants clasping each other's hands with energy crackling between them, Loki releases his grasp shouting he has found the one he seeks.

Loki then tells the surfer that Asgard is in trouble and is being invaded by the Thunder God and will soon inflict the earth as well and that only a stranger could get close enough to Thor. At first the Surfer is uninterested, then Loki mentions that he can get the Surfer past Galactus's barrier, the Surfer now stops and listens. The surfer is finally willing to accept Loki's offer when the Norse God shows him a picture of Thor preparing an army (ironically to battle Loki).

The Surfer is then transported to The Rainbow Bridge, where upon Loki takes his leave. After being allowed to enter Asgard by Heimdall. The Surfer makes his way to a huge banqueting hall where Thor is at the head of the table, he approaches Thor calmly walking up to him and announcing to the audience that he is here to challenge Thor. As soon as this is announced he is attacked by Warriors Three, but before the fight can progress Thor tells all involved to stop "Is Thor not fit to face his foe?" he questions, not surprisingly it stops! The surfer is then invited to sit next to Thor the Surfer then begins to doubt Loki "Can such a man be truly evil? How do I explain the love they have for him?" Thinks the Surfer "and yet -- I have pledged my word to Loki!"
Before he can think any longer a tournament begins with warriors of Asgard fighting each other in unarmed combat. When the winner is found Thor presents him with a Sword. Loki's astral spirit appears and takes over the winners mind and has him hurl the sword at the Surfer while crying out "Death to the Silver Surfer --In the name of Thor"

The surfer dodges the sword and gets up now convinced by Loki's lies. Loki makes sure of this by having his astral form tell the surfer that Thor is not angry at the Gladiator's deed but the fact he failed to kill him! Thor then tries to apologise to the Surfer, but Loki casts a spell so the Surfer can't hear Thor's words, So the fight begins!
The Surfer starts to attack all the warriors in the hall, while Thor tries to stop the fight, but the Surfer still can't hear his words. To prevent more damage Thor Throws Mjolnir at the surfer and hits his board carrying the surfer out of the hall through the roof. The surfer replies by hurling cosmic bolts at Thor but all these are deflected by Mjolnir.
The surfer growing more powerful as the fight progresses (Unknowingly to the surfer Loki is adding his strength to the Surfer's) tries to keep Mjolnir a way from Thor with a cosmic blast but fails as Thors strength breaks the cosmic force around his hammer. But the surfer keeps progressing with this attack and eventually succeeds, Thor can no longer touch Mjolnir!

The Surfer begins to doubt his victory and wonders how he defeated Thor he then comes to the conclusion that he has acquired power from Loki. Thor hears the Surfer mention his step brothers name and tells the surfer that Loki is the Master of Evil, before any more can be told Balder and Sif rush to Thor's rescue. The Surfer begins to get more doubts about Loki's intentions" Again they race to the Thunder god's aid --ignoring their own safety!" thinks the surfer "Never could evil inspire such devotion!"
In one last attempt Loki gets Balder to strike at the Surfer but balder is to slow and the surfer sends a bolt of cosmic energy to the three Asgardians. Thor now filled with anger smashes the cosmic field around Mjolnir. Upon seeing this action the Surfer realises that Thor was not using all of his Strength against him and must have known from the beginning he was duped "Such a one must never be-- my enemy" he concludes in thought.

The Surfer, realising his mistake, he cries out loud that Loki has deceived him,
Loki's plan undone he sends him back to earth.

Comments: Despite the story being a bit complex for a hero Vs hero fight, It's the
artwork that really makes this book stand out. John Buscema has been given the
opportunity to show off his talents, with the Asgardian kingdom never looking
better, showing why he is regarded as one of The surfers best artists.
Also as back up you get one of my personal favourite Monster stories the terror of
Tin Boo Ba!

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Written by Nathan Harvey aka Babylon


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