CoverSilver Surfer #5, Vol. 1
Published by Marvel Comics
December, 1968

"And who shall mourn for him?"

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciling: John Buscema
Inks: Sal Buscema
Letters: Sam Rosen

Original Price: $0.25
Current Value: $90.00

History Behind Issue: The mysterious entity the Stranger having appeared in X-Men and Hulk decides to make his presence known to the Surfer

Plot: Getting ready for the morning the Fantastic Four are caught unaware as their alarms ring to warn them that an intruder has entered the top floor of the Baxter
building. It seems that this intruder was fast enough to invade them all and steal Reed Richards space scrambler.

The intruder is now revealed as the Surfer, who stole Richard's invention hoping it will free him from the barrier. The Surfer flies at the barrier with his hope of escape in his hands, he fires the device at the barrier. Hoping the barrier is now gone the Surfer tries to make his escape, but alas NO and the Surfer ends up falling to earth.

The Surfer wakes up from his fall and finds himself in the house of Al B.Harper. Harper tells the Surfer that he saw the Surfer falling to earth while he was collecting rock samples (as you do!) and took him back to his house. The Surfer explains about the barrier. Luckily it seems that Harper is a physicist and may be able to help, but he needs equipment and to get that equipment he needs money!

So the story takes a quick detour. The Surfer now tries to get money for Harper. First the Surfer tries to get a Job, but no reference, no social security number, No chance! Next he then tries to rob a bank but soon as he enters the vault his consciousness troubles him and he gives that idea up! Finally the Surfer comers upon a Down and Out Gambler lying in the gutter having just been beaten up by thugs of the illegal gambling den that he risked his money in. The Surfer decides that he shall try gambling and enters the casino upon where he goes to the dice table and starts to have consecutive wins with loaded dice! (Easily accomplished if you have the power cosmic!). Having taken his winnings he leaves the casino, where he is attacked by some of the employees of the casino, he quickly dispatches with the thugs and before leaving gives some money to the unlucky gambler.

Story detour over, the Surfer returns to Harper who consequently builds a device that will enable the Surfer to escape. The Surfer then flies off too test the device on the barrier.

Thus enters the Stranger, intrigued by the energy emissions resonating on the barrier he ponders to take a look, while revealing his plans for earth, to plant a null-life bomb on the earth to eradicate all living things on the planet. Turning to energy form the Stranger heads off to earth but again sees the energy patterns and decides too investigate. When he reaches the Surfer, he senses that the Surfer is not from earth and so goes to warn him to escape. Upon hearing this, the Surfer objects to the stranger, but to no avail. So he returns to Al Harper to warn him of the Strangers intentions.

The Surfer and Al Harper try to warn the authorities but they won't listen, so the Surfer and Harper must find the bomb themselves. Harper uses a detection device he has built, to track the bomb.

Once in close proximity the two split up with Harper looking for the bomb and the Surfer looking to keep the Stranger busy. While the Surfer battles the Stranger Al Harper finds the bomb. Harper starts to deactivate the bomb, but the bomb is booby trapped, the bomb starts to give out a deadly acidic gas that starts to burn Al Harper's lungs slowly killing him. But he will not give up and finally deactivates the bomb at the cost of his life!

The Stranger gets a signal from the bomb that it's deactivated and realizes he has wrongly judged humanity he undoes all the damage caused by the fight between him and the Surfer, and then departs. But not even the Stranger could return the life to Al Harper.

With things returned to normal the Surfer finds that Al Harper has been buried in an unmarked grave. Recognizing what Al Harper had done the Surfer leaves a final gift, A cosmic flame that marks the grave. With his final respects done, the Surfer leaves us with these words "so long as earth endures...That flame shall burn. May you sleep in peace, Al Harper!, for you have been a Hero"

Comments: Despite the story resembling many of the old 1950's monster tales, this
issue still has a certain charm to it! John Buscema's art is solid but definitely
no where near his best stuff (check out #4). Overall we have a good story that is
one of the better issues of volume 1.  Plus you get a reasonable Back up story "Run, Roco, Run"

My rating 8 out of 10

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Written by Nathan Harvey aka Babylon

 

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