CoverSilver Surfer #9, Vol. 1
Published by Marvel Comics
April, 1969

“To steal the Surfers soul”

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciling: John Buscema
Inks: Dan Adkins
Letters: Sam Rosen

Original Price: $0.15
Current Value: $60.00

History Behind Issue: This is the second part of the story which appeared in issue 8 which was originally going to be part of a double sized issue.

Plot:  The Flying Dutchman’s actions having not attracted the Surfer, makes the impatient Mephisto send a telepathic signal to the Surfer. The Surfer now sensing danger flies down to earth’s surface where he sees the police unsuccessfully trying to Deal with the Dutchman, who is only interested in the Surfer.

The Surfer makes his entrance by releasing a cosmic blast right next to the Dutchman, knocking him back. The Dutchman seeing his target declares in the third person that he has found his target at last. The Surfer is shocked to hear that the grim and ghastly legend of the Flying Dutchman is true (question has to be asked is how did he hear of this? Perhaps a good place to start an untold tales of the Silver Surfer)! The Flying Dutchman then attacks the Surfer in the name of Mephisto and the Surfer now knows he should of realised sooner where the smell of fire and Brimstone has come from.

The Surfer now under attack won't fire back because of risking harm to the nearby police officers, but eventually he fires back, much to his regret, hoping that he could find another way to defend himself. Then he has the answer, he falls to the floor seemingly writhing from agony waiting for the Dutchman to get closer. But Mephisto has given the Dutchman the ability to sense deception and so he doesn’t buy the Surfers trick and continues firing at him. But the Surfer it seems is one step ahead, and using the control over his board, gets it to block the Dutchman’s attack, before flying away to make his escape.

But getting away is harder than the surfer thinks, as he tries to make his escape but the Dutchman is right on his heels chasing him in his flying ship. When in range the Dutchman grabs the surfer’s feet in energy and separates the Surfer from his board. Letting the Surfer fall to the ground, but the Surfer defiant, blasts the ship with his energy bolts. But not even the Surfer can harm a ghost or the ghostly vessel that carries him!

Back in the realm of the damned, Mephisto is watching the action with glee, believing that his goal of taking the Surfers soul is at last within his grasp at last. Unable to contain his excitement any longer he teleports himself for a closer view of the battle, but appears amongst a crowd of people. Shocked one of the people, a policeman, approaches Mephisto and starts telling the lord of lies not to do that again. Mephisto not amused replies “Silence Mortal! None may raise his voice to the lord of the lower depths!” and sends the crowd spiralling into the air. But to Mephisto the humans are really below his notice “Does the Lion pay heed to the mouthings of Ants?” he thinks before restoring the crowd back to normal with their memories of the event having been wiped. He then turns himself invisible to all, even the Surfers extra ordinary senses, and proceeds to the battle. 

There he finds the Surfer trying to draw the Dutchman away from the city, but before he can fly any further he is struck by an energy bolt originating from in front of him. The Surfer, Unaware that it is the invisible form of Mephisto who has struck him, lies on the floor which gives the Dutchman enough time to attack the Surfer, sending him hurtling through to the tube station below. The surfer lands on the tracks as an impending train hurtles towards him but the Surfer able to react in time, halts the train before it collides with him.

Before the Surfer could get up, the Dutchman jumps through the hole in the road and attacks the Surfer. But is somewhat surprised when the Surfer attacks back and hurls the Dutchman back into a steel ceiling support. The Surfer then summons his board to him but Mephisto not wanting the Surfer to leave halts the board in mid-air, he then calls to the Dutchman to strike. And strike the Dutchman does, while at the same time telling the Surfer to pledge his soul to Mephisto. Again the Surfer will not give in to Mephisto’s wishes and still resists even if he is to die “If death must be mine…then let it come! All life is fleeting! But a soul is more than life! The soul is forever” vows the Surfer.

Hearing this Mephisto appears and tells the Dutchman to attack the Surfers Achilles heel, the humans that are still in the station. So the Dutchman grabs a nearby girl and tells the Surfer to surrender his soul or know that he has caused the death of the girl. The Surfer pleads with the Dutchman to release the girl but the Dutchman is not listening and strikes the Surfer repeatedly. The Surfer riving in agony is wandering how he can defeat Mephisto but save the girl at the same time, and at last comes up with a plan.

Summoning all the available cosmic energy from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere he can get, he then hurls this at the Dutchman knocking him down without touching the girl! The knocked down Dutchman is restored to full strength by Mephisto to attack the drained Surfer. But not even the Dutchman is beyond redemption “ I renounce my pledge though I may never know rest ….I will serve you ..No more!”

Hearing this Mephisto starts to send the Dutchman back to limbo. The Surfer as noble as ever, rushes up to the fading Dutchman and tells him that he is sorry for what has happened to him and it is unfortunate that his sacrifice was too late, while shedding a tear for the Fallen Dutchman. But all is not lost, as this tear now frees the Dutchman’s soul from his Curse of Limbo, because only a tear of forgiveness could free his soul.

With the Dutchman liberated the Surfer turns to the disappearing Mephisto and tells him he has lost to Good again. “So I have been cheated of two victims! But the more I lose...The more I win…For my hatred feeds upon itself…and Mephisto can never accept defeat” replies the lord of lies as he departs leaving the Surfer to roam the earth free again.

Comments: These two issues together make an above average tale that is pleasing to read but won’t want you begging for more. I especially enjoyed the way that Mephisto treated the Satan Worshipper, having appeared the Satanic follower gets more than he bargained for when Mephisto uses him as a human target for the Dutchman. A special note has to go to John Buscema’s art work, I don’t think I could imagine any other artist making the Dutchman look more sinister.

My Rating : An above average 6 out of 10

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Written by Nathan Harvey aka Babylon

 

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