CoverSilver Surfer #142, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
August, 1998

"Return from Forever"
Reviewed by Lord Thanos

Writer: John Marc DeMatteis
Penciler: Jon J. Muth
Inks: Jon J. Muth
Colorist: Tom Smith
Letters: John Costanza
Chief: Bob Harras

Original Price: $1.99
Current Value: $1.99

History Behind Issue: The Mergence Saga Continues from issue #141

Plot: A barren craggy bluff, a ringed orange planet hangs low on the horizon in a starless sky. The winds howl around Alicia Masters. "I feel a cold unlike any I've ever known on Earth. But more than that-- I feel a terrible loneliness." Being blind since she was a little girl, she is used to the impenetrable darkness, used to isolation in a private universe. But she has never felt as alone as she does right NOW. Suddenly there is a whistle, the ever increasing whine of an object burning up in the atmosphere upon entry. WHOOOOM! It falls a mere dozen meters in front of Alicia. She can feel the heat from the explosion even from where she is. There's a sound, a subtle hum of a distinctive energy-field and a disturbing metallic grinding. She realizes it's her captor Cy-phyrr 4! Broken, burnt, seared circuitry and molten metal, she senses he is dying. "I know he's not a man... I don't even know if he's truly ALIVE in any conventional sense-- and yet there's something about him... a spark of real humanity that even that emotionless voice can't hide. Just like Norrin when we first met."

From above we see The Silver Surfer soaring through these strange new spaceways. His arms spread wide, as if to embrace this new Macroverse. Thrust into the Macroverse against his will, the doorway to his reality impassable. He knows Alicia is somewhere across space & time and in need of his help. None the less he is filled with elation, with the joy of discovery. He surfs the quantum waves of the unknown, explores new worlds. On one of these worlds he enters a cavern carved, like a heart, in the center of a lake, rich with sweet-scented air pulsing and twining vegetation. The song of this world thunders around him, in him, penetrating the sacred corners of his soul. He beholds HER.

In front of him, a female face formed of earth, pink flowing tendrils, eyes radiating crimson energy.  "I am BRAHMANES... Mother of the world. Womb, spirit, heart and mind of her. I am the consciousness of this planet. All living things that grow from me, upon me, are my children: independent- yet always... all ways... connected to me. I am Brahmanes-- and I welcome you, man of silver-- into my arms."

The Surfer asks Brahmanes why, when she has birthed this paradise, produced such joy and beauty she still weeps.  "Joy cannot exist in isolation" she replies. "Out there... across the great and timeless Creation... there are beings in pain, in need, I hear them. They resonate within me--"

The crimson rays flow from her eyes in a wide beam scanning the Surfer.  "--As I now with in you. Let my beloved children know nothing but innocence and happiness. May the shadow of sadness and suffering never touch them. But I am connected not just to them-- but to all things. And I must share in the sorrows of Creation. And, in sharing perhaps ease the suffering of some lonely creature... lost in despair on another world. I see your soul, silver one. I see your heart. And know that you, of all beings, can understand what I say. What I do. Why I suffer. And I know--that you will suffer with me."
The waving pink tendrils encircle the Surfer, wrap around, and entrap him. She shares one drop of the infinite ocean of her heartbreak and Silverado writhes in agony.
Head bowed in contemplation, the Coroner gazes upon Tenebrae, deep in communion with The Mergence. She is lost in the all encompassing bliss he so desperately desires. He loathes her for it! For what she is, what she has, for the way she has treated him since arriving here, on HIS world. Their plan for their invasion of Earth means nothing to him. What he desires is to be swaddled in that great unfathomable, engulfing consciousness. To be free of his body, of the limitations of individual consciousness, to join the Mergence and be free! It's the reason he called out them across the galaxies over two hundred years ago. Born an outcast able to read men's minds, as well as that of plants, animals and even the very Earth itself, he was set apart from the rest of humanity. He grew to despise his small,stupid world, and the petty creatures who populated it. He longed for others of his kind. Then finally, when he was fifteen, he found them, that MASSIVE CONSCIOUSNESS called The Mergence. It was then they learned of Earth for the first time and hungered for it. After two centuries, they have finally arrived. Lusting for a taste of that collective consciousness, the Coroner touches the link connecting Tenebrae. She flares in anger, grabbing him by the throat. "You are not yet ready to be absorbed into the Mergence. You are not worthy. After years of training and study at our feet... Then, PERHAPS"
"Tenebrae... I am--SICK OF YOU!"

He snaps the cable making the link between her and the Mergence. She swoons, nearly collapsing, then attacks! Thrashing the Coroner she cautions him, "Were you not the conduit through which we will absorb the consciousness of this world-- We would destroy you NOW."

Warning him never to rebel again she rants toward the heavens at her disgust at being corporeal. She can't wait for this assignment to end. A holographic representation of the Mergence appears above them. The Corner revels in the thought that once he has handed over his world to them, he will join them as promised.

Alicia kneels beside the mass of scattered circuitry, the cybernetic construct called Cy-phyrr 4. In compassion she caresses his cold metal body and asks what she can do for him.

"Your... compassion seems foolish and ill advised," he replies. "Also: a being of limited intelligence and abilities could be of no assistance to one created by the Mergence."

The collection of stroon machinery crackles with energy. The pieces begin to move and reassemble themselves. Whole once again, the machine man rises. Alicia is amazed and asks why he didn't tell her this was in his power. The emotionless construct replies "there was no need." Alicia inquires about their next course of action. Cy-phyrr assesses their situation. Their ship destroyed, escape pods damaged, his own powers diminished until self-repairs are completed, he concludes they are trapped here. Alicia decides to explore but Cy-phyrr stops her. Coldly he states his mission to control, sustain, supervise and protect her.

"When you put it so romantically... I--" our optically impaired heroine begins to reply. A haunting hum fills the air interrupting them. They are surrounded! Alicia asks her companion to create a weapon for her. Though he can not see the logic in it, he does so, hoping perhaps she will create a diversion for him. Without aim she fires into the swarm.

His limbs, torso and throat entwined with Brahmanes tendrils, the Silver Surfer struggles. Her conscious open to him, she shares with him the pain of a universe. He realizes it is just a small part of what she constantly endures. Hunger, disease, war, lust, madness, rage, unspeakable despair, it is more than our hero can bear.
"I am sorry, Silver one. It was not my desire to inflict this upon you. I was responding to your request."

The Surfer is puzzled.

"I read in your soul a need to know this. No-- not to know... to remember-- that which you already know."

She releases him. Sitting on his board, hovering inches above this alien sea he ponders her words. He thinks of his sacrifice to save Zenn-La. All being must be driven, first and foremost by compassion, he thinks. Off he soars to share his revelations. The Surfer returns to Samma-D. He states he must return to save Earth and find Alicia. He asks if Samma-D will come with him. But Samma-D says he has he has some things to take care of first. Our hero enters the zone and attempts to cross again. He feels the fabric of his being spread wider and wider. He fears if he continues he will exist no more but he pushes on.

The sun rises in the desert. Tenebrae and the Coroner await the cosmic mentality to manifest in the atmosphere above them. An invasion with no physical attack but a possession of consciousness of every living thing down to a quantum level. The Coroner feels the Mergence begin to descend. Encased within the machinery Tenebrae has brought with her the Mergence absorbs the Coroner's very being and begins to use him as a conduit to further absorb the rest of the Earth.

From in the midst of the shadow a ripple of light begins to shine, becoming so bright the collective consciousness recoils in fear. It is the Silver Surfer! He attacks the holo-body of the Mergence with the unyielding purity of his own soul. Witnessing the cosmic crusader's pristine angelic power, the Coroner begins to doubt. This slim doubt is enough to break the connection. CHAKA-THOOOM!

Bristling with cosmic power our hero presses his attack...
And wins the battle...
...If not the war. Alone smoldering, sprawled upon the barren desert, Tenebrae, the Coroner and The Surfer lay unconscious.

Comments: Though the story is picking up pace, it is still mediocre at best. It is good however to see the Surfer off Earth! Fans have been eager for him to soar the spaceways again! DeMatteis continues to explore the Surfer's suffering soul booth the exposition and the continuing parallel between Our hero and the cybernetic construct Cy-phyyr 4. Still I find it disappointing. Muth's art is inconsistent. The splash page is fabulous! An exciting and dramatic pose for the Surfer. Tenebrae continues to be his most consistently well drawn character. Though his Alicia Masters can be excellent at times. This issue is a fairly standard representation of the DeMatteis/Muth collaboration.

Story continued in Silver Surfer #143

Written by Lord Thanos



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