CoverSilver Surfer:
The Ultimate Experience

Published by Fireside Books
1978 - Hardcover and Softcover formats
1995 - Reprinted by Marvel Comics
1999 - Reprinted by Marvel Comics

Click here for larger version of 1978 cover.

By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

History Behind Issue: This story tells the tale of Silver Surfer, but with no continuity previous.  Also features the reunion of the creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in a graphic novel format by Fireside Books through Marvel Comics.

Plot Synopsis written by Mystic: A slight twist of the renowned “Galactus Cometh” storyline virtually everyone knows from FF #48-50.  The Silver Surfer finds the Earth and is smitten with its beauty, with the potential of humanity to achieve wondrous things.  He runs into a woman resembling Shalla Bal.  It ends up bringing back memories of him being forced to sacrifice himself and his leaving Zenn-la. Rapidly, he turns on Galactus and attempts to convince him to leave the planet in search of others.  Galactus is unswayed.  The Silver Surfer then makes a futile attempt to use his power to stop Galactus.  Galactus almost kills him.  Finally, Galactus changes his mind.  Angry at his herald’s revolt, he imprisons him on the planet and places a barrier around such that the Silver Surfer cannot leave.  The Silver Surfer begins exploring humanity by changing his appearance to that of a human, observing and learning the customs.

Galactus goes to consume another world and satiates himself.  But is not content in losing the Earth.  He conjures up a being representing the evil and merciless side of his mind.  The being is known as The Master of Guile.  The being tells Galactus that he must summon a woman – for only a woman can cause the Silver Surfer’s heart to betray him.  Galactus, still angry at the Surfer, follows the advice and creates Ardina, a golden woman with incredible powers.  Ardina goes to Earth and befriends the Surfer.  Using her powers of emotion, she enters his mind and they both share each other’s heart.  But the Surfer soon begins questioning her motive.  She admits to him that she was sent by Galactus, but would like to genuinely convince him that humanity is not worth the fight he is putting up for it.  She attempts to show him all the negative of humanity, the crime, the violence, all the evil of man.  The Silver Surfer is unpersuaded.  Instead, he begins telling her of their wonders, of what they are capable of becoming, that their spirit and courage were equal to none.

Meanwhile, Galactus landed on the far side of the moon and begins to prepare his machines for a feasting of Earth.  Though he could blow up the Earth and consume it, he decides to wait for Ardina to return with the Surfer.  The Master of Guile appears to the World Devourer.  He attempts to persuade Galactus to eat the planet and make him a new herald.  Galactus disincorporates him and decides to wait for the outcome of his plan.

Ardina and the Silver Surfer appear at the backyard of a couple of humans.  Ardina uses her powers to increase Norrin’s claustrophobic sense.  She also shows the humans what it is like to soar the universe by entering their minds.  Finally, the two ride away, but the Silver Surfer can take it no more.  He begins heading for outer space intent on passing through the barrier.  The barrier successfully blocks his leave causing him to pass out and fall back to the Earth.

Ardina passes through the barrier and returns to Galactus.  She reports that she has failed, and though she does not know if she exists in his heart, he exists in hers.  She has fallen in love with him. With machines, Galactus analyzes her self entirely.  He begins to admit that none can tamper with love.  However, he picks up her unconscious body and begins the hatching of another plan.

The Silver Surfer awakens and is attacked by others.  He begins traveling and has people constantly trying to capture him no matter where he goes.  Finally, the American CIA agency decides they want to capture the alien.  The lure him by placing a highly complex ultrasonic signaling device out on an open field.  He goes to investigate and is caught by a massive surge of negative energy that is being caused by electronic coils under the flooring he is standing over.

A bright light passes by and saves the Silver Surfer.  It is Ardina.  She takes him to a close by cave area.  She has a message from Galactus.  “Serve him again, and I will be yours forever.”  

Norrin tells her he cannot abandon man.  She then tells him that she will stand by him and fight Galactus by his side.  They kiss.  Galactus arrives and though Norrin tries to get her to safety, she is pulled back into Galactus’ machines and disincorporated.  The Silver Surfer mourns her loss alone.  Galactus begins communicating to him from his machine.  He tells the Silver Surfer he will turn away from the Earth if the Surfer becomes his herald again.  Initially, Norrin rejects the idea, but he then realizes it’s the only way to save the Earth and he agrees.

They both soar away…the Silver Surfer, with a scar in his heart.

Note:  The last couple of pages contain brief biographies and pictures of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinott (inker), John Costanza (letterer) and Glynis Wein (colorist).

Review by Mystic:  A very enjoyable read from the classic old timers of the industry and their  apparent alternate version of the Coming of Galactus to Earth -- one that involved no other heroes but the Silver Surfer himself.  Overall, an 8/10 score for good dialogue and pacing across the story.  A, not so unusual display, of the Surfer making a sacrifice for the good of all humanity.


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