CoverSilver Surfer #1, Vol. 2
Published by Marvel Comics
June, 1982

"Escape--To TERROR!"

Plot: John Byrne
Script: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Byrne
Inks: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Tom Palmer
Letters: Rick Parker
Chief: Jim Shooter

Original Price: $1.00
Current Value: $10.00

History Behind Issue: Although it seems long ago now, Silver Surfer Volume 2 #1 was released in June of 1982. Although it was intended to be the premier edition of a new series, it is known today as the "One-Shot" - the single issue of volume 2.

The plot and art of the issue are both by veteran John Byrne, whose realistic style really suits the Surfer. However, this was back in the days of the "Silver Boxer Shorts," which tends to distract from the Surfer's look IMHO.

The script is the typically flowery prose of Stan Lee, but you can pretty much read the issue just by looking at Byrne's artwork. Each panel really is worth a thousand words.

Plot: We start out with the Surfer we've come to know and love - "wallowing in self-pity" amongst the ruins of an age-old civilsation somewhere on Earth. As this is the first Surfer story for some time, we are treated to a re-hash of his origin, including, on page 8, the classic shot of the Surfer firing on Galactus to save the Earth.

We are also reminded that the Surfer is trapped on Earth by an invisible barrier erected by Galactus as a punishment for his rebellion.

After another attempt at breaking the barrier, the Surfer's attention is drawn to a beam of energy originating from the planet's surface, which seems to cause the barrier to "ripple." Tracing the energy to its source, we find Reed Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four. Reed claims to be able to help Norrin penetrate the barrier "just this once" due to a particular alignment of the stars. Lame plot device, but this is Stan the Man after all.

Anyway: So the Surfer breaks through the barrier, and makes it back to Zenn-La, only to find that two horrible events have occurred: Firstly, Galactus has stripped the planet of its life-energies, after giving the inhabitants 24 hours to escape. Secondly, Mephisto has kidnapped Shalla Bal, and is holding her in his domain back on Earth.  So poor old Norrin has to travel all the way back to Earth, where he confronts, and eventually almost defeats, Mephisto. However, Mephisto plays the ultimate trick - he sends Shalla Bal back to Zenn-La, once again out of Norrin's reach.

Eager to have the last laugh, the Surfer grant's Shalla a fraction of his own power cosmic, and we find that upon returning to Zenn-La, she is capable of restoring its life-energies, thereby bringing it back to its former greatness.  The Surfer, however, is once again trapped on Earth.

Comments: It's hard not to like this issue. Even though it's incredibly cheezy and quite melodramatic compared to some of the Volume 3 stories, it has that charm of being "classic Surfer." That is, it was written back when the Surfer was still a relatively "fresh" character, and his battles with Mephisto were the kind that rocked the Marvel Universe.

Mephisto himself seems a lot more devious and powerful here than he has recently.

Add to that the excellent art by Byrne and you have what might have been a great precursor to the second series. Hmm . . . what would it have been like? How different would the Surfer be now if his title were an extra 5 years old?

My Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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