Surfer #1, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
"--FREE--" (That's the title, not the price)
Writer: Steve Englehart
Original Price: $1.25
History Behind Issue: The Silver Surfer returns with his own title by legend Steve Englehart! The Silver Surfer also returns to the stars.
Plot: Actually, this first issue is one big flashback issue, as we enter the tale witnessing the Surfer soaring through the skies, as he is meant to be. How did he escape the barrier raised by Galactus to keep him from leaving Earth? All is revealed, and seeds for later subplots are planted. Read on, True Believer!
After a failed attempt to breach the barrier, the Surfer is hurling down to Earth when he is intercepted by the Fantastic Four. As it turns out, theyre investigating the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica (oh my, has it been there that long already?), which apparently was created by the silvery guy himself to get more energy from the cosmos (hey, thats as good an explanation as any Ive heard recently. Imagine the consternation at the environmental convention in Japan, though, when someone would stand up and say: Hey, theres this silver dude riding a surf board whos blowing holes in the ozone layer so he can escape Earth, and, well, hes responsible, not those great exhaustion gases :-) Reed explains thats not the way to go, of course, but then theyre interrupted by a big bang (not the Big Bang) caused by an Elder of the Universe, the Champion, who has battled the Thing and several other powerhouses in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7. For the trivia guys, his real name is Tryco Slatterus.
He obviously wants to kill the Surfer, but it aint gonna be easy, seeing as he has been imbued with the Power Cosmic and all. He hits the Champion through the ice, and then the Elder says something really weird: the Thing was his most formidable foe until he met the Surfer?!? Just before that, Ben says Champy fought the Hulk, Wonder Man, Thor, Colossus and Sasquatch, too, and he found him to be the toughest challenge? Okay, Colossus and Sasquatch are certainly not as strong as Ben, and the Hulk (though the strongest one there is) is of times portrayed as being on par with him, but Wonder Man and certainly Thor are gods! (Okay, Wondy is nearly a god, but I consider an ionized being as pretty god-like myself :-) Anyone who can clear this up, go to the Silver Surfer Message Board and try it, its lots of fun (hey, Marvelite, isnt this a shameless plug? Hope its allowed...)
Anyhoo, they tussle around for a bit, and of course the Surfer wins (and Slatterus isnt happy about it). Now we get some answers. The Skrulls had lost their shape-changing powers in the Avengers and FF annuals of that year (#14 and #19 respectively) and needed an edge to defeat their ancient enemies, the Kree. So they decided to enslave Galactus (well, thats real logical) by capturing his herald, Nova (who was not only an Earth woman named Frankie Raye, but the Human Torchs girlfriend, to boot). Now they want him to destroy the thousand worlds of the Kree Empire, or Nova will be killed. And why doesnt Galactus just get her off the planet shes been imprisoned on, you might ask (as did Shulkie). Well, because Galactus power is just too great: he would obliterate everything on the planet (including Nova) when using his awesome might. And thats where the Champion (and the Surfer) comes in. He wanted to prevent Norrin Radd from reaching his master, thus rendering him unable to help Galactus. But hey, wasnt he supposed to be trapped on this planet? So he couldnt reach Galactus anyway, now could he? A-ha! There must be a way to escape good ol Earth, but which way is it? The Champion wont tell, because that aint the deal, and he leaves the scene, for now, at least... And then the FF become actually useful (about time). They recall the previous attempts to breach the barrier, and we get a nice recap of the major things that happened to the Surfer since his first appearance in FF #48. You can read those things for yourself, the key element here is this: his board is a part of him, together they are one. Moreover, its his board that provides him with his transport through space. So its his board thats preventing him from going through the barrier, since it affects only the space-time powers of the Silver Surfer, which are encased in his board. In conclusion: why not try to leave Earths atmosphere without the board? All this figured out by the Thing, no less! (Heh, now that made Reed sure look stupid.) And it works (naturally)! A bit of hugging and kissing and mentioning what great friends they all are, and then on to the next problem: how to get the board into outer space? That ones easy: just rearrange its molecule structure and change it into cosmic energy, which is not deflected by the barrier (see, real simple, any fool could do it). That covers the first part of this story, now lets fly away to Galactus, and this time, the Surfer is going to do the bargaining!
When he meets up with the boss-guy, Galactus wants to destroy him once and for all, but Norrin stops him by saying he has come to pay his debt to his master. After some explaining, Galactus answers at last, and it becomes clear that he has some kind of affection for Nova he hasnt experienced with his former heralds (just as well, imagine a gay force of nature :) This is the deal: Surfy saves Nova from her predicament, and Galactus will leave him be. But if he fails, he will pay with his death! (Oh, real nice!) And there we go, the Silver Surfer goes at it all the way, racing as hes never raced before, to make sure Nova is uninjured during the rescue attempt (since the entire complex will go kabloey when it notices its under attack). But the Skrulls wont win, because they are prepared against an attack coming from Galactus, and the Silver Surfer is everything that Galactus is not (or else he would have gone shopping for tasty planets himself, thank you very much).
The next few pages were raging through Novas prison,
comprised of a liquid that throws her own flames back at her, boiling her in the process.
Luckily, his silver skin is unaffected by the heat, and hes fast enough to outrun
the explosions, so the Surfer saves the day! And Nova lives! And Galactus is one happy
dudenot! He wants to wreak havoc on the Skrulls, and destroy all their worlds
instead of the Krees. But this cannot be, so speaks the Surfer, for Galactus is a
force of nature, and nature isnt interested in personal vendettas. If he goes
through with his revenge, the cosmic order will be damaged irreparably! Its a good
thing Galactus knows when to listen to his heralds, and not only does he refrain himself,
he frees the Surfer of the barrier, too!
Comments: Lets start with the good. I like both Engleharts
writing skills and Rogers art. Not only is Marshall a great artist, who knows how to
portray the Surfer at his best,
The writing was solid, and there was great eye for the little details (like the Thing thinking how things would have turned out if Frankie Raye had never left Earth (that caused the Torch to fall in love with Alicia, you see, Bens former flame, no pun intended)). That took just one little word balloon, but it was very in character, something you dont see very often in comics these days.
The Surfers strong convictions, his motives and joys were
skillfully portrayed, and came over very real to me. The FF werent used as cheap
ploys to buy the book, but were necessary to help the Surfer to escape Earth (and who
better to assist than his first friends on this planet?). Galactus was written great and
drawn great. Ill admit that Lim does a better Galactus, but Rogers version is
also pretty impressive. Its also
A last really nice point was the recapping of the Surfers
history. Between his first appearance in the FF, his short-lived first series, and his
current series, he has been seen a lot on several occasions (as Steve Englehart himself
explains at the end of the issue, which is, by the way, another plus point: I just love
editorials in new series! And this one takes three issues, to boot.), and by not just
ignoring it we get a greater
See, lots of good stuff crammed in this comic, lets take a
look at the bad stuff...
Written by The Collector
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