Surfer #4, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
Writer: Steve Englehart
Original Price: $0.75
History Behind Issue: After a clash with the Runner, is the Silver Surfer dying? Not if Mantis can do anything about it! Plus: the Supreme Intelligence plots, the Elders of the Universe scheme, and the Skrulls get the biggest shock of their lives as the Celestials return!
Plot: Last issue, the Silver Surfer was thrust down upon a barren planet after tussling with the Runner, one of the Elders of the Universe. Charred and battered, he is dying, but with the help of one of Mantis potions, he quickly revives. After his resurrection, the Surfer tells about his recent run-in with the Elders (in West Coast Avengers Annual #2 and Avengers Annual #16) and how he thwarted their plans. Whilst traveling to their enemies hideout, Mantis in turn tells her own story, which is a little bit more complex. For those who know the story, skip the next paragraph, Im going to tell it anyway. She was a Saigon woman living on the streets, or so she thought. Thanks to her connection with the original Swordsman, she joined the Avengers, and after he had saved her life, she found out she wasnt who she thought she was at all. In fact, she was raised in the Earthtemple of the Priests of Pama, who were pacifist outcasts from the Kree empire and who cultivated the plant-consciousness known as the Cotati. But to make sure she would learn the other side of humanity, her memory of these events had been erased and supplanted with those of her Saigon youth. At the same time, Moondragon, who had received the same training as Mantis, had been taken to Titan, one of Saturns moons, and lived there as a priestess of the Titan temple. When the two of them were weighed in the balance, Moondragon lacked in humanity, and was found unworthy to marry the most perfect Cotati. Mantis had to marry him to create the union of flora and fauna, plant and animal. In other words, she were to become the Celestial Madonna. The body of the Swordsman was reanimated by the Cotati spirit, and a child was conceived. She then went to an island, where she raised the child in peace, but as he has grown older now, he doesnt need his mother for the moment, hence her reappearance.
Through her contacts with plantlife throughout the galaxy, she has learned about the Elders nefarious plans, and was prepared to confront them, but when she noticed the Surfer too was pursuing them, she waited to find out if he were friend or foe. Shes glad he turned out to be friend, because they need all the power they can get to stop the Elders. The Surfer knew most of her story from conversations with the Avengers, but doesnt know if he should trust her completely yet.
Meanwhile, on Kree-Lar, the throneworld of the Kree Empire, the
Supreme Intelligence has found out the Skrulls have lost their shape-changing powers, and
asks for his prime espionage unit. And in the Andromeda galaxy, emperor Kylor, one of the
many who claim to be the rightful heir to the throne, is being reported that their secret
still hasnt leaked out (heh, little do they know...). And then, as Spider-Man would
say, oh boy! A large Celestial looms over the city!!! (More about this in #5) Back to the
Surfer and Mantis, who have arrived at a dark and lifeless planet and are preparing to go
down. When Norrin asks Mantis to hold on to the board because they are going to go really
fast, she answers shed rather hold him instead, and so she does (cute, real cute).
Down they go, to the crag where the Elders are meeting. Eleven sinister-looking guys are
standing around a glowing green thingamabob, a few of them we know already, some others
are still unnamed as yet. We have the Grandmaster (whose plans have been thwarted in the
aforementioned annuals), the Collector (who has
During their conversation, we get the names of three others: the
Astronomer, the Obliterator and the Trader. The Runner is just gloating about his victory
over the Surfer, pestering the Grandmaster and the Champion that he did what they
couldnt. They bicker a bit, until the Contemplator says he doesnt want to hear
them whine about their hurt egos, and wants to learn more about the Grandmasters
plan. As we all know, the Elders are the oldest living beings in the universe. There races
were the first races to grow after the Big Bang, which ended the universe before this one.
Their fellow people have all died long since, and they are the only survivors, thus
calling themselves brothers, though they are not related in blood, only in situation. They
have continued to live for so long a time because they embody certain aspects of life in
Comments: Again, lots of good stuff here. Rogers draws a great Mantis, and his Elders were fine too. We get a lot of nice teasers thrown at us about the Elders plan, the Kree/Skrull war and a romantic relationship between Surfy and Mantis. I enjoyed it, and its always fun to read about Mantis when written by Englehart.
But this issue wasnt as solid as the first two. Although Englehart piqued my interest concerning the Elders plan and the growing conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls, things were a little bit too vague for my liking. He has been laying a lot of seeds for coming issues, and that is good, and he has also updated us on Mantiss background, which is also good, yet there wasnt too much of an actual story. Its almost impossible to read it as a stand-alone issue, unlike the previous ones (issue #3 had the same problem, actually). Oh yes, the coloring wasnt up to par either here. Too much green and purple during the Elders meeting. It didnt look good, and I expect better from Rogers.
Not as good as the first few, but certainly still fun to read, especially the interaction between Mantis and the Silver Surfer. Its not as if Englehart suddenly slipped or something, it was just that every writer needs an issue to plant some seeds for upcoming storylines, and he did it in this one, making the storyline just a tad weaker. I give it three and a half stars, making it still a quite recommendable book to read.
Written by The Collector
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