CoverSilver Surfer #6, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
December, 1987

"War"

Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Marshall Rogers
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Colorist: Marshall Rogers
Letters: Ken Bruzenak
Editor: Michael Higgens
Chief: Jim Shooter

Original Price: $0.75
Current Value: $4.00

History Behind Issue: The second Kree-Skrull war has begun, and the fate of the universe will be altered forever! Plus: learn more about the Obliterator’s past and the Elders’ plan. And the Supreme Intelligence flushes out a traitor to his cause—or does he?!

Plot: We drop in in the middle of a battle between the Kree and the Skrulls. On a ship above the flame-engulfed planet we meet some important players in this star-spanning drama: Kylor, self-appointed emperor of the Skrulls; Ripan, his second-in-command; and Aptak, his third-in-command, and a male trapped in the body of a female Wazilian (?) due to the effects of the genetic bomb which exploded during a sort of civilian war following the destruction of the Skrull throneworld at the hands of Galactus. While they are talking about their plans for the future, the Supreme Intelligence, leader of the Kree empire, is discussing his own strategy with his first and foremost aids: Phae-Dor (a blue male), Tus-Katt (a pink male), Nenora (a blue female), and Nullet (a whatshallwecallit?). The S.I. must remind Phae-Dor he must not think of his as impure just because he’s a cybernetic mergure of the greatest Kree military minds of all time, with some of them pinks. Nenora is obviously above that sort of thing, and if he can’t see the S.I. as his rightful leader, there’s no place for him here. Phae-Dor grudgingly concedes, and the Intelligence reveals his plan for a counterattack., which is quite cunning. He wants the next planet on the Skrulls’ trajectory, Sandomar II, evacuated, and when their armada approaches, it must be detonated (cool!). When he is alone, the S.I. contemplates how once again two of the biggest empires in the universe are battling for dominance over each other, and how he will play a central role in the course of history. Meanwhile, the Surfer and Mantis are still on Gullish Yar, where they had defeated the Obliterator last issue by robbing him from his deadly weapons, thus rendering him useless (as it is his obsession to kill as much as he can). To get back at the Grandmaster, who made the Elders immortal, thereby condemning the Obliterator to eternal suffering (because he can’t leave the planet to get other weapons), he will tell our two heroes everything he knows about their nefarious ploy. First we get a little more information about the big guy himself. It turns out he’s actually some kind of four-and-a-half-billion years old mutant, of whom all the bodily functions were aimed at the body’s total preservation. Perhaps because of this mutation, he was so obsessed with hunting and killing, or maybe it was the other way around. No matter, he just went up and killed his entire planet anyway (how do you do that, I ask you? Killing an entire planet single-handedly?!) He then decided to travel through the universe, looking for other planets and species to destroy. The first other Elder he met was the Gardener, in the course of a billion years he would meet all the others as well. They saw other people being born, age and die, only to remain the oldest living creatures in the universe, or so they thought. But then they found out about Galactus, the only living creature to survive the collapse of the previous universe, and thus even older than the Elders. They now realized that they too had limits, that there was still someone even more exalted than they are, and so they convinced themselves Galactus had to die. When looking closer at the universe, you can see how everything has an opposite, there’s an endless duality, consisting of Death and Eternity.

Only Galactus doesn’t have a counterpart, and transcends everything in the universe, as he also has a most important reason for existence in it: without him, an unpredictable force, Death and Eternity would stabilize, would fall in stasis.

The Surfer agrees that, indeed, Galactus cannot be described in words of “good” and “evil”, he is simply Galactus. But, he asks, the Elders surely must know the big G cannot be killed by any force in this universe, and, more importantly, that even if it could be done, it would certainly mean the end of all reality, so why try to? The Obliterator then answers how it doesn’t matter if one is born here or not, what matters is whether you “belong” here, which the Elders don’t anymore, since their game with Lady Death resulted in their being immortal. Now that Death can’t claim them anymore, they are able to destroy Galactus. The question remains, however, why would they want to, as the universe would be destroyed with it. Of course, when you think about it, you can guess the answer: that’s exactly what they want, for when the cosmos collapses inward again, the Elders cannot be killed, so they will survive this universe as did Galactus the previous, and the next universe will know an entire race of Galactuses, and the Elders will truly be the highest beings in all existence (sheesh, talk about your overblown egos!). Apparently, the Obliterator’s brothers will next meet on Earth—and no, it’s not just because everything important has to happen on Earth, this time there’s a reason. When the Fantastic Four saved Galactus’s life in FF #244, he vowed to avoid it for all eternity as a favor to the FF. So the Elders will be able to test their weapon undisturbed. Of course, the Surfer is quite peeved, because again he must return to Earth if he is to pursue his quest (bummer, eh?). And so they depart, leaving the Obliterator all alone, with nothing to destroy (aw, I almost feel sorry for the poor guy).  In the meantime, the Skrulls are seemingly walking right into the trap set by the Kree. But something is wrong, because they suddenly change course, avoiding the planet, making the Kree unable to destroy them or attack them (there’s not a single man left on the planet). A traitor must lurk amongst their ranks, so decides the Supreme Intelligence, but who can it be? And when the Intelligence begins to hum as he is researching Phae-Dor, Tus-Katt, Nenora and Nullet, we get some dark foreboding as the caption says how the fate of an empire depends on his decision...

Kylor is in a very good mood, as their spy has done his/her/its work very well. He is contacted by another would-be emperor, who disagrees strongly with Kylor’s course of action, believing him to be responsible for the greatest slaughter in Skrull history. Naturally Kylor doesn’t listen, and dismisses the other guy’s warnings.

Next we jump back to the Surfer and Mantis (whose hair has regrown entirely, strangely enough), who are having a heated discussion. Norrin accuses her of having tricked him, as she was responsible for bringing him to Earth the first time to thwart the Elders’ plans (in WCA Annual #2 and Avengers Annual #16). He doesn’t like to be treated like a child, and is perfectly capable to fight his own battles, without any help from her. Mantis disagrees, as he himself has admitted the Elders are a formidable force to be reckoned with, and their cooperation is necessary. But then Norrin asks why she wants to help, why she is trying to stop the Elders from doing whatever they’re going to do next. Her answer is simple: she’s just protecting her son, he who is both human- and plantlike. When Norrin makes a comment on her always speaking of herself in the third person (which this one likes a lot :), she retorts by accusing him of pushing her away all the time. Now he gets really mad and wants to throw her off his board, but she makes him face facts and lets him acknowledge he does have feelings for her, as she has feelings for him. And then they kiss whilst soaring through an asteroid belt (woo-hoo!). Back at Kree-Lar, the Supreme Intelligence announces he has found who the traitor is. Although he has found no evidence whatsoever when conducting research on their pasts, he has found Nullet to be the traitor, since he’s the one who maintained his mechanical systems, putting him in the position to alter the Intelligence’s information banks to cover his tracks. Nenora acts quite surprised—no wonder, since she is the Skrull spy, and didn’t know anything about another one (if Nullet truly was a spy, we’ll never know). Now Nenora will take Nullet’s place as chief coordinator (well, that’s quite a dumb move for a Supreme Intelligence, but oh, well, nobody’s perfect).

And, for our final jump, we return to the asteroid belt where we left the Surfer and his new-found love behind. The two lovers are having quite some fun after Norrin has admitted Mantis is the first woman ever to completely pierce his silver shell, when suddenly they are interrupted by the visage of Shalla-Bal, who needs the Silver Surfer’s help—badly! She reports how a Kree fleet is on its way toward Zenn-La, most probably to attack. Calling upon his vow to protect their world, she now pleads him to return home.  Seems like a tough decision (either he ignores Shalla’s plead, dooming his people, or he helps them, thereby leaving the Elders the opportunity to
proceed with their dreaded plan), but there is nothing to decide, so he says. His word to Shalla-Bal is worth more than everything, and keep it he will! Well, definitely not the end then...

Comments: Mantis remains great, she’s quite possibly Englehart’s best character ever
(it’s a sad thing she was butchered by her villainous appearances in that "Crossing" thingy in the Avengers books—that should best be forgotten, but I do hope Busiek will give us some explanations about it). The Supreme Intelligence is also a very interesting character, and his dark machinations are very enjoyable to follow (until Harras decided to kill him off during Operation: Galactic Storm—but hey, not really! Ugh!). The Elders’ plan is really cool and believable, it’s something they would do. And, of course, it’s something the Surfer would occupy himself with. Ever since Englehart left, he hasn’t been doing so much cosmic stuff anymore, and I hope DeMatteis wises up and releases the Surfer from Earth (it’s been way too long by now, although I do like J.M. a lot, mind you).  The interactions between Mantis and Norrin are great, too (she calling him a liar, that’s just great). And the information about Galactus’s role in the universe was also appreciated. Everything makes sense, and I like that very much! Then there’s the excitement about the traitor in the Kree ranks (who isn’t detected, woo-hoo!), making for intriguing developments to follow. Anyway, the writing was obviously excellent, and so was the art again, especially on page 7, when the universe is born, is an example of true beauty in comics. Long live Marshall Rogers!

Oh yes, the funniest thing in the comic was on page 15, when Aptak (the guy who is trapped in the form of a girl) gets pinched (tee-hee, awesome!).


The Bad?  I dunno, perhaps there wasn’t enough action or something? I really don’t
care, as long as we get some action every other issue. I might add that the problem occurring in #4 isn’t detectable here: everything is clear, and there are no vague references, making this set-up issue tons better than the previous one. And since next issue is going to be all-out action again... So, nothing bad, even the cover looked great (Rogers isn’t an expert in covers, IMHO).

Overall? Well, that’s easy, what do you think? Five stars, of course. ‘Nuff said!

Written by The Collector

 

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