CoverSilver Surfer #7, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
January, 1988


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 Surfer faces Shalla Bal and the Supreme Intelligence! Guess who hurts him most! Plus: Mantis faces defeat at that closest to her! And the Elders are coming closer to destroying the entire universe!

Plot: While three Kree Destructoids are on their way to Zenn-La, they notice a small speck intercepting them. We all know who it is, of course, none other than the skyrider of the spaceways, the Silver Surfer! Two of the big pink guys head for the planet, while one stays behind to deal with the tiny threat. As Norrin Radd crashes right through their ship, they quickly reassess their opinion :) The other two ships are descending on the planet, commenting how barbaric it looks (since Galactus left it on the brink of destruction in the one-shot Marvel is reprinting in only a few weeks!).

They don’t understand why the Supreme Intelligence would send thousands of soldiers to this primitive world, but we all know they have a helluva surprise coming! When Shalla Bal commands them to leave Zenn-La at once, or their protector will teach them a lesson, the commanding officers don’t understand. When the Silver Surfer suddenly cuts one of the Destructoids in two, they do :)

Norrin urges the other one to surrender, but since they are Kree, they don’t have any intention of doing so, on the contrary, they have barely begun their attack. The Surfer disagrees, and although he is suffering some problems as he hasn’t had the time to probe their defense systems, he quickly brings the battle to an end by “dismembering” the contraption. He then enters the ship, bringing the Kree the same message he gave the Skrulls last issue: Zenn-La must not get involved in their war. The commanding officer responses only the Supreme Intelligence has the authority to think about the Surfer’s offer, upon which Norrin decides to take the matter to the Kree leader himself. After having warned the captain to make some repairs to his ship as it’ll be towed away where he cannot harm Zenn-La, the Surfer soars to his once-beloved Shalla Bal.
When he arrives at her balcony, he addresses her as Empress, making her feel quite uncomfortable, she does love him after all. Our hero then responds she isn’t the only one anymore, shocking Shalla greatly. The Surfer apologizes, feeling he has always been and apparently always will be childish when it comes to matters of the heart (it isn’t as if he’s all that experienced). They bicker a bit about why he would turn his feelings to Mantis (“some bug-woman”, she said! Ha, I love it!), and the disagreement ends with Shalla Bal accusing her beloved of having become once again the emotionless being Galactus had made him so many moons ago.

He reminds her that he wouldn’t be protecting his homeplanet if that were true, and leaves, leaving behind a very distraught Shalla Bal. Meanwhile, Mantis is being “born” again, as she has transfered her conscience from body to plant putting her in the ability to travel quite a long distance without becoming tired. She’s still pursuing the Elders, who have hidden themselves on this luscious green planet we call Earth, apparently not knowing of Mantis’s contact with the plantlife. The Obliterator is absent after events in SS#5 (and by the way, his name is Maht Pacle), and it’s pretty obvious Ego can’t be attending either. They seem to think the Obliterator has destroyed the Surfer and his lady-friend. Again they begin to throw around accusations between themselves, but the
Gardener quickly shushes them by announcing the further developments in their plan. As seen last issue, it’s their intent to destroy Galactus, thereby destroying the universe, causing them to survive as Death doesn’t have a hold over them, making them the new Galacti of the next universe.

The hard part is destroying Galactus, of course :) But with the six Soul Gems, it’ll be a doozie. A nice nod to continuity here, as it’s mentioned that five of them (Gardy has the sixth) were destroyed in the battle between Thanos and the Avengers in Avengers Annual #7. The Astronomer then says they simply cannot die, and when the Runner asks why, he’s answered he wouldn’t understand (well, that’s easy, innit?) No, the real answer is that when Iron Man destroyed the synthetic gem created by merging the five others, they were warped through hyperspace, and through various means the
Elders have gotten them back. I won’t bore you with the details (after all, there’s something new you have to read in these books after having read my reviews, isn’t there?). At the moment, they have five gems of the six, and the Contemplator (who’s also absent) is negotiating for the sixth. Suddenly the Trader remembers how they had been eavesdropped on before, and the Grandmaster replies he had thought of that when he decided to gather in Earth’s tropical zone, urging the Gardener to make his move: Mantis is attacked by her fellow plants! Although she struggles valiantly, commanding the other plants around her to aid her in her battle, she has to give in to
the Gardener’s five billion years of superiority and the power of his soul gem of course. As she is slowly but certainly being choked to death, she attempts a last try at contacting the Surfer: she sends a message to the plantlife on Zenn-La, where Shalla Bal seems to hear something rush through the wind, but discards it as imagination.
One quintillion miles away and a long time later, the Surfer approaches the border of Kree-Lar, the Kree homeworld. The battleships surrounding the planet are expecting him, and he is escorted to the surface. When he arrives at the Hall of Judgment, he is greeted by the Supreme Intelligence and Nenora (remember, she’s his chief coordinator, ánd a Skrull spy!). When the Surfer explains his wish, the S.I. sees no problem, as there’s practically no technology on Zenn-La after Galactus’s little visit. Then the green guy asks if there’s anything else, and whaddayaknow, there is: ol’ Surfy boy would like Earth to be excluded from the battle field as well, as he has stayed there for quite a while and all... But this time the Intelligence has no intent of doing so, as Earth is a very significant planet in the structure of the cosmos (wow, cool). There are several reasons why he won’t turn a blind eye to Earth: for one thing, it is the homeworld of Rick Jones, the guy who aided the S.I. in the previous Kree-Skrull war, it’s the place where thanks to experiments conducted by Kree scientists the Inhumans live, and it’s where Mantis has originated, the woman who is the culmination point of the Cotati’s underground war against the Kree.

The Surfer’s not happy, and pleads the S.I. to think it over: otherwise he’ll have the Silver Surfer as an enemy. Then, without warning, the Intelligence attacks brutally, and though Norrin fights him with all his heart, he fails—and falls! With the help of his soul gem, he stole the Surfer’s soul! He acquired it to insure his sanity, as he had been forced to absorb pink minds, making the constant bitching in his head not a bit
annoying. Without the gem, he’ll go completely gaga, and that’s why the Contemplator can’t have it. Well, at least the Surfer won’t be bothering either one of them ever again...

Comments: I was specifically partial to the argument between Norrin and Shalla Bal.
Very human, and very touching. Another great page: Mantis being reborn. Take a bow, Marshall Rogers! Englehart doesn’t stop showing he’s as much a continuity hack as Busiek is (hey, that’s saying a LOT!), what with all the references to past issues of all sorts of Marvel series, and I love it. And another nice plus point: when the Surfer is thinking about something, it ain’t about recapping past issues, no, he at least gives us interesting information (like when he’s mesmerizing about the Kree soldiers’ actions:
that was done very well, a lot better than in most comics today, when those thought bubbles are as superfluous as they can be). I keep saying it: Englehart knows that every single thing in a comic has to serve a purpose, and he never disappoints. Good show, old man!

I don’t get it, on one page, Rogers gives us some beautiful coloring, on another, it just looks silly (or I am thát tasteless, that’s possible too). Take the Destructoids scene: the ships look pink, the sky looks pink, the mountains look pink. Here’s a message, Marshall: way too much pink! I’m not reading Barbie, you know :) The references to previous stories are nice, but this issue they’re overused, and it slows the story a bit. And the cover wasn’t spectacular either, in fact, I found it quite dull. For the rest, art- and storywise, everything was just dandy.

A very nice issue, but somehow, without there being a lot of “bad” things, it still didn’t have a very big impact on me. Everything was told well, but the story itself lacked something, although there were quite a few cute and exciting scenes. So I have to admit that I don’t really know why I’m only going to give this issue three-and-a-half stars. Perhaps too much was repeated from previous issues, perhaps things went too slow, perhaps the spark just wasn’t there. Maybe it should get four stars, but I’ll stay with my first thought, and that’s three-and-a-half, which, mind you, is still a lot above average. Put in words, this quotation would translate into something like “a nice read when you’re already following the Surfer’s adventures, but unable to captivate you when it’s your first issue”.

Written by The Collector


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