CoverSilver Surfer #10, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
April, 1988

"Space is...Eternity!"

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: Last issue, the Elders failed at their attempt to destroy mighty Galactus—and the entire universe with him! Now they’re going to face his awesome wrath! Plus: the Surfer witnesses one of the biggest events of his entire life.

Plot: After the events of last issue, Galactus has snatched five of the Elders and his heralds from the grip of the black hole. And now, now there shall be a reckoning! (I really love that phrase :) While the Elders are being held by the big G, Nova can’t help but think about the fact they’d almost kick the bucket! The Surfer remains calmer about past events, and the Elders aren’t afraid to die—because they can’t! The Runner thinks themselves fools: how could they have thought to defeat Galactus, if three of them hadn’t been able to vanquish his mightiest herald, the Silver Surfer? The five Elders (who are: the Runner, Champion, Grandmaster, Collector and Gardener) are bickering amongst themselves (as usual :) until the booming voice of the Devourer of Worlds silences them.

When it seems like Galactus is going for the finishing touch, the Grandmaster once again reminds him of the pact he has made with Death: she has no hold over the Elders. But Galactus has some surprises for them: after all, he is the third force in reality, that which lies between Eternity and Death, that which balances them, and when it lies in his power to devour worlds, he most surely can devour some puny Elders! So be it, the Elders are consumed by Galactus’s gaping maw, whilst the Surfer and Nova are watching with a vengeful and pleased stare.

But all is not said and done yet. Five Elders have been gobbled up, three have been sucked down the black hole, and the Obliterator has been rendered incapable of doing anything thanks to the Surfer (hey, Galactus knows a lot!) But the Contemplator still roams free, as he was participating in his astral form; this is not to Galactus’s likings, and he orders Nova to find the Contemplator for her master. (He’s forgetting about Ego, I wonder why...)

Then he turns his attention to his former herald, who can’t see any connection left between them both (boy, if they know how many times they would meet in later issues *tee hee* :), as he has done his duty to the universe and to the memory of Mantis (who died last issue thanks to the Grandmaster’s evil scheming) by saving Galactus.

Galactus supposes all he wants to do know is soar through the endless galaxies, unharmed and free, but the Surfer stresses his loss, and says he won’t be able to enjoy life again. His ex-master understands, and is reminded of the fact the Surfer is all too human for a Zenn-Lavian. In his mind, there is no one more passionate than the Silver Surfer (aw, isn’t that nice). Then a very interesting panel follows, wherein Galactus states “every living thing knows passion in its way”. Note that the look in his face is quite grim and forlorn indeed... What could this mean, hmmm? More on this later.

But still, Galactus needs one favor of the Surfer: he wants him to guide Nova in her search for the remaining Elder. But the Surfer doesn’t see why he should do this, as he owes the big guy nothing! (Uh oh) Galactus becomes quite upset now, after all, it was he who gave the Surfer his power and his board. But it was also he, so rebuts the Surfer, who has imprisoned him on Earth, taking away his splendor from him. Galactus isn’t cornered that easily, as he thinks there was good reason for imprisoning his herald, and besides, when compared to the time Norrin Radd has been in Galactus’s service, his imprisonment was only a very short time—not to mention that the time of his service is only a small fraction of a Zenn-Lavian lifespan! (I wonder how old they can get, does anybody know?)

While they are arguing, Nova reminds them she’s a big girl now, and she can fend for herself. She doesn’t need anybody’s help, and certainly not the Surfer’s, for hasn’t he failed his master, as she has not? This is to no interest of Galactus, though, as he is asking the Surfer, not Nova (talk about your cranky bosses :) At long last the Surfer agrees to fly alongside Nova, but only when Galactus promises to include Zenn-La in his oath to never bother Earth again (sounds fair to me). Nova, however, finds this an insult, but while she is protecting her master’s position, Galactus agrees to the Surfer’s terms. This makes the Surfer think about Galactus’s possible feelings for his current herald (a-ha!): they might very well be stronger than anything the giant ever felt before (and I want to insert here that I absolutely despise Ron Marz for killing off Nova! There was so much potential in this relationship! I say: bring her back! Hell, I’ll do it myself if necessary :).

Nova asks how Galactus will survive, but the planets and the Elders will suffice for now, or so he says. Thus, Nova has no choice other than to obey her master’s wishes. And so they leave, but the Surfer has a feeling (because of his longtime experience with Galactus) that something special is going to happen, and that’s why he wanted his heralds away. So now he’s gonna spy on him, and he invites Nova to join him. (And we can join the ride, too. Yay!)

We see Galactus standing on his ship, and while the fabric of the universe is swirling and shaping itself into a human form, Galactus begins to emanate a bright light. On the next double-page spread, we are witness to a meeting between... Eternity and Galactus! Out of respect for each other, Galactus has taken the form of a star, and Eternity that of a human. And about the star-shape: is not every man or woman a shining star (so says Galactus)? Galactus wants to know why Eternity has granted this visit upon the “alien” in his presence (and that’s very true: since Galactus is from a previous universe, he is actually the only being in the entire current universe which is alien to all else. I love Englehart...)

As it turns out, Eternity wants to apologize to Galactus for putting him in such grave danger. Because he had known about the Elders’ plan for a very long time. In fact, he let them go along with it and forced matters in his being so as to ensure their failure. Eternity doesn’t normally act as a being, and that’s why he “meditated on the pure idea of continuity”. The Celestials were a manifestation of this meditation, and when the Analyzer descended upon the Skrull throneworld, they panicked and began the second Kree/Skrull War. This war threatened Zenn-La, and so the Surfer became involved. When he met the Kree soldiers, his meeting with the Supreme Intelligence was inevitable. Now he would either die and be greeted by Eternity’s sister, Death, or he would succeed in obtaining the one Soul Gem still needed by the Elders (I don’t know about you guys, but this is plotting!). Because the Surfer had the gem, he wouldn’t allow it to be used to harm Galactus, so he would save Galactus, and in doing so, he would save Eternity (whew, how’s that for a gamble?)

In other words, says Galactus, the Surfer was the weak link, if he had failed, all had been lost. Eternity then says because of his wide experience and the fact he, most of all creatures born of flesh within Eternity, is closest to the gods, the Surfer was the one best qualified for the job. Galactus shows his feelings for Nova again by stating she will rise to his greatness, too. (Damn Marz again, grrr!) And so the meeting ends, as Galactus and Eternity grasp each other’s hands.

When all is said and done, Nova doesn’t know what to say. Until now, she hasn’t understood the enormity of the game she’s been playing so well. Neither did she have any clue about Galactus’s and the Surfer’s stature. But the Surfer is feeling very depressed, because to one as Eternity, Mantis would seem like a small price to pay for the ensurance of a continuated lifetime, but to the Surfer... Nova wants to comfort Norrin, but he pulls himself away from her, angered that he always seems to be a pawn in someone’s hands. Nova very cleverly realizes that to beings like Galactus and Eternity, all are pawns, but the Silver Surfer wants to be more than that. He doesn’t care about being near the height of the gods themselves if it means good people must die in the process.

Nova reminds him she was one of those normal people only recently, and she sure feels great with her powers. Her optimism is unstaggering, and she persuades the Surfer to go with her and explore some universe. It won’t be as awe-inspiring as the sight of Galactus meeting Eternity, but it’ll be pretty cool nonetheless. Yet while they are soaring through the skies, the Surfer ponders the fact her wonder and fear for all she’s exploring in the universe might very well cause the death of Nova. Luckily, her optimism reminds him of Mantis’s joy, and suddenly, he has to think of the Fantastic Four, without whom none of this would have happened. In a quick switch, we come “full circle”, as Engelhart puts it, and we see the new FF (who Engelhart was then writing as well): a mutated Thing, She-Thing, Crystal and the Torch (things sure change in only ten issues... Makes you wonder what the future will bring now that Claremont has jumped aboard. I think I believe the rumours about Kitty Pryde joining the FF, as Excalibur is now being cancelled and she won’t have anyplace to go, besides the X-Men, of course. But that’s all way off-topic, or is it?) But haven’t we forgot someone. What about... Nenora?! Indeed, the Skrull is still seated on the throne of the Kree Empire, and she’s audienting Aptak, the Skrull who has been trapped into a Wazilian female form. Not only that, he’s her lover as well! They act very formally until the guards leave, and then they kiss each other (nice one, Engelhart, some “lesbian” scenes without them being really lesbian, huh?) Aptak is quite pleased with the fact his lover is now the leader of the Kree. But while he is unhappy with his current body, Nenora assures him Skrulls can look beyond the form.

While they’re talking, she pours in a glass of wine, which Aptak unsuspectingly drinks up. Sadly for him, because it turns out Nenora has poisoned the wine to ensure her secret remains just that—a secret! Because after all, who could let lie the chance... to rule an empire! (Great stuff!)

Galactus, in the meantime, is still standing on his ship, feeling a bit uneasy. It seems the Elders are quite difficult to absorb... Yet he doesn’t worry, for he has all eternity! But... far away from him, stars shape together in the form of a giant skull, and Lady Death claims... “Death is not one ever to be ignored!” Will Galactus die?! Well, this sure is a cliffhanger...

Comments: I’ll keep it short, because this issue was, to put it simply, a classic. It was absolutely filled from top to bottom with great stuff. The dialogue between Galactus and Eternity was awesome. The visuals were awesome as well. The Surfer’s sorrow is very heart-wrenching, and Nova’s optimism really rubs off on the reader. The shot of the FF was very cool of Englehart (as it shows how life actually goes on, something the Spider-Man editorial team doesn’t seem to understand). The last few pages with the foreboding parts about Nenora and Galactus were also great. Especially the sentence coming from Eternity introducing the two scenes, to wit: “No idea descens into manifestation without an imperfection.” Well, the first imperfection obviously is the fact the universe will tremble at the hand of a Skrull shaped like a Kree. And the second has something to do with the after-effects of Galactus eating the Elders, and when Death shows up, things can only get exciting (cool!).

And once again, I want to stress the fact that the art was sublime. Really. Rogers did about 14 issues of the Silver Surfer, and this is easily his best one. Especially the scene between Galactus and Eternity. And the fact that he doesn’t ignore that when you’re in space, there’s no up or down. So everyone is floating, drifting around, making for very interesting paneling (McFarlane could learn a lot from this master of the penciling arts, I assure you!)

Written by The Collector

 

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