CoverSilver Surfer #90, Vol. 3
Published by Marvel Comics
March, 1994

"The Lesson"

Writer: Ron Marz
Penciler: Bill Marimon
Inker: Tom Christopher
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Evelyn Stein
Editor: Craig Anderson
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Cover by Ron Lim

Original price: $1.25

History Behind Issue: Follow-up to SILVER SURFER ANNUAL #6 (Legacy’s 1st appearance), continued from SILVER SURFER #89. Avatar (seen on the last page in this issue) is seen again in SILVER SURFER #91-92.

Plot: As the story opens, we find the Silver Surfer facing not one of his most dangerous foes or some intergalactic peril, but rather a friend. His opponent is none other than Genis-Vell, AKA Legacy, the son of Captain Mar-Vell. Although we don’t know the specific reason for this conflict, we do know that the Surfer laments the way Legacy has used his power, and that Legacy is resentful of the Surfer trying to "ruin his life!" The struggle comes to a standstill, and the Surfer forces Legacy to contemplate how the two came to arms.

Flashback to the planet Calculex, where Legacy, with his arms around two women, has found the Surfer. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, as this confrontation allows Raze, a bounty hunter the Surfer wants to bring to justice (see SILVER SURFER #89) to escape. Still, Legacy convinces the Surfer to stay with him, since it was he who had been looking for the Legacy anyway. The Surfer insists that the two talk immediately about how Legacy has been using his powers.

Flying above the city, the two talk about how difficult the decision to follow in Captain Marvel’s footsteps was for Legacy to make (see SILVER SURFER ANNUAL #6). While Legacy seems to think he’s been "doing his best," the Surfer disagrees, citing how Genis had used his wristlets not to help people who need his protection but rather to "take petty revenge" on people who he had bad histories with. Legacy gets angry about the Surfer’s interference and judgement, and attacks him with a blast of energy.

The Surfer pulls Legacy off of the planet and into deep space where no innocents or property will get damaged. Resuming the attack, Legacy tackles the Surfer while the latter lectures him on the responsibility that comes with great power. Legacy boasts that he doesn’t need to listen to anyone, because he’s more powerful than anyone he’s ever met.

All of which brings us back to the present, and the Silver Surfer is getting impatient. No longer tolerating Genis’ attacks, the Surfer strikes back with a brilliant rhetoric about how one must be held responsible for their actions, and that he won’t let Legacy’s life "become the labor of redemption that mine is." When Legacy bets for mercy, he is surprised when the Surfer grants it. Trusting that the illustration of the Surfer’s superior might has taught Legacy that all must be held accountable for their actions to someone of a higher power, he tells Genis that power is a gift not to be abused.

Legacy, rubbing his head, apologizes for his actions and promises not to continue abusing his power. The Surfer is heartened by this proclamation, and claims that Genis is indeed worthy of the legacy of Captain Marvel. The two fly back to Calculex where they part ways, but not before Genis states that he owes the Surfer and he always repays his debts. Meanwhile, Avatar (see SILVER SURFER #66) lurks in the background, ready to strike at the Surfer.

Comments: The artist has a sloppy style that portrays both the Surfer and Legacy almost as slobs, although I don’t think it’s intentionally. Naturally, each one of the excessive number of splash pages (there are approximately 7, with several more clocking in at about of a page) becomes almost painful to look at as a result. Although it’s natural that Legacy would want to listen to the Surfer at least to avoid a pounding, the sudden disappearance of his resentment at the Surfer’s interference in his life is unconvincing.

The story does serve a fair number of greater purposes, however. As readers, we are reminded once again about the Silver Surfer’s constant effort to redeem himself from his actions while in the service of Galactus, despite the seeming impossibility of being able to ever fully earn one’s own redemption. Even better, we get to see that the almost trite ending to Genis’ first appearance, where he accepts his father’s legacy, was not without a purpose. Promising to change one’s life as Legacy had is one thing, but following through is quite another. Although he had the best of intentions, Legacy returned to life as he had known it before he got the wristlets. This story reminds us all not to trivialize the difficulty of making changes in our lives, while at the same time championing and encouraging the effort to do so.

Written by Stuart "Stratus" Brewster

 

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