CoverSilver Surfer Annual #7
Published by Marvel Comics, 1994

Cover by Ron Lim

Original price: $2.95, 64 page format

History Behind Issue: Morg and Legacy are both fresh from the pages of the COSMIC POWERS 6-issue limited series. Morg "died" in SILVER SURFER #75, the same issue that Firelord and Airwalker again assumed the responsibilities of being the heralds of Galactus. The Surfer’s board would later be broken again in SILVER SURFER #146.

"To Serve"

Writer: Ron Marz
Pencilers: Tom Grindberg and Scot Eaton
Inkers: Tom Christopher with Jim Sanders and Raymond Kryssing
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Mike Kenny
Editor: Craig Anderson
Assistant editor: Lynaire Brust
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot: With a double splash page featuring Morg attacking a Skrull battleship, the story begins. As he obliterates not only that ship but its entire fleet ("the finest in the Skrull armada"), we discover that his reason for doing so is nothing more complex than that he is at last returning to his master, Galactus. He had been a prisoner of the evil Tyrant (from SILVER SURFER #82 up through the COSMIC POWERS series).

We come upon the Silver Surfer and Legacy sitting in the midst of an asteroid belt somewhere, with the latter explaining his part in "trying to help out the Jack of Hearts" and "getting (their) butts kicked by this Tyrant guy" (see COSMIC POWERS #1-6). The conversation turns quickly to responsibility and power, and how to decide what to do with them. The Silver Surfer recounts his origin to Legacy, stating how he came to serve as Galactus’ herald. Although he eventually rebelled against his servitude, the Surfer still suffers guilt from his actions while in the World Devourer’s service, and spends his time in atonement for those sins. As they part, the Surfer advises Legacy to "seek purpose" and to "not waste the gifts you have been given."

On Worldship (Galactus’ ship that’s the size of a planet), Firelord and Airwalker discuss what to do with their future as well, while the former makes repairs to the latter’s mechanical body. Ultimately, they decide it is best for them to remain in Galactus’ service in order to seek out only lifeless worlds to sate his great hunger, rather than allow the World Devourer to murder billions of innocent lives either on his own or with a less merciful herald.

Smashing his way through the hull of Worldship, Morg attacks the surprised-to-see-him-back-from-the-dead Firelord and Airwalker. During the ensuing scuffle, Airwalker is severely damaged and escapes to warn the Silver Surfer, while Morg’s superior might quickly overpowers Firelord’s. Galactus arrives and welcomes back the "most faithful of all who have worn [the mantle of herald.]"

Soaring through the spaceways and pondering Legacy’s future, the Silver Surfer is taken by surprise when Airwalker’s hand grasps his board. Airwalker delivers the warning that he intended to: Morg has returned. With little time to explain himself, Airwalker passes out and the Silver Surfer, eyes blazing, races toward Worldship.

Back on said ship, Morg is about to execute Firelord at the behest of Galactus ("his usefulness is gone"), but is stayed by the hand of the Silver Surfer. Stating that he will not allow any more blood to be spilt by Morg, the Surfer asserts that he will not permit him to resume his position as Herald. Galactus threatens the Surfer that thwarting his will would be inappropriate and dangerous. With that, the Surfer rams into Morg and tears through the hull of the ship.

As the two battle, they argue about power who has more of it and how it is best used; Morg believes his only duty is to Galactus, who made him what he is, and the Surfer insists that innocent beings must be protected. During a staggering series of blows, both make the mistake of thinking their opponent defeated (first the Surfer, then Morg), which promptly leads to each of them getting attacked from behind by the other. The Surfer throws Morg down to a barren planet, and the two continue to bicker over whom is more powerful.

In one moment of fury, Morg slashes the Surfer’s surfboard in half. The Surfer, astounded ("Never did I dream it possible… my board split asunder…"), nevertheless manages to restore the shining board to wholeness, and decides that the time has ended for debate and battle. He makes one final grab for Morg and the two are locked in combat, an amazing match of fury and might. Energies build, and at last are released in an explosion that decimates the planet (already barren, remember?) and surrounding astral satellites.

As the mist clears, the Silver Surfer emerges triumphant over the broken body of Morg and prepares to make the killing blow. His conscious won’t let him, however, and Galactus appears saying he knew it would be so. This launches the two into a tirade of arguments, as the Surfer won’t allow Galactus to reclaim Morg as his herald because of Morg’s savagery. A deal is struck: Airwalker and Firelord’s lives will be spared, in return for the Surfer’s conceding Morg’s heraldry.

Back on Worldship, the Surfer has devised that the only way to save Airwalker is to download his consciousness into Worldship’s mainframe. The deed is done, and Firelord says goodbye to his friend. Appearing on a monitor behind him, Airwalker startles Firelord and then warms his heart by saying "…not goodbye. Simply farewell… until we are again brought together." The Surfer and Firelord leave, and Morg asks Galactus why their lives were spared. Galactus respons by saying that their lives are insignificant to him. "Only my existence is of concern. I am Galactus… and I hunger."


"Running From the Past"

Writer: Ron Marz
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Keith Aiken
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Editor: Craig Anderson
Assistant editor: Lynaire Brust
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot: As our hero, Legacy, the son of the original Captain Marvel, flies through a sewer tunnel, we see that he is being chased by three tall, tough-looking aliens with angry countenances. Genis (as is his real name) reaches a dead end, and decides to stop running and confront his pursuers, who he believes to be after him because of his father’s history.

Flashing back, we see Genis packing his bag and preparing to leave both his home, Saturn’s moon Titan, and his mother, Elysius. Although she is reluctant to see him go, she understands that he must in order to find his own way to uphold his father’s tradition as a hero. Elysius gives him a kiss goodbye, and Genis is gone.

Soaring through the sky, Genis thinks about his decision to leave Titan, visits his father’s grave (which is on an asteroid located just outside of Titan), and thinks about how difficult it is to bear the responsibility and legacy of his father. He decides to try to get his start being a hero on the planet Calculex, a place filled with crime and known as the Armpit of the Universe.

Upon arrival, he immediately discovers a small alien being mugged by a much larger man, and takes no time in dispensing of him. When he’s thanked by the alien, he notices just how good it feels to do good for others and not only for himself.

Suddenly, Legacy runs into a tall, tough-looking alien man who says he recognizes Genis, and pegs him as Captain Marvel’s son. Legacy, trying to avoid possible enemies his father may have made, denies it and begins to walk away. When the man grabs his shoulder to prevent him from leaving, Legacy blasts the guy and flies into the sewer tunnel. The alien’s friends help him get up and they follow Genis into the tunnel.

Back in the present, Legacy offers a fight to his pursuers, the alien and his friends, and they immediately are baffled. They reveal that they never wanted to fight with him. Rather, the alien tells of how he was once saved by Genis’ father, Captain Marvel, and since the Captain is no longer alive, wants to thank Legacy in his place. Legacy, feeling a little foolish, sheepishly accepts. The man bows and says "Mar-Vell must have been proud to have a son such as you."

Comments: In "To Serve," I found a number of things contrived and unbelievable. No matter how you can rationalize it, Galactus shouldn’t bargain with lesser beings about his decisions, and he certainly shouldn’t encourage the Surfer’s audacity in challenging his will. At one point, Galactus even commends the Surfer on his cleverness; he’s complimenting a person who has continually thwarted his plans, questioned his authority, and who betrayed him those years ago! In the battle between the Morg and the Surfer, both make stupid mistakes that someone of my own experience (read: none) wouldn’t even make, let alone two galactic-class fighters such as themselves. This wouldn’t be so bad except that the mistakes are obvious ploys by the writer to draw out the battle.

However, for all of that, the story is one of the Surfer’s better ones from 1994. Scot Eaton’s artwork is sharp and interesting (although Grindberg’s is still unrefined), and makes the scenes and the characters a treat to look at. At last, we the readers get some real finality to the question of "Who will be Galactus’ herald," a question that has plagued us since the issue was raised in SILVER SURFER #70 (published two years before this). The friendship between Airwalker and Firelord is touching as well, and the fact that the "bad guys" won (by Morg returning to being herald) is refreshing. The best part of the entire issue was easily the big Surfer/Morg tussle. Every panel exploded with energy, and while neither acted entirely as experienced as they are, the battle was a furious, no-holds barred romp that every fanboy should enjoy. The Surfer, a compassionate character by nature, rarely does this, and it may be a little stunning to new readers to see just how powerful he really is, but certainly gratifying to older readers who have known it all along.

The issues that Legacy deals with in "Running from the Past" are real – power, responsibility, redemption – and it’s nice to know that these things don’t just go away in the comic book world, that these characters have to struggle with them the same way we readers do everyday. And FINALLY, Legacy is drawn by the person who created him last year, Ron Lim! While other artists never seemed to be able to make Legacy’s costume look interesting or quite "right" (much like George Perez’s current Scarlet Witch design), Lim shows his talent and care for Genis by making the entire story, and particularly Genis, look sharp and appealing. High quality!

This is a very satisfying issue, and for the most part, there’s little to complain about. The element of believability is stretched beyond its limits, but the core plots and themes are interesting and worthwhile. The book is a visual treat as well, featuring two great artists that really know how to get the most out of their characters. Recommended reading!

Written by Stuart "Stratus" Brewster

 

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