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1970-04-01 00:04:10
Previous:
Amazing Spider-Man #83
Up:
Main
1970/Box 5/Silver Age
Next:
Hulk #126

Silver Surfer #15-18

Issue(s): Silver Surfer #15, Silver Surfer #16, Silver Surfer #17, Silver Surfer #18
Published Date: Apr-Sep 70
Title: "The flame and the fury!" / "In the hands of... Mephisto!" / "The Surfer must kill!" / "To smash the Inhumans!"
Credits:
Stan Lee - Writer
John Buscema / Jack Kirby - Penciler
Dan Adkins / Chic Stone / Herb Trimpe - Inker

Review/plot:
Aaand here's the rest of the Silver Surfer series. These are the issues that were not reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces, and since they're generally context free i just kept them together rather than (further) cutting up my Essentials TPB. I read that you shouldn't read too many Silver Surfer issues in a row or "the Surfer's constant whining becomes apparent and annoying." It's true anyway, but this set of issues is the test to see how bad it can get.

    

It's... not too bad. These issues are helped by a series of guest appearances. Issue #15 starts with an odd sequence where the Surfer decides he needs to get a jacket tailored for him...

...and then immediately discards the jacket as he gets into a fight with the Human Torch.

He went to the Fantastic Four to ask for help and of course wound up in a fight in a 'classic' Marvel misunderstanding. It turns out that the FF just wanted the Surfer to help the humans with their space program.

The next two issues are a fight with Mephisto.

After a battle in space that attracts the attention of Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan...

...Mephisto transports Shalla Bal to Earth where she is cold and starving, and says he'll let the Surfer know where she is if he'll destroy SHIELD. The Surfer complies, destroying SHIELD's base without harming any soldiers. But Mephisto doesn't feel that's sufficient, or maybe he was going to betray the Surfer anyway, so they fight again. SHIELD, armed with weaponry from Tony Stark...

...attack the Surfer while he's having the fight with the invisible-to-mortal-eyes Mephisto. The FF have a cameo as well.

The Surfer flees, and falls on the outskirts of Attilan. Unlike the whining, depressed Surfer, Mephisto is an upbeat, can-do sort of guy with a clear motivation and a lot of personality. Do you think he could sustain his own book?

The last issue of the Silver Surfer series is drawn by Jack Kirby instead of John Buscema, and as much as i love Buscema, it's a nice change of pace to see Kirby on the Surfer again.

It makes use of the renegade Inhumans used in the Fantastic Four and the Hulk.

Maximus has his group of Inhumans attack the Surfer and makes it seem like Black Bolt is their leader, tricking the Surfer into attacking Black Bolt's Inhumans. For a minute it seemed like there was going to be a reasonable resolution, with the Surfer and Black Bolt about to talk ("talk") to each other, but then the rest of the Royal Family attack the Surfer for no good reason, leading to Black Bolt making the gesture of.... Reproach!

Then Maximus attacks. There's a funny scene with the Surfer trying to get his board back from Lockjaw...

...but then he leaves, not interested in a fight between Inhumans. Seeing madness even in the Inhuman society, the Surfer decides that the Earth is hopeless and basically declares himself a villain. Unfortunately the series was then canceled (although in truth i doubt they would have kept him as a villain for long even if it wasn't).

I've read that this series was Stan Lee's 'pet' book, but it doesn't have the magic of Stan's earlier work. The Surfer is an inconsistent and annoying character, and nothing ever really happens in this series. Buscema's artwork starts off very nice, but it doesn't mask the fact that the book is basically treading water from day one, and the artwork actually gets sketchy as the series progresses.

Quality Rating: C

Historical Significance Rating: 2

Chronological Placement Considerations: Just needs to fit in between gaps in stories for the FF and Iron Man, which isn't difficult considering most stories were only one issue long at this point.

References:

Cross-over: N/A

Continuity Implant? N

Reprinted In: Essential Silver Surfer vol. 1

Inbound References (2): show

Characters Appearing: Aireo, Black Bolt, Dum Dum Dugan, Gorgon, Human Torch, Iron Man, Karnak, Leonus, Lockjaw, Maximus, Medusa, Mephisto, Mr. Fantastic, Nick Fury, Shalla Bal, Silver Surfer, Stallior, Thing, Timberius, Triton

Previous:
Amazing Spider-Man #83
Up:
Main
1970/Box 5/Silver Age
Next:
Hulk #126

Comments

Kirby's presence on the last issue is a bit of a mystery. I'm guessing Buscema was pressed for time on other titles and Jack was asked to step in.

According to Marvelmania #2, there was a deliberate Kirby/Buscema switch done with Thor in order to get Buscema acclimatized with taking Thor over. Herb Trimpe was supposed to do full art starting with #19, and more Inhuman appearances were announced.

As I recall, Trimpe did the cover to #18.


 
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