Silver Surfer #2
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #2
That has got to be the saddest resolution to a romance in all history. The poor Surfer has been pining for his girlfriend for decades, and he finally gets home and she's like, "Yeah, i have to take a meeting. Catch you later?".
It turns out that thanks to the power the Surfer bestowed on her in their last meeting, that allowed her to restore life to the planet of Zenn-La wherever she walked, she's now been made Empress of the planet. And the planet, and indeed the entire galaxy, is in danger thanks to the calamities that have afflicted the Skrull empire in recent years: first, the destruction of their homeworld and ruling family by Galactus, which has caused the Empire to break up into splinter groups, and second, the loss of the shape-shifting powers. Feeling vulnerable, the Skrulls are looking to get a jump on their eternal enemies, the Kree, before the Kree find out about their loss of shape shifting powers, and they are therefore bullying other worlds into alliances. Shalla-Bal refuses to ally her planet with the Skrulls, and the Silver Surfer makes sure it's understood that the planet is under his protection.
But Shalla-Bal makes it clear that she doesn't have time for romance with her current responsibilities...
...so the Surfer decides to leave.
It's worth remembering that the Surfer gave Shalla-Bal the powers that wound up making her empress due to the machinations of Mephisto, so you can count this as another marriage that Mephisto has ruined. Which is what i've been saying all along.
Whether intentionally or not, Steve Englehart also shows a potential contradiction in the Silver Sufer's character. In Stan Lee's origin in the original Silver Surfer series, the Surfer claimed "Man was meant to strive... to yearn... though they have inherited a universe, they possess only empty sand" and said that the arrival of Galactus might have been the danger his people needed to "make us the men our forefathers were". But ever since he was trapped in Earth, he's condemned Earthlings for their warlike ways. And yet when he returns to Zenn-La, he finds the peacefulness foreign to him, and thinks of Earth: "Whatever else that made race of man may be... they are alive! Their heroes, their villains -- their passions, their sorrows -- their triumphs...!". Basically, the dude just can't be happy wherever he is, so it's a good think Shalla-Bal gives him the boot, so he can go wandering from star to star.
Another potential danger to the planet: it seems a New Seed baby floats nearby.
By the end of the issue it seems to be floating away.
Issue #1 was largely about the mechanics of getting the Surfer off the planet, although it did also feature the spectacular art of Marshall Rodgers during the interactions with Galactus and rescuing of Nova. This issue is also largely functional, and the attack of the Skrulls is not nearly as cosmically awesome as Galactus.
But Englehart is setting up a nice background with the potential Skrull/Kree conflict, and the involvement of the Elders is mentioned again here too.
It's also of note that Englehart says in an essay on the last page that he's deliberately asking Rodgers for less panels per page than his other books, which is the same as what was done on the 1960s series to increase the cosmic scope of the book. It makes for a quicker read but i'll argue that this same mentality causes Englehart to restrain his scripting a bit and that works for the better.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: In that same final page column, Englehart also says that the Surfer series was delayed a bit, and a planned appearance of the Silver Surfer in this year's Avengers annuals, originally meant to take place after issue #5 of this series, instead takes place after issue #2, and he asks us to "try to to notice if the continuity gets a little rocky" when we come back to issue #3.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It never made sense that Shalla Ball would be alive to me. I thought the Surfer had been the herald for ages, but I guess it was just a few decades or whatever. Englehart made the right decision to jettison her as quickly as possible.
Posted by: Chris | April 9, 2014 10:21 PM
Cygnus is a lot more than 500 million miles away from the Earth- 500 million miles isn't even one light-year.
Posted by: Michael | April 9, 2014 10:59 PM
Engelhart established in his run on SS that Zenn-Lavians are very, very long-lived and the centuries the Surfer served Galactus were a fraction of his lifespan. This cleared up why Shalla Bal was still young.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 19, 2017 5:05 PM
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