Silver Surfer #36
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #36
Captain America comes in and tells She-Hulk that the Silver Surfer is a friend.
She-Hulk and the Silver Surfer have met on multiple occasions. She was there when he healed the Earth at the end of Secret Wars II. She was with the FF when they figured out how to get the Surfer back into space. And she was with the Avengers when the Surfer came to warn them about the Elders, in the story that resulted in the follow-up to Contest of Champions. So we're going to have to just chalk this up to her having a bad day. At least she doesn't actually say she didn't recognize him.
Last issue, the Silver Surfer expressed some familiarity with the Avengers' encounters with Thanos, but in this issue he only "seem[s] to remember someone mentioning that the Avengers once had a confrontation with him". Cap corrects him that it was twice, not once, and then recaps those two encounters. Cap is dismayed to learn that Thanos is back, but he suggests that the Surfer go to Titan to get more information. He describes Titan as an artificial moon of Saturn. The Surfer says that he's aware of it because he met one of its citizens, Eros. And when Cap mentions that Eros used to be an Avenger, the Surfer suddenly gets sullen, says "I thought you Avengers more discriminating in who you allow to join your organization", and then abruptly takes his leave. It's a nice touch.
It seems Starlin did take the time to read Steve Englehart's Surfer run before starting this series (there's another mention in the References and there was one last issue too. It's therefore all the more surprising that he seems to have missed She-Hulk's appearance in issue #1.
All through these opening pages, we're shown that someone has been watching the Surfer, and as he leaves Earth and is flying through space, he's met by -- awwwwwwww, man! C'mon! Not him! We're doing Thanos stuff here!
Alright, you got me with the "green and purple and hard to deal with" blurb from last issue, i'll admit that.
The point of the Impossible Man encounter, which i won't be detailing, is for the Silver Surfer to get the message that he's going to have to change his tactics or demeanor if he's going to be able to handle Thanos. There's no one "more stoic, grim, unflappable, forbidding, humorless, and boring" than Thanos.
So even though those attributes are the Silver Surfer's as well, he can't compete with Thanos and he's therefore going to have to get a different attitude if he's going to win. The Impossible Man has a serious interest in this: after all, he's potentially part of the 50% of the universe that's going to get wiped out. And it's a very interesting idea that makes sense (it's probably a coincidence, but Impy's Thanos/Surfer hybrid reminds me of Master Order and Lord Chaos). I just didn't need another whole issue dedicated to the Impossible Man so soon after issue #33.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Silver Surfer met Thanos "yesterday". As for the Avengers, any break will do. If necessary, the Surfer might be flying in from their roof instead of into their subbasement.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Somehow I sort of wonder if the usage of Shulkie by Starlin is more or less the same mistake that Claremont made when he added Dazzler to the X-team: using characters that have history but acting as if its just the first time they've ever known of them. Sure, the only time Starlin probably had Shulkie in anything up to this point was among the masses of superheroes who were in "The Death of Captain Marvel", but you would expect someone like him to read up on her before using her and giving her this particular interaction with the Surfer.
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 13, 2015 6:37 PM
This isn't the last time something like this happened- when Claremont wrote Fantastic Four, he had Firestar gush about how exciting it was to meet the Thing when she'd met Ben on multiple occasions.
Posted by: Michael | May 13, 2015 9:57 PM
Starlin definitely read Englehart's Silver Surfer. He has stated that he got the idea of using the Soul Gems again from their prominence in Engelhart's run, and in Thanos Quest each gem is with the Elder of the Universe that had it last under Engelhart. But, yeah, the Shulkie thing is pretty nonsensical—even if they had never met before, she would have to know who the Silver Surfer was! He'd been on the planet for years, was on a team with her cousin, etc.
Oh, and totally agree that the Impossible Man, while used better here than in issue 33, still makes a reappearance *way* too soon. Impossible Man is more a character that should have a few years between appearances, not two months.
Posted by: Darth Weevil | July 31, 2015 8:09 PM
Hated the Impossible Man's issues when I first read them in 1990 (was 17 at the time) but now with 2 young children it is amazing to watch them laugh while reading it to them. They like the other issues but these are their favourites.
Posted by: Grom | August 13, 2015 10:12 AM
This is notable as the first appearance of what will come to be considered "editing" in comics.
Editors just read a script and ok it if the story is fine. They don't bother to check any of the statements or characterization. If it gets from A to B, then it's straight to printers.
Starlin will continue to work with editors like this. He manages to basically rewrite Moondragon and Drax's chronology in Infinity Watch (did you know, Moondragon only joined the Avengers after they awarded her membership for helping them in that battle where Warlock and Thanos died? Me neither!).
This issue is almost Tom Brevoort standards of editing though.
And the sheer vanity of Starlin to think "Yeah, She-Hulk has been around for ten years and been a member of the FF and Avengers but I definitely must be the first person to ever write her meeting the Silver Surfer". It makes She-Hulk look an idiot (but any character that's not Thanos in a Starlin story tends to look like one). I don't know about you but I think one of the very first things an editor of a comic should do is familiarize themselves with the issues of the series before you took over as editor. She-Hulk appears on the cover to the first issue of this series, for God's sake. How bad an editor do you have to be to not even know the cover to the first issue of the series you took over editing?
And it's not just that, everything about this issue is badly written/researched/edited. Starlin thinks that Silver Surfer thinks lowly of the Avengers and has rarely met with them, despite both being prominent fixtures of the Marvel Universe since the Silver Age. Furthermore he just assumes he probably won't have ever met the Avengers when Starfox was a member. But the editor just reads past these things and doesn't make a note to check if these things are true.
Silver Surfer looks like a mean prejudiced idiot, Captain America looks naive and oblivious, She-Hulk looks like an enormous moron, the Avengers are written off as incompetent and useless, Starfox - who doesn't even appear - gets written up as a jerk. And then the rest of the issue is the Impossible Man.
Posted by: AF | January 25, 2016 5:16 AM
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