Silver Surfer #61-66
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #61, Silver Surfer #62, Silver Surfer #63, Silver Surfer #64, Silver Surfer #65, Silver Surfer #66
Fans of Jim Starlin will be disappointed to see confirmed here that he is not returning to the Silver Surfer now that Infinity Gauntlet has concluded. But we still have Ron Lim on art, and Ron Marz is a pretty good substitute for Starlin, and at least the book will now be focusing on the Surfer instead of Starlin's pet characters (who will instead be featured in Starlin's Infinity Watch).
Last issue we saw the Collector summoning the Silver Surfer (but see the Considerations). This issue begins with the Surfer at the Collector's ship, but not getting a friendly welcome.
It turns out the Collector is just distracted.
The Collector asks the Surfer if he knows about the Brethren, and the Surfer does indeed know their entire history, all the things that were revealed about them having been a tool of the Celestials. The Surfer wasn't aware until now that the reason they disappeared centuries ago was because they were "collected", and the Collector tells him about that and the recent events with the Avengers (leaving out his own final attack). He also reveals (obviously) that he didn't really die in that story. The problem is that when the Brethren broke out of his ship, they freed much of the Collector's collection, and the Collector needs the Surfer to re-collect a child, of a species called the Mondani, that is infected with a rare madness-inducing virus. Collector says that the fact that he's an immortal Elder of the Universe won't protect him from the virus, but the Silver Surfer's cosmic nature might. And if the Surfer doesn't help, the virus will destroy the universe. So the Surfer has no choice but to agree to help, even though he doesn't trust the Collector.
As soon as the Surfer leaves, we see a "Collection Agency" getting a call.
From what we see of the person hiring them, it could be the Collector. But the very fact that they're not fully shown causes us to doubt it.
Meanwhile, the Surfer is asking around near the child's last known location.
After getting into a little fight with that bruiser, he's directed to a bar. The Collection Agency has already arrived.
The Collection Agency have been warned about the Silver Surfer, and they attack him with leech weapons, draining his energy. But the Surfer is able to cause their devices to feedback by delivering all his cosmic energy at once. The explosion kills one of the Agents, causing the female member of the group to launch into an angry exposition laden six page origin story of the Collection Agency, which i admit i didn't read a word of. But i guess they're robots or something.
After that, the virus inside the child mutates, and the Surfer lets it approach him, because his plan is to let the virus infect him so that he can bring it back to the Collector.
The Surfer starts having visions after the virus is transferred to him.
The image is of Garnok Rebbahn, who previously appeared in an annual back-up story. After being swallowed by him, the Surfer winds up attacked by the phantoms of people claiming they were killed by the Surfer, same as last time. This time, though, Captain Marvel is also among the dead.
I should note that with the recent resurrection of Adam Warlock, the possibility that Captain Marvel might also return felt very real, as evident by letters to this book and Infinity Watch.
Mar-vell gives the Surfer food and shelter, and agrees to help him try to escape. Mar-vell attacks the dead, causing a distraction for the Surfer.
Meanwhile, the Surfer faces the leader of the dead, who turns out to be a shadowy form of the Surfer himself representing all his repressed negative emotions.
There was a toy version of this Surfer variant. At the time i didn't realize it was based on anything from the comic; i just thought it was weird to put out a blue version of the Silver Surfer.
Surfer battles his negative image, but ultimately realizes that the way to defeat him is to embrace him.
But that's not enough to free him from the world he's trapped on. Garnok Rebbahn manifests again and tells the Surfer something about having the courage to begin again and recreate himself. Frankly i'm kind of bored by the whole thing, especially after a whole lot of this stuff during the Infinity Gauntlet tie-ins. Eventually the Surfer frees himself and returns to the Collector, who is now in his variant form, which we saw in the Brethren story. All three members of the Collection Agency (i.e. including the one who seemed to be killed) are with him.
But it turns out that the virus that the Surfer was carrying was destroyed during his metaphysical "experiences". The Collector is obviously not happy about this, and he tries to get the Collection Agency to attack the Surfer, but they are mercenaries and are not happy about having been used as pawns, so they refuse. The Collector doesn't attempt to attack the Surfer on his own, but he does mutter some obligatory threats.
The Surfer was actually on his way to destroy Thanos' floating monument to Death (and himself) from Infinity Gauntlet when the Collector first contacted him, so he returns to that now.
But he finds Reptyl - who is looking more like Dragon Man these days - waiting for him.
Surfer and Reptyl battle.
The battle attracts the attention of a bored space princess named Alaisa with the power to manipulate emotions.
She arrives as the Surfer is defeating Reptyl. She tries to use her emotion-bending powers on the Surfer, but she's interrupted by Reptyl, who recovers during the distraction. Reptyl tries to hold Alaisa hostage, but (after some of her guards futilely throw themselves at Reptyl and die) Surfer rescues her with his board. Surfer defeats Reptyl again, but he's again distracted by Alaisa, allowing Reptyl to escape. It does turn out that the Surfer is immune to Alaisa's powers, though. He tells her that he's not interested in her, and, after she leaves, he returns to his original goal of destroying Thanos' monument.
But Alaisa isn't giving up yet. Having failed to turn the Surfer into her love toy, she's convinced herself that she really loves the Surfer. So she has her robot, who i will refer to as Dot Matrix, investigate possible ways in which she could be made an equal to the Surfer. Dot identifies a planet whose primitive inhabitants claim that they have the ability to summon a love deity. Alaisa learns about their rituals and summons Mistress Love.
Love reveals that she's the one that gave Alaisa her emotion powers in the first place, but Alaisa says it's not enough, so Love agrees to transform her into Avatar in return for her servitude.
Love says that eventually she'll call on Avatar , but for now she's free to do what she wants. But before she can go after the Surfer, she's visited by Master Hate.
Hate tells Avatar that her quest for the Surfer's love is doomed to fail, so she might as well pre-emptively agree to accept power from him as well.
Princess Alaisa makes more Faustian bargains before breakfast than most people make all day.
The Silver Surfer unsurprisingly is still not interested in being Avatar's mate, even after she gets aggressive.
After a quick battle, the Surfer leaves Avatar in the dust. She vows to find him again.
Aside from their appearances in Cosmic Group Shots in Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity Watch, this is the only comic to feature Love and Hate. Considering the quality of the story, it's not surprising. Avatar will appear again, though.
So really, even though this is a fairly competent set of stories, there's nothing really memorable. The interaction with the Collector is a bit of a dud, really just a frame for yet another story about the Surfer getting in touch with his feelings. The fight with Reptyl is the most super-hero oriented, but there's little point to it. Ultimately, Reptyl is just a bundle of rage and not at all in the Surfer's cosmic league, so the fight is a foregone conclusion. And the Love/Hate story is a bad cliche; at least Quasar's version of this story with Her had the unique aspect of all the guys getting pregnant.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 206,760. Single issue closest to filing date = 252,700.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #60 began as an immediate epilogue to Infinity Gauntlet, but it ends with the Collector contacting the Silver Surfer to kick off this arc. The next issue after these six (which are really two or three overlapping stories) begins Silver Surfer's Infinity War tie-ins. There are a number of Silver Surfer appearances in other books that need to fit somewhere, and i am following the MCP in placing them at the end of #60 but before the Surfer is contacted by the Collector. I'm listing Garnok Rebbahn as a character appearing although he may just be a hallucination. But Captain Marvel is definitely dead and i don't list ambiguous "afterlife" characters, so he's not listed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I assume the blue horned guy with an attitude is a nod to DC's Blue Devil.
Posted by: Robert | January 21, 2016 4:02 PM
That image of the Surfer embracing his dark opposite was lifted almost wholesale for the finale of a certain late 90s anime (won't say which one for spoilers sake, but anyone who has seen it knows what I'm talking about).
Posted by: Red Comet | January 21, 2016 6:02 PM
Red Comet: Ummmm, how could it have been lifted from something in the late 90s? This was published in 1992.
Posted by: mikrolik | January 21, 2016 6:18 PM
RC said "for", not "from". :-)
Posted by: fnord12 | January 21, 2016 6:22 PM
Are Kirkwood Studios regular comic book artists, or are they people that Marvel just pulled off the street when they needed help?
Posted by: Steven | January 22, 2016 1:14 AM
Is there a difference?
Posted by: JC | January 22, 2016 1:58 AM
"Avatar" is by no means a particularly easy concept to understand, but I have to scratch my head and wonder what Marvel editorial of the time understood it to mean.
Quasar supposedly became an "Avatar of Infinity" at the close of Cosmos in Collision (Quasar #24-25) back in 1991. It is apparently significant enough that it makes the short list of five archetypical roles that make Quasar's identity by his own understanding in a future story involving Warlock (Quasar #53). But the very fact that such a role is fighting for space with four others and is in fact described as Quasar's most recent "past guise" implies that it is not necessarily even an important part of his self-image.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | January 22, 2016 3:55 AM
Why place any Silver Surfer appearances between the pages of Silver Surfer 60, when They can easily fit after the end of issue 66?
Posted by: fragsel | September 9, 2017 3:29 AM
I once agreed with the philosophy that sticking something in a gap in an issue is to be avoided as much as possible, but i've had to break that rule so often i've given up on it. In this case, using the gap allows me to avoid cramming 6 issues of 1992 comics into 1991, and it allows me to stick with the MCP's placement. The MCP placement often feeds into the official indexes so i prefer to stick with them unless i see an irreconcilable mistake. (I also don't move issues once a year is completed unless it can be proven that the current placement can't work.)
Posted by: fnord12 | September 11, 2017 7:22 PM
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