Silver Surfer #11-12
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #11, Silver Surfer #12
These issues have the Silver Surfer and Nova seeking the Contemplator for Galactus. A flashback shows that they first visited the Elder's last known location in Kree space, and they were told by the Kree's current commander, Nenora, that the Contemplator has fled to a place called the Coalsack, which is a kind of Sargasso of Space occupied by space pirates. Nenora also confirms that she'll stay away from both Zenn-La and Earth as long as the Surfer remains neutral in the Kree-Skrull War.
On their way through the Coalsack, the Surfer and Nova discuss the fact that most alien races in the galaxy are broadly human. We're reminded that Galactus isn't actually human; that's just how he appears to humans. And it's also said that the Skrulls are reptiles, which i think is new information.
On the subject of bodies, the Silver Surfer thinks about his recent sexytimes with Mantis.
The space pirates include creatures of many different races, including many that seem to have escaped from Rocket Raccoon's homeworld...
...and the two heralds of Galactus eventually make it to the pirate hideout and dress up in costumes so that they can sneak around.
Nova meets a guy named Clumsy Foulup (a name given to him by his not-so-admiring peers) who tells her about a party that the boss will attend.
While we're focused on Nova, we're shown the Silver Surfer attacking a Kree outpost...
...and then we return to the pirate base to find that the Surfer has changed into a different costume.
It's just plausible enough that we might believe that the Surfer slipped away for a while to attack the Kree, but there'd really be no reason for him to keep that from Nova, who wouldn't care, and of course the Surfer that attacked the Kree will turn out to be an imposter as well as a fix to a longtime continuity issue.
Nova and Silver Surfer wind up dancing together at the party....
...before Clumsy Foulup tries to cut in and starts a fight. The fight ends with the arrival of the boss, the goofy looking and goofily named Reptyl.
Reptyl is very invested in his anti-human attitude.
The Silver Surfer and Nova are very easily captured and placed in the engines of Reptyl's ships, so they can power them. And he is sheltering the Contemplator.
Somehow the conversation gets around to dinosaurs on Earth.
Saurornithoides is actually a genus, not a species, and dinosaurs were not reptiles, but what do you expect from a Skrull only pretending to be an Elder?
Luckily for the heralds, the Cotati are monitoring things in the pirate hideout...
...and they decide to help the Surfer despite the fact that helping him puts them on a slippery slope where one day they might have to help Hawkeye.
They help by possessing Clumsy Foulup after he eats a vegetable and causing him to free Nova. The Contemplator detects the interference of the Cotati and tries to send an astral projection to warn Reptyl, but he's repelled by a forecefield. A guard says that Reptyl doesn't like to be disturbed while he's sleeping.
And it's true, he really doesn't.
Reptyl's guard looks to be the same race as Sphinxor from Strange Tales #178 and Marvel Two-In-One #61-63.
Nova moves to rescue the Surfer...
...and Reptyl decides to jettison the Surfer and flee, since they are pirates, not warriors.
But the heralds' quest is still basically resolved because, well, Galactus isn't the only person that can eat an Elder.
This story does show a limitation of the Silver Surfer series. If he's not involved in truly cosmic storylines, fighting Elders or entire armies of Kree directed by the Supreme Intelligence, he's so vastly overpowered that you have to come up with implausible contrivances to have him involved in "normal" plots. I have a hard time believing that a hodge-podge group of pirates led by a talking lizard have the power to take down a herald of Galactus, even for a little while, and i don't find space pirates to be villains worthy of the Surfer.
There's no, doubt, though, that Reptyl is a significant character. After all, he appeared in the Silver Surfer's 8-bit Nintendo game.
Someone writes in to the lettercol to ask how Ego the Living Planet can be considered the last of his race and therefore an Elder if the Living Monolith also is a Living Planet nowadays. They are pretty obviously a case of convergent origins and not the same species, but the response is that the letter has given Marvel a plot idea (although not one that i think ever comes to fruition).
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
Clumsy Foulup is a parody of Tom DeFalco.
Posted by: Michael | May 26, 2014 11:55 PM
The early Steve Englehart stories only represent the first level of quality for this series. The Englehart-Lim stories that follow are better. The Jim Starlin-Ron Lim stories are the best of the series. The Ron Marz-Ron Lim stories are equal to the Englehart-Lim stories in quality. The post-Lim Ron Marz stories are only equal to the early Englehart stories. After the departure of Ron Marz, the title turns to crap.
Posted by: Steven Printz | May 27, 2014 10:47 PM
That panel of Reptyl devouring the Elder was pretty gross
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | May 28, 2014 7:02 AM
Clumsy Foulup becomes a somewhat important recurring character. Reading this in Real-Time, I never understood why he was used so often. But thanks to Michael, I get it.
Posted by: clyde | May 28, 2014 10:38 AM
Is that why Clumsy Foulup eventually winds up taking control of the Kree Empire?
Posted by: ChrisW | May 29, 2014 9:34 PM
After stabbing his boss in the back- yes.
Posted by: Michael | May 29, 2014 9:45 PM
The Coal Sack Nebula actually does exist.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 31, 2014 5:10 PM
I forgot about the mystery of all those Silver Surfer enemies. I saw that ad quite a few years ago before I got into older Marvel stuff and didn't know some of those. Firelord and Mephisto I knew about so they made sense as Surfer bosses, I figured the Skrull Emperor had some technology, didn't know who Karnil Karn/Possessor back then but that Reptyl guy didn't really strike me as a cosmic power and figured he was more of a space thug. Turns out I was right all along.
Posted by: david banes | June 6, 2014 9:27 PM
If Clumsy Foulup is Tom DeFalco, then Big Wheel is Bob Harras and the White Rabbit is Joe Quesada. It would've been tough to include these characters in a Silver Surfer storyline, so I guess in this sense Steve Engelhart was actually lucky to have left the series before problematic became apocalyptic.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 17, 2015 1:15 PM
So does that mean Reptyl is...Jim Shooter? Or is that the Supreme Intelligence?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 26, 2015 8:14 PM
Englehart and Staton had been doing GREEN LANTERN/THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS together for DC, and had just done the MILLENNIUM crossover series. That was Staton's second GREEN LANTERN run, so he'd done a lot of space adventure.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | April 25, 2016 12:00 AM
Luke Blanchard's comment about Staton's work makes a lot of sense. I thought, looking at the "raccoon" type creature that he looked like a member of Ch'p's species from GL Corps.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 21, 2017 1:42 PM
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