Silver Surfer #1
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #1
The Surfer gleefully flies through the cosmos to return to Zenn-La, only to find it in ruins.
From the survivors, he learns that Galactus returned to their planet after the Surfer betrayed him to save the Earth.
Furthermore, Shalla Bal has been taken by Mephisto.
The Surfer traces Mephisto back to Latveria (see the footnote below for details) and Mephisto manifests.
After a battle...
...Mephisto turns the tables by sending Bal back to Zenn-La. Since the Surfer has returned to Earth, he is again stuck behind the barrier and cannot follow. Back on Zenn-La, Shalla Bal mysteriously begins restoring life to the ground she walks upon.
Obviously it's not the first time we've seen Shalla Bal, but i still find it disappointing to learn that she's still alive and young. It implies that the Surfer wasn't Galactus' herald for very long. Still, that's not a problem with this particular issue.
It's a bit unclear to me if it really was Galactus who destroyed Zenn-La or if it was an illusion of Mephisto's. Shalla Bal's strange restorative powers implies that it wasn't Galactus, maybe.
Byrne's fantastic artwork help elevate Stan Lee's script, which is similar to his earlier work on the older Silver Surfer series.
There's a panel in this issue that was used on the cover of Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Thing is in his classic rocky skin, placing this after Fantastic Four #245.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
This was first announced as Giant Silver Surfer, and it started out originally as an intended sequence in Byrne's Fantastic Four.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 11, 2012 4:04 PM
Wow. Tom Palmer over John Byrne. I love Palmer on Buscema but I'm not sure I like this combination as much.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | May 18, 2013 1:55 AM
funny, the FF here looks nothing like Byrne's FF... look at Reed's face in that first page... looks very much like Byrne did a tribute to Buscema, in both character design (esp on the Surfer) and page layout
Posted by: pgunn | December 16, 2015 3:49 PM
The image of the Surfer emerging from Galactus's hand derives from the opening of the 1978 THE SILVER SURFER graphic novel, which was by Lee and Kirby and out of continuity.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | December 17, 2015 1:48 AM
I cannot say for certain, but I thought that it had been established elsewhere that the Silver Surfer really had served as Galactus' herald for centuries, and the reason why Shalla Bal never appears older is that Zenn-La is so far advanced scientifically that its people live for hundreds of years.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 7, 2016 9:32 PM
The fact that Zenn-Lavians "have average lifespans of thousands of years" has been mentioned in various Official Handbooks. There is also (at least) one issue (#9) of the third Silver Surfer series in which Norrin Radd talks to Shalla-Bal about how they had seen each other only four times in "all the centuries" since he left Zenn-La.
Still, I don't think there's ever actually been a story in which anyone directly points out how old Shalla-Bal must be.
Posted by: Don Campbell | January 8, 2016 12:18 AM
The fact that the Silver Surfer served as the herald of Galactus for centuries, but Shalla-Bal is still alive in the present day, is probably an indication that Stan Lee didn't fully think things through when he gave the character a completely different origin from what Jack Kirby intended.
In any case, regarding this specific story, Shalla Bal's "strange restorative powers" are a result of the Surfer imbuing her with a portion of the Power Comic right before she passes through the energy barrier keeping him on Earth. This is verified a few years later by Steve Englehart in issue #2 of the Surfer's ongoing series.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 27, 2018 1:22 PM
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