Silver Surfer #21
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #21
First, I was told to go back to the formula which hadn't worked: one issue stories, with a moral, while he pined for his lost girlfriend (who hadn't been his girlfriend since issue 2 of this run).
I don't have a strong opinion on the second point (i think the way Jim Starlin will bring back Thanos later in this series worked out perfectly so i don't have any regrets about Steve Englehart not being able to do it earlier), but on the first point there's no doubt that Englehart's build up of a multi-threaded epic in this series is what's been making it great, so going back to single issue stories and a retread of the Surfer's pining for Shalla Bal would have been terrible. And i can't imagine that it would have helped sales, if that was the problem. It seems to be more about Tom DeFalco pushing his Silver Age sensibilities. And this is about DeFalco, not editor Craig Anderson (who presumably already approved the Thanos plot); Englehart says that it was DeFalco who told Englehart that beginning with issue #25 he could have half a year to wrap up his storyline without interference, so i assume he was involved at this point as well.
It's because the Thanos story was nixed that this issue is a fill-in. For legitimacy, the original series artist Marshall Rogers is brought in to plot and draw. The story is... i guess i'll say a more light-hearted story despite the fact that it features a lot of death and destruction. It focuses on one of the new Elders introduced in this series, the Obliterator, last seen abandoned on an empty planet after the Silver Surfer destroyed his weaponry. Well it turns out that the planet wasn't all that empty.
And it also turns out that the other Elders can locate him anyway.
And since the planet is populated, why doesn't he just replace his weapons? Der!
In fact, the technology on this planet is such that his weapons will be even better than they were before. Der again!
Contemplator was supposed to come back to him with a ship, but it's at this point that he gets eaten by Reptyl. And that leaves the not-overly-bright Obliterator stranded again, until he realizes that he can just buy a space ship on the planet he's "stranded" on. Final der!
Obliterator heads to Zenn-La to raise hell and force the Silver Surfer into a rematch. The Surfer is hanging out with Nova when Shalla Bal calls him.
Surfer is attacked by some Kree on the way over. They apparently haven't gotten the memo from Nenora that he's not a target anymore.
The Obliterator turns out to be no match for the Surfer this time.
And the Surfer convinces the Obliterator that he can't wipe out the people of Zenn-La, because that would make the Silver Surfer an Elder and then they'd be brothers.
That's a dumb line of reasoning, and a later lettrcol response confirms that this is just the Obliterator being easily tricked and it wouldn't actually make the Surfer an Elder. But once the Obliterator is convinced of that, the Surfer feels secure in just leaving the planet, leaving the Obliterator behind.
Beyond the facile joke ending, Michael Higgins has a punny scripting style and Marshall Rogers has always drawn the Obliterator like a cartoon character. So this story doesn't really do anything to raise the character's profile, and it's no wonder the Obliterator didn't make it into the ranks of the better known Elders like Grandmaster and Champion. Aside from a mostly incidental appearance in Quasar #47-48, this will be the last we see of him.
It's nice to see Rogers return to the book, but it's definitely an inconsequential story that trivializes the Obliterator. If these are the sort of one-and-done stories Defalco had in mind, i don't see it as an improvement.
One other thing that annoys me is a scene showing the Silver Surfer still not able to understand the concept of eating. This is the way he was in his first appearance, but since then Stan Lee humanized the character away from Jack Kirby's original cosmic intention. We've already gotten an explanation in Silver Surfer #5 that the Surfer was suppressing his human side during his first appearance in Fantastic Four #49 when he made the original food comments. So why are we going back to this again? Do the people of Zenn-La not eat with their mouths?
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Next issue is concurrent with Fantastic Four #324, so i've pushed this back in publication time to fit it in. The (fake) Contemplator's appearance here is only in flashback, taking place prior to his "death" in Silver Surfer #12 (between #9 and #10, according to a footnote), so i haven't listed him as a Character Appearing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|