Silver Surfer #4
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #4
Loki dupes the Silver Surfer, who is hanging out with the animals in the jungle....
...into fighting Thor, who is hosting a feast with his fellow Asgardians. Despite the fact that both sides of the battle can sense that their opponent isn't truly evil, they fight for a while before they figure out they've been set up and Loki returns the Surfer to Earth.
Odin, watching the fight from afar, sees that it's a set-up but figures it's a good fight anyway so he lets it continue. Then he goes to take a nap. Excuse me. An Odinnap.
Loki says he is able to circumvent Galactus' barrier in order to bring the Surfer to Asgard. I don't know if that means he would have been able to leave Asgard and been free, or if due to Asgard's relationship with Earth Galactus' barrier just didn't apply.
Loki also combines his power with the Surfer's for this fight. This is all relating to the fact that after Fantastic Four #72 the Surfer has been somewhat de-powered.
This was a good fight book with some very nice Buscema art.
Sean Howe includes the following anecdote in a footnote in his book Marvel: The Untold Story:
John Buscema decided to break from the Kirby style for Silver Surfer #4, and swelled with pride when he turned in the pages. "People were congratulating me on this particular issue. Stan tore the book to pieces!..." Demoralized, Buscema wandered into John Romita's office and asked, "John, how the hell do you do comics?".
John's brother Sal Buscema has his first appearance in my collection here, contributing inks.
An appearance by Volstagg is always enjoyable.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Either before or after Thor leaves for his big fight with Ego and Galactus. My preference is before. Prior to Thor #160, Thor has only heard of Galactus in legend. He also doesn't have any familiarity with the Silver Surfer in this issue (unlike Thor, Loki seems aware of Galactus but Loki is more likely to be aware of such things). After his fight with Galactus and subsequently learning Galactus' origin, he would be more likely to be aware of the Silver Surfer.
Before settling on using the Silver Surfer as a pawn, Loki considers using the Hulk, the Thing, and Hercules, but rejects them all for various reasons. Each is shown in a single panel engaged in battle. To me it looks like the Thing is fighting the living totem robot from Fantastic Four #80, but the Marvel Chronology Project has him appearing during Fantastic Four #88.
Either way, it shouldn't really matter for placement as Loki may just as well be looking into the past or the future. Hulk's and Hercules' battles are context-free.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Fantasy Masterpieces #4
The title is taken from the 1968 Clint Eastwood Western "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly". Not very significant, but Stan usually didn't crib titles from other sources.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 11:20 PM
The cover is one of the Silver Age greats.
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 2, 2014 6:56 AM
Ha! One issue after the great panel of Mephisto on his throne, we have one of Loki on hist throne. And as Michael pointed out, if there's one person who lies more than Mephisto, it's Loki.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 27, 2015 1:34 PM
I've always liked the paper/scissors/stone effect of Marvel's big three power heroes.
Hulk beats Thor
Posted by: kveto | February 21, 2016 11:35 AM
That story about Stan tearing into Buscema's artwork is heartbreaking, and so stupid on Stan's part. Stan may be proud of himself, but it was Buscema's art in the first four issues that made this series so great. The conflicts with Kirby and Ditko seem inevitable: both of them really wanted to write their own stories, which just wasn't going to happen. But Buscema only wanted to make beautiful art, and the Silver Surfer really gave him a grand canvas, but Stan just slapped him down for no damn reason.
Posted by: Andrew | October 9, 2016 6:44 AM
The anecdote about Stan tearing apart Buscema's art on this issue comes from this Buscema interview: http://www.twomorrows.com/kirby/articles/18buscema.html
Note that Stan would later reverse his opinion & consider it their best work together. If Buscema had indeed ditched the Kirby layouts for this issue, presumably Stan's poor reaction was due to his thinking that Kirby's way was the "right" way to do comics, & so his immediate reaction to Buscema deviating from that was negative, though in time he adjusted to appreciating Buscema doing things differently.
(Stan was similarly prescriptive on the "right" way to do dialogue - I think some of the early writers who followed Stan have said it took a while for Stan to trust that they knew what they were doing. Roy Thomas has said Stan would "go over every single page" rewriting his dialogue and that "I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said and I still think there are other ways to do certain things" but that he accepted Stan was his boss & so followed Stan's instructions.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 19, 2018 7:31 AM
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