Silver Surfer #70-75
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #70, Silver Surfer #71, Silver Surfer #72, Silver Surfer #73, Silver Surfer #74, Silver Surfer #75
I've mentioned before that i think some explanation ought to be given for why Galactus seemed to just have one herald for centuries and then suddenly had several heralds in a rather short period of time. We will (not in this story) find out that Galactus actually had a herald prior to Silver Surfer, but the question still remains. I guess possibly the answer is that once Galactus took the Surfer as a herald, he found him to be useful, so after the Surfer rebelled he kept trying to get new ones. We've learned at this point that the Surfer was (more or less) brainwashed when Galactus made him a herald, but for some reason Galactus hasn't done that with his subsequent heralds, and so they tend to rebel for one reason or another. So i guess the real question is why hasn't Galactus brainwashed his subsequent heralds? Instead of doing that, for his most recent two heralds, Galactus selected people that seemed like they were naturally suited for the role. Terrax was a villain, immoral, so Galactus initially assumed that he'd be well suited to leading him to populated planets (until Terrax rebelled for different reasons than the other heralds). Nova, when Galactus met her, was more amoral than immoral, and that potentially made her even better suited than Terrax, because she wouldn't mind Galactus eating "bug eyed monsters" but also didn't have Terrax's personal ambition. And it seems like that would have worked well if not for the meddling of the Silver Surfer, who got Nova to change her mind in Silver Surfer #51. Since then, she's been trying to lead Galactus to unpopulated planets, but hasn't always been able to do that, and she reaches her breaking point at the start of this arc.
She tries to hide a populated planet from Galactus, but he sees through her ruse and imprisons her...
...and goes to the planet anyway. The planet is in a stage of development similar to Europe's medieval period, and Galactus is met by an executioner named Morg.
Morg has gotten a new skin tone since he was previewed last issue.
Galactus decides to make Morg his new herald. My first thought was that Morg is a lot like Terrax, and that Galactus is repeating a mistake. But whereas Terrax was the ruler of his planet, Morg is just an executioner, and a point is made to show that he's been loyal to whoever is in charge, and he's content to transfer that loyalty to Galactus.
Morg is given power that is said to "rival my first turncoat herald".
One thing that i think gets missed with these transformations, and especially in the case of Morg, is the sense of wonder that should come from someone stuck in a medieval time period that is suddenly met by a) the proof of life beyond the stars, b) a giant man in a giant purple helmet that eats your planet, and c) a chance to soar the spaceways. Morg is as provincial as you can get; a local executioner on a primative planet. It's one thing to show him acting defiant when Galactus first shows up; that's a demonstration of his character. But at some point the significance of what's happening should sink in, and you'd think Morg would be humbled, or amazed, or something, when he's brought into space and allowed to fly around thanks to cosmic powers. I guess it's all still about his character; this guy is just literally a hatchet man who doesn't look beyond his nose.
Nova is sent away, seemingly of her own accord, but we'll see something different soon. Then Silver Surfer shows up, looking to continue his conversation with Nova. Instead, he learns about Morg, and isn't happy to see a sociopath with cosmic powers. So they get into a fight.
Morg beats the Surfer, and leaves him floating in space, telling him that if they meet again, he'll kill him.
So Silver Surfer dusts himself off and begins to go around and get the other former heralds of Galactus to help him fight Morg. He starts with Firelord.
They then go to find Nova. And this is when the story gets a little weird. They trace Nova's trail to a planet with a a lot of prostitution and strip clubs.
And they find Nova, her mind blanked out, working at a strip club.
I don't know why you would do this. Nova has always been a free spirited character with a unique personality. She's finally free of the yolk of Galactus, and this is what you do with her? Mind wipe her and overtly sexualize her? This seems to be typical of Ron Marz's treatment of female characters, and it's pretty bizarre. The sad thing is that, unlike Morg, Nova has always appreciated the wonders of space, so there were any number of interesting things that she could have found herself involved with that could have been used as her chapter in this little recruitment story. Instead, her chapter has her mindless and on a stripper's pole.
There is a cute little bit where the Surfer is followed around on the planet by a guy that wants to get into a fight with him to increase his rep...
...and Surfer eventually relents and lets the guy win so that he'll go away. The shock of seeing Surfer defeated is what snaps Nova out of her catatonia. Again, it's a cute little sequence, but it makes Nova a bystander in her own chapter. And it will turn out that this is Nova's final storyline before she is killed off, so it really kind of sucks to have this be the last thing that happens to her as a character (besides participating in the final fight with Morg).
The three Heralds then go to an asteroid field near Xandar, where Firelord has buried Air-Walker's robot body.
Air-Walker is equipped with a homing beacon that will allow the Heralds to locate Galactus when they are ready.
Air-Walker goes a little nuts when he's first reactivated, and in that display of power he burns off his outer layers. But he eventually recognizes Firelord and gets under control.
The heralds then go to get Terrax. Terrax has lost his original body. So he's currently occupying a human body, and he's at reduced power. The Silver Surfer stranded him on a planet that is more water than earth, and without his cosmic axe. But the Surfer offers him freedom if he'll agree to join forces with the other heralds and fight Morg.
The other heralds have to fight him for a while...
but he eventually agrees...
...with the additional condition that they get his axe back first.
And then they go after Morg.
Meanwhile, Morg finds another planet for Galactus to eat, unnecessarily subduing the local population for him.
He also finds a magic pool on the planet, and immerses himself in it.
This imbues him with mystic powers to augment his cosmic abilities.
He assures Galactus that this doesn't affect his loyalty.
When the other Heralds arrive, it's decided that the Surfer should go and try to reason with Galactus while the rest hold off Morg as long as they can.
Galactus is not pleased to have the Surfer challenge him again.
Morg is more than a match for the other Heralds, dismantling Air-Walker...
...destroying Terrax's axe...
...and killing Nova.
In the meantime, Surfer convinces Galactus that Morg wasn't a good pick, saying that heroes will continue to bother Galactus as long as Morg is his Herald.
Galactus relents, and they arrive at the battle between the Heralds just as Nova is being killed.
Galactus is displeased that Morg would kill one of his creations. So he withdraws the cosmic power from him. This leaves Morg with his mystical power. But Terrax (seemingly) kills Morg with Morg's axe.
And then keeps the axe for himself.
Galactus says he's ok with this, because Morg wasn't worthy of his powers.
Firelord and Air-Walker recover from their injuries, but Nova is truly dead. She doesn't really distinguish herself in the final fight - Terrax gets the most play - so her death really feels like fodder for Silver Surfer's continued moping rather than being a final story for her.
Firelord and Air-Walker agree to return as Galactus' heralds, with the idea being that between the two of them they'll be able to find uninhabited planets.
Also in these issues, Geatar takes Nebula to a Doctor Mandibus (his only appearance, i think), who turns Nebula into a cyborg.
She subsequently prepares to free her old crew from a penal colony called the Anvil.
And we see a guy on Earth who is wrapped up like a mummy get up, burn off his bandages, and leave for space.
I think the depiction of Nova in this story is pretty terrible, and overall the story is a little thin. And Galactus doesn't seem to be too smart in his choice of herald but i assume there are all sorts of unknowable calculations going on in his mind that i'm not privvy to. There are also a lot of fun moments and it's cool to see all the heralds teaming up.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
You ever mentioned the kickass cover, which was better than #50's.
Wyman's pencils looked pretty good under Tom Christopher's inks. And Morg was badass...at least until Terrax got to lay the smackdown on him.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | April 18, 2016 2:03 PM
It's a shame Nova is killed off, this was a character that could've and should've stuck as Galactus' herald. Instead now we will end up getting through about another billion heralds every time a writer wants to write Galactus and thinks the herald they've inherited is lame.
But also it comes across as just lazy and transparent that the reason she was killed off was that now Rich is officially just called Nova again.
Posted by: AF | April 18, 2016 2:07 PM
(particularly since Rich was only OFFICIALLY upgraded from "Kid Nova" in New Warriors #26 - the exact same month this story began)
Posted by: AF | April 18, 2016 2:17 PM
The colors in this title are great! I always liked the cement looking texture of Terrax in these issues. Also, why would Nova work at a strip club? She's already "naked".
Posted by: Bill | April 18, 2016 2:39 PM
Wow, I obviously quit reading this series just in time. I had no idea Nova was dead, much less that she died in such a stupid way. One of things I liked most about her was that she was basically cool with Galactus eating planets. Having lived through Galactus appearing on Earth multiple times, I took it as a given she wouldn't aim for planets with sentient beings, but if the master needs food, that's what he gets.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 18, 2016 6:01 PM
At least Marz didn't put Nova in a refrigerator.
I think the first version of the OHOTMU Books of the Dead revealed that a different Air-Walker was a herald before the Silver Surfer.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 18, 2016 6:10 PM
Nova only died so Marz could build up his 90s cliché character, Morg, as a viable threat:(
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 18, 2016 6:33 PM
That OHOTMU entry says the original Air Walker served Galactus for "years" after the Silver Surfer rebelled, then died and was replaced with the robot version (which doesn't make much sense, as it was only about fifty issues between the intro of the Silver Surfer and the intro of Air Walker). I don't think Galactus got a new "first" herald until Keith Giffen introduced the Fallen One.
Posted by: Andrew Murphy | April 18, 2016 8:22 PM
Man, way to remove a lot of the Surfer's initial appeal. He should be Galactus' first and only herald up through "FF" #50. Fans can argue about how long he had been the herald between Zenn-La and Earth, and how hard he tried to steer Galactus away from planets with sentient life, but I think it detracts from anything that made the Surfer an interesting character in his initial Earthbound incarnation.
Galactus existed unto himself. At no point had he ever considered any form of collaboration with any mortals for any reason. Norrin Radd was the first one who ever got through to him on that level. If the big "G" really sees a need, he can create robots, but otherwise he moves like Pac-Man, swallowing one dot after the next in a straight line through the cosmos. He needs no heralds.
And frankly, considering his track record after the Surfer abandoned him, it's strange that he would even try.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 18, 2016 10:52 PM
In agreement with ChrisW - otherwise, Galactus is more like a human-proportioned Sinistar.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | April 19, 2016 2:23 AM
Oh God, Sinistar used to scare me... "RUN COWARD!!!"
Anyway, the alternate-future 'Last Galactus Story' was a far better end for Frankie than this. Heck, even the alternate-future series where she falls for Hercules was an improvement.
Posted by: Oliver_C | April 19, 2016 5:33 AM
The Surfer's reasoning that changed Galactus's mind about Morg is a bit flawed. Shouldn't the fact that Galactus continues to eat inhabited worlds be enough to have everyone opposed to him? Whatever mayhem and destruction Morg causes pales in comparison to what Galactus does when he continues to eat inhabited worlds.
Galactus is the problem here, not Morg. If Galactus promises to only eat uninhabited worlds, Morg, being the loyal being he is, would have listened and, therefore, problem solved. Why wasn't the Surfer angry at Nova for allowing Galactus to eat an inhabited world back in Silver Surfer #51, but is angry at Morg for doing the same thing?
Posted by: OptimusFan | April 19, 2016 7:34 AM
If Galactus only eats uninhabited worlds, does that make him a vegetarian?
Posted by: kveto | April 19, 2016 8:05 AM
Galactus has eaten uninhabited worlds before. If I remember correctly, he once promised to only eat uninhabited worlds.
Better to be a vegetarian than committing death and destruction on a planetary scale.
Posted by: OptimusFan | April 19, 2016 8:21 AM
"Better to be a vegetarian than committing death and destruction on a planetary scale."
Well, that's debatable.
Posted by: kveto | April 19, 2016 8:37 AM
Fo what it's worth, Frankie Raye came back in Kathyrn Immonen's 2011 miniseries, Heralds. Sort of. The Silver Surfer went to a waitress in Nevada name Francis Hyatt, who happened to look something like Frankie Raye and took away her ambition, and then Nova's spirit chased her down and possessed her, forcing her to stab a guy, I think because she hates all men? and then exploded, and she also kidnapped Valeria Richards for no particular reason. The first issue or two was full of clever dialog, but the story got murkier and less fun as it went along. Anyway, Francis Hyatt is now Nova, but I don't think she's been seen since.
Posted by: Andrew | April 19, 2016 10:56 AM
This is part of why I think the one great idea in Earth-X is that Galactus eats planets with a Celestial egg. That gives motivation for Galactus and a need for a herald, to find certain kind of planets. Also, a motivation as to why he would have eaten Earth and not say, all the other planets in the solar system instead. I so wish that concept was canon.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 19, 2016 11:28 AM
Galactus can't just eat any planet; it has to have a specific type of "elemental life" or somesuch. In our solar system, only the Earth could be consumed by Galactus, the rest were "wrong" for him.
Galactus basically serves the purpose of universal population control.
Posted by: Bill | April 19, 2016 12:04 PM
Oliver, I think Byrne even said that was the part of the point of "Last Galactus Story," that Galactus finally had a herald who would stick with him until the end of time.
And I must say, I really don't like the idea that Galactus can only eat specific types of planets. It really defeats the general purpose of being a 'planet-eater,' and if he needs a Celestial's egg to make a planet edible, make him entirely dependent on the Celestials.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 19, 2016 1:14 PM
In Earth X's interpretation, Galactus isn't limited to just eating planets with Celestial eggs. It's his function in the universal scheme to eat such planets, but the hunger is omnipresent and overwhelming regardless. The heralds are to find those Celestial-spawning worlds so he doesn't just make like Pac-Man (or Sinistar - beware, he lives).
OptimusFan, Surfer's reasoning doesn't make sense to me either. Galactus is already on the short list of candidates for Universal Enemy #1. Heroically-minded individuals generally refrain from attacking because they either...
1. realize he'd crush them like an ant.
It doesn't seem like having a herald who's kind of a dick would affect that.
Posted by: Mortificator | April 19, 2016 2:01 PM
Love Lim, but the way he drew Nova with a hollowed out head was just odd. Did Galactus remove her brains after Byrne quit drawing her?
Posted by: Bob | May 17, 2016 6:06 PM
Frankie/Nova showed up in the final issue of FEARLESS DEFENDERS. She joined the team at the end, but the series was cancelled at that point.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | December 27, 2017 10:20 AM
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