Characters Appearing: Adam Warlock, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Black Widow, Captain America, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Hulk, Human Torch, ITT, J. Jonah Jameson, Mephisto, Mole Man, Moondragon, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Thing
Silver Surfer #93-96
Issue(s): Silver Surfer #93, Silver Surfer #94, Silver Surfer #95, Silver Surfer #96
Things start off with a cameo by Spider-Man interrogating a purse snatcher as the Silver Surfer flies out of the sky (and right past Spidey without a hello).
The Surfer has been on Earth for Rick and Marlo's wedding, and despite the fact that the (surviving members of) Fantastic Four were also at the wedding, the Surfer is unaware that the Thing is scarred and that Mr. Fantastic is dead.
The Surfer has bad news of his own (which he says that he didn't think was appropriate to share at the wedding): Nova is also dead. The Human Torch takes issue with the emotionless way that the Surfer delivers the news, and they get into a fight.
The fight attracts the attention of Captain America and Black Widow, who call the Thing and tell him to put an end to the fight or they'll have to step in.
But by the time the Thing and Ant-Man get to the fight, the Torch has calmed down and it's over. Not long after that, Ant-Man detects some unusual seismic activity, and the Surfer is invited to go with the Fantastic Four (sans Sue, who doesn't appear in these issues) to Monster Island to investigate. The Mole Man sends some monsters to attack them when they arrive.
But Adam Warlock makes him call off the attack and apologize. After that, Warlock gives the FF permission to investigate the seismic activity, but says that the Infinity Watch are engaged in other matters and can't help. However, Warlock asks to speak to the Surfer privately, and warns him that his soul is in danger. Warlock uses his Soul Gem and determines that the Surfer will be tempted with "power", "greed", "lust", and more. We see an image of a wantonly posed Nova, among other things. More than that is shielded from Warlock's eyes.
Surfer then returns to the FF and they go underground. Ant-Man's readings lead him to a group of Skrulls. After a brief fight, it turns out that the Skrulls are the ones that were seen in the "New FF" issues (Fantastic Four #347-349).
It turns out that after those FF issues (and Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #3), a contingent of Skrulls were left behind to watch over the ITT (Inorganic TechnoTroid) from those stories. The robot had bonded to some of the Monster Island monsters, but the "dull-witted creatures" lost interest in raising the robot, which is now an adolescent. And the ITT is too powerful for the Skrulls to deal with, and their communication has been repurposed so that they can watch TV.
The Fantastic Four (Thing, Human Torch, Ant-Man, and Silver Surfer) agree to help, although the Thing requires some badgering before he's willing to help Skrulls. They decide that since the ITT was bonded to monsters, the Thing might be able to approach it. That doesn't work, though.
And it turns out the robot is a match even for the Surfer.
But the Surfer, the Thing, and the Torch are able to keep it busy while Ant-Man gets inside it and reprograms it. Perhaps inspired by the Walt Simonson story, Ron Marz writes some genuinely funny scenes beyond what i usually expect from him.
Ant-Man also repairs the Skrulls' communication equipment so that they can call for a pick-up.
But the ITT wasn't the source of the disturbance that brought the FF into the tunnels, so they keep going. And they run into the Hulk. Who immediately gets into a trash-talking contest with the Thing which the Surfer has to break up.
The Hulk is here because the Pantheon's scientific branch has detected the same readings as Ant-Man.
As they continue on, the Hulk and the Surfer talk about Mephisto's attack at Rick and Marlo's wedding.
The quest eventually leads the group to an Atlantean burial site.
Which is guarded by a wizard and some swordsmen.
They all turn out to be insubstantial ghosts, though. The wizard causes a cave-in before disappearing.
When they get out of the cave-in, they find... Nova!
It's a fun set of issues even if, as we'll learn next issue, a lot of the mystery elements - seismic readings, the temple - are just part of a massive ruse and therefore have no real resolution. The basic plot might have worked even better as a straight Fantastic Four story; having them explore areas of the Marvel Universe and meet a bunch of characters is right up their alley, and the problem with having the Silver Surfer along is that there are very few threats that challenge him. At least the ITT had already been established as being mega powerful.
The thing about the Silver Surfer book is that there are no supporting characters and therefore no subplots. Even these issues, with all the guest stars, are completely linear. Couple that with tons of padding (the Surfer is obviously not in danger fighting the Human Torch or the Mole Man's monsters, so we don't need pages and pages of splash panels detailing the battles) and the story is very light. It's still decently written and entertaining, and reading them now when you don't have to wait a month between issues and aren't worried about what you paid for them, they're fun quick reads.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Since it was Rick and Marlo's wedding that brought the Silver Surfer to Earth, he shouldn't appear elsewhere (in space) between that entry and this one. Spider-Man's appearance is a context-free cameo. The Avengers appearance is also context-free (Cap isn't wearing his armor). Takes place before the break-up of the Pantheon in Hulk #424-425.
The MCP have this between Warlock & the Infinity Watch #33-34 and Fantastic Four #388-389. It's worth noting that when the Silver Surfer offers the Human Torch "congratulations", presumably because Lyja is pregnant, the Torch doesn't correct him. Which supports placement before FF #389 when Lyja tells the Torch that the egg isn't his baby.
The next arc continues directly from this one, and see that arc for the reason one character is tagged here and another one isn't.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This seems to be one of the few times that we see the Thing with his scarred face uncovered. He hid it for most of his subsequent appearances.
Posted by: clyde | March 23, 2018 1:34 PM
Those Skrulls are so obviously ripped off from Art Adams' pencils on FF 347-349.
Posted by: Bob | March 25, 2018 2:47 AM
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