Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection #1-4
Issue(s): Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection #1, Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection #2, Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection #3, Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection #4
Homecoming and Resurrection feature the death and return, respectively, of Shalla Bal. It's worth noting that it will eventually be revealed that the Shalla Bal that we've been seeing in every present day appearance of her is actually a duplicate created by Galactus. Considering that this story involves saving her soul from Mephisto's realm, there are some interesting metaphysical implications to all of this.
Anyway, after a fairly detailed recap of Homecoming, the story starts off with Adam Warlock desiring an audience with the Silver Surfer. He sends Pip to make the request, and when the Surfer refuses, Pip returns with Drax. They steal the Surfer's board, requiring the Surfer to go with them to Monster Island to retrieve it.
Warlock then makes his offer: Shalla Bal isn't "conventionally dead", and he can bring her back. In return, Warlock says he wants the Surfer's "friendship" (as he grins a bit menacingly).
The Surfer reluctantly agrees, and we already see that Death is anticipating their invasion.
The Surfer and the Infinity Watch engage in some interesting shenanigans to access Death's realm.
They wind up getting attacked by an assortment of monsters working for Death. They fight their way through and eventually locate Shalla Bal's body, but not her soul. To get the soul, they confront Death herself. Death is actually a bit miffed since Warlock helped Thanos invade her realm during Infinity War, but she does accept Warlock's plea for forgiveness, possibly due to Warlock's role in saving her from being Thanos' slave during Infinity Gauntlet (which Warlock brings up). However, Death doesn't have Shalla Bal's soul. Mephisto does. She's not able to actually say that, but one of her servants hints that Death has the ability to expel people from her realm and so she could expel them to wherever they need to go next. Adam Warlock recognizes the danger of agreeing to that, but the Silver Surfer expresses "implied consent", and so the group is sent into Mephisto's realm without preparation.
Mephisto deals with Warlock by encasing him in stone. The rest of the Watch is basically beneath his notice. He tells the Surfer that the situation between them has changed. In the past, Mephisto has desired the Surfer's soul because of its "purity". But it's since been revealed that the Surfer's purity was artificial, due to Galactus' tampering. So now that the Surfer has overcome Galactus' "indoctrination", Mephisto is no longer interested in him, and the Surfer has nothing to bargain with.
The rest of the Infinity Watch then try to attack Mephisto...
...but it doesn't go well.
Then Adam Warlock escapes.
The question is whether Warlock's Soul Gem gives him mastery over all souls, or just mortal ones.
I'm not sure if we get a definitive answer...
...but Warlock is able to strike Mephisto and cause him pain. This causes Mephisto to transform into a boss form. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't the John Romita Jr. version.
Oh no, wait, here it is.
The Silver Surfer and the Infinity Watch, meanwhile, retrieve Shalla Bal's soul. The Surfer gets buried under rubble while Pip telports the rest of the Watch out of Hades with the soul. When the Surfer frees himself, he finds Mephisto sitting calmly at his throne. Mephisto tells the Surfer that Adam Warlock soundly defeated him, and that the terms of the defeat mean that the Surfer is free to leave unmolested. But Mephisto also twists the Surfer's mind into thinking that he was abandoned and that the entire "rescue" is suspicious. So when the Surfer returns to the Watch, it's with a fight in mind. But a resurrected Shalla Bal stops the fight.
But despite the reunion, Shalla Bal still has duties as the empress of Zenn-La. The fact that the Kree have been defeated just means that she has to deal with the Skrull and the Shi'ar. So they part with the same status that they've had since the Surfer has been free of Earth.
As for the Surfer and Warlock, the Surfer says that Warlock may call upon him for a "mutual favor upon request". But as for friendship, Warlock agrees that it was never really part of the bargain, or expected.
This was fine, but it wasn't anything super great. As a regular crossover between the Silver Surfer and Infinity Watch i might not have questioned it, but it's a little underwhelming as a high priced special mini series. I do enjoy seeing Starlin's art again, although he's much heavier on splash panels and lighter on the trippy weirdness that i liked from his 70s art. I also like the fact that Warlock is considered to be untrustworthy and Machiavellian. It's definitely an aspect of this incarnation of the character but it's not something that comes up as much in his regular series since he doesn't have other "good guys" to interact with. One could also question the speed at which Shalla Bal was killed off and then resurrected, or rather the way that the impact of the Homecoming graphic novel was so quickly undermined. And this is another case of Starlin's "pet" characters coming off better than other heroes; despite the Surfer getting top billing and the plot focusing on his needs, he's basically led around by the nose.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place after Warlock comes out of his coma in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #14-15.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAdam Warlock, Death, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Mephisto, Moondragon, Pip the Troll, Shalla Bal, Silver Surfer, Soul Gem, Tricephalous
Starlin's writing has become a lot more personal since his 1970s Warlock run.
1990s Starlin by way of Warlock or Thanos is, in its own way, as preachy as J.M. DeMatteis at his most enthusiastic, albeit with a far more depressing, almost cynical, message that somewhat resembles his 1970s character, Darklon, who he revisits in a way a little later in Warlock Chronicles. He is pretty much preaching to (presumably) himself that life offers little choice but to accept loss and decide to do what must be done regardless.
I keep wondering if he is still digesting the loss of his father at this point. Much of his work since Darklon basically screams "unresolved father issues", particularly the interestingly named 'Breed which seems to be his main work since 1994.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | December 16, 2016 9:22 PM
If you look into the backgrounds of most literature (or art in general) I'd guess probably 75% is based on "unresolved father issues". If you make it "parental issues" it's probably more to 100%.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | December 21, 2017 9:14 AM
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