Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Radd Review: Top 4 Big Bads


In anticipation of the Silver Surfer’s first solo outing in awhile, Cosmic Book News staffers have combed over the Shining One’s history to rate the villains in his life. Here is the office’s official Top 4! After you consider these cosmic creeps, log onto the CBN forums and list your own top Silver Surfer villains, OK? Number 4: Elders of the Universe – During Steve Englehart’s acclaimed run on the second Silver Surfer series, it seems the former Norrin Radd was always inadvertently becoming involved in the plots of this group of gents whose hobbies keep them young even as the Super Soldier juice in his veins does for Steve Rogers. Embroiled in fresh hostilities between the interstellar Kree and Skrull empires, the Surfer intervenes in a series of plots by the Elders, who plan to become supremely powerful by destroying Galactus and the universe with him! The Surfer thwarts this plot with the aid of his new love interest, Mantis, the Earth-born Avenger also known as the “Celestial Madonna.” She seems to die in the process, and although she eventually returns, she never fully renews their romance. Number 3: Thanos – I think it was a given that once the noblest soul in the universe finally freed himself from the third rock from the Sun, he would eventually run into his antithesis out there in the cosmos, the mad Titan Thanos! The Surfer first encounters the death-worshipping mutant of the race the Eternals around the same time he meets Adam Warlock. The Surfer repeatedly battles other space-born menaces, but Thanos remains chief among them. The Herald of Galactus is also among those who battle the Titan after Thanos wipes out half the life in the universe using the omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet. During Annihilation, he joins other Heralds of Galactus against the forces of the Annihilation Wave, and becomes Galactus' Herald once more, to help save the universe from the despot Annihilus. Later, Thanos learns of Annihilus' more nefarious goals and attempts to free a captured Galactus, but before he can do so, Thanos is killed by Drax the Destroyer. When Drax discovers Thanos' plan, he frees the Surfer (also a captive), who in turn frees Galactus. An enraged Galactus destroys more than half the Annihilation Wave, allowing a group called the United Front to defeat Annihilus. Number 2: Galactus – After falling into a vat of Quicksilver’s hair dye, Norrin Radd of Zenn-La served as Big G’s Herald for what, centuries?, before the spirit of a woman named Alicia Masters and a mudball called Earth reminded the man inside the silver coating who he used to be. And during the “Galactus Trilogy” in Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer’s first opponent was – Galactus! Master vs. Servant, the battle was cosmic in nature if it did happen on Marvel-Earth, but the results were horrendous as the space-faring Herald became trapped on Terra-firma. It took years and a suggestion from Ben Grimm, of all folk, to finally soar the spaceways again. Although there are minor skirmishes, as when the Surfer aided the FF against Galactus’ new Herald, Terrax, by and large the relationship between Galactus and his former (now present) Herald has been one of cooperation, partnership and some might even say friendship. I do not think there is any doubt that the Surfer is the World Devourer’s favorite among all his Heralds (although he has a great loyalty to the Air-Walker as well, for some reason). Number 1: Mephisto – There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this ruler from down under (no, Hell, not Australia, lol) has brought the most grief to the soul of Norrin Radd since their first encounter way back when! During the Surfer’s long exile on Earth, the demonic Mephisto is extremlye persistent – and extremely cruel, especially for the time of this first Stan Lee-scripted series -- in trying to acquire the Surfer's soul by breaking his spirit, but the Surfer's innate nobility thwarts him each time! Also during this time of Earth exile, the Surfer is reunited with Shalla-Bal on several occasions, but almost every time she appears as an unwilling pawn of his enemies (mainly Mephisto), and he is invariably forced to let her go to save the planet. The Surfer finally pierces Galactus' barrier with the aid of Reed Richards and temporarily escapes Earth. He discovers, though, that his homeworld has been ravaged by Galactus and Shalla-Bal has been abducted by Mephisto and taken to Earth. Even though it means trapping himself once more, the Surfer returns to Earth to battle and defeat Mephisto. Before being vanquished, Mephisto sends Shalla-Bal back to Zenn-La, but the Surfer manages to endow her with a portion of his Power Cosmic, which she uses to revitalize the plant life of their ravaged homeworld. (We later learn during a major retcon that the story of Zenn-La is not as it appears here. When the Surfer eventually returns home to Zenn-La to find that the planet has vanished, he learns it was actually destroyed in the 1940s (Earth time) by the entity known as the Other. Zenn-La and its people which the Surfer repeatedly encountered since leaving Galactus' service were actually reproductions, created by Galactus so that the Surfer would have a home to return to.) So as February 2011 approaches, will we add the High Evolutionary to this list? See you in Silver Surfer #1! Be sure to check out an interview with writer Greg Pak!