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Byron Brewer

The Silver Surfer Story


Lo, a streak of silver By Byron Brewer   Be it in the comics, in movies or even in the realm of TV animation, it is hard to find a more appealing character, a more tortured soul than the cosmic champion known as the Silver Surfer. A creation of the great Jack “King” Kirby, this alien on a flying surfboard became the hit of what fanboys call “The Galactus Trilogy” from a three-issue Fantastic Four arc, possibly the greatest character Marvel has ever brought forth next to Galactus himself. Most recently the Silver Surfer has fought alongside other powerhouse cosmic champions in The Thanos Imperative and with quasi-gods on the God Squad in Chaos War. Spinning out of the latter event in February 2011 comes the one we’ve all been waiting for: another solo ride (albeit too short) for the Surfer in a five-issue limited series by writer Greg Pak and artist Stephen Segovia. The Silver Surfer was born Norrin Radd on the idyllic planet Zenn-La (in the DenebSystem of our own galaxy). His father is Jartan Radd, his mother Elmar Radd, and his half-brother Fennan Radd (Fennan the son of a woman Jartran was involved with after Elmar's suicide). All four are part of an ancient and significantly advanced civilization that has lost the will to strive or explore, leaving the young scholar Norrin Radd restless and yearning for something more than the idle pleasure pursued by his fellows. Faced suddenly with the total destruction of his world by planet-consuming Galactus, Radd strikes a deal with the seemingly omnipotent space god. In return for the safety of Zenn-La and his lover, Shalla-Bal, Radd pledges himself to serve as Galactus' Herald and to seek out other planets for the World Devourer to feed on. In striking this bargain, Radd also satisfies his long-held desire to adventure beyond the limiting world of his home. Accepting the young mortal's sacrifice, Galactus imbues him with a portion of the Power Cosmic, transforming him into the Silver Surfer. Radd proceeds to serve Galactus for an unspecified amount of time -- possibly as long as several millennia – until he eventually arrives on Earth. After deciding that the planet is ripe for Galactus' nourishment, he summons his master. Here the Surfer meets the Fantastic Four and Alicia Masters. He is knocked off the roof by the Thing, but found by Alicia. Touched by their nobility, he chooses to rebel against Galactus and battled him in an attempt to prevent his master from consuming the planet. Galactus is eventually driven off, but as punishment for this rebellion he confines the Surfer to the planet with an invisible barrier that affects only him. After years in exile upon Earth, the Surfer finally manages to pierce Galactus' barrier once and for all by acting on the Thing's simple suggestion of trying to pass through on a spaceship instead of via his own power on his surfboard. He also manages to make peace with Galactus by rescuing his then-Herald, Nova (Frankie Raye), from the Skrulls. After this, Galactus finally declares the Surfer's long exile ended. He immediately revisits his homeworld, but Shalla-Bal, in his absence, had become empress of the rejuvenated Zenn-La and hence unable to renew their romance. In one of his space adventures, the Surfer discovers the way in which Galactus tampered with his mind and soul during his time as Herald. Further aspects of his past life are also revealed, including the fact that he saw his mother's dead body after she slit her own wrists and that his father, a prominent scientist, was accused of having plagiarized and shot himself in response to Norrin's disappointment. During the Infinity Gauntlet, the Surfer confronts these memories and comes to forgive himself. The Surfer eventually returns again to Zenn-La to find that the planet has vanished, and 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. Losing his capacity for emotion again, the Surfer returns to Earth. He later regains his personality during a time-travel adventure and sharing a romance with Alicia Masters. The two ultimately part as friends after many adventures together. Much later, the Surfer 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. The Surfer and Big G are defeated and captured during the war and given to Annihilus and the mad Titan Thanos for experimentation. Thanos learns of Annihilus' more nefarious goals and attempts to free Galactus, but before he can do so, Thanos is killed by Drax. When Drax discovers Thanos' plan, he frees the Surfer, 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. After helping defeat the threat of a Cancerverse and battling with a Chaos King, the Sentinel of the Spaceways is preparing for … the unknown. We know Galactus may be involved in some way, and word has it the High Evolutionary will be there as well. We will see where the ebb and flow of the cosmic currents take the silver board and its rider next!