XTREME Holofoil Edition: Silver Surfer #50
- Published on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 12:00
- Written by Jordan
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The Silver Surfer #50
Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Tom Christopher
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Tom Vicent
The Silver Surfer is an interesting character. He is sometimes a villain and other times he is the hero that protects the universe from the evil that seeks to destroy it. He is either a “Herald of Destruction” or the last bastion for life. It is an interesting dichotomy for a character to possess. For a character of high moral fiber, he tends to have a dark streak. This is explored in Silver Surfer #50.
(Please excuse the quality of the scans as the book's cardstock cover made it impossible to get a flat scan without damaging the binding)Silver Surfer #50 is an interlude before the Infinity Gauntlet event that took place in the early 90’s. As such, Thanos has just come into possession of the infinity gems and the gauntlet, which grants him with god-like powers. The Surfer was speeding through space to warn the heroes of Earth of Thanos and the threat he poses to the universe, but the Surfer’s inter-stellar flight is interrupted as he is caught in an explosion and falls to the surface of the Moon. It is there, on the surface of the moon, he comes face to face with newly formed Avatar for the omnipotent spirit of Thanos.
Surfer questions the purpose of the Avatar, thinking it is going to be used as a weapon, but Thanos mildly replies with a maybe but stating the purpose is to delay him. He begins the delay by bringing up they are not all that different. The Surfer, seeing through his stalling tactics, tries to destroy and escape the stone avatar but he cannot destroy something that is not truly the soul of the evil god. Thanos takes notice that he hit a nerve with the comment on how similar the two are and begins to toy with the Surfer. To prove his point, Thanos uses the Mind Gem to probe into the Surfer’s memories.
We are first taken to a young Norrin Radd on Zenn-La. Young Norrin and his friend are commenting on the state of Zenn-La, a world so perfect that their will to do anything amazing has gone away. We are introduced to Norrin’s father here and he echoes the sentiment of Norrin, thinking his people are wasting their potential.
Surfer is not letting this mental probe go on without a fight, but he is quickly outmatched by Thanos and the probing resumes and we are back on Zenn-La where we begin to see the decadence of the society. With their lives all but solved for them, the residents of Zenn-La have taken to recreational drugs to go on mind-alternating adventures.
After a brief interlude between Thanos and the Surfer, we are taken further into the Surfer’s memories, a few years later, where we see Norrin passing the rite ofpassage in the Zenn-La culture. It is not long after that we learn that Norrin’s father, Jartran, has won the highest scientific honor in their society. Jartran is reluctant about the prize as it was for a simple dream machine, nothing like the grand plans he has made. He tells Norrin that he is destined for greatness and hopes he does not have to deal with the complex system of funding in the future.
Thanos comes back from the memories and ask Surfer how is dad would feel about him now. The Surfer retaliates with another cosmic blast that is shaken off by the Avatar. Thanos, now angered, continues his probe and threaten the Surfer’s life if he keeps resisting.
Back in the past, a few more years have passed, and it has come out that Jartran has violated procedure in his award winning dream machine. He failed to acknowledge or seek authority to use someone else’s research. Norrin confronts his father and grows disdain for the man he once idolized once he finds out his father just forgot to cite his sources.
The Surfer resists the probe yet again and actually gets the upperhand on Thanos by using his board to shatter the Avatar.
But, as before, you cannot truly destroy what is not truly the soul of Thanos. Thanos is now beyond frustrated and begins a probe that could scramble the Surfer’s mind.
In the memories, it is revealed to both Thanos and the Surfer that Norrin was the force that drove his father to commit suicide. His father could not live to see his son disappointed in him. It is hinted at that this was the major driving force for Norrin joining Galactus as his Herald.
The shock of the revelation of his Father’s suicide along with Thanos mocking him drove the Surfer to destroy the avatar of Thanos in a fit of rage. Instead of just reconstituting his form as he previously did, Thanos lets the Surfer go warn the heroes of Earth. The Silver Surfer, lamenting about his hand in his father’s death, knowing Thanos was correct that they are not very different, and feeling the side effect from the mind probe crashes into Dr. Strange‘s Sanctuary Sanctum on Earth in a daze.
Silver Surfer #50 delivers a solid story from the talented Jim Starlin. He unravels the Surfer’s past in a way that connects the reader with the emotion of the character. Once connected, the reader is taken on a journey that shows the Surfer’s troubled past and that he is not the flawless saint he once thought he was. The dialog was written with grandeur behind it. Every word that Thanos speaks carries the weight and tone of an already victorious villain. You can feel the desperation from the Surfer and the remorse he feels about his hand in his father’s suicide. Everything about the writing felt just right. I especially loved the world of Zenn-La that was created through simple storytelling techniques. I found it very intriguing that his father committed suicide over an invention that was a part of the culture he despised. There was a lot of weight in this comic and, when considering it was nothing more than filler before the main event of the Infinity Gauntlet, that is amazing. You do not find comics like this anymore and that is a shame. This comic was a very well written piece.
As for the art side of the issue, Ron Lim did an amazing job with the illustration. The detail work is great and makes every panel come to life. The characters are all unique especially Thanos. You can see the foreboding atmosphere he brings to the table. There is a sense of dread when you look into the avatar’s soulless eyes. The Surfer gleams throughout the comic and feels metallic without resorting to metallic ink. The Surfer’s home world is given a futuristic utopia and a personality about it. It is not a sterile world, but one that is colorful and full of fancy. The space scenes are lively instead of the usual black backdrop with small white dots. There are clouds and an array of colorful lights in the sky that give the void of space an aesthetically pleasing look. Even the body language of the comic was phenomenal. In the slightest ways, you can see the emotions of the characters and there does not even need to be a word said. The art in this issue was fantastic and truly cosmic.
Overall, Silver Surfer #50 is a darn fine comic and a must read. May not be the easiest comic to find but one well worth the effort. I highly recommend it if you get the chance to purchase it. The art and story are something out of this world and you cannot miss it.
XTREME Holofoil XTRA:
This week’s comic features a unique embossed foil cover in which only the Surfer and his name are embossed with silver foil. It makes the comic pop and, like I said, unique. From what I hear, this was the first gimmick cover from Marvel. This is the one that started them all folks.