Silver Surfer #1

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With summer right around the corner, its beach season. To celebrate, I’m going to read about the premier surfer in comics history–the Silver Surfer. Granted, the chrome-domed hero never actually steps foot on a beach, but go along with me.

Silver Surfer #1 expands the character’s back story, showing what makes the man formerly known as Norrin Rand tick and why he made the choices in his life. It’s pretty clear that this is a continuation from his debut appearances in Fantastic Four, which is one of the things that I really like about the Stan Lee-helmed Marvel books of the early 1960s. The continuity really works, as he was co-scripting and editing everything the company was releasing.

Norrin lives on the far off planet of Zenn La, which is a perfect utopia. Unfortunately for him, he finds that society around him has become weak, if not ambivalent to the world around them. They overly rely on their technology and no one has the ambition to do anything out of he ordinary.

This lack of purpose is really evident when the world devouring Galactus comes to destroy Zenn La. Once their defense systems have failed, they whole civilization has pretty much given up.

So to save the planet (well mostly to save his longtime fiancée Shalla-Bal), Norrin makes an offering to Galactus. If the cosmic destroyer would spare this planet, he would serve as a herald of sorts, searching for planets that are less civilized for Galactus’ feeding. Norrin gives up everything that is important to him (Shalla-Bal’s love) in order to save his home planet.

Before you completely applaud Norrin’s nobility, he does look at this heraldship as an opportunity to explore the universe, as living in a Utopia is fairly boring. Now that we have a better understanding of his character, we have a better sense on why he was so upset to be imprisoned on Earth for defying him.

The writing on this (and the subsequent issues) is some of Stan Lee’s best. There is a fine mix of high-concept science fiction mixed in with his best Shakespeare-styled dialogue. It might be a little silly, but at the time no one was doing anything like this in comics. On the art side, John Buscema is just great

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Friday Fights #11: Galactus vs. Unicron

 It’s Friday and you know what that means! It’s time for Friday Fights! This week’s battle features the two best known world eating demigods in geek culture; I’m talking about Galactus and Unicron! So what would happen if these two behemoths battled?

SIZE MATTERS: These two are both roughly the size of the planet Earth. It’s kind of hard to put a finger on actually how large they are and can be thanks to both of them being able to increase and decrease their size at will. Neither are beings of flesh and blood. What does matter is what makes them up. Although both of them were created roughly at the beginning of time as cosmic entities, Unicron seems to have a disadvantage being more constructed mechanically. That said, it seems that physical attacks can take more of a toll on Unicron. ADVANTAGE: Galactus

FEEDING TIME: Both of these guys exist to consume planets in order to sustain their existence. Galactus uses his enormous spaceship the Taa II to assist him in devouring planets. Unicron shape shifts into a planet that, well, eats other planets. ADVANTAGE: UnicronHe would just attempt to devour Galactus headfirst, absorbing his energy.

HERALD SQUARE: Galactus has a bunch of various heralds usually on his good side, including Terrax, Nova and Firelord. Unicron has his own posse of Decepticons like Galactus and the various scourges. ADVANTAGE: Neither.

TINY THREATS: Even though these two are both godlike, they can both be defeated by something tiny. Respectively, Galactus and Unicron can be stopped by using (or even threatening use of) the Ultimate Nullifier and the Matrix. ADVANTAGE: Unicron. I don’t see Galactus getting his hands on the Matrix, but I can see Unicron using his mech powers to create a knock off Ultimate Nullifier that would cause some damage to Galactus.

THE WINNER:  Unicron. Literally, he’s a destruction machine. Galactus is no match for his onslaught, and Unicron would absorb his power, keeping him not hungry and planets around the galaxy safe from being devoured for many years.

Ghost Rider vs. Galactus?

Have you ever wondered who would win during a Ghost Rider/Galactus fight? The Fantastic Four episode “Planet Eater” addresses that problem. Our fiery headed biker joins forces with the Fantastic Four to stop the devourer of worlds. The only difference is that he isn’t that concerned with saving the earth as much as vengeance.

As we remember, Ghost Rider is a spirit of vengeance, a sort of demonic agent of penance. He rides around making those who have taken a life pay for their crimes. So someone like Galactus would be a big target for him.

Think about it this way; our planet has over four billion people living on it. If Galactus ate the earth, that’s the equivalent of killing that many people at once. Galactus has been around forever, so that death toll is pretty high. I won’t spoil the episode for you, but let’s say that Ghost Rider’s “penance stare” (him channelling and projecting the pain and suffering of victims) is pretty good Galactus repellant.

Because this is from the mid 1990s, he does the penance stare and his jacket, it is safe to say that this is the Dan Ketch incarnation of Ghost Rider. In this episode, Ghost Rider is voiced by Richard Grieco from 21 Jump Street.