72. Where Soars the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four Issue Seventy-Two 72 Silver Surfer

Issue Seventy-Two

So the Fantastic Four’s break-up didn’t last very long. Reed and Sue got half way to California before Reed was summoned back to deal with a crisis. It seems all the palaver about Sue being pregnant was just effectively a device to completely seal her out of the team. Why not keep her around and put her into even more jeopardy? At least she’d serve a plot purpose.

But who’s to say that would be better. Anyway, Crystal is still hanging around and for some reason she hasn’t taken the opportunity to fully join in one of the FF’s fights. Would it be too much for her to pit her elemental powers against a villain at some point? The Silver Surfer would have been the perfect foe to try a whirlwind on.

Fantastic Four Issue Seventy-Two 72 Surfing with the alien

The Silver Surfer actually almost surfing. Almost.

Yes, the Surfer’s still bobbing around. But this time he’s appeared to menace and harass the humans who have made their own lives miserable through their greed and exploitation of others. “The only way to make them cease their constant warring,” the Surfer declares, “Is to provide for them a common foe!  Let them unite… To battle me… The ultimate enemy!”

Which is a good plan. It is consistent with the Surfer’s violent past as herald to Galactus — why would he not try to solve this problem with violence? He’s run ahead to scout out planets to destroy for sustenance, which isn’t a job which affords a lot of experience with nuance and finesse. Additionally, he is almost driven to madness with desperation at being trapped on such a corrupted little planet.

Fantastic Four Issue Seventy-Two 72

An interesting theological note is struck a couple times this issue.

The Surfer then proceeds to throw his power cosmic around, destroying buildings, mountains, the pyramids, and generally causing havoc. It’s not the FF that eventually stop him  however, it’s the army and their ‘sonic shark’ missile which is designed to chase the Surfer down and somehow leech the power cosmic off of him. The FF are on hand, however, to save it from destroying him completely, and then we are faced with a disappointingly rapid about-face of Surfer’s character and motivation. Somewhere between tearing through buildings and being defeated by the first thing that the humans tried to stop him with, he has come to find that life is a beautiful, precious, and delicate things and must be cherished dearly. If it were me, I’d be highly suspicious of such a quickly changed tune, especially in light of the fact that mankind did not unite or resolve any of their outstanding problems during the course of his temper tantrum.

Fantastic Four Issue Seventy-Two 72

The Silver Surfer beating an exceptionally suspicious fast retreat.

It’s good enough for Reed, Ben, and Johnny however, and they very cheerfully wave him off, happily ignoring the irrevocable damage he’s made of urban areas, ancient historical landmarks, and natural ecosystems.

The only thing that stops this issue from scoring very, very lowly is Kirby’s phenomenal art.


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