Friday, February 17, 2012

As I write this, the Gary Friedrich/Ghost Rider case just broke the news, and suffice to say, I'm super-pissed at Marvel. It's one thing to not give creator credit or any sort of compensation, but it's quite another to shake down an older gentleman with health issues for $17,000. I wouldn't say I was looking forward to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, but I probably would've coughed up to see it in the cheap theatre. Now, I don't want any part of it. We'll see if Marvel, as a faceless corporate entity, does anything to rectify this between now and when this posts; or more likely, if Friedrich has to appeal his case. (Steve Niles has set up to get donations to Mr. Friedrich: there may be more to his case, like Marvel being forced to defend their copyright, but it's still the right thing to help the guy out with a few bucks. And that movie is starting to look a little more tempting...)

But, today we'll start looking at a run of books with a series of lessons that are as true now, as when they were written. From 1990, Silver Surfer #40, "Welcome to Dynamo City" Written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Tom Christopher. We mentioned before that the Surfer believed he had killed Thanos, and this issue opens with him returning the body to Titan. Although they don't say as much, both Thanos's father Mentor and brother Starfox are a bit relieved. Drax doesn't buy it: connected by "cosmic binds," he can feel Thanos laughing. Unfortunately, since his resurrection, Drax was, put politely, brain damaged; so no one believes him. (And nobody runs a DNA test or anything on the corpse...if Eternals have DNA; and the corpse could've been rendered inert matter as well.)

The Surfer takes his leave, resolving to stay vigilant to the possibility of Thanos's return; but is in short order surprised by a robot. It's a process server, from a place called Dynamo City. Thanos had recently become a citizen there, and by law any citizen's death had to be investigated. Although his 'death' was accidental, it was while trying to kill half the universe--literally, half--and the Surfer feels it was justifiable. Still, he has better things to do than go testify somewhere he's never heard of; but the robot mentions Thanos's last will and testament. Intrigued, the Surfer agrees, but warns the robot that he is not bound by Dynamo City's laws, and that trying to restrict him would be "hazardous."

Using a dimensional portal, the Surfer and the robot arrive at the mysterious city, a gigantic domed metropolis in space. The robot recommends Landing Bay #7, as it will have enough room for the Surfer's landing. Before the Surfer can finish asking what that's supposed to mean, his board disappears from under him, and he skids to an undignified crash. The robot explains, what he didn't tell the Surfer, is that Dynamo City is a "omni-energy absorbing complex," sucking in all forms of energy to the city's central battery; and that by law, all power belongs to the government. Most of that just flies right by the Surfer, since he's freaking out a bit, and tries to get back out.

The security robot goons drag him to his court appearance, where a robot judge uses a mind probe to view Thanos's death. While waiting for the robot jury to render a verdict, the Surfer views Thanos's video will. Magnanimously, he leaves all his holdings in the city to the citizens, "whom I owe so much," although he ominously mentions his holdings off-world are under separate contract--a thinly veiled warning. Then, an outright threat, specifically for the Surfer: figuring if he's dead, it was probably the Surfer who got him, and Thanos was not one to let something like that go. He went to great trouble setting this up...
That Thanos-screen panel is statted in six more times that page...
The expression, "kangaroo court" occurs to the Surfer. He thinks the court will find him guilty, then execute him; but he's wrong. The jury finds "Citizen Thanos was involved in a conspiracy to murder half the population of the Milky Way galaxy, a class-A felony under galactic law." No charges are filed against the Surfer, who thinks this is one trap of Thanos's "that failed to snap shut." He's wrong again. Back at the landing bay, a robot stops the Surfer, saying he can't leave until he pays his exit tax, fifty credits. Unable to push his way past them, the Surfer is "trapped, powerless, and unemployed. What next?" Next, my favorite Silver Surfer cover ever, next week!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

It's cool stories like this that seem to be largely overlooked nowadays, I guess due to the time it came out. A crime really.

Marz's Surfer was/still is my favorite version, not to mentio Ron Lim's killer art helped make this one of my favorite reads back in the day.