Thursday, October 07, 2010

No funny songs about this Lifeform...

I was all set to get back to comics, then this particular issue wasn't where I thought it was. Some digging later, and here we are, with Silver Surfer Annual #3, part four of four in the "Lifeform" annual crossover. We've mentioned the Punisher and Hulk chapters in passing, but only barely, and I'm not entirely sure I've read the Daredevil one.

But this issue still manages to fit neatly in with the Silver Surfer's current plotline: the Surfer had just faced Thanos in a final battle, and accidentally killed him. (Not really: this was just prior to Thanos Quest, where the mad Eternal would gather the Infinity Gems, and he needed the Surfer off his back for the moment.) The Surfer returns to earth, which today he was viewing as revisiting his old cell, to tell Captain America about Thanos' demise. It may not have hurt, that artist Ron Lim had a pretty good run on Cap's book about that time as well.

Meanwhile, the titular Lifeform, having continued to mutate since the host was first exposed, takes mercy on another infected and kills him. And then goes nuts. Perpetually hungry, the monster absorbs any life it can get its tentacles on.

At nearby Four Freedoms Plaza, Reed Richards gets a call from Nick Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. had been keeping tabs on the creature, but just lost contact with the hospital. Mildly irritated, Reed sets out to check it out, and is just starting to realize how bad the situation is when the Surfer joins him. By this point, the monster has gotten into the river, and cleans it of life in short order.

This is one story that you'd want Reed to have brought the rest of the FF, so the Human Torch could kill that thing with fire...

The Lifeform regenerates too fast for the Surfer to damage it without him unleashing enough power to level New York, so he's left with a less pleasant alternative: letting the creature engulf him, the Surfer lifts the creature into space, protected from digestion by his silver skin. Dumping the monster on a planet destroyed by Galactus (it's a quick couple of pages, but you aren't quite sure how long that took) the Surfer plans on destroying it, when it speaks. The original host, George Prufrock, is still in there, still alive, but trapped. Unable to control the creature, or stop it from feeding; Prufrock begs for death.

But the Surfer can not. Even though he just copped to Thanos' death, he couldn't bear even a mercy killing. Prufrock screams that the creature will never die, even there, and he will be trapped for eternity, and the Silver Surfer can only leave him. (This may change from time to time and creative team to creative team, but at this point he was pretty militant about his pacifism.)

A somewhat brutal tale, both made somewhat more and less so by Lim's art: I wouldn't expect a monstrous thing like that from him, which kind of makes it worse for me. I've mentioned before, I love Lim's art, and for a while there he was doing a ton of books. Without having anything to back this up, he always seemed like he delivered clear, solid work, on time. Something to be said for that. "Lifeform-- Termination?" Written by Jim Starlin and Ron Marz, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Tom Christopher.


chiasaur11 said...

So, why doesn't Reed have a science gun?

He usually has a science gun for these things.

Well, if this thing never turned up again it's a fair bet pretty much anyone else marvel cosmic woulda finished it off. I mean, Beta Ray Bill woulda iced it, the Kree or Skrull same deal, Drax probably has a murder itch...

Man. Comparing him to everyone else blowing up planets, the Surfer is a wuss.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Hmm...I'd like to read this issue. That's a pretty powerful resolution. I love the Silver Surfer's "wtf?" face in that last set of panels.