Monday, April 24, 2017

His head's a mess, but so pretty.

Several plotlines keep moving forward this issue, but most of the action takes place in his head. And the Supreme Intelligence's head. Literally, in the latter: from 1988, Silver Surfer #8, "Soul, Sweet Soul" Written by Steve Englehart, pencils and color by Marshall Rogers, inks by Joe Rubinstein.

The issue opens with a bizarre impression of domestic life, before the Surfer is attacked by Kree thugs. Fitting, since he's in the mind of the Kree's Supreme Intelligence, the massive super-computer made up of the conglomerated minds of their best military leaders. (If you were a victorious Kree general, you could earn a spot as part of the Intelligence, which is both the worst incentive plan and retirement plan I can think of.) The Surfer had attempted to get the Kree to leave his homeworld Zenn-La alone, out of the most recent Kree/Skrull war; but as a Skrull spy recaps to her superiors, the Intelligence was willing to do so for Zenn-La, but the Surfer pushed further and asked for earth to be left out as well. The Intelligence then absorbed the Surfer's soul, since it was using one of the Soul Gems to keep its head together, as it were: the racial divide between the blue and pink Kree minds was tearing it apart.

The Contemplator, one of the Elders of the Universe, wanted the gem for their master plan: this was pre-Infinity Gauntlet, so what the gems actually did was still a bit vague. No sale from the Supreme Intelligence, as the minds within try to break the Surfer and absorb him. But the Surfer has allies: the plants, representing the alien Cotati; and the Surfer's silver rat. Um, space coyote.

No, his bird!

Back in the physical world, Kree scientists working on the Surfer's board are dismayed when it flies away, but probably not as dismayed as the Supreme Intelligence, since the board flies right into his head, through the gem, and the Surfer flies back out on it! He also takes the gem on his way out and splits; leaving the Kree empire figuratively beheaded as the Supreme Intelligence loses its mind. The Contemplator laments losing the gem, but his cohort the Gardener may have a back-up plan to get it, involving the Surfer's ex, Shalla-Bal...!

Rogers was the first artist on this run of Silver Surfer, and for me and a lot of fans, probably the first Silver Surfer artist they saw. There was a John Byrne one-shot in 1982, but I don't think the Kirby or Buscema issues were as readily available as reprints then. Personally, it wouldn't be until maybe 1990 that I saw the 1980's Fantasy Masterpieces reprints, and those may have been shorted some pages. Rogers was a great choice; his Surfer lithe and agile. Still, he was only on the book about a year, then Ron Lim came on at #15 and would be the regular artist for about 75 issues, more or less. (Some issues he only did covers, since he'd be pulling duty on the Infinity books.)


SallyP said...

I can honestly say...I never expected to see the Silver Surfer smoking.

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

That sure is some beautiful Marshal Rogers art right there. Didn't know he was the artist during the first year of Englehart's run. I was followed Surfer primarily due to the Ron Lim art myself. To me, that's the signature Surfer artist. I may have to seek out a trade of this run if they have it out.