Greetings from the Odinson,
When it comes to great comic book tales and pop culture in general, the 1980s was just a treasure trove of greatness. One such tale was the time the Elders of the Universe plotted to murder Galactus!
The Odinson Takes a Look at One of His Favorite Silver Surfer Tales
Now, before we begin, we must first get to know our cast and their place in the Marvel Universe at this time leading into the story.
The Silver Surfer – Norrin Radd was Zenn-La’s greatest scientist. On the day the Devourer of Worlds arrived, he offered his life so that his planet might be spared. Galactus accepted his offer and empowered Radd with the Power Cosmic, transforming him into the Silver Surfer. As the Herald of Galactus, the Silver Surfer led his master around the cosmos in search of planets for consumption. However, on the day he brought his master to Earth, the Surfer’s soul was reawakened by the kindness of Alicia Masters, the Thing’s then girlfriend, and the Surfer turned on his master and helped the Fantastic Four repel the mighty Galactus (as seen in The Coming of Galactus). As punishment for his betrayal, the Surfer was exiled to planet Earth by Galactus, never again to soar amongst the stars.
For many years, the Silver Surfer roamed the earth and contemplated the mortal coil, as chronicled by Stan Lee and John Buscema. He made dangerous enemies with Doctor Doom and Mephisto, everlasting friendships with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, long-running rivalries with Thor and the Hulk, and even co-founded the Defenders. But alas, he would never be able to return to his one true love, Shalla Bal, so long as the invisible barrier which Galactus enveloped the Earth with kept the Surfer from leaving the planet.
Mantis – Upon her birth, the Kree Empire believed Mantis to be the Celestial Madonna and destined to give birth to the most important being in the universe. After a few adventures with the Avengers, Mantis headed into exile to see her destiny through. Upon discovering the Silver Surfer’s battered remains after his battle with the Runner, Mantis comes out of her self-imposed exile and helps the Surfer to try and stop the Elder’s plot.
The Elders of the Universe – They are amongst the oldest living beings in the cosmos and amongst the most powerful. As of this tale, readers are already quite familiar with a most of them – the Grandmaster, the Collector, the Gardener, the Possessor, the Contemplator, the Champion, the Runner, and Ego the Living Planet – and their various campaigns against the heroes of Earth. A few new Elders are introduced in this story – the Trader, the Astronomer, and the Obliterator. The Elders are the main antagonist of the story.
Galactus – Galan is the last survivor of the universe that existed before the Big Bang that created the Marvel Universe. For a billion years he laid dormant in a celestial incubator. When he awoke, he was Galactus, a being of immeasurable cosmic might and insatiable appetite. He is cursed to roam the cosmos in search of planets upon which to consume, an act that causes the planet’s and its inhabitants’ destruction. Galactus is not a force for evil, he is simply Galactus, a force of nature. There is no malice in his actions. He empowers lesser beings with a portion of his Power Cosmic to act as Heralds. His heralds seek out worlds for him to consume. Galactus is the oldest living being in the cosmos.
Nova – Frankie Raye was once the girlfriend of Johnny Storm. She also possessed similar flame powers as the Human Torch. Upon given the offer to explore the stars, Frankie accepts and becomes a Herald of Galactus. To this day, Nova is arguably the only Herald Galactus has ever truly loved.
The Kree/Skrull Empires – These are two of the oldest and most powerful alien empires in the Marvel Universe. At the time this tale begins, their age old war had been brought to an end by Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the Kree/Skrull War. Plus, the Skrull Empire was all but crippled. Their Throneworld was destroyed by Galactus (See Trial of Reed Richards), and then their ability to shapeshift was taken away by the Hyper-Wave Bomb (see The Legacy of Thanos). This left many Skrulls across the galaxy trapped in whatever form they were in when the bomb exploded.
And now, the story…
Part 1 – On Earth, the Silver Surfer is inexplicably attacked by the monstrous Champion and warned to not get involved in the affairs of the Elders of the Universe. Then, after many years of exile, with help from the Fantastic Four, especially a suggestion by Ben Grimm, the Silver Surfer finally penetrates the invisible barrier keeping him from the stars. However, he knows he can never truly be free unless he reconciles with his former master. Upon finding Galactus, who is none-to-pleased to find that the Surfer has escaped his banishment, has problems of his own. His current Herald, Nova, has been taken prisoner and if he makes a move to save her, her captors will destroy her. Using his unparalleled speed, the Surfer rescues Nova and earns his freedom once and for all.
Part 2 – The first thing the Surfer does is head back to Zenn-La, his homeworld, and seeks out his beloved Shalla Bal. However, in a sad turn of events, he discovers not only has his one true love moved on, but because of her new responsibility to her planet and its people, she could never be with him anyway. This is a very poignant moment in the life of the Surfer. Just imagine being exiled for all those years and there was only one thing keeping hope alive, but once returned to her side, she cannot be his.
Part 3 – Once again, the Silver Surfer is attacked by an Elder of the Universe, a beyond superfast being called the Runner. The Runner quickly overpowers the Surfer, a truly astonishing feat considering just how powerful the Silver Surfer is, and leaves him for dead, crashing like a meteor to earth. He is discovered and cared for by Mantis.
Part 4 – Silver Surfer and Mantis aim to find out why the Elders keep attacking. They come upon the Elders of the Universe holding court and discussing their plan to murder Galactus. They intend to use the Devourer of World’s destruction to instigate another Big Bang, thus destroying this universe and creating a new universe where they will be the unrivaled oldest and most powerful beings in that universe. The Surfer and Mantis are discovered and, after a brief exchange, flee to warn Galactus of the Elders’ plot.
Part 5 – The Silver Surfer and Mantis are relentlessly pursued by the Elder known as the Obliterator, a 5 billion year old madman who exterminated his own race.
Part 6 – The Surfer and Mantis make their escape. Meanwhile, the Kree and Skrull Empires renew their ages old conflict.
Part 7 – When Zenn-La comes under fire by the Kree Empire, the Silver Surfer and Mantis must make a detour. Afterwards, the Surfer ventures into the heart of the Kree Empire to declare his homeworld off limits in this new Kree/Skrull campaign. The Surfer’s mind is suddenly overwhelmed by the power of the Supreme Intelligence.
Part 8 – For his very right to exist, the Silver Surfer just battle the Supreme Intelligence on a battlefield of the mind. If he cannot prove victorious, not only will he lose his life, but there will be nobody left to stop the Elders of the Universe and their mad scheme for universal genocide. However, can even the Silver Surfer hope to defeat the Master of a Thousand-Thousand Worlds?
Part 9 – The Elders of the Universe make their move and attack the Devourer of Worlds. What follows is a cosmic battle for the ages. The Silver Surfer arrives on the scene to put an end to their diabolical plan once and for all. However, the Elders have kidnapped both Mantis and Shalla Bal and the Surfer only has time to save one of them!
Part 10 – The Elders of the Universe learn exactly what happens to those that plot against Galactus. In the aftermath, the Silver Surfer and Nova witness a truly cosmic event, an event that puts their place in the cosmic scheme of things in crystal clear perspective. The Silver Surfer and Nova are then charged with finding the Contemplator, one of only a few Elders that escaped retribution. This leads into the next story arc that allows Norrin Radd to teach Nova, a girl from Earth, the ropes and the pitfalls of being a child of the cosmos (see Silver Surfer #11-14).
There you have it, boys and girls, The Elders’ Plot, a fantastic tale with valiant heroes, sinister villains, intriguing subplots, and cosmic stakes. And, it’s a self-contained story that did not need a companywide crossover event to tell. Plus, it moved the narrative of the Silver Surfer’s story forward in an organic and highly entertaining way.
The tale has been collected in Marvel’s Epic Collection format titled Silver Surfer: Freedom. Check it out and rediscover this lost treasure from Marvels’ past.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell