Saturday, July 14, 2012

Silver Surfing

  So I watched season 1 of The Silver Surfer on Netflix out of a bit of curiosity.  I knew vaguely about the character, and my dad liked it growing up.  Indeed, without any knowledge bought him Marvel's "Silver Surfer #1" comic back when I was in Lackland, TX in basic training in 1993 and mailed it to him for about $2.  I'm pretty sure there was a reboot of the series around then.

  Silver Surfer isn't shown much in Marvel movies.  His first and only appearance was in the 2005's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer which wasn't all that bad and doubled its money for production, but got mediocre reviews.  The end of the movie is pretty gosh-darn cool though, and the CGI is decent enough.  Interestingly, the movie Terminator 2 had a T1000 liquid-metal "robot" played by Robert Patrick that was originally a tech-demo for a Silver Surfer movie.  Some copies of the 2 minute demo are said to exist.

  So who's this Silver Surfer guy?  Seems cheesy, right?  I mean, a metal guy on a surf board?  What's up with that?  Who's this ... Galactus guy, and, what, wait?  Thanos?  Wait, wasn't he the last guy at the end of The Avengers?  Yep.  Silver Surfer's arch nemesis.. well, one of 'em anyway, in the same way The Joker is Batman's arch nemesis anyway.  Batman's got a few, to include Julie Newmar as Catwoman and also Victor Bouno as Prof. Bill McElroy. 

Victor Bouno as Professor William McElroy as Batman's amnesiac nemesis, King Tut
Julie Newmar as the quintessential Batman super-nemesis, Catwoman

    So wait a minute, enough with Batman, that's DC Comics anyway, what about Marvel's Silver Surfer and this whole Thanos backstory?  Well, it's quite interesting.  The streaming Netflix cartoon gives the Silver Surfer's origin as well as Thanos' which is very useful.  Furthermore, it's directed by none other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby so it's legit.  What's bad is that it came out in 1998 on Fox and, in Fox's style, deleted it because it was cool, and not a reality-TV show, so it was eliminated.  Fox thought it was too heavy for kids to fathom.  I've watched it, and it's not cheesy whatsoever, unlike Fox Kids versions of X-Men and Spiderman which are, well, pretty darn horrible.  Fox Kids also created a few baby X-Men and baby Avengers crap ala Muppet Babies.  This is unacceptable.  Of course, Fox kills anything that isn't syrup-y fake and pathetic.

  To save you the 13 episode watch, which in the vein of Flash Gordon (1980) ends with "The End?"  (excellent).  Here's the scoop:

  Norrin Radd is from the Utopian planet Zenn-La, in the Deneb star system of the Milky Way galaxy.  Facing the destruction of his world by always searching, always hungry planet-consuming Galactus, Radd bargains with the cosmic being:  In return for the safety of Zenn-La and his lover, Shalla-Bal, Radd pledges to seek out planets for the world devourer to consume as his herald which will save Galactus some search time to quench his hunger much faster as a scout.  Galactus imbues him with a portion of the Power Cosmic, transforming him into the Silver Surfer so he can go faster to seek.  Radd had intended to lead Galactus to uninhabited planets, but Galactus removes his memory to prevent this.  Immediately, Silver Surfer points out the first planet to eat as Zenn-La, but surprisingly, Galactus keeps his promise, explaining he made a bargain with a noble man who sacrificed himself for humanity.

  Silver Surfer is known throughout the Universe as the harbinger of doom and hated everywhere.  Eventually, Galactus gets to Earth where Silver Surfer is overwhelmed by the weak but endless defenses and desperation.  He accidentally saves a young girl in California, bringing her to Galactus' ship and his memory comes back enough to remember he would only take Galactus to uninhabited worlds and sacrifices himself against Galactus' rays to stop him.  Galactus is moved and banishes Silver Surfer forever, but does not turn him back into Norrin Radd.  As further punishment, has Zenn-La become a sort of Krull-castle, teleporting from sun to sun for all eternity every day.  Galactus converts the girl into a herald "Nova" who has a mutant ability to find whatever she's looking for.  Nova's mind wasn't erased and makes sure Galactus eats only dead worlds.

SCTV's Count Floyd watching everything Silver Surfer I just mentioned in 3d

  Silver Surfer explores the Universe, hated by everyone for years because they still think he's Galactus' herald and is often attacked, and searches for Zenn-La as his memory starts coming back due to a surprise conflict with Thanos who enters his mind in search of Galactus to destroy.

Hulk cannot defeat Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, nor Thor with inherited OdinForce

  In the meantime, Thanos gains power with his ship, delighting in the destruction of all things, praying to the Cosmic embodiment of Chaos (female) aka Lady Death, winning her approval by devastating worlds.  He finds a source of unlimited power and attempts to destroy the Universe. 

Thanos blasts Galactus, the Devouerer of Worlds before he gets the Infinity Gauntlet

  The series is very dark and it goes on for a while and is quite entertaining.  Cosmic-level characters abound that were only before in comic books, such as The Beyonder, Eternity and Infinity, the living planet, "Ego" as well as Beta-Ray Bill and Adam Warlock.  Deep, heavy Marvel stuff, and makes The Avengers seem like a pathetic joke.  All of the characters are more powerful than them by-far. 
  The whole Silver Surfer series on Netflix kind of gives you a 301 course on Marvel, where movies like Spiderman and X-Men and Avengers seem self-important kid-stuff.   Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom are more of a more deep environ, spanning more galactic issues.  Silver Surfer is the depth of it, and gives everything more scope, making anything Spidey's doing seem nearly irrelevant and puny.  These are not one-off comics, but have been going on for decades.  Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are really into these epic-level stories, which is why there's a teaser of Thanos at the end of The Avengers.
  I myself am late into the game.  I knew about Thanos only because of X-Men: Children of the Atom arcade game.  Sad, really.  Still, watching this 13-part series of 18 minute-episodes really brings you to-speed with the essentials and follows the comics well, apparently, so again, it's legit.
  I needed to re-watch the video below to get up-to-speed with the most powerful Marvel characters out-there, and I find it's the best, least-biased explanation I've found and is worth the watch. 
  Here's the video of the top 50 most powerful Marvel Universe characters.


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