Writer: Stan Lee
Art: Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and S. Rosen
Price: $.12 cents
Release Date: April 10, 1966
Galactus has arrived on Earth. Why is he here, and what role does the Silver Surfer play on this tale? Read on to find out!!
We continue in part two of our look at the history of the Silver Surfer in issue 49 of the Fantastic Four. If you missed part one, you can check that out here.
We open as Galactus has arrived on Earth and is there to devour the planet and to consume its energy to sustain himself. He doesn’t want to kill living beings but doesn’t give it a second thought. He is single-minded in his journey to survive.
He sees the Watcher and asks why the Watcher is involved in this affair instead of just “watching” as he is supposed to do. The Watcher says that he is interfering because there’s intelligence on Earth and that Galactus instead could consume lifeless planets to sustain himself.
Kirby does a great job of showing the immense size of Galactus and the Watcher in the image below. It shows what exactly the FF is going up against.
The Thing attacks Galactus and is repelled by a type of insect bug spray. Reed points out that Galactus thinks of them as mere insects. The Human Torch also attacks and is quickly beaten. It’s not even really a fight at all. The Fantastic Four are an annoyance to Galactus.
At this point, both Galactus and the FF realize the Surfer is nowhere to be found. He had been knocked off the roof in the previous issue.
Sue tells Johnny that they must wait until Reed comes up with a plan.
Here is where we have a hilarious panel and Johnny calls Reed out on it. Earth’s literal survival is at stake but Reed decides to shave while The Thing takes a bath.
We then have the beginnings of the Surfer’s repentance. As Galactus’ herald, the Surfer arrives at a planet prior to Galactus. So when the Surfer shows up, basically you’re done for. I’ve always wondered who, what, or why he repented and became a hero. Never in a million years would I have thought that it was Alicia Masters that helped him. I’ve been asked frequently why I read classic comics. These last two issue are great example of why. We get the first appearance of these characters and the stories that have defined who they become. It’s a lot more fun to read the actual story for me than to “google” it.
At this point in history, I think Kirby has reached the point where he has clearly defined his look for a “superhero”. Surfer’s anatomy and muscular structure are very well defined. Much more so than Kirby’s work in previous years or even months prior.
We see the Surfer experience many emotions for the first time here I think.
As Galactus prepares a giant contraption atop the Baxter building that will strip the Earth of its energy, the FF hear out the Watcher’s plan. The Watcher gives a brief history of Galactus and says he knows of a machine that may save humanity but that it’s not on Earth, and that the Human Torch is the only one that can retrieve it.
We then have another scene as the Surfer explains to Alicia why he and Galactus are on Earth. He also recognizes beauty for the first time. Alicia realizes that if the Surfer has emotions that he can’t be a “soulless monster” and tries to convince him to turn on Galactus.
Meanwhile, the Thing does what he can to slow the process of Galactus’ construction atop the building. Galactus summons the Punisher, a half living/half-robot being, to Earth to help.
The Human Torch begins his quest, as the Punisher fights the remaining FF.
We close the issue as the Surfer decides to defy Galactus and protect Earth as the Watcher sees that the Surfer’s involvement may now cause the total destruction of Earth.
Check back next week as we get the conclusion of this great story!
This issue is even better than the previous one as we get into the emotions of the Surfer as he tries to find his way with Alicia’s help.