Friday, June 29, 2007

Weapon 'S' (Marvel comics)
Silver Surfer #107 When: August 1995
Why: Mike Lackey How: Tom Grindberg

The story so far...
In his search for power, Dr. Doom has found many different avenues to achieve new levels of superiority. Through the sciences and magics, he has made himself one of the most impressive rulers on the planet, but a cosmic prize has eluded him over the years.

The Silver Surfer's power cosmic, bestowed upon him by the planet devouring entity called Galactus, has made him known throughout the cosmos for reasons good and bad.

As a power source, Dr. Doom has many times sought him out to steal or liberate him of his power. This is just such an occassion, where, for reasons of his own, the Silver Surfer seeks release from his condition. A wish he may come to regret.

Previous Form:
Silver Surfer (#31): Victories over Green Lantern and Ronan the Accuser.
Dr. Doom: Has not yet been featured on the site.

Tale of the tape...
All this time, and the best I come up with is a Greg Land image? I know!...Strength: Silver Surfer 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Dr. Doom 6 (Genius)
Speed: Silver Surfer 7 (Lightspeed)
Stamina: Silver Surfer 6 (Generator)
Agility: Silver Surfer 3 (Athlete)
Fighting Ability: Silver Surfer 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Silver Surfer 7 (Solar Power)

A hush fell over the crowd as it dawned on them!
After a year and a half - was it criminal negligance or masterful hype? Regardless of which, Dr. Doom has finally come to Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

Well, actually, that's not entirely true... This story is about a doombot.
A doombot is a robotic facsimile of the real thing, often programmed to act and assume it is the one true Dr. Doom. The programming is so thorough that these robots have even been known to turn against their own master!

We've never had to call upon it, but from the earliest days of our Infinite Wars there has been an unwritten law in place. A law designed to be called upon twenty months after the site's birth: The Doombot Denouement Decree.

This is a special rule designed to account for the fact that often by a story's conclusion, it's impossible to say for certain whether the character described was in fact the true Doom, or merely a robotic pawn or imitator. Thus, by supposing that Doombots represent crucial tools in Doom's arsenal, they represent him in the rankings, absorbing and supplying his wins and losses accordingly.

In this particular instance we know from the beginning that this is a Doombot. The story revolves around a Doombot that has found a new sense of consciousness and is, by extension of thought on it's programming, preparing to wage ware on all things living. It intends to do this with the power cosmic, but that's beside the point, for now...

The Silver Surfer with powers in tact, could probably handle a Doombot pretty safely. Though stories sometimes depict him as a little bit dumber or weaker than he actually is, he could probably handle the real Dr. Doom easily too. Although, by implication, more often than not a Doombot would be no easier than the real Dr. Doom, anyway...

... My point is, that under normal circumstances Silver Surfer has it in the bag, or at least some sort of conclusion that alludes to his success. An inconclusive result might actually be the more likely, but the tape generally isn't about calling a draw.

Dr. Doom's tools for victory are evasion, mysticism and/or technology, particularly applied to strip Silver Surfer of his powers, and add them to his own. In a scenario where this has already been achieved, Silver Surfer stands little to no chance alone, and given that this is the situation, well... It's not looking good.

To keep the ape pure, we'll assume this is a peak Silver Surfer, but... Well, consider that a little bit of a spoiler...

The Math: Silver Surfer (Cosmic Class)
The Pick: Silver Surfer

What went down...
Having successfully stripped the Silver Surfer of his powers, the Doombot goes about destroying a planet, liberating it of it's dweller's perceived suffering.

The Doombot recalls events from Fantastic Four #56-#60, the original story of Dr. Doom's first attempt to take possession of the power cosmic. The Doombot reveals that it was Doom's human frailties that made the task impossible, and reveals himself to be a specially comissioned Doombot designed to seek-out the Surfer and contain his power within a robotic cell.

Intent on fulfillin his programmed destiny, the Doombot seems unstoppable, but even so, Norrin Radd - the Silver Surfer - faces him with courage and conviction.
He leaps at Doom, but suffers the powerful blast of Dr. Doom's gauntlet, lacking the cosmic power to withstand and defend against it.

Imprisoned on Doom's ship, the powerless Silver Surfer attempts to use the last of his energies to psychically tap the shoulder of Legacy, the inheritor of Captain Mar-Vell's power. Hoping he too would possess a cosmic awareness, the Surfer calls out through the void left by his power.
Though Legacy hears, he has problems of his own, leaving the Surfer, as far as he knows, alone in the depths of space.

Eager to take possession of the Surfer's space faring silver board, the Doombot furiously storms the Surfer's chamber, discontent with his inability to control it. As an automaton, the robot lacks the life to control the board, and the Surfer promises that even without his power, he will take control of the board again.

The Surfer lashes out furiously with a fist that cracks the metallic shell of Dr. Doom's puppet. Without the power cosmic, he proves to be of little physical challenge, even with the machine's inability to truly master the power.

The Doombot swats Radd swiftly into submission, striking his powerless body with an unforgiving gauntlet. The Doombot delivers his own decree of robotic philosophy, looking down on organic lifeform's concepts of vanity and life and love, while burying his fist into the Surfer's frail stomach.

He speaks of a much larger picture, while striking the Surfer again and again, unrelenting!

With the Surfer helplessly lying on the cold metallic floor of the spaceship, the Doombot begins a new chapter in his own sense of awareness.

The Surfer tries to tell the machine that divinity must be earned, but having pleaded for the removal of his powers, his cause is harmed in the calculating eyes of the Doombot.

Reevaluating, the Doombot declares war not only on the Fantastic Four and the enemies of his template, but on life, imperfection, and Victor Von Doom himself! With the power cosmic the Doombot intends to destroy all things imperfect, and therefore all things living.

In a burst of energy, the first to die are his crewmates as he destroys the spaceship from the inside-out, no longer requiring of a vessel to travel.
Though the Surfer's chrome covered body survives the cosmic explosion, he drifts helplessly in space, with the question looming -- how long can he survive?!

And with that, the Doombot floats patiently awaiting the result, victorious.

The hammer...
So, with the exception described in the tape, let us declare Dr. Doom the winner, despite this Doombot's overwhelming personality and goals.

As you may have noticed, this served as a bit more awkward an update than usual. The fight itself occupies only so much of the book, in between the ranting faux philosophies, and flashes to other characters involved in the book's on-going sub-plots (Legacy, Tyrant, Galactus...).
Never the less, I thought it would be nice to close the book on Fantastic Fridays with a fifth-week special featuring the other stars of Rise of the Silver Surfer.

During the month it has been interesting to note how few Fantastic Four related searches we've received, but one particular google hit does spring to mind. That was a search concerning a plot device from the film, that connects the Silver Surfer's power cosmic to the possession of his surfboard.

I try to keep an eye on what kind of things are drawing in traffic, but for things like this, it'd be great to see you dropping a comment or question. I like to think of Secret Earths as a potential resource, as much as it is a fun site to check out superhero slugfests. Well, okay, maybe not as much as that...

I haven't actually seen Rise of the Silver Surfer, but I can presume that placing the importance on the surfboard is a way of streamlining the methods of attaining the Surfer's powers. This, of course, is not true to the comics, and is likely to save time and exposition, recasting the scenario in a way more palattable to zoo-going theatre audiences.

I imagine it's no mean feat, even in the films, to steal the board away from the Surfer. As we've witnessed here during the Infinite Wars, it is not only a travelling method, but also a useful part of the Silver Surfer's cosmic arsenal. [
Silver Surfer #13]

More often than not, the methods of stealing the Silver Surfer's power cosmic involve subduing the cosmic hero, and subjecting him to large, mysterious and non-descript machines. It might not be very specific, but I like to think it's a bit more tangible than playing keepaway with his board. Maybe that's just me.

I don't know how Doom is foiled in the movies, but generally the answers lie in Doom's own follies, or the intervention of someone like Mr. Fantastic or event Galactus himself. As bad a guy as Dr. Doom can be, there really isn't much you can do against a dude can pluck you out of the sky and strip you of your energy, before snacking down on a tiny planet.

As we follow along the lengthy trail of villains through Marvel Ultimate Alliance Mondays, we will get an opportunity to stop-in on Galactus, and culminate our adventures through the Marvel Universe with another entry or two with Doc Doom! In the mean time, it's good do have the doctor in!

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 3.5

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