Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #6: Silver Surfer

Real Name: Norrin Radd
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #48 (March, 1966)
Group Affiliation: Heralds of Galactus
Gaming Credentials: Silver Surfer (1989); Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems (1996); Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006); Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); Marvel Super Hero Squad (2009)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #35

I let these things stack up a bit there, but if we all just pretend the post-date is totally accurate, we can remember that the great, all-seeing inspiration for this week's HOTW is something I haven't really given a lot of attention. Namely, Marvel's kid-friendly super-deformed toy-inspired animated series, Super Hero Squad! The direct inspiration? Revelations about Silver Surfer's super-deformed kid-friendly past as a herald for the devourer of worlds, Galactus! [Gasp! Shock! Awe!]

Superhero History Lesson: Norrin Radd was chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool, shootin' some B-ball with his favourite lady squeeze, Shalla-Bal, when disaster struck! Galactus showed up with a serious case of the cosmic munchies and decided the peaceful planet Zenn-La was ripe for the picking. Recognising that the consumption of all life on their planet would put a serious crimp on his love-life, Radd made the noble sacrifice of offering himself as a herald to Galactus in exchange for the promise that the Devourer of Worlds leave Zenn-La alone.

One cosmic chrome coating later -- Norrin Radd is the Silver Surfer.
Perks include a cool energy-based surfboard to cruise around on, near limitless abilities granted by the power cosmic, but on the major bummer side, he was stripped of his emotions and sent to find other planets to condemn to death. Heavy, dude! Fortunately, when it came to consuming Earth, the Surfer got slapped around, fell into the loft of blind sculptress (and Thing's main squeeze), Alicia Masters, and remembers his inner humanity and uses the power cosmic against his master. Yay!

Chances are you'd know all this if Rise of the Silver Surfer had managed to be a better film.
Otherwise, there's probably an equally good chance that you picked this oh-so useful information up along your way through life from other cartoons and video games. Which you'll get another opportunity to do through Super Hero Squad, which, as already mention, squishes the Marvel Universe action down to funny little squat dimensions, and generally makes it silly and cute.

It's fun, it's got a buttload of superheroes and villains that once never had a shot at cartoon stardom, and it's not all together awful. All in all, a great gateway drug to get you hooked on the real thing. As far as cartoons based on toylines go, it puts a lot of the eighties to shame, while playfully winking at the decade and making a Hulk poop joke.

Over the past few decades he's fallen into supporting character obscurity, but the Silver Surfer remains one of the great Marvel characters. I was disappointed that he didn't return for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, but what're you gonna do? Maybe check out some of Marvel's cosmic comics, which have made a quiet but successful return throughout the late 2000's!

It wasn't too long ago that Silver Surfer locked horns with Beta Ray Bill [who recently replaced him in the Planet Hulk animated feature] in the three-issue Godhunter mini-series, and you'll probably find him hanging around in a variety of series Marvel have teased for 2010! I'd love to give you more information, but it's a bit sketchy right now. So be sure to stay tuned to for more information!

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