the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Surfer descends into The Abyss: Enter Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet

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Quick confession: I only read through the main Infinity Gauntlet storyline just recently– a few days ago, actually.  I don’t think I missed too much.  The overall storyarc isn’t too deep: it was basically a way for Marvel to showcase their characters of cosmic importance.  After all, the main story begins with the Silver Surfer crashing into Dr. Stephen Strange‘s abode to warn him that Thanos has assembled the Infinity Gauntlet– and is using its infinite power to destroy life in the universe to court Death herself.

To be fair, it’s also a way for Marvel to get readers to read all of their titles, since each of them had individual stories of how their experiences were impacted by Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

First, however, I’ll share this video by WatchMojo.com that sums up quickly the origin and history of Thanos:


It’s been said that the Infinity Gauntlet is essentially about the Silver Surfer, and I agree.  Moreover, the crossovers into the main Silver Surfer title reveal a rather intellectual battle between Thanos and Surfer.  He is another example of Man As Temptor.

Using the power of the Mind Gem (one of six comprising the power of the Gauntlet), Thanos learns of a dark secret when the Surfer was still Norrin Radd.  Not only had Jartran Radd been accused of intellectual theft, a heinous crime in Zenn-La, he had committed suicide when Norrin refused to grant him forgiveness.

Thanos confronts Surfer with this secret, and more, before allowing him to resume his mad dash to Earth, to warn Dr. Strange.

Thanos was dead, and hasn’t fully resurrected yet. Here he is in a stone husk form, and merely a head at this point.

I guess it’s the last panel, in part, that leads reviewer Mark Ginocchio to call the brutal accusations of Thanos mental and emotional rape.

Mephisto was never this brutal.

It is here that readers learn for the first time not only about Norrin Radd’s parents, but the decadence and hedonism that had brought about a decline in Zenn-Latvian society.  Thanos is relentless in his accusations, and eventually, it breaks the Surfer down psychologically and physically, leading to dark emotions of vengeance and doubt.

Artist Ron Lim gives the Silver Surfer a wicked grin as his board smashes the stone husk form of Thanos into a plethora of pieces.

[Images via Comic Book Resources: Gimmick or Good? – Silver Surfer #50]

No wonder the Surfer is in really bad shape by the time he reaches the abode of Dr. Strange.

 photo InfinityGauntlet1p36.jpg

Surfer’s struggles with Thanos are elaborated in the main Silver Surfer title.  Two issues I am familiar with (thanks to a friend) are #55 and #56

Where Surfer failed against Thanos…

…and Surfer is forced to chronicle perpetual death in the universe. Note that Lady Death is finally a doting companion to Thanos.

We learn at the end of #56 that this is just a horrid imagination of the Surfer.

Oh, so it was just my imagination?

Oh, so it was just my imagination?

Now Surfer is REALLY off to play his part.

Now Surfer is REALLY off to play his part.

(These images are scanned in from my copy of #56. They first appeared way back in 2009, at VOX, under the post title Apocryphal.)

I know that this is an incomplete note to end on, dear readers, but I am out of material again.  The tale of the Silver Surfer, especially as Stan Lee tells it, goes through many of stages of the Monomyth, but as far as I am aware, the main continuity of the Marvel universe does not allow Norrin Radd to go through some of the most important stages, like Apotheosis, Master of Two Worlds, and Freedom to Live.  Perhaps there is material to be found in “Parable”, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jean Giraud, a.k.a. Moebius.

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Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me. The username is still unique as of 2016, so it's just me, and only me. It's the real me, because I'm bad at faking otherwise.

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