Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Green Lantern versus Silver Surfer!

Admittedly, the real title of the comic book described here is NOT Green Lantern versus Silver Surfer, but it might as well be. Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, published in 1995 in a single-issue "prestige" format, was written by Ron Marz and drawn by Darryl Banks. It definitely follows the grand old tradition of pitting a DC Comics hero against a Marvel Comics hero, promising a huge fight that ultimately leads nowhere -- because either circumstances prevent the protagonists from being at their full, true powers against each other, or circumstances demand that they put aside their differences and team up against a more immediate threat. In this particular story, however, there are definitely some "versus" involved. Don't get whiplash trying to follow THIS plotline, folks:

The story opens with the Silver Surfer cruising through space (in the Marvel universe) and being all melancholy, as usual. He comes across a horrific scene -- a planet has been destroyed, and the remains of its inhabitants are floating in space. In the midst of all of the carnage is the one responsible -- the decidedly NON-Marvel Universe baddie Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman.

The Surfer is more than a little put out, because the planet in question was one he'd managed to save from planet-eater Galactus way back when the Surfer was Galactus' herald. The Surfer confronts Henshaw, who isn't impressed -- and, after all, it wasn't HIS fault that the planet was too wussy to endure his attempts to turn it into a WarWorld. The Surfer, of course, feels obligated to deal with this planet destroyer. He and Henshaw quickly go head-to-head and start pounding the bejeezus out of each other.

The scene shifts to Earth (in the DC universe), where Kyle Rayner is working on a new logo for Radu in an attempt to shave down the cost of his monthly rent. Suddenly, from outside comes a huge explosion, strong enough to blow out all the windows in Kyle's apartment. Kyle immediately changes to Green Lantern and flies outside to see what the heck is going on.

Standing in the middle of Washington Square Park is Terrax, another former herald of Galactus and a total stranger to the DC universe. Kyle doesn't know who the heck Terrax is, but weirdly enough, Terrax knows about Green Lanterns. Terrax apparently thinks "Green Lantern" is his "only obstacle in the way of" his "conquest of the universe."

So, Kyle and Terrax quickly go head-to-head and start pounding the bejeezus out of each other.

Meanwhile, back in the Marvel Universe, Hank Henshaw and Silver Surfer are still hard at work trying to fry each other ...

... when, suddenly, a new player enters the fray:

Surprise! It's Hal Jordan, possessed by Parallax, nutty as a fruitcake, and engaged in his favorite pastime of chasing Hank Henshaw across the cosmos. Ooooh, if you thought you had problems before, Surfer ...!

Back on Earth (DC), Terrax has seemingly gotten the drop on Kyle ...

... but then Terrax is suddenly blasted off his feet as a new protagonist shows up:

Eek! It's Thanos! Big, nasty Marvel bad guy obsessed with Death! Run, Kyle! Run!

But let us return now to the Marvel universe, where Silver Surfer is on the verge of becoming VERY confused:

Ooooh, don't call him Green Lantern, Henshaw! "I've taken the name Parallax," says Hal in response. So there. Nya, nya.

'Cause Hal ain't from your neck of the woods, Surfer -- and Hal tells him so. Hal explains that Hank Henshaw is also from DC Land and that Hal's been chasing him from universe to universe to punish him for destroying Coast City.

"You sought out this villain in order that justice might be served?" Surfer asks Hal. "You are a hero, then?"

Hal then gives a very sketchy description of how Coast City's destruction changed him from Green Lantern to Parallax (leaving out all the juicy bits about how he, oh, murdered the Guardians of the Universe, destroyed the Green Lantern Corps, and tried to remake the entire universe in his own image. You know -- little things like that).

"All I ever wanted ... was for everything to be right again," says Hal. "You can understand that, can't you?"

Silver Surfer starts thinking that he and Hal have a LOT in common. Uh-oh ...

About this time, back on Earth (DC), Terrax is getting a major dusting up by Thanos. Kyle is impressed that Thanos is even uglier than Terrax and a hell of a lot more powerful.

Once Thanos has defeated Terrax and bleeped him out of the vicinity, he formally introduces himself to Kyle:

Meanwhile, back in Marvel space, Silver Surfer is spilling his guts to Hal, telling Hal all about leaving his planet, Zenn-La, and losing the woman he loved in order to serve Galactus, wah, wah, wah ... Hal, of course, expresses sympathy and tells the Surfer about how he always tried to make things right again, but lacked the power to do so. But ... but ... hey, maybe if he and the Surfer teamed up, they could FIX everything!

Switch back to the DC universe now, where Thanos is telling Kyle about stopping a huge threat to both of their universes. Kyle isn't exactly buying Thanos' story (Thanos doesn't a have a very honest face, after all) until Thanos mentions a particular individual:

Yep, that's right, Kyle. Time to go clean up after Hal again. (Of course, the entire time Hal was Parallax, Kyle had to clean up after him quite a bit.)

Hal continues to work on the Surfer, to convince the Surfer to loan him some extra power. Thanos continues to work on Kyle, saying that he's constructed a weapon that can stop Hal, but only through the use of Kyle's ring.

Oh, but Kyle is smart enough to not fall for Thanos' guff, isn't he?

Don't do it, Kyle! Don't do it!


Maybe the Silver Surfer will do a better job of resisting the hard sell HE's receiving. Surfer?

Don't do it, Surfer! Don't do it!


So, a Marvel guy has been duped by a DC guy, and a DC guy has been duped by a Marvel guy. What IS the multiverse coming to?

Anyway, back to the story: The Surfer passes most of his "power cosmic" on to Hal. Mmmmm, BOY, what a rush!

Then the Surfer looks up, and lo and behold, the planet destroyed by Hank Henshaw is whole again! And all the people are alive! Hot diggity dog!

The Surfer is thrilled. So is Hal -- perhaps a little too thrilled: "This time they can't stop me!" Uh-oh ...

At the same time, Kyle has followed Thanos to the location where the DC and Marvel universes supposedly meet -- and it's right where the planet OA (former headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps) used to be!

"OH," says Kyle.

"No. OA," says Thanos.

Oa got blowed up real good in a big fight between Hal and Kyle a while back, when Hal first became Parallax. Kyle is very surprised to see that in place of Oa is a huge, yellow orb that doesn't look entirely stable.

Thanos asks Kyle to have a seat in a big ol' machine of his. When Kyle does so, Thanos throws a switch, and --

Back in the Marvel universe, Hal is suddenly struck with a major migraine: "Someone is tampering with the structure of the universe. BOTH universes."

Silver Surfer senses it, too. The two of them hop onto Surfer's board and head toward the center of the universe -- where Thanos is monologuing in spades, and Kyle is finally learning exactly what's going on.

Yes, it was THANOS who sent Cyborg Superman through the rift between the universes, to make sure the rift was legitimate. Then Thanos sent Terrax after Kyle to see how tough Kyle was. Turns out Thanos was never after Hal. Rather, Thanos was working for a way to "accomplish universal annihilation" -- and a way to do that was to use Kyle's ring to harness the leftover power of OA and channel it through Thanos' machine for the big kaboom! Mwaaa, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaa!

Seriously, though -- Thanos doesn't like Hal, anyway, because as Parallax, Hal has a tendency to go around recreating things and trying to bring people back to life. Definitely at odds with Thanos' agenda!

Suddenly, Silver Surfer and Parallax show up:

Kyle ends up head-to-head with the Silver Surfer, whether he likes it or not:

Their fight, however, is NOTHING compared to the fight between Hal and Thanos:

It doesn't take long for Hal and Thanos to engage in a spectacular cosmic battle of destruction and renewal. With the power he's taken from the Silver Surfer, Hal recreates OA -- and Thanos promptly blows it up. Then Hal resurrects Coast City, and Thanos blows it up. On and on, and on, and on ... Planets and cities are being created and blown up all over the place!

Kyle and the Surfer notice what's going on and stop fighting each other. The Surfer finally realizes that he's made a HUGE mistake, but there's not much he can do because Hal has most of his power. He gets an idea, though.

"Your ring must strip them of their energies they wield," he tells Kyle.

"I ... I've never used it that way before," Kyle stammers.

"You don't have a choice," says the Surfer.

Settling on their plan, the two then tackle Thanos and Hal, to separate them:

Then Kyle uses his ring to siphon off all the stolen power:

The power is a bit too much for Kyle, though -- but not too much for the Surfer. The Surfer tells Kyle to give all the power to him since his body acts as a cosmic battery, anyway:

The Surfer absorbs and controls all the energy and feels a WHOLE lot better. Thanos and Hal, meanwhile, appear to be unconscious and floating in space. With all the power back where it belongs, the rift between the universes begins to close -- Thanos is tossed back into the Marvel universe, and Hal is "thrown deeper into THIS one!"

His task completed, the Surfer takes off ...

... and Kyle is left to mop up, as usual.

Next post: "Hey, that's MY dead girlfriend!"


SallyP said...

Well! I probably should track this one down, because believe it or not, I've never read it before.

I can actually believe that Thanos could buffalo Kyle, because as adorable as he is, he's a little on the naive side. But for Hal to bamboozle the Silver Surfer? Oh Hal, you ARE a charming bastard, aren't you?

Great review as usual!

FoldedSoup said...

I half expected Darkseid to show up, point accusingly at Thanos and yell "Usurper!" before Omega-beaming him out of existence.

Then he'd sick the Black Racer on the Surfer.

That comic should be made.

Sea_of_Green said...

I totally agree, Soup. :-) Except, of course, all the New Gods are now supposedly DEAD. Yeah, we'll see how long they stay that way!

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