Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Circle Closes


It's time to play a rousing game of "pass the buck" in this fifth installment of

  

I never did quite figure out why this installment in the Devourer series was boldly titled "Herald." It's almost unnecessary, since this story--like the entire series itself--mostly spotlights the Silver Surfer, rather than Galactus. In his search for a planet with sentient life-forms to satisfy his master's hunger, it's the Surfer who comes into contact with the Kree, who help determine his next course of action. And it's the Surfer whom the Shi'ar later focus their military might on.  All Surfer, all the time.

In the interim, we have the Avengers and the Fantastic Four sitting down to dinner, and Alicia Masters making an uncomfortable analogy about Galactus currently satisfying his own hunger in a far more deadly manner to innocent life forms--a very odd segue from the elements in the story which should be getting our attention, seemingly existing for the sole reason of Alicia's statement seeing print:



I can't say what reasons other readers might have had for picking up this series, but I'd be willing to bet my last comic book that it wasn't to have the story interrupted by meaningless--and irrelevant--scenes like this.

Yet once the fight for drumsticks is over, the heroes have resolved to head out and stop Galactus, with Reed having some new weapons (and hopefully a plan) to bring into play. In the meantime, the Surfer has encountered a Kree vessel, and hears a compelling argument for a possible way out of an impossible situation:



The Kree are hardly beings of altruism, of course. Having been conqured by the Shi'ar, their motives in this matter are more self-serving, which the Surfer realizes. Yet, grasping at straws, he reasons that the suggested course of action might be the best one to finally bring this problem to an end:



The one running theme through this series that I've found interesting has been a subtle one--the tendency to solve a deadly problem by endangering others for the perceived greater good. Those two concepts are in such conflict that they should cancel each other out, yet the "greater good" always seems to be the deciding factor in the heat of the moment. For example, the Mole Man, willing to put innocent lives in danger, in order to hijack a treatment plant that will help his people. The Surfer, choosing to save one world he favors--Earth--by offering up countless other worlds to Galactus in its place. Mantis, who points the Surfer to an alternate world to sacrifice to Galactus, by virtue of the fact that the other world's life lacks the level of "sentience" of her own. The Surfer again, who gambles on the Shi'ar homeworld's safety in order to hopefully bring Galactus' threat to an end. And Galactus himself, who continually touts his need to survive in order to rationalize murder.

Then there's Reed Richards, who virtually rubber-stamped the Surfer's decision to rejoin Galactus in order to save the Earth, with only the hope that the Surfer might be able to alter Galactus' plans. When faced with almost the exact same scenario the last time Galactus threatened Earth, Reed was of a far different persuasion:



Gee, whatever happened to that Reed Richards?

So in this story, the buck has been passed again--only the Surfer's desperate plan has almost immediately been thwarted, since the Shi'ar are throwing everything they have at the Surfer instead of making plans for Galactus. Even to the point of self-sacrifice:



It's only when the Starjammers enter the fray--a development which seems intended to stack the deck in terms of the issue's guest-stars--that the Surfer lets himself be taken out in order to reach Lilandra and divulge his intentions.  (Strangely, the Imperial Guard have been conspicuously left out of the fight--is there anyone reading this who wouldn't have preferred the Guard to the Starjammers?) By this time, though, the Surfer has devastated much of the Shi'ar's forces, making the plan to have the Shi'ar face off against Galactus almost moot when the issue reaches its crescendo, with the arrival of Galactus:


(Hey, there's the answer to a question I'd raised earlier!)




And now the circle finally closes tightly around the Surfer. He's returned to precisely the same decision he had to make when he first came to Earth and rebelled against Galactus,  And it mirrors the decision he made when this series began, to preserve one world at the cost of another:



Yet this vicious little circle also includes another: Reed, who has arrived with the FF and Avengers in tow, and who has apparently decided to intervene where before he chose to see things play out from the sidelines:



And we'll find out more about that plan when we get to our final post of this series. Let's hope Reed's packing more than a drill this time.


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