Bargain Comic Reviews

New Reviews of Old Comics

Fantasy Masterpieces #6 (May 1980)

Purchase prFantasy_Masterpieces_6ice: $1

Ah!  Another reprint title from good ol’ Marvel!  And this one stars Silver Surfer to boot.  If he isn’t one of the coolest comic book characters going, I don’t know who is.  The guy is beyond powerful, all silvery metallic looking and gets around the cosmos on a surf board.  What’s not to love?  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created a lot of legendary characters, but I think Silver Surfer represents them at their best.  He’s so absurd sounding, yet entirely fascinating.

“World’s Without End!” is a complete 47 page story written by Stan Lee illustrated by John Buscema and Sal Buscema.  The first few pages have the former Norrin Rad drifting above Earth and feeling sorry for himself.  Whoa is me; humans hate me, I’m trapped on this planet by Galactus, I miss my girlfriend, blah, blah, blah.  For someone so powerful he needs to get over himself, put on the big boy pants and grow up a bit.  Who is he even talking to out there in the vacuum of space anyway?  After visiting a friend’s house and finding a machine Silver Surfer gets the idea to fly so fast, as fast as light, that he time travels into the future when Galactus’ curse has worn down.  Too bad the planet is a pile of rubble in the future.  Fearful over his native planet’s fate, the Surfer heads off to Zenn-La, only to find a similar situation.  Without a reason to live, one of the most powerful beings in the cosmos is treated like a rag doll by some gooney looking alien and taken hostage by another group of interstellar creatures.  Here is where we learn about Overlord, the nastiest of the nasty super villains, and in this particular future the being who destroys the universe.  Why?  Because he can.  ‘nuff said.   We learn his story about being a mutant who was born powerful and after conquering the universe now just likes treating other creatures as his slaves.  He even brings out dancing girls, one of whom looks like the Surfer’s beloved Shalla Bal as a way to manipulate him.  After Overlord nearly sucks the life out of the sky-rider a fellow Zenn-La citizen revives the Surfer in some crazy contraption.  We learn more about the awful fate of the universe as the Surfer and his new allies try to resist, but it’s all for naught.  How do you fight against the most powerful mutant in the universe?  You don’t.   Finally figuring out that he got into this mess by time traveling, the Surfer reverses the direction to go back in time before Overlord was born and stops the accident which unleashed this beast on this cosmos.  The issue ends much as it began with Silver Surfer flying on his board, talking to himself, wrestling with self-doubt once again.

For as much as I love classic comics, and think the Silver Surfer is a great character, at 47 pages (including ads), this story was A LOT over done.  The Surfer’s pity party at the beginning was too much; why is this guy always such a downer?  After the slow start, the story did pick up, but the ending seemed rushed.  I know, slow start and rushed ending.  I’m never happy, am I?  I guess it just comes to pacing.  John Buscema’s artwork was, of course, fantastic and really a highlight for the issue.  Once you get past the drama queen Silver Surfer this was a good read and reinforced my love of Marvel’s reprint titles like Fantasy Masterpieces, Marvel Tales, Marvel Triple Action, and Marvel’s Greatest Comics among others.


4 comments on “Fantasy Masterpieces #6 (May 1980)

  1. wwayne
    May 7, 2013

    John Buscema drew one of Daredevil’s best stories ever, “Badlands” (Daredevil # 219).
    The writer he teamed up with was Frank Miller, and it is crystal clear that he wrote that issue having already Sin City in mind. In that issue you can find exactly the same atmosphere and the same narrative themes (corruption, justice, revenge and so on) that became Sin City’s trademarks later on.

    • bargaincomicreviews
      May 7, 2013

      I actually remember buying that issue off the magazine stand at the general store the day it came out and thinking it was one of the coolest comic stories I’d read up to that point.

      • wwayne
        May 7, 2013

        I’m glad that you enjoyed it as much as I did. Miller was at his best when he was working on Daredevil, and that issue is one of his brightest gems.

  2. I know that John Buscema was not a huge fan of drawing superhero stories. But he definitely did some of the very best work of his career on Silver Surfer. I read this one in the Essential Silver Surfer collection. Big John’s art looks amazing in black & white. I do agree, though, that Stan Lee’s scripting was much too angst-ridden.

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