Norrin Radd (Silver Surfer)

silversurferfilmWaiting for new tv episodes to come (and from next week there will be plenty), let’s spend some more time on Brick89‘s request, this time with another particularly popular superhero: Silver Surfer. He appeared as a secondary antagonist in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, portrayed by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne; debutting as the herald of Galactus, he calls for his master to feed on Earth, but he’s attacked and stripped of his powers by Doctor Doom. He teams up with the Fantastic Four against Doom, and eventually finds in humanity a cause worth fighting for: he rebels against Galactus, apparently sacrificing his life to destroy him, but he survives the experience, and comes back surfing in open space towards a spin-off that never happened. This version of the Surfer wasn’t exactly the best one we could hope for, but he wasn’t either that bad (apart from the absurd movie ending). His origin story, as he tells it to the Invisible Woman, is pretty much the same in the comics: let’s see together.

Son of Jartran and Elmar RaddNorrin Radd was born on Zenn-La, an extremely advanced planet in the star system of Deneb. On Zenn-La, crime, vice, poverty, hunger, illness and conflict had been eradicated, and all the population enjoyed an era of scientific and philosophical progress. Pushed by his father, Norrin became one of the finest intellectuals on the planet, refusing the spreading hedonism of the new generations. Both his parents committed suicide (Elmar because she felt unfit for her society, Jartran for shame after being accused of idea theft), and this only pushed Norrin Radd to seek knowledge even more, alienating himself from his peers, except from his beloved Shalla-Bal. His lover didn’t fully understand Norrin’s restlessness, as she perfectly fit into Zenn-La’s new society and believed that she and her beloved could have everything they wanted and needed, but the man sought a silversurfercomics1knowledge long lost on his planet, and studied his ancestors, explorers and warriors, feeling more akin to them than to his contemporaries. Then, one day, Norrin Radd’s life changed forever: a gargantuan space ship entered Zenn’La’s orbit, and the long-neglected defense system didn’t do anything to stop the invader. Among the population, Norrin Radd was the only one who knew something of the ancient space-traveling technology, and it took a little effort for him to convince the Council of Scientists to allow him to use a spaceship to reach the invaders and negotiate with them. Norrin found out that the invader was but one, and wasn’t interested in any kind of occupation or conquest: it was Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, and was ready to consume Zenn-La. The scientist begged the cosmic being to spare his planet, but the Devourer was starving, and wasn’t very disposed to be merciful. Then, Radd had an idea, understanding that Galactus didn’t want to consume inhabited worlds if it wasn’t necessary: he offered himself as the Devourer’s herald, exploring the universe for him to find deserted planet to feed him. Galactus accepted the offer, and imbued Radd with Power Cosmic, giving him a fraction of his own and transforming him in the being that would have been known as the Silver Surfer.

Despite being impossible for Norrin Radd to come back to Zenn-La and to his beloved Shalla-Bal, being the Silver Surfer had some positive aspects to it, namely the unlimited freedom it granted to him: with the immense powers given to him by Galactus, the Surfer could roam the universe and explore it as he had always wanted to, learning much from other cultures and other forms of life, with the only obligement of finding an energy-rich planet with no sentient life on it for his master. Eventually, however, these kind of planets became rarer and rarer, to the point that Galactus, in order to ensure his own survival, progressively erased his herald’s past memories and conscience, so that he didn’t have any more hesitation in guiding him to inhabited planets as well. One day, the Surfer found a powerful barrier surrounding a planet extremely full of energy: Earth. Using his power, he easily silversurfercomics2pierced the barrier, a mimetic coat created by Uatu the Watcher to protect the planet, and he called for Galactus to feed on Earth. Obviously, the shining and silent visitor scared many on the planet, and the heroic team Fantastic Four arrived to confront the invader: after a battle, Silver Surfer fell into an attic, where he met a blind sculptress, Alicia Masters, who, not knowing who she was dealing with, welcomed him and treated him. During his time with Alicia, Silver Surfer remembered Norrin Radd: his humanity, his conscience and his memories resurfaced, and the resentment towards his master for deceiving him and his will to protect humanity brought him to turn on Galactus. With his enormous power, Silver Surfer allied with the Fantastic Four, and bought them enough time for the Human Torch and Uatu to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier, the only item in the universe capable of posing a serious threat to Galactus’ god-like powers. Galactus was forced to retreat, but not before punishing his rogue herald for betraying him: the Devourer created a special barrier around Earth, syncronized on the Surfer’s cosmic energy, so that he was uncapable of ever leaving the planet’s orbit. With his freedom lost, Silver Surfer grew melancholic, but didn’t lose his thirst for knowledge and his noble soul: he wandered his new homeworld trying to understand its people, and to protect them…mainly from themselves.

Norrin Radd is a noble and selfless man, totally bent on his search for knowledge; he’s also a tormented and restless soul, who mourns the life he has lost, but values over everything else the freedom he’s been allowed. As the Silver Surfer, the Power Cosmic grants him a number of astonishing abilities: he can survive in the void of space, and he possesses superhuman strength, durability, stamina, speed and agility; he can fly at incredible speed on his board, and he can absorb and manipulate a nearly unlimited amount of energy, to the point that he can freely rearrange the molecules even of solid matter; the board itself can act as a cosmic energy storage, able to increase the already remarkable powers of its owner. One of the most powerful beings in the universe, and the most powerful among the heralds of Galactus, the Silver Surfer explores the universe in the effort of understanding the meaning of existence itself, and every planet, every people, every individual he meets enriches him with a tile to his mosaic.

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  12. […] Aster and Shanzar were summoning the pure soul, the Silver Surfer, on Earth, Namor had moved to Rick Jones‘ body, contacted the Hulk, and sought the help […]

  13. […] version of The Stranger), helped by the likes of Spidey-Man (Spider-Man), the Simple Surfer (Silver Surfer), The Thung and the Human Scorch (The Thing and the Human Torch)…and emerged […]

  14. […] once inhabited by a technologically highly advanced civilization, deprived by all life by the Silver Surfer, who was trying to starve his master Galactus leaving only lifeless planets on his path. Taking […]

  15. […] even in cosmic-level issues (such as when they cleaned up after a battle with Galactus and the Silver Surfer), befriending some heroes (most notably Spider-Man, the X-Men and the New Warriors) and nearly […]

  16. […] to kill them with their collars, the Obedience Disk. One of the newest champions, however, was the Silver Surfer, who managed to disable the Disks and to start a rebellion. Along with the Warbound, Miek escaped, […]


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