Silver Surfer: Antiwar Comic Book

The Silver Surfer has a long reputation as the bleeding heart ? hero of Marvel Comics. I haven’t yet seen the new Fantastic Four movie, which features Silver Surfer, but I hope they keep his tender/compassionate nature.

Just in time for the new movie, Marvel Comics is publishing a 4-part comic series: Silver Surfer Requiem, written by J. Michael Straczynski. This month the 3rd part of the series was published and it was tale of antiwar.

Spoilers Warning

The basic premise of the miniseries is that Silver Surfer has a terminal illness. The first two issues he is on planet Earth saying good-bye to his adopted home and friends. In the third issue, Silver Surfer begins his journey to his home planet, Zenn-La. But on the way he encounters two civilizations caught in an space-battle and he is summoned to a command ship.

Two individuals of different species greet him. These two are the political and religious leaders of their respective planets. They tell the Silver Surfer they have been at war for over 50 generations because the people of each planet had different gods ? that were not our gods. Their shrines ? were not our shrines. ?

They go one to explain that none of the Holy temples were destroyed in the wars, which further supported their beliefs and reasons for fighting.

The two leaders tell the Silver Surfer he was summoned to be decide which side was true, to tip the balance, and to end the war.

The Silver Surfer can’t see any difference between them, so he destroys all their weapons and ability to make war on each other. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes to each of the home planets and destroys the Holy temples and shrines, proving that there was no great hand at work than [their] own, proving that neither side was more right or more holy than the other. ? Then in typical Silver Surfer fashion, he leaves.

The story concludes with the people of each planet kill their religious leaders and begin the Sacred Peace ? and erect monuments in honor of the Silver Surfer.

The final page reads:

Nor would we forget the words he spoke to us before he left.

If sacred places are spared the ravages of war ? then make all places sacred. And if the holy people are to be kept harmless from war ? then make all people holy. ?

The antiwar theme is heavy in the story and that’s very much appreciated. But in that regard it was only partially successful. Like the issue of Firestorm I reviewed a while back, the hero of the story, Silver Surfer, doesn’t attack anyone in the story and embodies principles of nonviolence.

But he does destroy property which somewhat confuses his message that all places should be holy. In effect he tries to prove it by showing them that all places aren’t holy. The response of the people in the story to the Silver Surfer is subsequently confused: they kill their leaders and establish monuments to the Silver Surfer. It is doubtful that a Sacred Peace ? would begin with killing.

This story brings up many of the ironies and complexities of war and peace, as well as inherent problems with concepts of sacred and holy. The premise Straczynski used with the two warring civilizations is interesting. I wonder how the hero of the story could have better embodied his final words: that all people and places are sacred.

Or is there something inherently flawed with sacredness ?? Does the holy need (and in some way create) the unholy?

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