Comics : Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #41
This story is part of a Lookback Series: Lost Classics
This review was first published on: 2006.
Silver Surfer is tricked to participate in a trial on Dynamo City because of the death of Thanos, who was a citizen there. Once the Surfer reaches Dynamo City he discovers that his powers are gone and that he can not escape the floating mechanical city. During the trial they fight the Surfer innocent of murdering Thanos but the Surfer discovers after trying to leave that he must pay a 50 credit exit tax. Not having any credits, of course, the Silver Surfer is forced to go look for employment within the city.
Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #41
Sep 1990 : SM Cameo
Summary: Spider-Man Cameo
Without the credits needed to leave Dynamo City, we find the Surfer standing in an incredibly long line looking for employment. Upon reaching the head of the queue Surfer learns that without his cosmic powers, he is just like everyone else and the only position he is qualified for is in construction. It seems that he's not even qualified for that, after working under the sun for a little while, Surfer learns that without his cosmic powers to cool off his body, his metallic skin heats up to much.
Walking around the city, a guard stops him asking him what he's doing. Since he doesn't have a job or a purpose the guard sends him over to Tent City, a place where the poor of the city live. After meeting a being named Zeaklar, the Surfer is witnessed to the people who are either trapped on the floating city like him or are just poor and trying to make it. Zeaklar explains to the Surfer that the bureaucracy of the city is set up to keep the poor where they are and to make the rich richer.
Zeaklar soon tells the Surfer that there is a way he can make the 5 credits (whoops, it was 50 in the last issue) to leave. The populace of the city are so starved for exotic entertainment that they buy and broadcast people's memories and experiences. With the things the Surfer has lived through, he'd sure to do able to make enough.
Before the show starts the Surfer negotiates his memories for 200 credits, that way he can take 39 others with him when he leaves (strange amount, but whatever). They agree and send him out to the stage where they strap him in and begin the show: "Their Life Presents the Life And Times of the Silver Surfer".
The first memory that is brought up is of the Surfer's origin when Galactus came to Zenn-La to consume the energies hidden within the planet. Sacrificing himself for the sake of his home world, Norrin Radd, agrees to work as Galactus' herald to search out new planets for him to devour. The Silver Surfer is born when Galactus accepts this and spares Zenn-La.
While scanning the universe, the Silver Surfer comes upon Earth where he finds that he feels compassion for it's inhabitants. Fighting off Galactus, the Surfer manges to save the planet but is forced to remain on the planet forever as his punishment. There he meets with and fights alongside many of the Earth heroes.
Not only does the network broadcast the Surfer's origins but it also sheds light on some of the Surfer's romances he's had throughout the years, beginning with his first love on Zenn-La, Shalla-Bal. They also show of the Surfer's fling with Nova, another one of Galactus' heralds. They end the romance segment by showing the Surfer cradling the dying Mantis.
The show ends with the Surfer battling which caused the death of Thanos, which led him to Dynamo City. Now that his privacy and dignity have been paraded in front of the city, the Surfer demands his payment only to be given a total of two credits. The shows negotiator explains that there are a number of fees that must be paid leaving the Surfer with hardly anything at all.
Becoming enraged with being cheated compounded with his imprisonment on this mechanical city, the Surfer lashes out at the show's crew to only be subdued by a couple of robot guards who toss him out the front door. Upon waking some time later, the Surfer realizes that he doesn't even have the two credits anymore. A sad and dejected Silver Surfer pulls himself up and, without any hope of escape, makes for the Tent City, where the losers of the city congregate.
After being trapped on Dynamo City with a mandatory exit tax of 5 credits the Surfer is forced to gain employment which quickly proves to be a fruitless endeavor. Walking through the city a guard instructs the Surfer to go to Tent city where the rest of the vagrants live. There the Surfer learns that he can see his memories for broadcasting to gain enough credits to leave. After being swindled for his memories, the Surfer is right back where he started, broke and hopeless.
A good solid issue, all except the error in the credit amounts from issue 40 to this issue, but that can be over looked. It's interesting to see how the Silver Surfer functions as a normal person. Without his super powers he really can't do much of anything. I liked seeing the Surfer's struggle to gain his freedom only to fail in the end. Yeah that might be a horrible story of one of your favorite super heroes but they can't win all the time plus it made me want to continue reading the series to find out how the Surfer manages to escape, plus you know once he gets his cosmic powers back he's going to tear that place apart.
Spider-Man has a very small appearance during the broadcast of the Silver Surfer's memories. In a two-page spread highlighting all the super heroes the Surfer teamed up with during his stay on Earth, one of those heroes happens to be Spider-Man.