> Reprinted in: Silver Surfer Masterworks Volume 1  •  Silver Surfer Omnibus Volume 1

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Poor, pathetic creatures! So riddled with fear, with gnawing distrust! What monumental irony that they, who rule a planet, should be so insecure!"

- - Silver Surfer, while hunting for a job, page 9

The Silver Surfer hallucinates a reunion with Shalla Bal.


Silver Surfer #5
April 1969 • 39 pages

Publication Date: January 1969

Letters Page: Page OnePage Two

I: Feature Story: "...And Who Shall Mourn For Him?"

Pages: 39

Script: Stan Lee
Pencils: John Buscema
Inks: Sal Buscema
Letters: Artie Simek

First Appearance: Al B. Harper, Tiny

Villain: The Stranger, Tiny

Guest Appearance: Reed Richards, The Thing, Human Torch, Al B. Harper

Flashback Cameo: The X-Men: Cyclops, , Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants; Shalla Bal

Gadgets & Technology: Compu-Beam, Space Scrambler, Al B. Harper's barrier piercing device, Null-Life Bomb, Portable Geiger-Scope

Synopsis: Three members of the Fantastic Four - Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm - react to an intruder in the Baxter Building, being traced to his lab by the Compu-Beam! Just as Reed feared, the intruder has stolen the Space Scrambler, a weapon that in the wrong hands would bring calamity to the world. Johnny "flames on" and attempts to chase a gleaming blur high up into the sky, but is unable to keep chase when lack of oxygen robs him of his ability to ascend further. The identity of the thief, the Silver Surfer, remains a mystery to them.

The Surfer has stolen this object because he believes it could be the key to piercing the dimensional barrier which imprisons him, and he could not dare asking and being refused its use. Firing it at the barrier causes the weapon to explode in his hands. He sees a vision of his beloved Shalla Bal before he blacks out and falls to Earth. He awakens in the home of Al B. Harper, a scientist who is busy cooking up some bacon and eggs. Harper explains that when he was out collecting rocks in the woods, the Surfer came hurtling down through the trees to crash at his feet. He took him back to his cabin and gave him harbor. The Surfer is shocked that, unlike others he has met, Al B. Harper has befriended him instead of hounding him. He tells Harper how it was he crashed to Earth - trying and failing to destroy the barrier that binds him to Earth's atmosphere. The scientist supposes that he could build the equipment that might pierce the barrier, but he doesn't have the funds to do so.

Quickly deciding on a new mission to generate money for Harper's project, the Surfer dons a heavy coat, hat and glasses and assimilates into society in an effort to get a job. His odd appearance causes all potential employers to turn him away. Walking by a bank, the Surfer muses on how easy it would be to enter the vault and steal wads of cash, but realizes that act would only cause him to sink to the humans' level. He wanders the streets and comes across a man lying in an alley fearing for his life, thinking the Surfer is a gangster seeking him out for reprisal. The Surfer assures him he is peaceful, and the man explains he got into steep debt trying to pay his wife's medical bills by gambling. He got deep into a dice game before he realized the dice were loaded, and the group of gangsters, led by a menance named Tiny, started to lean on him. They worked him over and dumped him in the alley. The Surfer is inspired by this tale, and asks the man to instruct him in the rules of throwing dice. The man wonders if the Surfer is nuts, but tells him what he needs to know.

The Surfer gains entry to the underworld gambling hall, and begins to use his cosmic power to ensure every roll of the dice is in his favor. He cleans out the room and leaves with all the cash, which angers Tiny and his men, who lurk for him as he walks out of the building. When he rounds the corner, they pounce, seemingly beating him senseless. But the Surfer didn't fight back so that he could guage the true savagery of these men, who have dumped him in the street and then attempt to run him over in their car. The Surfer totals their car, hands a portion of the cash to the thankful man who he met in the alley, and flies back to Al B. Harper's cabin.

Though wondering about the legitimacy of such a quick amount of cash, Al B. Harper begins work on the machine that could help the Surfer win his freedom. He creates an invention which will help the Surfer "disguise his molecular structure" so the barrier may not react to his presence. The device is rather elaborate, and requires the Surfer to bounce patterns of energy against the barrier to confuse its energy field. This activity quickly draws the attention of the space-roving Stranger, who is on his way to Earth to destroy it in order to stop it from negatively influencing the rest of the universe. His plan is to plant the Null-Life Bomb on the Earth's surface, but before he does so he investigates the Surfer's activities and warns him to escape now, before he destroys the planet. The Surfer argues that man shouldn't be destroyed, but the Stranger replies that their time to evolve has run out. The Stranger tells him he has been warned to escape now while he has the chance and disappears to plant the bomb somewhere on Earth.

The Surfer returns to Earth and relays his story to Al B. Harper, who goes to the police with the Surfer's warning. Naturally, the police authorities think Harper has gone loony. Harper and the Surfer take matters into their own hands and determine to seek out the bomb with the aid of Harper's Portable Geiger-Scope, which detects "foreign, unearthly substances". They find the general vicinity of the bomb and Harper heads out to find it while the Surfer goes off to fight the Stranger. After the two cosmic beings argue about the merits of humanity's place in the universe and get nowhere, they wage war across the city, firing bolts of energy and wreaking carnage where ever they go. Meanwhile, Al B. Harper wanders through town with the strange looking Geiger-Scope strapped to his chest. A mob of people who crowd around Harper demand to know what the funny looking machine is. Harper refuses to tell them, saying he has no time to explain. Thinking Harper could be related to the city's destruction by the Surfer and the Stranger, they atttack him. Harper flees in a car and races to where the Geiger-Scope is leading him. He finds the Null-Bomb hidden in the disguise of a rock. Unfortunately, as he attempts to defuse the bomb, a booby trap set by the Stranger goes off, giving him a lethal dose of acid which kills him.

The battle ends when the Stranger realizes the bomb has been neutralized by a human willing to sacrifice his life for others. Realizing his misjudgement about Earthlings, he undoes all the damage the battle created and returns to outer space. The Surfer sadly stands over the grave of Al B. Harper. As a final testimony of thanks for the man, the Surfer creates an eternal flame that will burn over his grave "so long as the Earth itself endures."

--synopsis by Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Silver Surfer #1-6, FF Annual #5 backup story

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


SS #1

SS #2

SS #3

SS #4

SS #5

SS #6

FF Ann #5


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