Silver Surfer #38 (1990): 1st Geatar


Okay, forgive the “only one will survive” hyperbole on the cover—obviously neither character dies in this issue.

After a few issues of Silver Surfer assessing the Thanos threat, which were fun to read but didn’t move the plot along. It was about character. Now, Starlin’s vision for the return of Thanos starts getting focus.  He announces his own return to Nebula, his daughter, by setting her on fire.  Hardcore.

Geatar, her bodyguard, tries to save her and gets obliterated.

But he will be back. He gets killed in his first appearance, but it’s only “comic book dead,” not “real dead.”

His reasoning is: She’s not his real daughter, and shouldn’t be a pretender to his throne.

He then has a conversation with Death, where he tells her that first he’ll “solve” the Silver Surfer problem—because Death warned Thanos that Surfer would stop him from his mission–and then give her half the souls in the universe.  So he summons Surfer to a battleground and they fight, and Surfer “kills” Thanos.  But of course he’s not really dead.  He’s faking it, so that Surfer will not interfere with his plan to kill half the souls in the universe.

Good fake out, consistent with Thanos’ character.  He knows he could probably kill Surfer outright, but (a) there’s not point in taking the risk if he can trick him and (b) Thanos has more fun this way.

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And that’s it for Starlin, Lim and Silver Surfer, sadly.  But they’ll go on to Thanos Quest.  Which is also terrific.

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This issue is part of the return to Thanos story that is one of the top 10 Jim Starlin stories of all time. And it stands on its own as one of the best single-issue stories of all time, according to this objectively accurate list.

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