Silver Surfer Annual 4, the Korvac Quest part 3 was on sale May 1991, sharing the spinner rack with Batman: Full Circle #1, Double Dragon #1, Flash TV Special #1, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Legend of the Shield #1 and Transformers #80
Price of Paradise was written and drawn by the two Rons, Marz & Lim and opens with Silver Surfer flying towards a planet, soon revealed to be Zenn-La. He meets up with Shalla Ball, the love of his life when he was Norrin Radd. They have a tender moment, she pulls his silver skin-sheath off, revealing his original appearance. They kiss and then she ages do death in seconds.
It’s revealed to be a dream, it is in fact now 5 or 6 centuries later, Silver Surfer is on another world talking to a being called Marshach. He is taking rest on Marshach’s world and you can see he’s wearing Quasar’s quantum bands.
Marshach tells the Surfer than although no outsiders are welcome apart from him, there are strangers looking for this world and he fears what will happen. The Surfer promises to lead whoever this is away and flies off. Marsharch watches him leave and then beings to reflect on his origin. It transpires that at some point, this world was a colony from Earth and after some harsh years, Marshach received the power of Korvac and used it to make this colony a paradise. The people made him their leader and for a long time afterwards, he did what he could to benefit their lives and now he sees this time coming to an end. He share his fear and trepidation with his wife Kareela.
At this point, the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive in this time in Drydock and begin to search for the power of Korvac. Silver Surfer appears out of nowhere and races away from Marshach’s world. The Guardians, less Nikki and Starhawk follow. Nikki and Starhawk arrive on the planet and Marshach summons the Surfer back to defend him and the Guardians follow Surfer back and everyone ends up on Marshach’s world.
Nikk and Starhawk try to convince Marshach to voluntarily relinquish the power of Korvac and when he refuses, they threaten to just take it. That’s when the Surfer returns, shortly after that the Guardians return and the battle truly begins.
The fight against the Surfer is brief, but spectacular. The Guardians cannot hold back due to the awesome power of the Silver Surfer. Some civilians are caught in the battle and killed and Marshach realises high cost of this battle. Kareela convinces Marshach to surrender the power and allow the Guardians to take it.
The power gone, both Kareela and Marshach die, Marshach waiting long enough to ask the Surfer to keep an eye on his world and telling him that he fears for the future and is glad he won’t see it. This halts the Guardians enough for the power of Korvac to flee to the 30th Century and the birth of Michael Korvac.
While not a spectacular comic, it’s an improvement on the previous two. Although it’s the Guardians’ arc and the Surfer’s annual, this very clearly Marshach’s story as he is clearly the hero. He feels that the intruders will take damage this paradise and that’s very true and he fears not for himself, but for his people and the future they’ll live in.
Notes: This is the strongest so far in both story and art. Ron Lim has had a long history with Silver Surfer and is perfectly suited and the energy packed battle is well rendered. The other Ron, Ron Marz doesn’t have much of a story to work with, but he does well with it. In a handful of pages he fleshes out Marshach and Kareela and when it’s over, you do feel for them. Their sacrifice is heartfelt and full of awareness making these two the heroes of this tale.
Their sacrifice is also pointless, the Guardians miss the power of Korvac and have to go on again.
Outside of their own title, the Guardians lack any kind of depth and are just cyphers for the story, but at least it ends in their own, which makes me a little more optimistic.
Next time: Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1