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Silver Surfer #36: Review

Apr 1990
Jim Starlin, Ron Lim

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Story Name:

The Lesson

Review & Comments

5 stars

Silver Surfer #36 Review by (May 3, 2015)
Comments: In the course of the story, the Impossible Man changes into (in order) a surfer, a pie, a dog, a mirror, a professor, Thanos, a light bulb, a professor again, binoculars, a stone block, Thanos again, half-Thanos/half-Silver Surfer, a meat grinder, the Frankenstein monster, a trio of clowns, a seltzer bottle, conjoined twins (sort of), a car, a tray of fruit, a tack, a bunch of flowers, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Yoda, a tsunami, a cannon, Master Po from KUNG FU, a salesman, Lockjaw, and a hot-air balloon.

Review: I could not resist that cover, needing desperately to know who was terrorizing the Silver Surfer—and my curiosity was repaid, it was the Impossible Man! Fortunately a guest appearance by Captain America gave me the excuse to write it up for the e-Library and here we are. The Surfer has gone through quite a few changes over the years, starting as an intriguing new Kirby character in FF #49 but altered into a tragic hero by Stan Lee in his first solo book. Later writers dialed back the excessive drama to just make SS an intense and humorless star-farer. And then there’s the most recent gig: the 2014 series makes him into a Dr Who imitator: an offbeat and goofy alien taking a young female companion through time and space in an unbelievable craft. It’s a hoot but I think the 80s-90s Surfer worked better—especially as a foil for the incredibly goofy Impossible Man. This guy was another Lee and Kirby creation but it’s Ron Lim who brings him to insane life here—he was a bit bland in Kirby’s art but here he is a precursor of Robin Williams’ genie in ALADDIN, chattering a mile-a-minute while constantly altering his appearance to punctuate his words. Few comics—especially in the 1990s—are this much fun.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Silver Surfer #36 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Silver Surfer returns to Earth and heads to Avengers Mansion. She-Hulk, not recognizing him (really?), challenges him and punches his face. It does nothing. Captain America appears and scolds Shulkie, sending her to review the Associates File. Meanwhile, SS tells Cap he is researching Thanos and brings the news that the villain is once more among the living and is up to some nefarious plan to wipe out half the universe. Cap and his guest review the Thanos file, bringing the reader up to date on his career; Cap suggests SS go to Titan to talk to Mentor if he needs more info…


As the Silver Surfer heads toward Titan he is intercepted by the Impossible Man who gets his attention by hitting him in the face with a pie that sends him crashing into the dust of Mars. Impy is there to advise SS on the best way to defeat his enemy Thanos, because since Thanos is even more humorless and boring than SS he can’t possibly hope to defeat him on those terms. So Impy’s advice (in song and dance) is “be a clown,” use humor the throw his foe off-balance. The irritated Surfer yells at him to knock it off which causes Impy to keel over and die. Surfer panics and tries to revive him—and it was just a set-up to give him a big Bugs Bunny kiss. As Impy turns Charlie Chaplin and Groucho to hammer his point home, overwhelming him in a green tsunami and shooting him out of a cannon—the Surfer finally gets fed up and explodes in wrath. He quickly apologizes and promises to lighten up; Impy is delighted and lets SS hit him with a magic pie before he takes off. The Silver Surfer sees that his visitor had a point—the one on top of his head—and wanders off wondering if he just made a joke….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Ron Lim
Tom Christopher
Tom Vincent
Ron Lim (Cover Penciler)
Tom Christopher (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Jennifer Walters)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)

> Silver Surfer: Book info and issue index

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