|The Silver Surfer is a Marvel Comics character who was first introduced in September, 1966. The Surfer appeared in issue #48 of the monthly Fantastic Four comic book series, where he came to Earth to investigate the planet’s potential for feeding his master, Galactus. Since this appearance, the Silver Surfer has appeared consistently in the Fantastic Four books, as well as headlining his own series, The Silver Surfer, which published 146 issues over a thirty-year span.
The Surfer was born Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-La, which came under threat by the world-eating being Galactus. Feeling he had a duty to protect his world, Norrin struck a deal to become the herald of Galactus: in exchange for sparing his home planet, Norrin would seek out other worlds which his new master could consume in order to sate his appetite. As part of the bargain, Norrin became the Silver Surfer, imbued with cosmic powers and a surfboard on which he can fly through the cosmos in search of these worlds.
The Surfer was originally Norrin Radd, a young astronomer of the planet Zenn-La. He agreed to serve as herald to the god-like entity, Galactus, in order to save Zenn-La from the world devourer’s insatiable hunger. Granted enormous powers (he wields the Power Cosmic), a silvery appearance and a surfboard-like vehicle — all of which were modeled after a childhood fantasy of Radd — the Silver Surfer roamed the cosmos, searching for new planets for Galactus to consume.
When Galactus threatened to destroy Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer was forced to make the ultimate sacrifice by agreeing to be his nemesis’ herald. This sacrifice led him to abandon his home and his lover, Shalla Bal. The pain and resentment he felt from the loss was somewhat dulled by the suppression of his emotions by Galactus; however, his feelings for Shalla Bal never waned. Because of his eternal devotion, she was frequently used as a pawn by enemies who wanted to destroy the Silver Surfer. After the destruction of Zenn-La by Galactus in revenge for the defection of his herald, the Surfer transferred some of his power to Shalla Bal so she could rebuild their planet. The Surfer’s voluntary role as a hero to his alternate ‘home’, Earth, and the rest of the cosmos, means that the pair may never fully be reunited.
The Surfer’s board is composed of the same impervious, cosmic-powered silvery material as its master’s skin, and is mentally linked to the Surfer; it moves in response to his thoughts, even when he is not in physical contact with it. The board is almost totally indestructible, but on those rare occasions where it has been damaged or destroyed, the Surfer has been able to repair or even re-create it. The Surfer can attack opponents remotely by directing the board against them, and the board is capable of absorbing and imprisoning other beings, at least temporarily. In addition, the Surfer and the Fantastic Four realized that Galactus’ means of imprisoning the Surfer on Earth was linked to the board since the world devourer knew that his former herald would not think of leaving the planet without it. Putting the idea to the test, the Surfer left the board planetside and the Four transported him off the planet in their spacecraft. Once he realized he was free of Earth, the Surfer remotely converted the board to energy, recalled it to him and reformed it in space.
The Silver Surfer wields “the power cosmic”, absorbing and manipulating the universe’s ambient cosmic energies. He can augment his strength to incalculable levels, and is almost totally indestructible. He can navigate space, hyperspace and dimensional barriers, and can fly at near-limitless speeds on his board, entering hyperspace when he exceeds light speed. He has even proven capable of time travel on occasion. The Surfer does not require food, drink, air or sleep, sustained entirely by converting matter into energy. He is immune to temperature extremes and most radiation, and can survive in vacuum environments such as outer space and hyperspace. He can analyze and manipulate matter and energy, and restructure or animate matter at will, even transmuting elements. He can heal living beings (though he cannot raise the dead), and has proven capable of revitalizing or evolving organic life on a planet wide scale. He can alter the size of himself or of other matter, cast illusions, fire energy blasts, form and manipulate energy constructs, manipulate gravity, absorb and discharge most forms of energy, and phase through solid matter. His senses enable him to detect objects and energies light years away, and to perceive matter and energy in subatomic detail; he can even see through time, and with concentration can achieve limited perception of past and future events in his general vicinity. The Surfer has demonstrated limited telepathic ability on occasion, and has proven able to influence human emotion and sensation.