Appearing in "The Endgame Cometh!"
Synopsis for "The Endgame Cometh!"
Disgusted at having done nothing more than shattering a Dr. Doom robot, Ben tells his teammates to fight Doom themselves. Reed tries to persuade Ben to remain with them, saying that they've got Doom on the run. Ben does not believe him, however, and he declares that Doom is probably spying on them at this very moment. And indeed, Doom turns away from his view-screen, satisfied that he will soon be waging his final battle against them. He recalls how the Silver Surfer delivered them to Latveria, where Doom imprisoned them and lured the Silver Surfer into a harmless looking chair. The chair is actually a device that duplicates the Surfer's Power Cosmic within a giant android that Doom created. Then Doom peers through a window at his Doomsman II—named after the original Doomsman—and commands it to rise. Crackling with cosmic energy, the Doomsman flexes his limbs and shatters the platform to which he is attached. Then he tears through a stone wall and stands before Doom awaiting instructions, utterly subservient to the evildoer. The Doomsman muses Doom, has all the Surfer's strengths and none of his "insipid" weaknesses. No longer needing the Silver Surfer's energy, Doom presses a button, and at that moment, the Surfer's feeling of faintness lifts. Addressing him as "wanderer," Shalla Bal says that she is not certain that she is truly the woman that the Surfer loved because she has no memory of anything before she became Doom's Bride. It is a marriage in name only, she continues, but Doom will not release her to go with the Surfer until the Fantastic Four are destroyed. Because the Surfer had been confined to Earth by Galactus, he had been tormented by the thought that Shalla Bal was separated from him forever, exiled to his distant home world. Now, having against all odds found her on Earth, he is glad that he never managed to escape.
Then she addresses him by his real name, Norrin Radd. She could not know his true name unless she was indeed Shalla Bal, says the Surfer joyfully. Her suppressed memories must be closer to the surface of her mind than Doom supposes. Perhaps when she touched him, he says, a portion of the bond between them was restored. Then she embraces and kisses him, saying that this should restore much more of her memory. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four enter a tunnel in Doom's castle. Using the Torch's flame for illumination, they walk down it until they come to a stone wall. Ben tries to break the wall down, but it is impervious, and suddenly another wall slams down behind them and starts to close in on them. Ben tries to hold it back while Johnny attempts to melt out of the trap, but all the walls are fireproof. Then Reed finds a thin crevice between the stones through which he squeezes his elastic body and escapes. As the wall closes in, Reed's three companions wait anxiously for him to stop the mechanism, which he does. Then a side wall slides up, and they find him in an adjoining chamber holding two guards wrapped up in his arm. When Ben asks what kept him, Reed replies that he had a little trouble getting his shape back. Ben wants to force the two guards to tell them Doom's plan, but Reed says that would be futile because Doom never tells his underlings his stratagems. Suddenly the wall next to Johnny starts to glow, and the second Doomsman crashes through.
Reed remarks that the creature's voice sounds like the Silver Surfer's, only more sinister. Ben tells Reed to stand aside and attacks, but the Doomsman knocks Ben aside like a toy. The Doomsman says that he does indeed possess the power of the Sliver Surfer, but his body is larger, so he has more force than the Surfer. The Surfer would not strike to kill, continues the android, but he has no such qualms. Raising his fist, he tells them to prepare to perish. Shalla Bal suddenly shrinks away from the Silver Surfer after kissing him, saying that she is not who he thinks she is. Her lost memory has returned, she says, and she now knows that she is not Shalla Bal but a Latverian peasant girl named Helena, who has lived her entire life in obscurity until a few days ago, when Doom discovered her. Doom ordered her to his castle, placed her under a machine, and altered her memory. This was all part of Doom's scheme to compel the Silver Surfer to kill the Fantastic Four. Just then, Doom's henchman, Daedalus, enters, his pistol leveled at the Surfer and the woman. Daedalus fires, but the Surfer easily absorbs the bullets, and with a small blast of cosmic power, he knocks Daedalus unconscious. The Surfer does not know how Shalla—or Helena—learned his real name, but he cannot stop to think about it when the lives of the Fantastic Four are in danger.
Summoning up his surfboard, he flashes away. The battle between the Fantastic Four and the second Doomsman continues, and it is all they can do to keep from being killed. Johnny attacks with flame-bolts, but the Doomsman knocks him to the ground with eye-beams. Just as things look bleakest, the Surfer soars into the chamber. The Android commands the Surfer to leave, but the Surfer replies with a bolt of cosmic power. The combined onslaught of the Surfer and the Fantastic Four forces the Doomsman against a wall, and then he crashes through and falls to the floor, inert. Behind the wall, however, is Doom's control chamber, and when Ben sees the Latverian monarch, he prepares to charge. Johnny flies too close to Doom, and a finger-blast knocks him out of the air. As Shalla Bal runs into the room, Ben starts pounding on Doom's armor, but Doom gloats that he has made many improvements in his costume, and it would now take an atomic bomb to break through the force field that surrounds him. The Surfer agrees to halt the battle as they must not allow the destruction of a nation's legacy, even though Doom himself might not care. Ben remarks that the castle had been destroyed and was rebuilt, but Shalla replies that artifacts from all over the kingdom were brought there afterward—paintings, statuary, and other irreplaceable things. Reed asks Doom to call it a stalemate, and Doom agrees. Now that his Doomsman is irrevocably demolished, the game is ruined for him. As the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, and Shalla-Bal depart, Doom walks away feeling cheated as if he had somehow lost control of events.
He was never in control, gloats a figure in an alien dimension observing Doom's discomfiture. How can a mere mortal ever hope to govern events, he asks, while Mephisto sits on his throne in the netherworld, playing with men like marionettes? Then Mephisto explains to his sycophantic minions that he hates the Silver Surfer more than anyone else. This day, he continues proudly, he has wreaked a most terrible revenge on him. When one of Mephisto's demons points out that the Surfer seems to be leaving the scene of battle unharmed, Mephisto replies that that is the ultimate beauty of his deviltry. The woman in Latveria, whom the Surfer first thought to be Shalla Bal, and who he learned is a peasant girl, really is Shalla Bal after all, although she herself does not know it. When Mephisto banished her, he did not send her back to her native planet, Zenn-La, but to Latveria, where he gave her a new memory. Thus the Surfer will strive desperately to rejoin his love, not suspecting that she is on the Earth after all. When the Surfer removed the girl's memory of being Shalla Bal, he simply peeled away one false layer to encounter a second, but he never reached the third, of which not even Doom knows. Mephisto says that he allowed her to speak the Surfer's real name to tantalize him and increase his agony. And thus the Surfer, Shalla Bal, and the Fantastic Four all go their separate ways, quite ignorant of who was really behind it all.
- This is the second version of the Doomsman created by Doctor Doom. The original Doomsman was created by Doctor Doom in Astonishing Tales #1. Between Astonishing Tales #1-3 the Doomsman was co-opted by the rebel Prince Rudolfo and his alien ally the Faceless One, forcing Doom to dump his creation into another dimension. It manages to return to Earth in Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #2.
- Doctor Doom mentions his alliance with the Sub-Mariner. The two agreed to work together as seen in Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1. While that initial team-up fell apart, they begin working together again in Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #2, which is Doctor Doom's next appearance from here.
- The Silver Surfer once again mentions how Galactus trapped him on Earth. This happened in Fantastic Four #50 after the Surfer betrayed Galactus to save the Earth. The Surfer remains trapped on Earth for many years until Silver Surfer Vol 3 #1
- During the battle Reed notices a stiffness in his arm, marking the eventual fading of his stretching powers. This is confirmed in Fantastic Four #161. Reed completely loses his powers in Fantastic Four #178, but has them restored in Fantastic Four #197.
- It is mentioned that Doctor Doom's castle was destroyed and recently rebuilt. This happened it was destroyed in Astonishing Tales #3 during Doom's war with Prince Rudolfo and the Faceless One.
- Mephisto mentions his previous manipulation of the Silver Surfer, this happened in Silver Surfer #17 wherein he offered the Surfer Shalla-Bal in exchange for destroying SHIELD. When the Surfer refused, Mephisto made it appear as though he sent Shalla-Bal back to Zenn-La.
- This is not the real Shalla-Bal, but a construct created by Galactus. As revealed in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #130, Zenn-La was destroyed by the Other in 1947, shortly after the Silver Surfer became a herald of Galactus. In order to keep this, a secret Galactus wiped out the Surfer's memories of Shalla-Bal's death and supplanted the rest of them. Galactus then created a construct of her for when the Surfer's memories eventually surfaced. Norrin would not learn of this duplicity until decades later.
- Mephisto's current deception is exposed in Silver Surfer Vol 2 #1, where Mephisto once again tries to use her to manipulate the Silver Surfer. The Surfer rescues her from the demon but is forced to send her back to Zenn-La after, while he remains trapped on Earth.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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- Images from Fantastic Four Vol 1 157
- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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