- No living thing dares ignore my call. For I am that which has always been, since this Universe was birthed from the ashes of the last. I am the hunger that dooms worlds. I am he who is beyond such frail Concepts as good and evil. I am Galactus.
- -- Galactus
Appearing in "Dangerous Artifacts"
- The Survivor (First appearance) (Death)
Synopsis for "Dangerous Artifacts"
A mysterious, ancient comet is due to sweep back into known space, and legends report that it contains a spectacular source of inexhaustible energy. Galactus and Thanos each seek this power source, and each enlists an agent to find and recover it: Galactus recruits the Silver Surfer, who agrees knowing that the power source is better off in Galactus’s hands than not; while Thanos (preferring to avoid unwelcome attention) hires a famous bounty hunter called the White Raven, who agrees because the price is right.
Other interested parties emerge as well: the Surfer battles off a Kree warship who seeks the power to re-establish their empire, while White Raven single-handedly destroys a Skrull ship also seeking the comet. The Surfer and the Raven, independently of each other, penetrate inside the comet, which proves to encase a vast, sprawling technological wonderland, constructed by an ancient, now-extinct alien civilization.
Exploring the vast complex, the Surfer finds a single living being, who claims he has been waiting for an outsider such as the Surfer to arrive. He is the last survivor of his species, left alone within the comet to safeguard its power source. The Surfer says if he is allowed to take over the power source, it will be in safe hands, and the caretaker will be free to join his fellows in the “higher plane [that] lies beyond death.” Impressed by the Surfer’s nobility, the alien takes him to the power source.
Meanwhile, the Raven, on her own explorations of the comet, comes across a robotic version of that same alien. She pledges to destroy it unless it takes her to the power source. The robotic caretaker tells her threats are not necessary, and escorts her to a chamber filled with blinding light. She is shocked to discover someone has beaten her there: the Surfer and the surviving alien are already standing before the power source, which appears as a large transparent crystal.
With an ominous warning that the power source represents both “good and ill…glory and shame,” the alien hands it over to the Surfer, but just then White Raven blasts the alien survivor with her energy weapon. The crystal falls to the ground and shatters. A distraught Surfer offers to heal the survivor, but he refuses, preferring to join his comrades beyond the veil. Infuriated by the destruction of the crystal, White Raven attacks the Surfer, who asks who she is that she would take a life so freely. As they quarrel, a mysterious mist rises from the shards of the shattered crystal, and quickly manifests itself as an enormous, supernatural demon.
The robotic caretaker immediately attacks the demon, pledging to re-imprison it, but the demon professes to have offered the aliens no offense, yet they enslaved him anyway, and built their entire civilization upon his imprisoned energies. He effortlessly destroys the robot, and vows to destroy all life in retaliation for his pain. The Surfer is thus forced to oppose him, but even the Surfer’s power has little effect on the monstrous demon. He grabs Raven and flies her back to her exo-suit, telling her to flee. She is surprised at his magnanimity, confessing she would not have bothered to save his life, and leaves the comet while the Surfer turns to confront the pursuing demon, unwilling to see it unleashed on the universe. They battle fiercely, but once again the demon’s power is far superior.
Just as the demon is about to incinerate the Surfer for good he is distracted by a blast from the returning White Raven. She flies her ship at full speed directly at the demon, ejecting herself at the last minute, and triggers the ship’s self-destruct as it collides. This causes a chain reaction with the demon’ own internal energies that ultimately consumes and destroys it.
The Surfer catches the falling Raven and together they zoom away from the blast radius. The Surfer asks why a mercenary like her returned to aid him; she says she was moved by the Surfer’s nobility and the fact that he selflessly saved her life, but she doesn’t intend on changing her ways. They part amicably and return to their respective patrons; Galactus and Thanos are both embittered at losing the prospect of this power source, which according to the Surfer has generated a new star with the comet trapped in its orbit.
- Poletti is assistant editor, Andreani is associate editor, Gruenwald is executive editor.
- This story was originally published in Italy in Marvel Top #3 (December 1995) in black and white by Panini.
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