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Ancient history[]

The planet Zenn-La was created billions of years in the past by the time-displaced Silver Surfer, who expended the last of his Power Cosmic to give life to a barren world.[2]

In ancient times, Zenn-La was home to the barbaric and violent polytheistic[3] Zenn-Lavians. Among their gods were Thrann, Iroxx, and Siri Ullall.[4] Their Age of Warfare lasted ten thousand centuries.[5] In desperation to preserve their race, the Zenn-Lavians made science their god.[6] Thrann, the Saint of Science, encouraged the people to embrace science and rational thinking.[4] Zenn-La City was the first to give itself over to science; it was home to Norrin Konn, later revered as the "Father of Zenn-La".

A warlord believed that embracing science would strip the people of their passion, and fought a bloody civil war against those trusting in science. She united the warring nations, amassing the greatest army the planet had ever seen. The Warlord died while trying to pilot a flying craft, and her generals dispersed. Her followers then decided to join the rest of the population and follow the path of science, realizing that if they continued their course, their species would be extinct within a few generations.[7]

The Coming of Galactus[]

Over the next hundred centuries, the Zenn-Lavians experienced the Golden Age of Reason, and overcame war, poverty, crime, disease, and want. Their lifespans were dramatically increased. In the Age of Space Travel, space explorers became their greatest heroes, who visited a thousand galaxies.[8] After they had probed much of known space, the Zenn-Lavians withdrew to their homeworld. They grew apathetic and indulgent in their utopia, with all of their needs cared for by machines.

It was considered unnecessary for Zenn-Lavians to explore beyond their planet. It was common belief that this was due to no other world being capable of offering anything Zenn-La didn't already have, and in order to keep it safe from the rest of the universe. In reality, authorities kept the Zenn-Lavians to themselves to prevent their arrogance from prompting them to share and overwrite the cultures of more primitive worlds with their perfect culture, and destroy everything that made them unique. The peak of Zenn-Lavian magi-tech was a device called the Illuminatrix, that allowed for a world to be re-shaped to Zenn-La's image.[9]

When the Devourer of Worlds, Galactus, came to consume Zenn-La, the people had no defense against him, except the Weapon Supreme. Employing that wrought severe destruction -and death- upon Zenn-la and knocked other planets from their orbits, but did not affect Galactus at all. One man, Norrin Radd, made a pact with the Planet Eater to become his herald. In return, Galactus would not harm Zenn-La. Radd was transformed into the Silver Surfer, and left his homeworld for the stars.

In 1947, a species known only as the Other came to Zenn-La and completely destroyed every person and all signs of civilization on the planet. Galactus and the Surfer were in the same star system, but were rendered catatonic by the Other.[10] In an uncharacteristic act of compassion, Galactus recreated everything, restoring the people and the entire world exactly as it was. He knew that one day the Surfer would no longer be in his service, and wished that he would have a home to return to. No one, including the Surfer, was aware of what had transpired.[11]

The Return of Galactus[]

After centuries if not millennia of service to Galactus—the timespan has never been made clear—the Silver Surfer was exiled and imprisoned on Earth. After the Silver Surfer betrayed his master, Galactus felt he was no longer obligated to keep his vow. He returned to Zenn-La and announced his intention to consume the planet. In another remarkable allowance, Galactus allowed twenty-four hours for the Zenn-Lavians to flee the doomed world, though only about 500 individuals would survive. Galactus then stripped the planet bare of the energies he craved, leaving the planet a barren and devastated wasteland. Months later, the Zenn-Lavians deemed it safe to return, and set up refugee camps to live in. They blamed the Silver Surfer for what happened, and a deep resentment festered in them. Adding to their misery, the dark creature Mephisto kidnapped Shalla Bal, the Surfer's long lost love. The Silver Surfer was temporarily freed from captivity, rescued Shalla Bal, and imbued her with a portion of his power cosmic, which allowed her to slowly restore life-sustaining properties to Zenn-La, including abundant regeneration of plant life.[12]

Kree-Skrull War[]

Elsewhere in the universe, the Kree-Skrull War raged. Shalla Bal, with her newfound abilities, was made Empress of Zenn-La. The Surfer was eventually permanently freed from his exile. Shortly thereafter, Zenn-La suffered an invasion attempt by the Skrulls and, later, by the Kree. The Surfer, now self-appointed protector of his homeworld, made an agreement that he would stay neutral in their conflict, and neither power would attack Zenn-La.[13] The Surfer was tricked into defending the Skrulls from the Badoon, who, he later found out, had allied with the Kree. This drew Zenn-La into the war, under the protection of S'byll's faction of the then-fragmented Skrull Empire. The Zenn-Lavians, along with the Surfer, proved instrumental in changing the balance of power in the conflict, by restoring the Skrulls' shape-shifting powers.[14] The Surfer struck a deal with Nenora, then ruler of the Kree, restoring Zenn-La's neutrality under the condition that he could never return home.[15] During their visit, the Kree bugged Zenn-La's royal court and buried a Sentry in the desert. The Kree then kidnapped Shalla Bal, when she deduced under clandestine influence of the Cotati that Nenora was actually a Skrull.[16][17] The Skrulls declared a temporary truce with the Kree, and Shalla Bal returned to Zenn-La.[18][19]

Third destruction[]

A giant being referring to itself as 'the Great One' discovered Zenn-La and removed it from physical space, effectively killing all life, and changing it into a simulation inside of its brain. The Surfer discovered this and infiltrated the simulation with the aid of Moondragon.[20]

After Zenn-La had been restored once again, the Silver Surfer returned home to visit Shalla Bal, who was no longer Empress. By this time, much of Zenn-La's civilization had been rebuilt. To the Surfer's astonishment, he discovered that Shalla was now the lover of his heretofore unknown half-brother, Fennan Radd.[21] Shortly after, the Surfer travelled back in time to 1947, and discovered the true nature of his world.[22][23]

Fourth destruction[]

Shalla-Bal adopted the title of the "Keeper of the Great Truth," and embarked in a journey to use the Illuminatrix to replace the culture of thousands of worlds with Zenn-La's. When she targeted the Earth, the Silver Surfer tried to stop her. When she managed to enthrall some of Earth's heroes and made them fight the Surfer, Norrin saw himself with less and less time to try to revert the Illuminatrix's conversion. As a last resort, the Surfer used all of his Power Cosmic to destroy the Illuminatrix, an action that caused all of Zenn-La's culture to be erased from the universe, including Zenn-La itself.[24]

Points of Interest

Zenn-La City



  • The quarter-page entries for the Zenn-Lavians that were published in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #15 and Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files #1 both claim that Zenn-La is the 3rd planet from Deneb (which is where the A'askvarii homeworld O'erlanii is supposedly located) while Silver Surfer (Vol. 5) #2 states that it is 4th planet from Deneb.
  • It should be noted that there is as yet no actual story which claims that the homeworlds of the A'askvarii and the Zenn-Lavians really do exist within the same star system. The fact that "Deneb" is derived from an Arabic word meaning "tail" and that it has been used as part of the names of other stars (including but not limited to Deneb Algedi, Deneb Dilfum, Deneb Kaitos, and Deneb el Okab) suggests that the A'askvarii homeworld and the planets Deneb IV[25] and Deneb-7 may all exist in different star systems than the Deneb (Alpha Cygni) in the constellation Cygnus where Zenn-La was located.
  • In Silver Surfer: The Animated Series, first broadcast in 1998, Zenn-La is depicted as a major centre of enlightenment and learning in the universe. Conflicting aliens go there in order to learn about living in peace and tolerance — these include representatives of the antagonistic Krees and Skrulls. When the Silver Surfer, a native of Zenn-La, breaks his bargain with Galactus, the latter retaliates by sending the planet to an unknown part of the galaxy. Thus, much of the series is about the Surfer trying to find Zenn-La and being reunited with Shalla-Bal.


See Also

Links and References


  1. Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files #1 ; Zenn-Lavians' entry
  2. Silver Surfer: Black #5
  3. The Silver Surfer has frequently exclaimed "Gods of my ancestors!"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chaos War: Chaos King #1
  5. Silver Surfer #1
  6. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #91
  7. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #92
  8. Until about the 1990s, comic book creators used terms such as 'star systems' and 'galaxies' interchangeably. If the Zenn-Lavians visited thousands of star systems, then they explored a relatively small part of the Milky Way. If it was galaxies, then their influence was felt over several superclusters. In either event, it is curious to note Norrin Radd's former occupation as an astronomer, since space had been so thoroughly charted by his people.
  9. Silver Surfer (Vol. 8) #2
  10. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #130
  11. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #131
  12. Silver Surfer (Vol. 2) #1
  13. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #67
  14. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #25
  15. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #26
  16. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #28
  17. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #29
  18. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #30
  19. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #31
  20. Silver Surfer: Homecoming #1
  21. Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #101
  22. Silver Surfer Volume 3 129
  23. Silver Surfer Volume 3 130
  24. Silver Surfer (Vol. 8) #3
  25. Captain Marvel #44
  26. Avengers Annual #7