25 of Marvel’s best spacefaring characters

23 of 26

Silver Surfer (Image via Marvel)

22. Silver Surfer

On the surface of it, the Silver Surfer has a pretty cool job. He gets to jaunt around the universe on a cool silver. Plus, he’s got a striking metallic skin that’s sure to attract attention.

Except that’s kind of the problem. He is indeed supposed to get everyone’s attention, but for all the wrong reasons. You see, the Silver Surfer is the herald of the near universally-feared planet-eater, Galactus. Essentially, his job is to show up, tell everyone that they’re going to end up in Galactus’ gut fairly soon, and then jet off.

Things weren’t always this way, however. The Silver Surfer started out life as Norrin Radd, an astronomer on the distant planet of Zenn-La. When his planet was threatened by Galactus, he struck a bargain with the monstrous villain. In return for Radd’s services as a herald, Galactus would spare Zenn-La (and Norrin Radd’s girlfriend, Shalla-Bal).

So, Galactus gives Radd a literally shiny new body and a surfboard-like craft that allows him to travel faster than light. He has also been imbued with a small portion of the Power Cosmic, a kind of grand cosmic energy that allows him to do what he does.

Originally, Norrin Radd had intended to lead Galactus only to uninhabited planets. However, Galactus messes with his soul, turning the Silver Surfer into a far more amoral creature. Apparently, planets with life forms are far tastier.

The Silver Surfer doesn’t regain some semblance of his former self until he meets the Fantastic Four. The Silver Surfer is struck by their nobility and is therefore driven to rebel against Galactus. They somehow win, though the Silver Surfer is punished by his former master. He is banished to the Earth, confined there by a mysterious space barrier that appears to affect only him.