Silver Surfer gave up his humanity to save his home planet and his beloved wife, but years later she returned as one of his worst villains.
When Norrin Radd lived on his home planet of Zenn-La, he was a normal man with a woman he loved named Shalla-Bal. His love for Shalla-Bal and the people of Zenn-La caused Norrin to give up his humanity and become the herald of Galactus. Galactus swore that if Radd became his new herald, he would spare Zenn-La as long as he did not betray the Eater of Worlds. Radd accepted, and while Shalla-Bal begged to come with him, he refused to let her give up her home and life and left on his own as the Silver Surfer.
Sadly, that did mark the end of the relationship between the Silver Surfer and Shalla-Bal. The two would meet up again a few times in the future, but they remained starcrossed lovers, never allowed to have a life together. That was cemented when Shalla-Bal became the Keeper of the Great Truth on Zenn-La and set out to spread the perfection of her planet to the rest of the universe using the Illuminatrix. She soon reached Earth, turned the Thing into her herald, and then targeted the Silver Surfer himself when he refused to join her.
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When 2016’s Silver Surfer Vol. 8 by Dan Slott, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, and Joe Sabino began, Silver Surfer was off Earth with Dawn Greenwood, exploring outer space. When they returned, that is when Surfer ended up meeting his former wife once again and realizing that she had become his worst nightmare. Silver Surfer was back on Earth for a visit when an attack started that eliminated all art, from books to movies to music – something took away all the Earth’s culture. It was all the lead-in the actual attack of Earth, which was from a being known as the Keeper of the Great Truth, who had already captured Ben Grimm and made him her herald.
The second issue opened up 10 years before Galactus came to Zenn-La. Norrin and Shalla-Bal found the Great Keep, with an armada of spaceships there, and wanted to leave to explore, but were stopped by a bring known as the Keeper of the Great Truth. The Keeper knew of Shalla-Bal and sent her away to speak to Norrin. He revealed that space travel was forbidden to those on Zenn-La to protect the universe from them. When the attack on Earth began, the Surfer approached and saw it was the Keeper of the Great Truth, and the Illuminatrix was activated. The purpose was to strip away all of Earth’s culture and replace it with that of Zenn-La.
Shalla-Bal said she did this already to thousands of worlds as she traveled the cosmos, offering a “blessing” to the universe and making it perfect. She even turned all Earth’s heroes against Surfer as she changed everything into a Zenn-La paradise. Sadly for the Silver Surfer, there was only one way to end this battle. He had to do the one thing he became the Silver Surfer to prevent from happening. Surfer unleashed his energy into the Illuminatrix and destroyed it using his power cosmic, sending out a destructive order. The thousands of worlds that Shalla-Bal has “blessed” had all the Zenn-La culture sapped from them. Since Zenn-La had been destroyed as well, this meant that the Silver Surfer had to erase every trace of Zenn-La from across the entire universe, forever.
In the end, Silver Surfer erased Zenn-La and its culture from existence. Shalla-Bal was then refused to nothing, and all her troops lost all their memories of their home planet. Since they were so intent on recreating the universe in their culture, they lost everything, from their aesthetic to character. It was all gone. Surfer’s punishment was losing the right ever to call himself a citizen of Zenn-La. Shalla-Bal and the survivors of Zenn-La turned their back on Norrin Radd and banished him, saying he no longer had a home. It was a short-lived punishment, as Wakanda, China, France, Russia, Japan, Egypt, India, and the United States all offered him citizenship as a member of their country, finally accepting the Silver Surfer as one of their own.
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