Panels from Silver Surfer (1968 series) #6 (June 1969), script by Stan Lee, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Sal Buscema, colors by Bill Everett (?), letters by Artie Simek
That's the evil Overlord, lord of
Incidentally, did we mention he had destroyed Earth? Whoa, that's likely to put a crimp in the monthly publishing plans of Marvel Comics. "Good news, Stan! We're way ahead on Silver Surfer." "Excelsior! What's the bad news?" "All the other books are cancelled."
This of course, paints a terrible direction for the timeline of Earth-616, wiping out and invalidating all those future histories of 616 like Spider-Man 2099. On the other hand, it has wiped out and invalidated future histories like Ravage 2099. Hmmm. Six'a one, half dozen of another. Oh, and meanwhile! Silver Surfer has been captured. GOOD ONE NORRIN.
Here's the thing about Silver Surfer: he just won't give up. I could take pretty much any issue of his book, especially the original 18-issue '68 series, and quote panels from it for 365 Days of Defiance. He may angst more than anyone else in the 616 except a Claremont character, but buy golly, he gets the job done. But how's he gonna succeed this time, considering he can't call for a Marvel Team-Up?
Never give up! Never surrender! That would be the Surfer's credo, if he wasn't so pure enough to not steal it from Commander Peter Quincy Taggart and the brave crew of the NSEA Protector, who have a machine that can send them thirteen seconds in the past HEY WAIT ONE SECOND THERE
The Surfer is attempting time travel, in the "other direction," to go back in time and get a couple humpback whales, and hit Overlord with them!
Actually, he's going to prevent the Overlord from being born by squishing the giant space-spider that bit him! More or less. The moral of the story is the Silver Surfer will do anything at all to stop your evil plans, including rebooting history. What a badass!
Consider this: the moment at which the Overlord was actually born became the alternate timeline of Earth-6966, in which, to quote the cover of a popular X-Men comic book, everybody dies. (You heard me: even Squirrel Girl.) It's not until the Silver Surfer goes back and diverts this universe that it branches off properly into what is always and (very nearly) forever Earth-616. Those of you who are students of Roy Thomas's history textbook What If? will understand the cosmic importance of the Surfer's actions: so determined to resist against the ultimate dictator, he changed time and space itself and saved every one of us. And reminded us that even if you can't travel in time or even if you're not wearing little silver underpants, we are all the agents of change in our multiverse. Please stand up against the space or Earth-based tyrant of your choice today, everybody!