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Radical Justice
Review By Arsenal, Media by Stu

Episode #10 Radical Justice
Original Airdate May 2nd, 1998

Survivors of Galactus' depredations capture the Surfer and put him on trial for crimes against all sentience, and their case is so good that even the defendant believes he's guilty

Written By: Larry Brody, Brooks Wachtel
Directed By: Marc Strange, Alison Sealy-Smith

Review: The hero on trial episode. Heroes seem to do this once a series. Batman did it in “The Trial.” Green Lantern did it in “In Blackest Night.” Fantastic Four did it in “Trial by Fire.” (To be fair, Silver Surfer predates two of these.)

Usually the point of trial episodes is to analyze the hero’s motivations and exonerate him. The difference in this case, as opposed to say Batman in “The Trial,” is that Silver Surfer is guilty of what he is accused of—helping Galactus destroy countless worlds.

In “Radical Justice,” Surfer is sentenced to die by the Wanderers, a group of nomads created by Galactus’ hunger. But, by the end of the show, he has saved their lives.

With Nova out of the episode, the creators resort to having Surfer talk to himself at length… again… to explain even the most obvious piece of exposition. It’s as frustrating as ever.

The Wanderers are a relatively cool concept, if only because it allows artists to sneak in comic book cameos. (Keep your eyes peeled for Ronan the Accuser, the second best intergalactic hammer man after Beta Ray Bill.) Because they are not “villains,” they make for a slightly more interesting antagonist than Thanos.

But the Silver Surfer is still boring as a solo hero. He cannot carry an episode on his own, and the long stretches where he complains to himself drag this episode down.

One last note on art. One of the primary Wanderers is a Draconian named Lord Glenn. (Hey, I don’t name these species.) The script makes it very clear that he is not supposed to be organic, but metallic in make-up. However, he’s drawn like a large reptile. Was their a miscommunication at the character design stage? If so, why was it not corrected? I am not quibbling about a minor character. He has shown up repeatedly in this series. This is just one of the several small mistakes that makes me think the creative team did not have a lot of time for proofing.