CCI: Comic Character Investigation #2

1 octobre 2010 Non Par Comic Box

[ENGLISH] This month : Terrax. Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.

Terror’s Name is Terrax The Tamer

Galactus, a terrible force in the universe who requires planets for his food supply, created heralds to search for compatible worlds to consume. Each of these beings were based on the elements, the most famous of which was The Silver Surfer, who was based on the element of water. While The Surfer may be the best-known, Terrax was the most vicious of these cosmic servants. Known as Tyros on his own world, one he had conquered and subjugated mercilessly, Galactus selected him because of his ruthlessness. This was to avoid the existence of any possible compassion for the worlds he would scout for him, a trait in his previous herald which he had found overly troublesome.

Terrax first entered the comic pages in Fantastic Four #211 and the element he was based on was that of the earth. Tyros had already possessed the ability to manipulate earth and rock, yet with the cosmic transformation provided by his new master, the newly-created and newly-named Terrax the Tamer’s abilities far surpassed his previous power that he might easily travel the cosmos and prepare worlds to nourish his master. For the ageless interstellar giant, this new servant was worth the risk of further rebellion so that he might not spend eternity hunting for his food and focus on whatever matters occupy the mind of a being such as himself. Unfortunately, Terrax did rebel as his previous herald had done. It seems even space gods are not immune to continuing troubles. For fans, Terrax was an excellent follow-up character. As the Silver Surfer traveled the cosmos on his trusted board, Terrax stood upon a small moving asteroid as he searched for worlds for his master. His axe was said to have the ability to “cleave the cosmic strata itself” (see FF#211). And unlike the Surfer’s smooth, almost mystical appearance, Terrax had hard features and an obvious, deadly weapon in hand. Planets would make no mistake regarding his intent to herald their destruction.

A creature of immense ego, he had initially defied Galactus until the mammoth being transformed him into a small grub worm. After changing Tyros back to his humanoid form, he immediately pledged servitude to Galactus and knew his place, accepting his role in the larger plan of his master. This was a very original moment in comic storytelling. To see an absolute conqueror so quickly accept his new role with deep humility because he knew that he was now entirely within the power of a virtual space god. Tyros understood power very well and as he knew those he had conquered would stay under him because of it, he also knew where he stood with Galactus . . . on his knees. Terrax would serve as herald to Galactus to feed him new worlds but he also heralded the idea that great conquest is more than just a matter of having power over one small sphere in the grandness of the universe. It concerns an answer to the question: Is there something in that universe which is more powerful, and hungry ?

[James Parducci]

James Parducci is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.