Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial unique psychic being

Occupation: Protector

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Formerly the people of Zenn-La and hundreds of other worlds

Enemies: Silver Surfer

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Currently unknown;
    formerly mobile throughout space

First Appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming (1991)



Powers/Abilities: The Great One is a psychic being of immense power. He seeks out entire planets whose populations are threatened by any means, and he offers it protection to them, converting both planet and population into brainwaves retained with his mind. As such, planets and its populations can exist in close proximity to other worlds without risk of physical (or other) damage. Beings within the Great One's mind are granted safety from outside influence as well as a sense of contentment. Further, as they are now a series of thought patterns, those within the Great One do not age.

The Great One's true form is an immense brain-like structure which survives in the depths of space; as large as it is (perhaps the size of Thanos' Sanctuary ships), it would still be physically dwarfed by the planets it absorbs. It exists in a dream-like state, having little interaction with the outside world except when it adopts other planets. It is protected from outside attack by a virtually impenetrable shield which is generated by its autonomic nervous system. It requires no conscious thought to form the shield, and it did not even notice as the Silver Surfer tried and failed to pierce it. Within his mind, he is virtually all-powerful, though every object within the universe he creates is a part of his mind, and he can suffer brain damage from its destruction.

Moondragon stated that the Great One's physical power might rival that of Galactus, but his true power lay in vast psychic abilities.

Within his mindscape he projects a mental construct of himself, presumably using a form matching that of each race he visits, though somewhat larger in stature.



(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming (fb) - BTS) - Over an unknown period of time, the Great One adopted hundreds of world to exist within the safety of his mind.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming (fb)) - The planet Zenn-La vanished from the Earth-616 dimension, briefly replaced by the appearance of the Great One.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming (fb)) - The Great One contacted the people of the planet Zenn-La, telling them they he had found the worthy of his protection. He saw them as an honorable race caught between the warring Kree and Skrulls. He transported them into his mind, but told them that he would not force his favors on any world; they would have the choice of accepting or rejecting his offer. The citizens voted almost unanimously to accept the offer, as they felt that they could not count on the Silver Surfer's protection forever.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming) - After receiving a psychic call from his sometime lover Shalla-Bal, empress of Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer flew at top speed to Zenn-La, which took him two days.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming) - The Great One's presence and power were detected by Moondragon some fifty light years away, and she traveled towards the former site of Zenn-La to investigate.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming (fb) - BTS) - The people of Zenn-La found great contentment within the Great One, and they soon learned that they were now effectively immortal.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming) - The Silver Surfer arrived only to find the planet missing, with only its state-sponsored research satellite floating in what was once Zenn-La's orbit. The scientists aboard the satellite shared with him the after image of the Great One, after which Moondragon arrived on the satellite, offering her services. She used her powers to track the Great One, with whom the Surfer tried in vain to communicate. After efforts to pierce the Great One's shields met with similar failure, he agreed to allow Moondragon to transport his psychic self into the Great One's mind. There he located Zenn-La and then Shalla-Bal, who revealed that they had willingly accepted this fate. After learning her contentment, the Surfer decided to stay on Zenn-La, with Moondragon moving the asteroid on which his physical body rested within the Great One's gravitational pull. After some time, the Surfer learned that, as he, too, existed purely as brainwaves, he could transform himself back into the normal Norrin Radd. He and Shalla shared a few blissful weeks.
    Soon, the Great One sent his mental construct for his official state visit to Zenn-La; his presence was sensed by all, save Norrin Radd. The Zen-Lavians held a great banquet in the Great One's honor, and he appeared, telling them of his love for and pleasure with them. However, when Shalla-Bal introduced the Great One to Norrin, the Great One was startled by the presence of an invader within his realm. With a blast, the Great One returned Norrin to the form of the Silver Surfer, who attempted to placate the angered lord by stating his peaceful intentions. Despite Shalla-Bal's support of Norrin, the Great One could not be appeased, and he continued to assault the Surfer, who took the fight off planet to spare the others. After several assaults, the Surfer was forced to fight back. The Great One continued to escalate the struggle, trying to kill the Surfer, until a stray blast destroyed a small, uninhabited, and seemingly insignificant satellite, which was nonetheless part of the Great One's mind and proved to be a fatal injury to him. Screaming in agony, he fell to the surface of another planet. He revealed his overwhelming fear of outsiders to the Surfer, while Norrin was overcome by this tragedy, as he would have readily accepted existence on his terms by returning to the physical world and being properly converted.
    The Great One's fate was irreversible, and Moondragon sent her own mental construct into his realm, revealing that, with her Mind Gem backed by the Surfer's power (in turn drawing on the power of a nearby red giant star), she would be able to take control of the Great One's comatose mind and use his powers to restore all of the planets to their proper place in the universe. However, she required a presence within the Great One to remain behind to act as a balancing "push" to Moondragon's "pull," and Shalla-Bal insisted that she, as her planet's empress, be the one to do this. They intended to be able to send in the Surfer to free Shalla-Bal as well, and after Moondragon had successfully transferred all of the planets, she sent the Surfer into the now empty Great One's mind. However, at the last second, as the Surfer reached for Shalla-Bal, the Great One died, and Shalla faded from existence.
    The people of Zenn-La condemned the Surfer for killing the Great One and costing them both paradise and their empress, but Moondragon drove them off, telling them that it was the Great One's base fear which had caused these events, and that the Surfer had risked his life to save theirs numerous times.

(Silver Surfer & Adam Warlock: Resurrection#1-4 - BTS) - The Surfer and Adam Warlock recovered Shalla-Bal's soul, presumably from the realm of Mephisto.



Comments: Created by Jim Starlin and Bob Reinhold.

It was not totally clear when Homecoming took place. However, there are some limits for it to have transpired. Shalla-Bal was seen as late as Silver Surfer#31. The events of Homecoming are referenced in Silvers Surfer#76. In fact, since Radd recalls Shalla Bal's death after mentioning Nova's, it probably happened after #75. Moondragon, with the Mind Gem, is in Homecoming, and Surfer knows of the Infinity Watch (called "The Infinity Guard" there, Starlin writing ahead of the team name's decision). There are no real breaks in time in the first 7 issues of Warlock and the Infinity Watch for Moondragon to go off with the Gem and have any solo adventures. So it'd have to be post-Infinity War for her, and given that the Herald Ordeal picks up with Surfer & Nova immediately following Infinity War's end, it all likely occurs between Silver Surfer III#75 & 76 for him. As for Resurrection, Adam Warlock's out of his coma, but Maxam's not on the team, so it'd have to be between about Warlock & the Infinity Watch#15 & 16 for them and sometime before Infinity Crusade for Silver Surfer.
--JLH at chronologyproject

Great One has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1990s Handbook.

Profile by Snood.

No known connection to:

Marvel Graphic Novel: Silver Surfer: Homecoming, story page 12-13 (true form)
    p20 (Great One's mindscape + planets)
    p31 (Great One's Zenn-La)
    p32, panel 6 (projected form, face)
    p35, panel 7 (projected form, full body)

Last updated: 05/07/05

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