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Little is known about Zenn-La before it was visited by a hungry Galactus. Zenn-Lavians are humanoid, and appear to have no easily discernible differences from Terran humans, its people varying in roughly the same minor ethnological aspects as the people of Earth. The people of Zenn-La are extraordinarily long-lived, however, and three human generations can easily be born and die off in the time it takes a native of Zenn-La reaches his middle years. The people of Zenn-La have used their long lives to construct a virtual paradise, an ancient civilization in an eternal golden age.
For ten-thousand centuries Zenn-La was locked in a bloody Age of Warfare. The scars of this period were so deep that the people came to renounce arms forever. What followed was the hundred-century Golden Age of Reason, an era of peace, prosperity, and learning. One notable period during this greater era was the Age of Space Travel. Considered by Zenn-La's more romantic citizens to be the time of its greatest glory, Zenn-La launched numerous spacefaring vessels during this period. As the ancient race stretched for the stars, they brought with them colonies and supposedly civilization to numerous more primitive worlds. While many planets fell under Zenn-La's dominion, the citizenry eventually grew bored, and retreated to their homeworld, never to explore in any significant sense again.
It was considered unnecessary for Zenn-Lavians to explore beyond their planet. It was common belief that this was due to no other world being capable of offering anything Zenn-La didn't already have, and in order to keep it safe from the rest of the universe. In reality, authorities kept the Zenn-Lavians to themselves to prevent their arrogance from prompting them to share and overwrite the cultures of more primitive worlds with their perfect culture, and destroy everything that made them unique. The peak of Zenn-Lavian magi-tech was a device called the Illuminatrix, that allowed for a world to be re-shaped to Zenn-La's image.
This is the world into which Norrin Radd was born. Radd had always been a peculiarity among his people, being one of the rare few who was not completely content to spend his many years on his peaceful native planet. When a hungry Galactus came to Zenn-La seeking to feed off of it, the natives realized for the first time they had not faced a true threat in centuries, and had no modern concept on how to fight such a foe. Unfortunately for them, an automated weapon from the Age of Warfare, the Weapon Supreme, had detected Galactus' approach, and fired upon him. The Weapon Supreme drained energy from the planet itself, turning the entire world into a gigantic anti-matter weapon. The Great Eastern Sea was vaporized, it's coast destroyed, and much of Zenn-La was devastated by the backlash. Despite the devastation, Galactus' approach continued unabated.
Radd saw an opportunity to both save his people and get the adventure he craved. Radd offered to become Galactus' herald, constantly seeking out new worlds for him to devour if he would spare Zenn-La and protect his lover, Shalla-Bal (Zenn-La's empress). Galactus agreed, and infused Radd with the Power Cosmic, shaping him according to his childhood dreams to form him into the Silver Surfer.
After the Surfer served as Galactus' herald, defied him, was exiled to Earth, and then finally freed, he quested across the universe until he found Zenn-La again. After finding his way home again, the Surfer served as a protector to the planet, occasionally interrupted by other cosmic events, such as the Infinity Crusade.
At one point, while the Silver Surfer was away, then Zenn-Lavians were approached by the Great One, a massive, technologically-augmented brain. Through telepathic communication, the Great One informed the Zenn-Lavians that he had to power to transform the entire planet into psionic energies, protecting them forever with his mind. He would not force such a gift upon any race, however, and it was the Zenn-Lavians choice to accept it or not. Realizing that the Silver Surfer could not protect them against every threat, the people of Zenn-La agreed almost unanimously to accept the Great One's offer.
The Silver Surfer meanwhile received a psychic call from Shalla-Bal, and he raced across the universe for two days to reach his homeworld. In addition, Moondragon, possessor of the Mind Gem of the Infinity Gems, sensed the Great One's arrival in the Earth-616 universe from 50 light years away, and went to investigate. The two heroes met near Zenn-La's previous orbit, on the Zenn-La's only remaining satellite. Receiving an "after-image" of the Great One from the scientists there, the two tracked him down. All other attempts at communication having failed, Moondragon finally suggested that she transfer the Surfer's pyschic being into the Great One himself. Their the psychic representation of the Surfer, now appearing as an un-transformed Norrin Radd, arrived on the pyschic representation of Zenn-La. Content and sensing no threats, Radd informed Moondragon of his intention to stay. His body wast left on an asteroid within the Great One's gravitational pull.
Weeks later, when the Great One sent a psychic representation of a humanoid version of himself to Zenn-La on the first official "state visit", he was shocked to see that Radd had penetrated his defenses. The Great One attacked Radd, forcing him back into a more Silver-Surfer-like appearance. Though the Surfer tried to communicate, the Great One was too enraged, and Radd was eventually forced to fight back. During the fight, part of the Great One's brain was permanently and fatally damaged. After revealing to Radd that he had an irrational fear of outsiders, the Great one fell into a coma. Moondragon used her Mind Gem, the Surfer's Power Cosmic, the fuel of a nearby red star, and the last of the Great One's power to restore the planets left in the Great One's mind to their previous places. Someone would have to remain behind, however, to serve as a psychic counterpoint to her efforts. Shalla-Bal volunteered, and was lost when the Great One died with her still in his mind. Angered by the loss of their sanctuary and their empress, the Zenn-Lavians lashed out at the Surfer, but Moondragon drove them back, telling them it was the Great One's irrational fear which cost them so dearly.
Shalla-Bal adopted the title of the "Keeper of the Great Truth," and embarked in a journey to use the Illuminatrix to replace the culture of thousands of worlds with Zenn-La's. When she targeted the Earth, the Silver Surfer tried to stop her. When she managed to enthrall some of Earth's heroes and made them fight the Surfer, Norrin saw himself with less and less time to try to revert the Illuminatrix's conversion. As a last resort, the Surfer used all of his Power Cosmic to destroy the Illuminatrix, an action that caused all of Zenn-La's culture to be erased from the universe, including Zenn-La itself.
- Fourth planet from Deneb. Both the Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #15 and Annihilation: Nova Corps Files mistakenly claim Zenn-La is the 3rd planet from Deneb (which is where the A'askvarii homeworld O'erlanii is located), but Silver Surfer Vol 5 #2 says it is 4th planet from Deneb.
- Thanos found a Infinity Gem on Deneb IV.
- Appearances of Zenn-La
- Media Zenn-La was Mentioned in
- Location Gallery: Zenn-La
- Images related to Zenn-La
- Marvel Staff members who were born in Zenn-La
Links and References
- Silver Surfer: Homecoming
- The Ultimate Silver Surfer, a story of the Silver Surfer's origins by Stan Lee with art by Moebius