(Marvel Comics, 2014)
Storytellers: Dan Slott & Mike Allred
Color Artwork by: Laura Allred
Lettering by VC’s Clayton Clowes
Michael Allred and Dan Slott are riding an entirely unique wave with their new Silver Surfer series. Vastly different from the previous Surfer stories by Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, Ron Marz and the stellar list of writers who have penned Surfer mini-series; this series seems to place a bit more emphasis on humor and heart than the more traditional science fiction tropes like epic space battles and complex techno-centric jargon. Slott appears to be more influenced by Doctor Who and Red Dwarf than any former Surfer endeavors; that is not to say that this series is not firmly rooted in Silver Surfer history and Marvel continuity, quite to the contrary, it is obvious that Slott and Allred have taken the Surfer’s past very much into consideration when constructing these new narratives. Sure they have added many of their own elements to the story but isn’t that what is expected when re-launching a series?
In this issue Slott takes time to meticulously flesh out the Never Queen, a character who is quite literally at the heart of this story. She is a very complex and multi-faceted character, part menace and in a strange sense, part ally. Allred does such an amazing job on the design of the Never Queen. He imbues her with a very cosmic quality; it’s as though her body is made up of pure energy and her eyes can see to eternity and beyond. She is regal in her strange beauty; Allred uses a minimum of interior lines in rendering the Never queen, conveying the majority of her emotions through her extremely expressive eyes.
Dawn Greenwood is more fully explored in this issue as well. Slott again shows us glimpses of her past centering in large part on her relationship with her twin sister. However, it is her actions in the present that define her as a partner and companion to the Silver Surfer. Dawn proves to be an extremely competent adventurer in her own right, rising to the occasion when captured to lead an all-out prison break. Slott cleverly uses this scene to show Dawn’s selflessness, she could have easily just gotten herself out but she opted to free the entire prison, not only that, but she acts as the head of the escaping horde thus tying her fate to theirs in a very real way. She is altruistic yet realistic, a strong female who possesses no super powers, Dawn relies on her wits and ingenuity to get by and so far they have served her well. Slott presents her as a bit of an every woman with a girl next door sensibility and a touch of tomboy thrown in for good measure.
Slott paces the narrative very well; not lingering on needlessly exhaustive exposition but presenting well defined, detailed characters and intelligent plot points that pull us deeper into the action with every page. This issue sets several elements into play any one of which could be developed into an engrossing arc, however Slott and Allred have not tipped their hand completely, opting to maintain a degree of mystery and intrigue particularly relating to Dawn’s importance to Norrin Radd. What is exceedingly clear is the fact that Norrin and Dawn are now inextricably thrust together for better or worse, either way it is going to be one heck of a fun ride from here on out.
I am certainly enjoying this series quite a bit already. I love the lighter, more humorous approach to a character that has traditionally been serious to the point of being dour; in fact some of the early Surfer stories have been downright depressing, full of oppressively heavy premises and less than happy endings. The Surfer’s origin, for instance is the stuff of nightmares, that’s not to say those are not some epic tales, they are. I love the Silver Surfer whether the tone of the narrative is dark and serious or lighter and more humorous. Even in this new series I am sure that the tonal quality will not always be so light-hearted and jovial but that is the nature of a viable narrative; there are ups and downs, shadows and light that is what makes a great story and a fully actualized character. Dan Slott is doing a fabulous job on this book and I hope he and Michael Allred stay on board for a good long run.
Artistically, Michael and Laura Allred have created one of the most stunningly gorgeous books on the racks today. Michael’s hip, retro sensibilities and slightly stylized approach to anatomy are a perfect fit for the tone of this series. He captures the sleek look of the Surfer with his clean line work and dynamic posing. His wildly imaginative cosmic creations are in clever contrast to his down to Earth depiction of Dawn, while Laura adds an other-worldly appearance to the entire book with her vibrant palette.
Silver Surfer is one of the best books to come out of this current wave of All-New Marvel Now. It is without a doubt one the most imaginative and original books out there. Dan Slott’s writing is entertaining and engrossing, his dialog rings true and his characters are genuine; the collaborative result of working with the Allreds is genius. If you are avoiding this series based on the science fiction heavy previous Silver Surfer books, I suggest you leave the preconceptions at the door and give one of the most fun and satisfying comic books you will find anywhere a try. (4.5/5)
Shawn is an aspiring writer/ artist who has been reading, collecting and living comic books for over 30 years. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, their son, lots of cats, dogs and other various finned and furry friends.