Saturday, January 21, 2017


SILVER SURFER No. 1 (2016)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Dan Slott
ART: Michael Allred
COLORS: Laura Allred
LETTERS: VC's Joe Sabino
COVER: Michael Allred and Laura Allred
VARIANT COVERS: Marco Rudy; Cliff Chiang
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 2016)

Rated T+


The Silver Surfer is a Marvel Comics superhero and space fantasy character.  He was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in Fantastic Four #48 (cover dated:  March 1966).  The Silver Surfer is a humanoid with metallic skin (white or gray or white/gray swirl), and he travels space with the aid of his surfboard-like craft (or maybe, it's an actual surfboard).

The Silver Surfer was a young astronomer named Norrin Radd.  He saved his home world, Zenn-La, from Galactus, a being that devoured planets, by agreeing to serve as his herald.  Galactus imbued Radd with a tiny portion of his “Power Cosmic,” and he became the Silver Surfer.  Traveling faster than the speed of light, the Silver Surfer roamed the cosmos, searching for planets for Galactus to consume.  When Galactus prepared to devour Earth, the Surfer rebelled and saved the planet.  Galactus punished the Surfer and expelled him from his service.

With the arrival of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” Silver Surfer gets a new comic book series.  Silver Surfer 2016 is really just a continuation of the Silver Surfer title that debuted in 2014, as both have the same creative driving force.  That is writer Dan Slott and artist Michael Allred.  This creative team is assisted by Laura Allred on colors and Joe Sabino on letters.

Silver Surfer #1 (“Homecoming”) opens with an alien menace, The Hordax, transmitting a threat to the entire Earth.  They are coming to plunder our planet of its “greatest resource.”  Even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are witness to this ominous declaration.

Meanwhile, Dawn Greenwood, who travels the space-ways with the Silver Surfer, is returning to Earth to visit her father and identical twin sister, Eve.  Silver Surfer gets to experience a Greenwood family mash-up celebration that combines a belated birthday party with three holidays.  When things turn weird, however, the Surfer finds himself battling aliens he thought he had already defeated.

When the 2016 Will Eisner Awards (for excellence in comics) were announced recently, I noticed that the previous Silver Surfer series had received several nominations.  So I decided to try an issue of the new series and luckily a local comic book shop still had copies of the first issue.

A long time ago, a writer in the venerable and late magazine of comics criticism and examination, The Comics Journal, wrote that the Silver Surfer was one of the few truly original comic book superheroes.  I agree.  How the hell did that character pop into Jack Kirby's mind?  If I remember correctly, in plotting the story that would introduce Galactus, Marvel Comics' legendary editor-writer-head honcho, Stan Lee, supposedly only told Kirby that Galactus had a herald, without specifying what the character should be.  When he received Kirby's art boards for the story, Lee was allegedly shocked to discover the Silver Surfer soaring across the pages that Kirby had drawn.  Such a unique character should be featured in unique stories.

I like Dan Slott's work as the writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, which I have only been reading for the last three years or so.  My admiration of Mike Allred is mixed.  I have liked some of his comics, especially X-Statix, but I have been ambivalent about the rest.  I like the off-beat vibe Slott and Allred give Silver Surfer.  That vibe is best exemplified by this duo's notion of what Earth's “greatest resource” is.

I am not sure that I would read Silver Surfer on a regular basis.  I need to read more to decide what I truly think of the series, and I plan to try a few more issues.  I like the pop comics and pop art comics sensibilities of the Slott-Allred Silver Surfer.  It may not be an original vision, but it certainly stands out in the current roster of Marvel titles.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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