I've waited for this "Silver Surfer" since the early solicits in late 2014. Though I've never read a "Madman" book (shame on me), I've always found Mike Allred's art fun and light-hearted. It's the kind of art that makes me smile from ear to ear, that makes me laugh. It's the absurdity. It's the absurdity of a cosmic hero of silver hue that travels the doldrums of space on a surf board. Absurd! That's what makes Allred's art appropriate for this book.
Silver Surfer returns to his own book for the first time in a long time with "Silver Surfer #1." The last time I picked up a book featuring the former herald of Galactus, chrome covers were all the rage. That was the 1990's. Now I hold in my hand the latest volume of his adventures. Issue no. 1 was less serious than the stories I've known. Norrin Radd still carries the burden of having been the harbinger of death and its pronouncements. However, the tone feels lighter. With the introduction of the character Dawn Greenwood, a human from Earth whose wish for a "shining star" as a pre-teen may prove to be her misfortune, Dan Slott and Mike Allred are already off to a good start. Her backstory as a concierge for her dad's bed and breakfast in Anchor Bay "anchors" a theme of space and place. She's seems comfortable with the mundane. She loves her beautiful seaside town. Unlike her twin sister Eve, she does not adventure to explore something, anything different. Even her ladybug dress is the same as the one she wore as a little girl twelve years prior.
The Incredulous Zed, whom the Surfer meets after saving a micro-system from doom, is another weird creation in the Allred pantheon. Zed is the seeming custodian of the world he's charged to manage. After witnessing the Surfer save the micro-system by re-igniting its sun, he rushes to invite him to become his world's champion. Moreover, the Impericon, as it is called, added a nice comic touch: a world hidden from the heralds of Galactus. How could this be? It's colorful two-page spread was wacky and euphoric like something from a 70's album cover or a "Where's Waldo" puzzle. The comedic twist at the end regarding the Surfer and the girl Dawn was priceless and effectively connects what took place at the beginning of the book. The addition of these round characters, the Impericon and other "strange new worlds and civilizations" will undoubtedly contribute to a story-driven, light-hearted space fantasy much needed in comics today.
Some will argue that "this" Silver Surfer is too much of a departure from the Silver Surfer they've known over the years. It is a departure. I think that it is a good detour though. With books like Daredevil, Hawkeye, She-Hulk and the current Secret Avengers, Marvel has dared to take some detours to make comics fun again. So what if the Surfer is no longer overly melodramatic over his inability to return to Zenn-La or to his lost love Shalla-Bal. He's a lonely hero who's long overdue for some company in space. What better way than to introduce a possible new friend in Dawn Greenwood, who I suspect will refuse to return home when her predicament and this story arc ends.
It's Dan Slott and Mike Allred working on a book together. "'Nuff said" as many Marvelites will quote. Silver Surfer has been in need for some good storytelling for a long time. What a great opportunity for a classic, Silver Age hero to get a reboot of sorts. Make mine "Silver Surfer."
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