Rating: 5/5 – The Surfer Rides Again in Pop Art Style.
by guest reviewer Kevyn Knox.
I have been waiting a long time for this one. The regular series return of Norrin Radd, aka Silver Surfer, aka Sentinel of the Spaceways, aka one of this critic’s all-time favorites. Sure, the Surfer has made the occasional appearance in recent years, including several mini-series, but it has been a decade since we last got to see the shiny galactic superhero in a regular monthly series – and that one only lasted 14 issues. One of Stan Lee’s favorite creations, the Silver Surfer is a true classic of the Marvel Universe. Heck, the guy has been around since Fantastic Four #48, and anyone who knows comics knows that’s quite a long time. And now he’s back as part of Marvel’s All-New Marvel NOW phase, and he’s back traveling the spaceways in style.
That style I speak of comes from the storytelling of Dan Slott, last seen killing off Peter Parker and replacing him with Doc Ock, and the artwork of the marvelous husband and wife team of Mike and Laura Allred. Slott’s story leans away from the typically morose side of the Surfer’s personality, and instead gives the character a more lighthearted manner, and even a bit of a sense of humor. This gives Silver Surfer #1 a fun and almost giddy feel, almost as if the Surfer has a whole new outlook on life. Granted, he is going about making amends for past horrors he performed as one-time herald to the mighty world devourer Galactus, but the tone is never as serious as one would expect it to be – and that’s just alright with this long time Surfer fan.
Meanwhile, Allred’s pop art style lends perfectly to Slott’s fun narrative. Creating otherworldly creatures and eye-popping galactic worlds (one particular splash page is particularly eye-popping) Allred’s pop sensibilities as an artist, as well as Laura’s equally pop sensibilities as a bold and brash colorist, make Silver Surfer #1 one of the best damn looking things Marvel has put out in a long time. Slott has compared this new book to Doctor Who, and between the world hopping and alien menagerie of Slott’s opening tale (and we can safely assume there is much much much more of that to come in future issues) and the eye-candy that is Allred’s sleek and deceptively simple style, it seems an accurate comparison. Especially when you add in setting up the Surfer to have a beautiful Earth woman companion in tow for future issues.
In sum, Silver Surfer #1 is a whole new direction for The Sentinel of the Spaceways. Gone are the long ago days of a brooding lonely figure on a board, slicing through the dark, empty environs of space, and in its place is a fun and heady trip through the seemingly psychedelic coastal highways and byways of outer space. Dan Slot’s writing and Mike and Laura Allred’s art bring that vision to light and life with a brilliance both verbal and visual, that is not seen all that much in mainstream comics these days – at least not on this giddy level. Marvel Comics has been sending their heroes into outer space a lot lately, but this is the first time where outer space looks like a pretty cool place to be. Sign me up for issue #2.
Reviewed by: Kevyn Knox