Thursday, 27 March 2014

Silver Surfer #1 review


I've never liked the Silver Surfer. Bit of a whiner. Not as bad as Pariah over at DC, but so far as the Marvel Universe goes, he has no peer.

Dan Slott makes me like the Silver Surfer. More precisely, he makes me like 'a' Silver Surfer. Because this isn't the super-sensitive, poutingly pompous, horribly heartbroken 'skyrider of the spaceways' as created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. 


It's Dr Who of the Matt Smith years, right down to having a companion he's been set up with by Fate.

This isn't an original comparison - readers pointed up the similarity when a preview story, which I never saw, appeared a couple of months ago. Slott has been open about his love of Doctor Who. So why not move on and judge this comic for what it is ...

... and what it is, is a tremendously fun ride, taking us from an idyllic New England fishing village to a far-off cosmic resort, via some of the most enticing places on Earth. We observe the Surfer on the day he first visited this big blue marble, as the terrifying herald of Galactus, and see that, today, his old reputation still precedes him. We meet Dawn and her sister Eve, identical twins with very different attitudes to life. And we learn of the threat of the Never Queen, and the heroes she vanquished.

Slott takes the space to establish Dawn and her family set-up, meaning that by the time she enters the Surfer's very weird world, we can imagine how it's going to be for her. He introduces an intriguing new extraterrestrial in the Incredulous Zed, apparently a good guy but needing to be watched. Best of all, Slott gives us the most welcome 'hero with a brand-new personality' since Bruce Jones had Ka-Zar go from King to Ordinary Joe of the Jungle. There's no reason why, eventually, the Surfer can't return to his 'glass less than half-ful' personality; all it would take is a few space operatic tragedies, or a writer simply reverting to the default. But for now we have a hero no longer trapped on Earth, a sentinel of freedom able to stop and smell the roses of a thousand planets. And with Dawn, we'll get the Earth girl's perspective.

Bringing Slott's words to glorious life are illustrator Mike and colourist Laura Allred. Almost every image is a gem - Mike Allred's Earth folk are simply charming, while his aliens are awesome. And a page showing Eve's B&B getting deeply odd is just perfect.


The only piece of artwork that failed to delight me was the two-page spread showing outer-space playground the Impericon. It's obviously meant to be breathtaking - it even gets a screamer! - but it comes off as visual migraine. There's no specificity, nothing the eye can latch on to. Huge credit to the Allreds, for drawing and colouring the thing, which must have taken ages, but a small montage of Amazing Images might have been better.

Still, that's barely a quibble. Slott, the Allreds and their fellow creators entertained the heck out of me here, and deserve (de-surf? Maybe not) to sell a truckload of copies. In answer to the cover's challenge, I will indeed hang on. For quite a while.

12 comments:

  1. Jesus, I was only saying last night that this was basically Dr Who, right down to the Surfer's companion. Its Matt Smith with a silver sheen. Disgraceful comic. The Surfer does not have a sense of humour. at least nothing like this.
    And Allred's art is so childlike now it just pisses me off.
    Ugh, epic fail.

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    1. really child like what would you know about child like art allred has some pretty art on this book sir and I respect your opinion on the written part on the comic but i will never respect your opinion on the art god day

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    2. Sorry to tear it wasn't your cup of tea, Karl, but I don't doubt the 'real' Surfer will be back in a couple of years or so.

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    3. I think the real surfer is when he is while enlightened he is also and adventurer at heart but burdened with the knowledge of helping galactus sate his hunger so you see slott has him well rounded If you follow this link you may understand http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/451371.html

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  2. hey mart have you seen the all new ghost rider it seems like it has potential

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    1. Yeah, the central character seems sympathetic but cars don't work in comics, I hated the pretend sweariness and the people look horrible. One issue is enough for me.

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  4. Have to say I'm a big fan of the "whining Surfer" and still love those John Buscema issues (and Kirbys version) still this looks one of the more interesting re vamps of the character in a long time (although I loved the Keith Giffen / Kevin Maguire "Indefensible Defenders" fun version) Although I can see Allreds is a good artist I have to admit hisstyle is not my cuppa tea,but this looks interesting to me ( and I dont watch Dr Who so wont get the link) so will pick thi sup - love the cover 50s cool - nice review

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    1. Hello Paul, and thanks for the kind words. You've inspired me to re-read the Sixties Surfer series, it's been years so perhaps I'll appreciated it more. I hope you do enjoy the new take.

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  5. Glad you enjoyed this one, Mart. Like you, I'm not really part of the audience for a traditional Surfer comic, but this one was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to more.

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    1. It's another fun new comic from Marvel, they're doing well, aren't they?

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