Hey Kids, remember back in the Fall of 2012 when Marvel started rolling out new #1 Titles that gave a number of characters in the Marvel U a “Soft Reboot” under the banner MARVEL NOW? Guess What? They’re doin’ it all again, Baby!
It’s the ALL NEW MARVEL NOW! Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at the first issue of each new title as it hits the comics stands. (This only applies to REAL #1 Titles – None of this .Now stuff.) Wanna know if this series seems like a keeper or is destined for the quarter bin of our interest? Sit back and enjoy my analysis. You just might learn something.
When they announced the first crop of All New Marvel Now titles back in October, Silver Surfer stood out for as me as the perfect pairing of an artist to a book. After a rip-roaring ride on last year’s FF series, Mike Allred seemed like the perfect choice to breath some new life into the Surfer, a character that has been a hard sell for the past couple of decades. Face it, it’s been awhile since Norrin Radd had his own book. It’s also been awhile since this character, a cosmic being with immense power who travels through the galaxies asking himself existential questions and occasionally stops badguys/saves lives, has been relevant to readers. If there’s somebody who could make folks understand just how awesome Silver Surfer can be while not mucking with his initial character, it would be Allred. I’ll admit, I did not have these same feelings at the announcement of Dan Slott as the writer but I felt that these two creators working together would definitely bring us a comic that you would stand up and take notice of. After reading the first issue, I see that I wasn’t to far off the mark with that estimation.
Our story begins in the past as two twin girls wish upon a shooting star with their daddy. One wishes to see the world an the other wishes the star to go on forever so that many folks could wish upon it. Turns out that shooting star was actually the Silver Surfer cruising by Earth to survey the land as a herald of Galactis. This moment is no chance flashback as we’ll find out later how it plays into Surfer’s current situation. In fact, The Silver one’s history with Galactus gets brought up a lot in this issue. Fast forward to the present where Norrin Radd has just saved a microverse from dying by reigniting their tiny sun. It’s at this point when he’s invited to become the new champion for the Impericon, a hidden planet of pleasure and consumerism that’s also the universes’ #1 destination spot. Meanwhile on Earth, we catch up with those two twin girls, now in their twenties. The one girl, Eve, got her wish and is now traveling internationally, always checking back in with her sister, Dawn. Dawn is still at home, helping her father run the nicest little bed and breakfast in Anchor Bay. Back on the Impericon, after showing the Surfer around the fantastic planet, The Incredulous Zed (who appears to be a chancellor for this world) explains why they need help. The entire place could be destroyed by the Never Queen, a being of immense power who seeks to steal the Impericon’s energy. Surfer agrees. But for some reason, that’s not good enough and someone is taken as leverage to ensure Surfer’s cooperation. To say that Surfer is confused when he see’s who they have taken would be an understatement.
This book is EXACTLY what I thought it was going to be – a goofy, fun story that still somehow showed great respect towards it’s characters. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Red Rocket Seven, a former Allred work that takes place equally in space and on Earth. We get some brief history on the Surfer’s past but not too much as the current tale comes first. If you never read a Silver Surfer story before, you wouldn’t be lost as everything you need to know about the character is dropped in as little tidbits along the way. Dawn, although not given a whole lot to do in this issue, is a compelling character that most can identify with. We’ve all been stuck between our life and the life we would like to explore at some point in our lives. Dawn likes where she is but can’t help feel a little jealous at the exciting life that her sister appears to be living. A perfect starting point for a girl who’s about to get swept up on the adventure of a lifetime. Slott, who sometimes doesn’t know when to stop with the comedy, uses it sparingly here and to great effect. The Silver Surfer is a character where you can run the risk of making him very boring due to his stoic and introspective nature. By adding in these moments of levity with Surfer as the straight man, you get a more well rounded read.
The art is fantastically outrageous and silly as one would expect from Allred. When it comes to Silver Age influenced aliens, Mike Allred is the go-to guy. When you look at the layout of the planet Impericon, it’s so obnoxious and out of control there’s no way it could stay in orbit. There’s even a joke made about the logistical impossibility of it’s construction. Allred produces countless funny-looking creatures but still manages to bring us a Surfer that stays true to his design and an Earth that looks just as we would see it. Laura Allred delivers the perfect colours to compliment Mike’s work as always. While the story is entertaining, it would be nothing without this buffet of visual delights.
While this isn’t the best book I’ve read from the All New Marvel Now, it was an entertaining read. That’s saying a lot as I’m not a huge fan of the Surfer. It helps if you are. If you enjoy books that have a Silver Age style with modern storytelling sensibilities, you’ll probably like this book as well. If you’re not really into anything that may seem a bit “goofy” in this super-serious world of superheroes, you’re going to want to pass on Silver Surfer #1. It’s brings the fun of an action adventure/sci-fi tale without all the heady bullshit.
Check back here tomorrow for quickie first issue reviews of All New Ghost Rider and Iron Patriot. Until then, stay in the NOW!
If you’re gonna geek out GEEK HARD!