Of all of Marvel’s cadre of cosmic characters, none are more misunderstood or have as rich a history as the Silver Surfer. Introduced in 1966 in the pages of Fantastic Four #48 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he has been a near constant presence in the Marvel Universe ever since.
The star of his own series and a major player in the Infinity Gauntlet / War / Crusade epic during the 1980s and ’90s, not much has been heard of the Surfer in recent years, other than the occasional miniseries or one-shot, and these simply retread the familiar ground of the Surfer doing cosmic things in a cosmic way. Now Dan Slott and Mike Allred have launched a brand new Silver Surfer series as part of Marvel’s All-New Marvel Now initiative, and they’re taking the character in a whole new direction with a completely different tone than what fans have seen before.
They are making the Silver Surfer funny.
One problem most readers have had with the Surfer over the years has been the fact that the character can be very serious and almost never cracks a smile. Silver Surfer books err toward the dramatic end of the scale, and while being usually very well done and entertaining, you almost never come away laughing.
Slott and Allred are looking to change that, and if the first three issues are any indication, they have wildly succeeded. They have paired the Surfer with a human girl named Dawn Greenwood, and together the two are roaming the spaceways, looking for adventure and a good time.
Issue #3 is a great example of what I’m talking about. In no less than four places did I find myself laughing out loud at what was going on and the incredible dialogue between the Surfer and Greenwood. I knew Slott had a solid handle on writing humor from reading his work on Amazing Spider-Man, but this is something else entirely. And somehow he manages to combine the comedy with the cosmic elements fans expect in a title like the Silver Surfer. Simply incredible.
Mike Allred wouldn’t have been my first choice as the artist of a Silver Surfer comic (I’ll always be a Ron Lim man myself), but his unique style works very well with the tone Slott is trying to set. He can draw fantastic as well as comedy, and his Surfer has a very Kirby-esque look to him that, when combined with the colors of Laura Allred, gives the whole book a nice retro feel. I have to admit I ended up enjoying the visuals much more than I was anticipating and came away very impressed.
At the end of the day, Silver Surfer #3 is an outstanding book no one should miss. Some may think the comedy doesn’t belong in a title with the history of the Silver Surfer, but they would be very wrong. It’s a change that has been needed for years to make the character more compelling and pleasurable to read. As far as I’m concerned, I’m in it for the long haul.