Saturday, June 21, 2014

Comics You Should Read: SILVER SURFER


I was always a DC guy. But Marvel's new rebooted SILVER SURFER series is so awesome that even the non-Marvel Comics readers out there need to give it a look, asap. The great thing is, it's not really connected to any other Marvel books, so no additional reading or knowledge of the character is required to jump in. In fact, I knew little about the Surfer other than what I could vaguely recall from the old 90's cartoon series, and I'm doing just fine. But here's the thing ...

THE ART by Mike Allred. Holy cow. You may or may not be familiar with Allred, a cult-favorite whose unique style mixes Jack Kirby-inspired boldness with Alex Toth-inspired sleekness and 60's animation-esque grooviness. Clean yet hyper-trippy and psychedelic. In short, Allred's style is a 100% perfect fit for the Surfer and the retro-cool, ultra-imaginative story being told here.

THE STORY. About that story. Writer Dan Slott is writing a trippy, funny, cosmically groovy story for the ages. Basically, he's created a brand new status quo for the Surfer. In a nutshell, the first three issues of the series see the Surfer, aka Norrin Radd, coaxed into a cosmic quest by a being who claims that the life of the Surfer's greatest love is at stake. Radd reluctantly accepts the dangerous mission, only to find that the person whose life is in danger - a quirky earth-girl named Dawn Greenwood - is someone whom he's never met. The new series' first story arc pairs Radd with Dawn, and the result is a funny and whimsical odd-couple that is also oddly romantic - in both the classical and modern sense. Dawn, a small-town girl who never dreamed she'd leave her home, let-alone her planet, greets the Surfer and all the weirdness that comes with him with an endearing mix of disbelief and playful humor.

Dawn is a fantastic new character. Sure, she falls just a bit into the manic pixie dream girl stereotype, but I suspect that over time she'll become more fleshed-out. Already, she's displayed a real knack for heroism in the face of over-the-top danger.

Dan Slott is doing great things here. He's mixing the sort of boundless imagination that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby originally used to conceive the character with a self-aware, self-deprecating humor that fans of modern alternative superhero books (like, say, Matt Fraction's Hawkeye) will dig. And that Allred art - oh man. No one else draws quite like him. The mix of cosmic trippy-ness and cartoon expressiveness is unmatched.

I can't wait to see where this one goes. It will be interesting to see how Slott maintains the delicate balance of humor and adventure and romance that he's established so far. But I'm inclined to think that this will be a ride well worth taking.

READ IT IF YOU LIKE: Kirby weirdness, Allred art, Dr. Who, humor, romance, trippy cosmic space/time stuff

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