Silver Surfer #2 Review
Beautiful art, clever story, a fascinating (and gorgeous) new cosmic being, all in an expertly crafted retro package.
Dawn Greenwood could easily turn into a full-on Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype.
Who is Dawn Greenwood and why should she be important to the Surfer? And who or what is the Never Queen? Your Major Spoilers review of Silver Surfer #2 awaits!
Previously in Silver Surfer: Norrin Radd, once the herald of Galactus, is once again free to wander the spaceways of the universe. During a visit to a strange world/city known as The Impericon, the Surfer was drafted/coerced into becoming their protector against a threat known only as The Never Queen. Their guarantee came in the form of the person they have deemed most important to the Silver Surfer: Dawn Greenwood, an innkeeper from a small village in Massachusetts, suddenly the key player in Norrin Radd’s life.
Of course, there is the undeniable fact that The Silver Surfer has NO IDEA who in the worlds she is…
“I WILL SAVE YOU.”
The first issue of this series was perplexing to a few fans with whom I converse, with the usual questions about the meaning of it all and complaints about Allred’s art, but the major triumph of Silver Surfer #1 was setting up the backstory and character of Dawn Greenwood. As this issue opens, we get another vignette from the younger life of Dawn, a cute story of a childhood play in which she manages to stay just on this side of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype. As for Norrin Radd himself, being blackmailed with the life of an Earth girl (“It’s ALWAYS someone from Earth,” he sighs) into battling a giant cosmic god-thing is just Thursday, and so he sets out to confront The Never Queen with his power cosmic and maybe figure out what in the Sam Hill is going on in space. Dan Slott’s script maintains the Surfer’s mystique without having him be an utter cypher, especially shown in his confrontation with N.Q. in which she is revealed to be a thousand-foot-tall giant composed of stardust who can hear his thoughts and foresaw his coming. Even for one whose boss was Galactus, this could be a challenge. As for the art, Allred’s rendition of The Never Queen is kind of heartbreaking, with a perfect Allred face and a wonderfully subtle color palette (thanks to Mrs. Allred.) While the Surfer prepares for battle, Ms. Greenwood amazingly uses her wits and a mistranslation of the word “vegan” to concoct an escape plan not only for herself, but for all of the hostages that Incredulous Zed has used to strong-arm The Impericon’s doomed champions.
WISHES ARE POWERFUL THINGS
It quickly becomes clear that things are not what they seem with the Never Queen, and Norrin Radd shows off not only the usual Silver Surfer complement of phenomenal cosmic power, but resourcefulness and a bit of clever legerdemain in taking out Zed’s cameradrones so that he can try to parlay his way out of trouble. The moment wherein The Surfer is forced to actually comprehend The Never Queen’s being, overwhelmed by the emotions of all his possible futures (alone, with friends, as a member of the Fantastic Four, in love with Dawn, breaking up with Dawn, reunited with Shalla-Bal, even the birth of his own child and what seems to be a happy Defenders reunion), is something of a tour-de-force of storytelling from Slott, Allred and Allred. The fact that this books credits list Dan and Mike as cooperative storytellers rather than separate writer and artist is pretty telling, and you can find the earmarks of both men’s writing style in this issue’s story. The big revelation twirls into another (which also explains exactly how The Impericon suddenly became so huge and influential in such a short time), and turns the whole story on its head, leaving both Norrin and Dawn to improvise, while Incredulous Zed is tapped by a mysterious creature who has been overseeing the battle against the Queen to himself become a new champion and protect what the Impericon has stolen. The issue ends with hope, foreshadowing, and a wonderful moment in which Dawn swears that *she* will save Norrin Radd! Artistically, the entire issue is beautiful, with bizarre alien creatures, just enough Jack Kirby influence to acknowledge that Mike knows he’s playing in the King’s playground (and that he’s up to the task of doing so) and a truly beautiful and haunting new cosmic entity in the Never Queen. Most importantly, nothing is exactly as it seems, and the story succeeded in surprising me at nearly every turn.
THE BOTTOM LINE: HAD ME AT THE DEFENDERS CAMEO
This book is right up my metaphorical alley, and features a team of talented creators clearly having fun with the material, but the unsung hero of Silver Surfer is still the sublime coloring by Laura Allred. Perfectly suited to amplify Mike’s art, Laura’s finishing touches make The Impericon truly unique , even in the massive cosmic Marvel canvas, and her work on the Surfer’s ‘What If?’ moments manages to be fresh and fully modern while evoking the four-color flats of 70s Marvel comics, using that process’ limitations as a strength. All told, Silver Surfer #2 really hits the spot for me, giving me a greater appreciation of Norrin Radd as a man and a character, making Dawn Greenwood actually SEEM like a person of great cosmic importance, and delivering a perfectly integrated art/story reading experience, earning an amazing 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m in for the long haul here, and I hope that the book is, too. This issue may actually have the Surfer’s series surpassing ‘Hawkeye’ as my favorite Marvel book, and that, as Nicolas Cage will tell you, is high praise…