Monday, February 21, 2011

Silver Surfer #1 (of 5)

When he first appeared in the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer was a secondary character. He was the herald for Galactus, tossed in as an apparent afterthought by the legendary Jack Kirby.

He became an immediate favorite of Stan Lee's, who gave the Surfer a distinct voice. After a few guest stints in the FF's magazine, the Surfer graduated to his own title, which featured amazing art by John Buscema.

But the series didn't catch on - possibly because the character was too different. Instead of being a proactive hero, he was more passive - always bemoaning the dark side of humanity.

Years later he returned with his own title, this time written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Marshall Rogers. Under their capable hands, the series flourished for a while, but after a long run with various creators it finally floundered and folded.

There have been a few attempts at revivals in the years since, but they didn't last, either. Despite his sleek look and incredible powers, perhaps the Surfer is just too alien to catch on.

That character is back in a new mini-series, and once again they have some outstanding talent on board.

Writer Greg Pak gives us a Surfer who doesn't whine and moan, but is instead resigned to his cosmic duty - leading the world-devouring Galactus to new planets.

The issue picks up (I assume) at the end of the recent events of the Chaos War. Galactus is weak from his part of the battle, so the Surfer leads him to a sun so he can recharge. (Which seems to go against the previously-stated fact that Galactus can only feed on planets that support life. But I digress.)

To kill time while Galactus is feeding, the Surfer visits the Earth, watching recent events from a distance - until he's drawn to stop a violent incident.

There are quite a few surprises in store, and the story ends with a heck of a cliffhanger (and more than a few questions).

The art by Stephen Segovia and Victor Olazaba is quite good, with several powerful splash pages on display.

It's too early to tell how the story is going to play out, and whether or not we'll see the Surfer regain his apparently-missing conscience - but so far, this mini-series is off to a good start. Here's hoping the finish lives up to it!

Grade: A-


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