By Al Kratina
June 11, 2007 - 21:08
It’s very difficult for me to take the Silver Surfer seriously. I’m not the biggest fan of any of Marvel’s cosmic characters, so perhaps I’m a bit biased, but there’s something about the Silver Surfer that’s always seemed a little bit like a focus group-created marketing ploy. I’m sure that’s not the case, despite this being released to coincide with the Fantastic Four sequel aside, but it’s tough to believe that a surfboard is the most efficient way to travel through the eternity of space. By mixing cosmic adventure with surf culture, the character feels exactly like the sort of thing General Mills would have use to sell cereal to kids in the 60s.
However, suspension of disbelief is important to the enjoyment of superhero comics, so I’ll leave that aside for now. In Silver Surfer: Requiem, Norrin Radd, former herald of Galactus, returns to Earth for a brief visit with the Fantastic Four. He needs the scientific mind of Reed Richards to confirm his suspicion: that he is dying. Reed does, and the Surfer leaves Earth on a final quest to rediscover his home world. As talented of a writer as J. Michael Straczynski is, he falls into the same trap that befalls most first issues: it’s all set up, and no story. Yes, there’s a dramatic revelation on the final page, but most readers who have at least walked by a dictionary at some point in their lives would have guessed that from the title; failing that, the Previews catalogue blurb. And other than that, there’s not much meat to this issue. Straczynski inserts some of his trademark poetic flair to the dialogue, and that’s certainly enough to make the issue worth reading, but not enough to define it as a great Silver Surfer story.
So far, at least. There’s promise in the first issue, and even if there weren’t, Esad Ribic’s painted art is pretty enough to frame in most panels. The Thing looks a little stumpy, and the ephemeral quality of many of the images creates a bit of a static feel, but some of the full-page spreads are beautiful. On that level, the book is a success, and Straczynski has proven himself often enough that the fact that this issue does nothing but lay the groundwork for the rest of the story shouldn’t dissuade most readers from following the further exploits of the Surfer. Provided they’re not too wrapped up in the adventures of Count Chocula or Tricks The Rabbit.
Rating: 6 on 10