Saturday, 9 January 2016

Silver Surfer, Volume 2: Worlds Apart Review (Dan Slott, Mike Allred)

Yaaaayyyy, the purple-hatted one returns! It had to happen, you can’t have a Silver Surfer series without an appearance from Galactus before long, even if the Surfer is no longer his herald. 

So in this second volume, Norrin and Dawn fall in love (of course) but without him telling her of his past as the guy who led the Devourer of Worlds to claim untold numbers of lives/planets - and women always find these things out, Norrin! 

Before Galactus appears though are a couple of short stories. The first is about Planet Prime where all the inhabitants are one of everything - one soldier, one ice-cream maker, one construction worker, etc. - but they’re super-amazing at what they do which is why they only need one. The Surfer battles a new character called Warrior One aaaand… the story’s pretty meh. 

The second is more interesting as Norrin and Dawn reach the edge of the universe - and travel beyond. It’s a fun flashback issue as we see the many brief adventures the two have been on that we’ve missed so far in the series, but more importantly it shows them slowly falling in love through these moments, convincingly too! 

We also see Dawn changing Norrin for the better - the Surfer comes off as more than a bit arrogant, phasing Toomie (his board, named after his catchphrase “To me, my board” = Toomie. Cute, eh?), not realising the board doesn’t like it. Yup, the board is sentient, a bit like the magic carpet in the Disney’s Aladdin. I love how we see Toomie’s emotions too using the reflections of the person like a magic mirror as it can’t speak or has any other features to express itself. She teaches Norrin about respect for others, something he’s forgotten since gaining the Power Cosmic and become god-like - great character development. 

Up until Galactus’ appearance Dan Slott and Mike and Laura Allred’s series has been more upbeat and fun that the Silver Surfer has usually been - the original was much more tragic and depressing. With Galactus’ return, the tone slips a bit into the classic style, which is fine even if the characters’ reactions feels a bit unfair. Norrin only did what he did as the herald because he had to do it - to save his world, to draw Galactus away from more populated worlds to less, etc. It was a thankless task and one helluva burden (hence the unrelentingly miserable tone when he was herald) so it’s a little rough on Norrin. 

But so begins the Surfer’s redemption as he goes up against his old master in an effort to save billions of lives, and that’s kinda great - the series has drifted a bit since it started (appropriate as it may be, given that that’s what Norrin and Dawn are doing!), but now it’s got a strong direction to move in. Plus I just liked seeing Galactus again - destructive though he may be, he’s a great character and that hat can’t be beat! 

I love Mike Allred’s art and the book looks amazing (that cover!) but there are some black and white pages included at the back which shows just how massive a contribution his wife Laura’s colouring brings to the table. Mike’s artwork is great but there’s a lot of blank white space which gets filled in with Laura’s enormously imaginative and eye-catching work that brings the pages to life and give it an urgent vibrancy. If you see these uncoloured Mike Allred pages and compare them to the finished article, you’ll see how important Laura’s colours are to the impact of the artwork on the reader. Stunning work once again, guys! 

The Planet Prime story didn’t grab me and the resolution of the Galactus one was a bit hard to swallow but mostly I really liked this second volume. Slott and the Allreds make a fine storytelling team for the continued successful relaunch of one of Marvel’s most iconic characters. Wonderful art, charming stories, and Galactus - what more could a Silver Surfer fan ask for?

Silver Surfer, Volume 2: Worlds Apart

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