Monday, September 5, 2016

Silver Surfer #6 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Monday

If 6 Was 200

Story By: Dan Slott & Michael Allred
Colored By: Laura Allred
Lettered By: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Price: $4.99
On Sale Date: August 31, 2016


I really don’t like this shtick of renumbering series again and again, but still claiming a milestone at some given cumulative number. By renumbering, or rebooting, or soft rebooting, celebrating the longevity of a series is exactly the kind of accolade you sacrifice. And, if done in the interest of sales, I don’t suppose it can be faulted (said the natural born American), but that doesn’t mean you can still claim to have an unbroken run of issues. This is volume three or four of Silver Surfer—now if you can extend one of these volumes into triple-digits, then have at it! Frankly, I don’t think you have the stones. But hey, even if every issue was a number one issue, this would still be a great comic book! Don’t believe me? Read on, and find out!

Explain It!

You’ll recall that, at the end of last issue, Norrin “Silver Surfer” Radd had flown his girlfriend Dawn Greenwood to San Francisco for a spontaneous visit to her estranged mother. Well it turns out Silver Asperger’s has screwed it up again, because of course Dawn isn’t really emotionally equipped to say hello to her mother that left the family abruptly when she was young. They creep on her for a minute and then Dawn chastises Norrin for having the human understanding of Vicki from Small Wonder. Eventually, she relents and agrees to meet her mother—but only if she can go alone. Simultaneously, at Horizon University in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Industrialist (and also Spider-Man) Peter Parker is hanging out in the laboratory where scientist-types are looking at some newly-discovered cephalopods that were shaken loose from the ocean floor when Norrin Radd used his power cosmic to erase all traces of his heritage a few issues back. These new squidly-types have the power to transform themselves into the worst fears of their beholders, a trick one demonstrates by first turning into one of the scientist’s childhood fears, a doll-headed purple monkey-thing, and then turning into the Green Goblin when Peter takes a peek. The scientists figure Parker should get his buddy Spider-Man over here, and Spidey, I mean Peter, agrees. By the way, I have to hand it to Mike Allred for not depicting these scientists in white labcoats with clipboards (well, one does have a clipboard), which would have been fine as visual shorthand for “sciencey types.” But instead, he made them look like actual university researchers: slightly doughy and in unfashionable but casual clothing, looking like grade-A nerds. Nice job on that!

While Dawn is approaching her mom’s door, Norrin goes to air-surf around a local park, where people are calling to him because they think he a swell guy for saving the universe. He basks apathetically in their admiration, when among the throngs he spies his ex-girlfriend and nemesis, Shalla Bal! And she’s with Galactus heralds Firelord and Magus, as well as Doctor Doom! They all jump on Silver Silver yelling “feed us!” like a bunch of little infant babies, to be frank. Norrin cottons to what’s happening, and realizes they must be “simulacra”—facsimiles to us English-speaking folk—and blasts away at them with his, uh, blasty powers. Just then, Spider-Man shows up all thwipping webs and quipping wisecracks in aid of the Silver Surfer. At that moment, Dawn Greenwood knocks on her mom’s door and a woman looking like a fatter, older Dawn answers. Dawn identifies herself and mom dukes drops her cup full of coffee! Presumably after it is cleaned up, Dawn and her mom Libby are hanging out in her sparse living room, catching up. And by “catching up” I mean that Libby seems really guarded and defensive, while Dawn is just coping with the circumstances. Dawn compliments her mom on her artwork, stacked canvases surrounding her chair, and Libby takes this to mean Dawn wants a piece. Sheesh mom! These paintings aren’t that great, y’know?

Dawn tells Libby all about her wild adventures with the Silver Surfer, which interest Libby greatly. Though truthfully, I’d be pretty interested if someone laid out a personal story as wacky and exciting as Dawn’s. The two seem to be getting along, when Dawn tells Libby that her other daughter, Dawn’s twin Eve, is married and about to have a baby—Libby is going to be a grandmother! That’s when Libby asks Dawn to leave. Never remind someone what an old fart they are Dawn, that’s just bad form. Dawn tries to reconcile with Libby, who says she never asked to be a…something. Outside, there’s lots of commotion stemming from the fact that Spider-Man and Silver Surfer are battling phony copies of their greatest villains, including those villains’ powers. Spider-Man points out that these monsters are all converging on Norrin, probably because he’s basically their daddy, so Norrin Radd silvers down and becomes flesh and blood again, in hopes that it will calm the crowd. This just makes him vulnerable to their attack, though, and they turn into a swarm of tentacles threatening to swallow Radd entirely! Dawn reminds him that he used a little bit of his lifeforce when he sent out that power cosmic wave, so these creatures are going to feed on his life! She tries to stop the creatures, but gets usurped as well, so Spider-Man saves her while Norrin seems to be consumed entirely. Eventually, the creatures are sated and slither away—turns out Zenn-Lavians live for thousands of years, so he had lifeforce to spare. Unfortunately, Dawn is now out cold and needs a blood transfusion—and of course, she has to have the super-rare blood type O Negative. Dawn thinks her mom is going to step up and drop some plasma, but instead wakes up next to her pregnant sister, who is giving the transfusion. Norrin hasn’t told the Greenwoods where they’d been, so everything seems to be going back to normal—except Dawn is feeling morose and asks Silver Surfer to get her out of there before she even has any dinner!

Here’s another splendid issue of Silver Surfer: well-paced, with a good proportion of action to humor, that advances the overall story another notch. And hey, Spider-Man’s there too! The book is so chock-full of stuff, it’s easy to miss. I didn’t even get into the funny interactions between Spider-Man and Norrin—and you know what else, I changed all of the plot beats of the book in my recap! That’s right! If you want to know how the story really goes, you have to read it. It’s not like it’s a punishment, though. The cover price, as usual, is worth it for the Allreds’ art alone.

Bits and Pieces:

This routine praise of Silver Surfer is getting a bit redundant, isn't it? Here's another expertly rendered and plotted, super colorful issue of Silver Surfer, and this one's got Spider-Man in it. Also fake-out versions of well-known Marvel villains. And a great, human story, a human. If you're already reading this series, then you probably love it. And if you're staying away from this series for some reason, then you're probably stupid. Get on the surfboard.

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