Today’s Super Comic — Silver Surfer #2 (2016)

Silver Surfer 2This series keeps reminding me of Doctor Who.

There’s of course the focus on the alien protagonist’s human companion. And in #2, the current companion, Dawn Greenwood, meets the Silver Surfer’s original human companion, Alicia Masters, which calls to mind the “School Reunion” episode of modern Doctor Who. We also see a restless Surfer passing time on Earth when he would rather be out exploring, kind of like DW’s “Power of Three” or, to a lesser extent, “The Lodger.” And then there’s the Surfer attempting to visit his old allies, the Fantastic Four and Avengers, only to find both parties have moved while he’s been away far too long, which basically feels like the TARDIS screwing up the Doctor’s arrival time.

It’s a good fit for the Surfer, and it’s never anywhere close to a blatant copy. Writer Dan Slott maintains a distinctive fun, lighthearted tone that makes for an enjoyable read, and Mike Allred’s clean, dynamic art is always a treat.

And the issue ends with an effective cliffhanger. I guess I’ll be back for more.

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist: Mike Allred

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comics — Defenders #1-5 (2005)

Defenders indefensibleOkay, one more funny book…

The same creative team that brought humor to the Justice League (see yesterday’s review) performed an encore of sorts with Marvel’s Defenders.

The Defenders debuted back in the 1970s, teaming up powerful loners Doctor Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Hulk, and later the Silver Surfer. It ran for a respectable length but didn’t last. Might have fared better if anyone had realized the group’s tremendous comedic potential.

Doctor Strange is absurdly melodramatic. Namor is impossibly arrogant. The Silver Surfer is ridiculously philosophical. And the Hulk is the Hulk. Why did this take decades to figure out?

Anyway, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire have loads of fun letting these characters be the most cartoonish versions of themselves and letting them bicker accordingly, but they don’t neglect the important rule they followed during their Justice League International tenure—we can have our fun, but the threats still need to be serious. In this case, the dreaded Dormammu and his sister, Umar, attain god-like power and rewrite reality. So just a little something for the fellas to sort out.

Well, not the Silver Surfer. He declines Doctor Strange’s invitation so that he may commune with others who “ride the board.”

The Silver Surfer hangs out with surfer dudes. Defenders nailed it.

Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis

Penciler: Kevin Maguire

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; collected in Defenders: Indefensible (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 13 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Silver Surfer #14 (2015)

Silver_Surfer_Vol_7_14The Silver Surfer has always looked like a really cool character, but I could never get into his stories. Lots of potential, but always too powerful, too detached, too inhuman. I liked him as an occasional guest star in other Marvel books, but that was about it.

It could just be that I just sampled the wrong issues. Entirely possible. So when I saw the relaunched series written by Dan Slott and drawn by Mike Allred, I decided it was time to check in again.

A good decision. Slott’s take on the character reminds me of Doctor Who, which never hurts. The Surfer has a human companion named Dawn, and she provides exactly the balance the Surfer has needed all these years, as well as the fresh set of eyes through which to view the wonders of the universe.

Issue #14 is as cosmically big as some of the modern Doctor Who finales, in that the Surfer and Dawn are tasked with rebuilding the universe. Yes, the whole universe. Apparently, Doctor Doom did something in a big crossover event that destroyed everything, but those details aren’t relevant here. This book focuses on rebuilding.

Dawn gets to reconstruct Earth, which isn’t exactly an easy task. Meanwhile, the Surfer reconstructs everything else…but maybe some editing might be worthwhile?

Great concepts, great imagination, great art. This is definitely a Silver Surfer worth checking out.

Writer: Dan Slott

Penciler: Mike Allred

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Silver Surfer vol. 3: Last Days (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up