Marvel’s strategy for Silver Surfer over the last couple decades is one that honestly should be employed more often. Rather than constantly keeping the character on the stands through one ongoing series or another, Norrin Radd tends to come and go on a whim. If there’s a creative team with a strong pitch, Marvel will publish a short but enjoyable Silver Surfer miniseries (Silver Surfer: Requiem, Silver Surfer: In Thy Name, etc.). Every once in a while we might get a bigger, more in-depth project like Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer run, but even that only lasted for as long as thew two had stories to tell. This approach helps keep the standard of quality high while preventing readers from getting burnt out on the character.  Silver Surfer: Black looks like it’ll have no trouble continuing that trend.While Black spins out of writer Donny Cates’ Guardians of the Galaxy run, all readers really need to know coming into this five-issue book is that Surfer is one of many cosmic heroes who have become stranded in a black hole following a sneak attack by the Black Order. The early pages show the role Surfer played in saving allies like Beta Ray Bill and the Starjammers from certain doom, but the plot quickly shifts gears from there. What follows is a book very much in the spirit of the Slott/Allred run. Not so much in terms of tone (this book has a slightly darker quality), but in the sense that Surfer is once again venturing into the unknown with no idea of what lies in store.

Cates pens a very introspective first issue. There’s little dialogue to be found here, as the story mostly hinges on Surfer being dragged deeper and deeper into this strange new realm and coming to terms with the bizarre sights around him. This narration effectively highlights the struggle of a man pushing past his limits and confronting the unknown without fear or hesitation. The payoff to this issue is also strong, hinting that Silver Surfer: Black may be far more critical to the larger Marvel Universe than it initially seems.

Still, as well-written as this narration is, it’s hard not to wonder if it’s even necessary. Mind you, that’s less an indictment of Cates’ writing than praise for Tradd More’s artwork. Moore tells this story so well that no prose is needed to guide readers along or convey Surfer’s emotional state. It’s well worth springing for the Director’s Cut version of this issue just to see Moore’s unlettered art and get a feel for how the story plays out as a silent comic.

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It’s been a pleasure watching Moore’s style steadily evolve over the course of projects like All-New Ghost Rider and Luther Strode. This series marks another stylistic shift, with Moore drawing heavier inspiration from cosmic Marvel greats like Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin. There’s a appropriately psychedelic quality to the imagery in this issue. Silver Surfer’s anatomy is both dynamic and distorted, reflecting the bizarre landscape around him. It helps having Moore’s art colored by the always excellent Dave Stewart. Stewart heightens the psychedelic qualities of this issue and ensures that every page is full of eye-popping color and bursts of energy.



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