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.
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.