Graphic Novel Review: Silver Surfer: New Dawn

Silver Surfer: New Dawn

Silver Surfer: New Dawn - Credit: Archant

You won’t be board (see what I did there?) with this new take on the Silver Surfer...

(Panini Books)

At long last, writer Dan Slott has removed the stick which has been wedged up the Surfer’s alien backside for decades, allowing Norrin Radd to expand and develop as a character without ever forgetting his origins and past development.

The near-Messianic attitude, faux-Shakespearean dialogue and heavy dose of angst have been wisely brushed to one side, and instead the focus is on the Surfer’s passion for exploration, his desire to overcome his past sins as herald of the planet-eating Galactus, and his strong sense of natural justice.

Unexpectedly, this Silver Surfer is actually a fun read, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments amidst some of the most entertaining adventures Norrin has featured in for decades.

His new raison d’être seems to be the desire to save worlds in order to make up for those he unwittingly sacrificed to Galactus’ hunger, but even this is presented in a positive and life-affirming way, rather than being bogged down in the guilt and pain which were staple ingredients of previous Surfer stories.

Long-term Spider-Man scribe Slott has also introduced a human point-of-view character to accompany the former herald on his travels, grounding this cosmic crusader in reality. Cape Cod resident Dawn Greenwood is initially thrust together with Norrin as part of a bid to thwart the mysterious Never Queen, but she then joins him as a surfing sidekick in order to experience life beyond her narrow parameters.

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Comparisons have been made between this relationship and the ones found in Doctor Who, with the powerful alien taking a human companion on travels throughout the universe, but that’s certainly no bad thing.

The other crucial component in this new series is the distinctive artwork of Michael Allred, who always does a spectacular job but here seems to be stretching his creative muscles with the contrast between multiversal madness and the everyday and mundane, while also playing tribute to the Surfer’s co-creator Jack Kirby.

Launching a new Silver Surfer series was always going to be a challenge, but on this occasion Marvel have got it absolutely right, by offering a fresh take on the character which respects his origins while allowing for a hitherto unexplored freedom in his future adventures. Highly recommended, and one of the stand-out books of the year.