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Silver Surfer: Black #1 (Review): Shakespeare In Space

Updated: Jan 25, 2020


Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: Tradd Moore

Colorist: Dave Stewart

Publisher: Marvel


I have to admit a few things before we get in to this. My prior knowledge of the Silver Surfer is limited. I know of his origin, his sacrifice, his first encounter with the Fantastic Four, his role in Planet Hulk, and that one time he had to come to Earth and put Cable in check (see CABLE & DEADPOOL). I have to admit something else. His origin, I learned from a short-lived, and under appreciated, 12-episode Fox Kids cartoon that aired in the late 90’s. I loved it. There was action and drama, and little middle school me was totally sucked in. Now at the time, a younger me just loved anything televised that

had anything to do with comics (except Spider-Man: Unlimited. But that’s a story for another time.) The Surfer was different though.  There was always a sort of mystique that attracted me to the Sentinel of the Spaceways. A mystique that I had forgotten about until now. 

As soon as I heard that Donny Cates was taking the reigns on a new Silver Surfer run, I was sold. Finally, a good starting point for me, someone with only the most basic knowledge of such an iconic character. I was ready, although I did nothing to prepare for it. I didn’t go back and read back issues to re-familiarize myself. I didn’t go to Wikipedia for any info. I did nothing. I just sat back and dove right in. It was the first time for me to ride along the Herald Unchained and almost immediately, Cates reminds me of the mystique. As soon as the issue begins, we’re given a brief rehash of the Surfer’s history. The death and annihilation supported by the Surfer’s own feelings. The moment the Surfer’s inner monologue begins, it’s poetry. The dark, bold lines of Tradd Moore’s art takes shape with Cates’ script. Beautiful panels bordered by a psychedelic backdrop shows us the insides of a black hole. It’s inside of a black hole we see Norrin flex his cosmic muscle. Bright surrealism, splashing page after page and then... black.

The Surfer’s thoughts describe empty space. In a vast nothing, a strange, beautiful melancholy pours out of his mind. Here, in these pages, is where I figure out what it is that has mystified me. The idea of being an all-powerful Demi-god, drifting along and soaring through cold dark matter is an amazing yet, lonely thing. Trying to process all of this, it’s easy for a reader to get just as lost as Norrin Radd currently is. In a few pages time, we’re brought back to a reality. To an ancient citadel guarded by three sentinels, and once more, we’re blinded by power cosmic. The ending will surprise you and leave you wanting. 

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