MARVEL REVIEW: SILVER SURFER: REQIUEM
Writer: J Micheal Straczynski
Artist: Esad Ribic
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Axel Alonso
JESSE PARRINO 16-JULY-2015 I recently watched a YouTube review for SILVER SURFER: REQUIEM and thought it sounded like an interesting read. I came across the trade at a local comic shop in their bargain bin so I figured I’d pick it up and give it a read.
The first thing I want to say about this book is, if you don’t know The Silver Surfer, this is not the place to start. As you’ve probably guessed from the title it deals with his (non-canon) death. That said, while it has a few nods to his time with The Defenders the only book I recommend reading first is his first appearance.
I’m going to give a brief rundown of the plot. It opens with The Surfer discovering he’s got an odd discoloration and goes to Earth for Reed Richards to look at it. The whole first part of the story is Reed trying to figure out how to reverse it, but it turns out his silver covering is killing him. Reed does the best he can but ends up telling him that’s he’s got about a month left.
Book two is mostly from Spider-Man’s perspective, as he and the Surfer have a discussion on human nature and how The Surfer wants to give something back to his adopted home. Without going into a lot of detail and spoiling one of the best moments in the book….he gives the entire population of Earth the Power Cosmic for 5 minutes in hopes to give humanity perspective. We’re left to guess if it works or not.
Book three is where it gets interesting. It opens with Dr. Strange catching Surfer and giving him the whole of human history both before and after his arrival and framing it with “know that everything after your arrival only happened because of your kindness”. Then we get into section I like the most. When he travels back to his home planet, along the way, he gets summoned by two worlds that are engaging in a holy war and each side asks him to engage on their behalf. The metaphors for modern humanity and our own wars are not remotely subtle. But they also aren’t propagandized either. Surfer at his best is a hippie crying for peace. And this section here personifies that in the best possible way. The way he stops the war is perfect.
Then the last book is when he gets home and is pretty much his funeral. This is where the book starts to lose me a little. Mostly because I’m not totally steeped in The Surfer’s back story. But at the end, Galactus shows up and declares Zen-La under his protection and is one of the few times we see Galactus and common mortals viewing each other without fear.
All in all, I really liked the book and while there is a bit of melancholy to it, it’s not the super grimdark that a lot of the other “death of” books are. The Surfer is seen as a beacon of hope and the book seems more a celebration of his life then anything else. It’s not a happy tale by any means. But it isn’t dark either.
The Esad Ribic art by itself makes the story worth picking up. While it’s not Alex Ross it’s very much in the same style. It reminds me of his work on Marvels and Kingdom Come. There’s this sense of awe in the characters that not many comics really pull off that well.