Today, Scott and Suzanne are discussing Silver Surfer 2, originally released April 30th, 2014.
The Never Queen
Scott: Like any kid, I spent many summer nights gazing up at the sky, hoping to see a shooting star that would grant me a wish. I don’t remember what any of those wishes were, but at the time nothing seemed more important. Now, I see making wishes as an exercise in picturing happiness, with each wish a snapshot of our greatest desire, constantly changing as we mature and our senses of reality take shape. Eventually, our sense of wonder fades away to the point that wishes no longer carry much weight. For that reason, it’s dangerous to base a story around the power of wishes — most readers no longer believe in them. While comic books often ask us to suspend our disbelief, this is like asking us to re-believe in a part of us that we’ve lost. Silver Surfer 2 focuses on the power of wishes, and while it isn’t seamless, it does bring with it an irresistible sense of wonder, the same one I had as a kid gazing at the stars.
In order to save the Impericon and an Earth girl, Dawn, who he’s never met, the Silver Surfer heads off to fight the supremely powerful Never Queen. She nearly kills him, but he is saved when Dawn breaks out of her Motivator Cell and changes the wish she made on the Surfer as a child, which confuses the Never Queen. The Never Queen is dying, as her heart was stolen and is being used to power the Impericon, and the Surfer heads back to find it, sending his board to look for Dawn. As the Incredulous Zed heads off to destroy the Never Queen himself, the Surfer runs right into Dawn.
I apologize if it seems like I’m glossing over any details; this is a difficult issue to summarize. It takes place on a planet that defies logic, where wishes hold a lot of weight. It’s a wish that brought Dawn to the Impericon — she wished that the Silver Surfer (which she believed to be a shooting star) would keep flying and granting wishes forever, changing the course of the Surfer’s life and making Dawn the most important person in it, even though the two never actually met. When Dawn’s wish changes, Dan Slott’s story gets harder to follow. It seems to me that Dawn’s first wish would protect the Surfer from the Never Queen. If he’s supposed to keep granting wishes forever, he can’t die now, right? Actually, though, it’s the changing of the wish that saves him. Dawn, experiencing the wonders of the Impericon firsthand, wishes she had spent her life exploring, which throws-off the Never Queen, who can see every possibility but never expected that one. I wish Slott had spent a little more time explaining the intricacies and the implications of this wish-changing. I seems like fortuitous timing has more to do with saving the Surfer than the content of either wish.
So I may not understand exactly how the Never Queen works (she’s also had her heart stolen, which makes me think her all-seeing ability has a few blind spots), but HOT DAMN does she look cool! I’m a big fan of the Mike and Laura Allred artistic tandem thus far. I love the simple and sleek look of the Surfer juxtaposed with the almost overwhelmingly bold colors of the Impericon. The art is a mashup of modern and vintage comic book styles, and the Never Queen adds another dynamic. She at once looks completely two-dimensional and endlessly deep. It’s as if, instead of drawn, she’s been cut out of the page, creating a window to much more muted starscape.
Dawn continues to be absolutely adorable. Every detail we learn about her seems to add to her cute-factor, which isn’t nearly as obnoxious as it sounds. As a manager of a bed and breakfast, she’s a natural tour guide of sorts. Those traits are on display when she becomes the leader of the escaped hostages, but hilariously keeps stopping to admire various points of interest, despite the urgency of the situation. Dawn is contrasted with her twin sister by the fact that she never wanted to leave their cozy hometown, but Slott makes it clear that Dawn is the one with a greater sense of wonder. It takes a pretty imaginative kid to wish for a shooting star to keep shooting, or realize that a magic mirror probably wouldn’t behave like a normal one.
Sure, that’s pretty goofy, but it speaks volumes about Dawn as a character. Over the years, she hasn’t lost that sense of wonder she had as a kid. Even though her circumstances have changed drastically, running for her life alongside a guy with giant brain for a head through the craziest place in the universe, she still thinks that mirror is the coolest thing ever. That’s pretty darn charming.
Suzanne, this title is making me feel like a kid again, but I don’t understand the logic behind the wish-making/changing. Then again, does logic even belong in a story about wish-making?
Suzanne: Who needs logic when you can have cosmic zaniness drawn by Michael Allred? I’m okay with taking my suspension of disbelief to the next level for this book — it fills a hole in my pull list that I never knew existed. I’m not a big Dr. Who fan. I couldn’t name you the members of Guardians of the Galaxy. So what kind of appeal does this title have for me? It combines the silly charm of Matt Fraction and Michael Allred’s FF with bigger themes like destiny.
The Never Queen is more effective as an idea than as a character. She represents all of the possibilities that could happen in our lives. Her heart encompasses all of the choices we’ll never make, the dreams that will never come true. Think about even one choice you’ve made in your life — then imagine the hundreds of alternative outcomes if you had chosen differently. Now quantify that for every being in the universe. Norrin Radd almost fails as champion because he cannot accept an infinite number of possibilities. This splash page intentionally overwhelms the reader and pulls them into Radd’s shaken psyche:
In the same breath, Silver Surfer returns to his role as Galactus’ herald, joins the Fantastic Four and remembers his love for Shalla-Bal on Zenn-La. I didn’t expect to see Dawn and Silver Surfer together romantically in this vignette. I made the assumption that their relationship would be more like Clint Barton and Kate Bishop in Hawkeye. But who knows? The Never Queen sees all of the possibilities, some of which die within her heart.
When Dawn sees that heart on The Impericon, it brings out a wish she never knew she had. That wish isn’t particularly clear to me; it’s probably a desire to leave her hometown and explore the world. But how does it save Silver Surfer’s life? Again, Scott, I’m trying to use logic in a book with characters that intentionally subvert it. It’s quite a challenge to hold back from analyzing every detail and just take in the big picture.
Dan Slott skillfully introduces Norrin Radd and Dawn Greenwood separately and then overlaps their stories in unexpected ways. Finally, Dawn and Silver Surfer meet at the end of this issue. She declares, “I’m gonna save you!” as he looks on dumbfounded. He doesn’t understand the book’s basic premise: Dawn’s wish-making and dreaming already saved him for a greater destiny.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?