Silver Surfer 2

silver surfer 2

Today, Scott and Suzanne are discussing Silver Surfer 2, originally released April 30th, 2014.

Wishes are powerful things, Herald. Especially if you believe in them. They might just become your future.

 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.

The Never Queen was never thereDawn 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.

Mirror mirror on the wall...Of course, this is the set-up to a joke that pays off later in the issue, when Dawn is introduced to Silver Surfer’s board.

…who's the most endearing character of them all?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:

Silver SurferIn 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?

18 comments on “Silver Surfer 2

  1. So much of Slott’s recent work on Spider-Man has been characterized by how he cashes in on ideas he planted years ago. It’s kind of fun to get in at the ground level here. Anyone want to venture a guess as to the significance of Dawn being a twin? I feel like that flashback exists largely to keep that detail in the back of our mind, but I’m not sure why it’s important just yet.

    • Perhaps, on a superficial level at least, by enforcing the idea that Dawn is a twin, Slott and Allred are also enforcing the notion of how Dawn’s life could have been different had she followed in her sister’s footsteps.

      Dawn’s sister–I’m ashamed that I already forgot her name–is Dawn’s visual reminder of a path that she could have taken but did not. Dawn could have looked at pictures of her sis hanging out at different places around the world and, even though she obviously didn’t go to those places herself, Dawn could still have had the vicarious sense of going to those places by seeing “herself” in those photos.

      By the same token, perhaps Slott wants to instill another layer of “what if…?” into the thoughts of both Dawn and the audience by granting us a very literal mirror image of a character’s alternate world actions and decisions–except this mirror image is a twin and is happening in the very real here and now.

      • That’s a great read! I had never thought of twins as a manifestations of an alternate path, but Slott’s already done a great job of highlighting that here. Neat stuff.

        Slott is such a crazy idea guy, I sometimes forget that he can be a bit subtler with his themes. That said, there are some great crazy ideas here. I love the idea that the Never Queen’s heartbeat contains the sound of every song that has been and will be (or whatever it was). This is going to be a fun series.

  2. Shades of Jack Kirby and 60’s style art assail me on all sides here–and I love it.

    I gotta say, I’m digging this unique approach to the Surfer. Whereas his previous series was ostensibly about exploration and finding what’s what in the galaxies, Slott is bringing that sense of wanderlust that has always been in the background of Norrin’s adventures and placing it at the forefront of his latest book. You just know that a series is going to be packed with whimsy and fairy tale charm when the series starts with a child wishing upon a star.

    In addition, I feel that Slott and Allred are going to be tackling larger questions of how journeys both personal and epic impact one’s growth as a character and how it colors one’s point of view as an active participant in said life. As Scott expertly pointed out, wishes change as the person changes. Dawn had already altered her wish by the time she reached the Impericon–and by that time, she’s only every lived in one town in state her entire life! (I’m assuming she never took a roadtrip to Disney World).

    And did I mention the art? LOVE the art…

  3. So I didn’t necessarily think that Dawn’s wish somehow magically protected Surfer. The Never Queen says that “her wish changed. That confused me…and saved you.” I took that to mean that Dawn changing her wish confused the Never Queen, distracted her, and that’s what stopped her from killing Norrin.

    Basically, she flinched. That’s how I took it.

  4. Suzanne, I find it funny that you bring up Doctor Who when talking about this title, because it’s obvious that Doctor Who is a HUGE influence on this book (which also makes me chuckle a little that you’re not a fan but that you love this title, but to each their own). Dan Slott’s a HUGE Doctor Who fanatic, and the influence is obvious on this title: both are about an ancient and powerful, but guilt-wracked and lonely alien meeting up with a clever, star-struck Earth girl and showing her the universe. In terms of basic premise, they’re practically the same show, haha.

    Even in the more minor details there’s a lot of similarities. The tone of this title and the specifics of Dawn’s story remind me a lot of the fairy tale motif show-runner Steven Moffat aimed for with the relationship between Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond; Amy, whose destiny was irrevocably changed by crossing paths with the Doctor as a child; Amy, who felt torn between a normal life with the love of her life and a life traveling through time and space; Amy, whose life is often referred to as a fairy tale, who still believed in stars when nobody else even remembered that they had ever existed, who willed the Doctor back into existence just because she believed hard enough that she could. I’m not saying that either of these stories is identical or copied the other or anything, I’m a huge fan of both and I like the influence Slott seems to be taking from Who, but it’s definitely something that struck me after reading the first issue and even more after reading the second.

    But yeah, I love this book, it’s great stuff.

    • From a guy who’s never watched a single episode of Dr. Who before, you paint quite a compelling case here. Is it easy to just jump in whenever, or should one start from the beginning?

      • The beautiful thing about Doctor Who his that it has to change every few years, it’s literally built into the show’s DNA; the character of the Doctor “regenerates” into a new body when he dies, allowing the show to cast new actor in the part whenever the previous feels like leaving the series, so there are by design a number of excellent jumping-on points.

        The actual first episode of current Doctor Who series (the original Who ran from the mid-sixties until the late eighties and is still in continuity, but it’s not necessary to see if you want to watch the current series) is an excellent introduction to the series, but only a decent episode of Doctor Who; it features my favorite Doctor (Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth), but it also has terrible background music and some cheesy special effects. The best episode to watch first is “Blink”, from the third season; it’s an awesome time-travel plot, features one of the series’ most iconic monsters, and introduces you to the world of the Doctor through the eyes of an audience surrogate, meaning you don’t have to know anything about the series to watch it. If you like that episode, I’d skip to the first episode of the fifth season, “The Eleventh Hour”, and begin from there. This is the first episode of the current showrunner’s era, and he essentially discarded the continuity of the previous four seasons and started from scratch, making it an excellent starting point, especially because the fifth season is generally considered the show’s best season, AND because the scoring and special effects improved by leaps and bounds that year. If you watch that season and like the show, THEN go back and watch the first four seasons. They’re great, they’re very much worth watching–in fact, these seasons arguably have much better character work than the latter ones, even if their storytelling is far less ambitious–but they can also be silly and cheesy and have poor special effects. I’ve found that it helps to have built up affection for the characters and franchise before tackling those earlier episodes.

        • Wow, thank you, Spencer, for such an awesomely comprehensive overview of the good Doctor! Truth be told, it was always the sheer number of episodes, doctors, and seasons that intimidated me from ever sampling it before; but now, with your excellent Who’s Who guide here (sorry, bad pun), I feel brave enough to try.

          Gracias!

        • No problem, man! Recommending things I love is one of my favorite things to do, so anytime!

  5. I found the first two issues of Silver Surfer to be unreadable and awful to look at. I feel bad that I do, I really wanted to like this. The art is extraordinarily unappealing to me (I’ve never been an Allred fan, I know it’s cool to be, but I’m not) and the story is a little bit too far to the left of irritatingly goofy.

    I don’t like Doctor Who, either, so maybe it’s me. After all this negativity, I probably should do some soul searching, but I’m afraid I’ll find out that I hate puppies and freedom.

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