Accepting Happiness in Silver Surfer 13

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Sometimes I think I ask too much of comic books. I always want them to be grand statements about morality or the price of heroism or contain some other largely unknowable truth about the world. Silver Surfer is one of those series that sets this expectation for me, and the creative team of Dan Slott, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred obviously have a lot to say about life, love, and adventure. The penultimate issue of this series slows that all down by speeding up time, allowing the reader to bask in the simple sweetness of a life lived together. It is a rarity among comics — something nice just for the purpose of experiencing something nice.

There’s a little bit of a sci-fi morality tale tucked in to the beginning of this thing — Dawn and Norrin travel so far back in time that they slip into the previous universe and meet a proto-Galactus. At this point, he’s just a regular dude, not yet the devourer of worlds and enslaver of the Silver Surfer. Norrin is about to seize the opportunity to murder Galen, effectively re-writing the history of the universe, but Dawn talks him out of it. Her argument is simple: she sorta likes the universe. Sure, Galactus was as evil force for a very long time, but he is currently the Life Bringer. Leave it to Dawn Greenwood to see the good in everyone and every thing.

Once that business is settled, Slott and the Allreds allow us to just exist in Dawn’s goodness. A whole lifetime condensed to a few achingly sincere pages.

They are just happy. We get to see the activities they fill their time with, the objects they fill their home with, and ultimately the people they shared their life with. It’s an disarmingly sweet send-off for Dawn, and as she drifts off to death after a life well-lived, I couldn’t help but want to leave it there. Norrin balls us Dawn’s life energy and chases after Galen’s Incuba-Cell, so I guess he’s still got some unfinished business he’d like to attend to. But for the moment, I’m happy to have all of that sweetness without subversion.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

4 comments on “Accepting Happiness in Silver Surfer 13

  1. Speaking of Galactus… No comment on Ultimates 100? I found it a confusing, dense, incomprehensible and outrageously fantastic conclusion. Finishing a run or a series (I think it’s Over, as in nobody else is doing it, not over and waiting for the next issue) always makes me want to go back an reread to try to find some things that fit better together to help my understanding (too many comics, too many forgotten clues, hints… characters… events), but this one practically demands it.

    I think this was one of the highlights of the past couple years of comics.

    Umm, yeah, I read that Silver Surfer was cool, too. I decided to trade wait for it because I just don’t have attachment to the Surfer, so no comment on this (although twitter seemed to cry a lot reading it).

    • I didn’t know that Ultimates 100 was the last issue of the series until I picked it up, and I was initially very skeptical about whether Ewing could wrap everything up in a satisfying way in that little space. I was very wrong. Ewing managed to not only tie up all his loose threads in a way that really worked, he even threw in that homage to the original Ultimates that was a lot of fun, leaves the door open for more adventures in the future, and didn’t take up too much space or distract from everything else Ewing had been building.

      I was most impressed at how he even managed to create separate final confrontations for the Ultimates vs. the Maker and also Galactus and co. against the First Firmament — giving us a more human conclusion but also the massive cosmic conclusion we all deserved — but also managed to tie the two together. The Ultimates weren’t just constrained to fighting the Maker — their actions made it possible for Galactus’ team to save the day as well.

      The last issue was the most fun I had with the Ultimates in a while, and like you, I’m feeling like it almost demands a reread of the entire series.

      • Intentionally, I don’t buy many mini-series. I feel weird about them a lot of times, and I’m not sure what it is. I think I don’t like endings. I feel there should be more, I want to see what happens NEXT.

        If I’d been told in advance, this was two series, each 12 issues long (is that right? I think it is), I’m not sure I’d have gotten it. I remember buying the first issue – I Iwanted to find a team book that I liked and I was pretty unhappy with most Avengers/X-Men/Justice Team books I’d been reading. I liked it more than other books because of how far out it was. It didn’t feel like super hero stuff, but it was a super hero team.

        And the art. Rocafort (and later Foreman and the others) killed it. I’m not a fine enough critic or writer to try to describe why I think Rocafort was perfect for the series, but there was something about the way he created panels and used space (light and dark), his usage of unexpected angles, not viewing angles but framing angles, that made this more than the story, which is weird for me. I don’t want to leave out Foreman: I was unsure of what he would bring (I think I only knew him from Animal Man). I can’t describe his style, it’s in some ways similar to Rocafort but with lines that almost seem to decay. It turns out this was perfect for cosmic war.

        I know I rambled, but I’m very glad this title existed. I have no idea what sales were like, I don’t know the critical review of this was. I know that not every issue was perfect. However, The Ultimates brought something to the Marvel Universe that was strikingly unique, and that’s becoming harder and harder to find in the Big Two. This broadened my perspective on what I want to read from comics. I am currently full on traditional super hero stories, but there is room in my pull list for whatever the hell these last two years were.

        • and yeah, Silver Surfer. I think people have said the same thing about Slott’s run on Silver Surfer. I need to look up what comics I have and what trades are out there.

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