Silver Surfer #11
Storytellers: Dan Slott & Mike Allred
Colors: Laura Allred
Letters: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Before the Silver Surfer heads into his Secret Wars “Last Days” story arc, Dan Slott and Mike Allred are putting Norrin Radd through a tale that can only be described as David Lynch does Groundhog Day in space. Yes, it’s a big week with lots of great comics but Silver Surfer #11 standouts out against all of them.
It was Scott McCloud who once wrote about how a panel in a comic book is a snap shot of a moment frozen in time. In Silver Surfer #11, writer Dan Slott depicts entire pages of time like a coin that when flipped is constantly landing on its end. Radd, in an attempt to atone for his sins during his service to Galactus, leads a group of intergalactic refugees to find a new homeworld. The definition of insanity unfolds its meaning as the group fails over and over again in their quest as we see the same moments from different sides of the conflict. All the while Surfer is attempting to avoid an emotional confrontation with Dawn Greenwood and fighting off a physical one from space Pterodactyl riding aliens.
Groundhog Day type stories can run the risk of getting boring when the repetition starts to feel like more of a stretch than a necessity. Here, Slott manages to avoid the tropes by ramping up the tension caused by the hopelessness of the survivors and the use of a celestial being called the Never Queen. Her narration feels like more than just exposition as it brings her into crucial moments of the plot. It would feel like a cheap tactic in the hands of a lesser writer, but Slott manages to use it as the proper means to an end.
Where Silver Surfer #11 becomes a complete near masterpiece is the art of Mike Allred. The issue is an example of what can be accomplished when a writer pens a script to the strength of an artist and then lets him fill in those missing pieces of narrative visually. If you read comics or watched the iZombie opening titles you should be familiar with Allred’s style so I won’t explain it. What’s important is how experimental his page layouts are in the book, which make it one of the most complex single issues of a comic you’ll ever read, but in the absolute best way possible. Having to flip the book upside down and follow the double page spreads like the board game Candy Land give it a very interactive feel that’s missing from comics.
Laura Allred’s color work reaches a whole new level in these pages. The mudded effects she colors Never Queen with give her such a distinct feel from any celestial in the Marvel universe. Throughout the story her contrasting palette choices create a smooth tonal dichotomy that adds a ton of production value to the book. Wrapping up this package is Joe Sabino’s lettering work, his choices in presentation are noticeable without taking away attention to what’s going on in the panels.
I haven’t been this impressed by a single issue of a comic in a very long time. Silver Surfer #11 just nails every aspect that goes into making a comic book while taking some big risks that pay off. You won’t find some status quo altering event in the pages, and sometimes a book is better off because of that. I wish we scored books, because this would be a 10/10. Go pick it up!