Marvel Comics Presents #1 (Silver Surfer)
By Al Milgrom
Letters – Jim Novak
Colors – Greg Wright
Assistant Edits – Michael Rockwitz
Edits – Terry Kavanagh & Michael Higgins
Chief – Tom DeFalco
It looks like these first grip of Marvel Comics Presents are all anchored by random Al Milgrom joints. Wonder if DeFalco and Company had him under some weird sort of “usage” contract and decided to “burn it off” with the MCP anthology? Ehh, maybe Tom was just doing Al a solid. Who knows?
This looks to be a one-off… which seems like it’ll be the case with the handful of Milgrom anchors I’ve flipped through thus far, which is okay by me! This is the sort of thing I wished Action Comics Weekly did more often. Just hit us with a “one-off”, or maybe a “between-chapters” scene from an ongoing title. Variety, as they say, is the spice of comics anthologies.
Now, our hero this time is one I am pretty familiar with… but, really don’t care for all that much. The Silver Surfer is kinda… ehhh… to me. Never really “got” the character, and it’s not for a lack of trying. Read the Silver-Age stuff, the Englehart and Marz stuff, that weird post-2000 version where the artist (Milx, I believe) vanished off the face of the Earth after two issues… even the Doctor Who rip-off that Dan Slott trotted out. Just not my cuppa tea.
Let’s see if MCP might change that! Hey, at least it’ll be short, right?
We open on an Asteroid Eater from Denak IV… eating an asteroid. Welp, can’t help bein’ what it is, right? Anyhoo, the beastie soon seizes, and flops down dead. From it, emerges a space insect that appears to feed off of fear. Hey, that sounds kind of familiar, don’t it? Hmm. Anyhoo, not long after this, our Silver Surfer happens by the scene. He stops to get a better look at the corpse of the gentle giant… which, unfortunately, puts him in the cross-hairs of the fear bug from outer space! Before he (and we) know it, the bug “ensconces” itself, and reads our hero’s mind/body/soul/fear-glands/whatever.
If you’re worried that the next several pages will just be the fear bug putting ol’ Norrin through his paces… wherein he’ll place him in “fearful” situations he has to overcome… well, I don’t know what to tell ya, cuz that’s exactly the direction we’re headed. First “trial”, Silver Surfer fears he’s been banished to Earth once more… never to feel the freedom of the universe. He manages to bust through.
Next, he’s locked in some “energy shackles”… which leech away at his always-nebulous Power Cosmic! Ya know, “Power Cosmic” was the last Overpower card I needed back in the long ago… which has resulted in me kinda furrowing my brow every time I see the words in print. Y’all remember Overpower? Collectible Card Game from the mid-90’s featuring Marvel (and eventually DC/Image/etc.) characters? Maybe I’ll share some images of my collection down below. Had a full-set (of the initial run, anyway)… played the game zero whole times. Anyhoo, the Surfer manages to bust out of the containment suit. The fear bug ain’t diggin’ this one bit.
Next, the Surfer appears to shed his Silver, returning to his impotent Norrin Radd form. After two-pages of grimacing and making “toilet faces”, however, he’s able to snap out of it. The fear bug is really annoyed at this point.
Also, the Surfer’s constitution is so strong at this point that the fear bug is evacuated from his body, and flung into space. Our hero, who is quite satisfied with himself, flees the scene… leaving the fear bug staring down at the planet Earth. It smiles (I think that’s a smile) with the knowledge that there’s bound to be a whole lot of corruptible entities on that blue orb. Uh, I’ll save ya a bit of time there, fear bug… there’s this place in California… called Coast City. Might wanna check there.
So… this sure was a Silver Surfer story, wunnit?
I can’t be too harsh on it… as I feel it accomplished what it set out to do, in that it does manage to give a bit of a quick-n-dirty on the character, and did so in a pretty creative way. Using
Parallax the fear bug as a tool to explore the history of the character was a really fun way to tell the story, as well as providing us with a teensy bit of dramatic conflict.
At the end of the day, for me however, is Silver Surfer is just too much of a sad sack to enjoy. Whereas a Peter Parker or Bruce Banner come with plenty of angst and drama… they’re able to balance it far better. The Surfer just moans and whines all the time. I feel like every time we see him, my eyebrows involuntarily contort in a way that makes me look like a sad-puppy. I just feel bad for him… but that, unfortunately, doesn’t make me want to join him on any of his adventures… cosmic or otherwise!
Overall… if you’re a Silver Surfer fan, this is good stuff. If you’re new to the character… yes, this is a nice introduction. If you know and are indifferent to the character… this probably won’t change your mind.
Tomorrow: A Compilation piece! Woof… feels like it’s been forever since I said that. I’m so excited I might just put up a poll!
Here’s the Overpower (or is it OverPower?) collection… bask in the dorkiness: