Greg Pak seems to have a strange talent for making me care for characters that I previously could not. He did it with Bruce Banner in Planet Hulk, and he does it again each and every time I pick up his books. His work on Hulk and Incredible Hercules is impeccable, and when I picked up the first issue of the new Silver Surfer mini-series, I hoped that magic would happen again.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate the Silver Surfer. In fact, he’s part of my favourite comic of all time; 2008’s Silver Surver: Requiem written by J. Michael Straczynski for the Marvel Knights imprint. However, Norrin’s never had very successful ongoing runs, which can probably be attributed by the power creep that’s associated with him: it’s hard to throw threats at him week after week when he has the power to split planets in half.
So in the wake of Chaos War, we get a new miniseries with a team that by all means, should be dynamite. And boy do they deliver.
Pak knocks one out of the park with the kick-start to this storyline. He frames Surfer’s plight very well; he has been a herald of Galactus for far too long, and though he is no longer Zenn-Lavian, he fears he is losing the compassion that made him more than just a mindless slave. This opening contemplation is going to serve as a great theme throughout the entire mini-series.
Other high points include bringing Cybermancer out of mothballs from Force Works (because really, did we really need another hacker character?) and the expansion of Surfer’s Power Cosmic to include healing; the problem with “all-powerful” sets of abilities is that sometimes we never see users (like Surfer, some Green Lanterns or Doctor Strange) doing anything creative with it. It’s a bit obvious that the woman he revives will serve as a love interest, but I guess they have to set one up somehow, right?
I’m interested in the High Evolutionary‘s curiosity with the Surfer, and the latter’s new-found power loss. However, I have a feeling it might be one of those ploys to ensure second-and-third issue sales by introducing a gimmick: a Surfer that isn’t Silver!
If there’s any low point, it’s the introduction of a bunch of different plot threads at once and then giving Pak four more issues to solve them. At last count, there is:
- Galactus’ revival
- The love interest/triangle with Cybermancer
- High Evolutionary’s involvement
- Norrin getting his powers back
- Norrin rediscovering his “humanity”
- Shenanigans involving the shadow organization Cybermancer is working for
That’s an awful lot. But really, I trust Pak: he hasn’t steered me wrong before.
I’ll be picking up the second issue, and in the meantime, crossing my fingers that he doesn’t botch it.