CoverSilver Surfer #1, Volume 4
Published by Marvel Comics
September, 2003
Click here for larger version of cover.


Writers: Dan Chariton & Stacy Weiss
Artist: MILX
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy
Assistant Editors: Marc Summerak & Andy Schmidt
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada
President: Bill Jemas

Original Price: $2.25

Introduction (NO SPOILERS): After years without a title, the Silver Surfer returned to comic stands with the launch of his new title. And it is not like any Silver Surfer comic book you have ever read before. I think the first issue indicates the beginning of an intriguing storyline. But, though it may be too early to say, I think we might find this new title to be a both a good Silver Surfer story and a disappointing Silver Surfer title. In summary, it is great to see new interpretations, viewpoints and perspectives to the Silver Surfer, but it would be more satisfying to see it as an addition to a more traditional Silver Surfer title. Unfortunately, Marvel does not seem to feel that is possible with the current fanbase.

Synopsis (SPOILERS): The story begins in South Sudan where Civil War, slavery and starvation runs rampant. With no other hope, a small tribe calls upon the “Shining One” to take up a small infant to “live in the sky and serve him forever.” The child is taken by a bright light that leaves a crop circle-like image of an alien’s face. The experience inflicts a nosebleed on all who witness it.

The story then moves to a children’s hospital in New Orleans, where four-year old Ellie is drawing pictures of an image of the Silver Surfer, though we do not know where she has seen him. The girl is able to draw very well, but she has never spoken a word and does not seem to have any emotions. Denise, her mother and the narrator of the story, picks her up, after the doctors had been testing her for ten days. They found she is autistic.

From there, the two go to Jackson Square, where Denise works on the street as a palm reader who pretends to read people’s futures for money. She is in the middle of taking advantage, when two officers stop her. She insists that she is helping others feel better and more confident about themselves and providing for her daughter, while not doing something worse for money.

After this, Denise and Ellie return to their apartment. Denise reflects on her mother’s voodoo religion, which she hated. Her mother once told her that Ogoun Shango, the loa of lightning who her mother claimed was her father, would “crack the sky open” with his lightning and “come to claim his child” but Denise never believed in fairy tales.

The first issue ends with Denise trying to get to sleep when her ceiling fan suddenly turns on and lights up. She runs to her daughter’s room to find bright energy radiating from the door. When she opens it, she finds her daughter in the Silver Surfer’s arms. Her daughter smiles and says “Mommy!” before disappearing, along with the Surfer, in a bright wave of light, leaving Denise alone in shock with her nose bleeding.

Review (NO SPOILERS): Again, I enjoyed this story and its artwork. It seemed like it may well be a very sophisticated Silver Surfer story and able to appeal to new readers. I certainly would not be surprised if Marvel is hoping to reprint this in a trade paperback aimed at older audiences. The story introduced interesting, though not terribly unique, characters in Denise and her daughter Ellie. The cliffhanger also creates a fascinating challenge for writers Chariton and Weiss, as readers wait to see if they agree with the Surfer’s actions and the authors’ interpretation of the character. I also appreciated the connection this story will have with African and African-American cultures. Hopefully, the “Communion” arc will continue to encourage awareness of issues taking place around the world. I also enjoyed both Milx’s penciling and coloring in this issue, both very different for a Silver Surfer book but appropriate for the story at hand. Joe Jusko’s painted cover was also awesome, as Joe Jusko’s rendition of the Surfer always is. Still, it seemed to give the impression that the typical Silver Surfer fan would be reading a more typical Silver Surfer story. This was definitely not that. And while the introduction was very promising, I believe I would have welcomed it even more if it were a mini-series on top of a traditional Silver Surfer adventure.

Written by James Pedrick

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