Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Tradd Moore
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Tradd Moore
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In last week’s Guardians of the Galaxy Annual, we followed the stories of various cosmic heroes who were thrown into a black hole by the Black Order after the death of Thanos. This week’s Silver Surfer: Black elaborates on that thread by shining a spotlight on everybody’s favorite shiny Herald of Galactus.
Though he wasn’t seen in the Guardians annual, we learn in this issue that Norrin Radd — the Silver Surfer himself — had a pretty instrumental role in saving everybody from ruin when they were ambushed by the Black Order. Whereas everybody should have died in the black hole, Norrin managed to muster all of his Power Cosmic (read: whatever the plot requires it to do at a given moment) into atomizing his allies and spreading them across the galaxy to safety. Naturally, this had severe consequences on the Surfer, and this limited series sends Norrin on what will apparently be an odyssey back home.
Right off the bat, I would say Tradd Moore’s art is absolutely worth the price of admission here. One of the most singular creators in comics today, Moore’s trippy visuals are such an appropriate match for the Silver Surfer that it’s a wonder they’ve never been united before. I’ve had a soft spot for Moore since his fabulous work on All-New Ghost Rider (one of the first comics I really got into when I began reading monthlies) and Black is his return to Marvel as the primary artist of a title.
The way Moore renders Surfer is so Kirby-esque without being slavish to the latter’s style; it’s more of a remix than a cover. I’d compare it more to the way Michael Allred drew his recent Silver Surfer run with Dan Slott while still being its own thing. There’s also a certain sense of fluidity to Tradd’s art that, when combined with the Surfer, is reminiscent of the “liquid” Terminators of that franchise that I really dig. Colorist Dave Stewart does just as much of a bang-up job in coloring Moore’s linework, approximating the kind of palette you’d expect to see in a Silver Surfer comic, not shying away from a full rainbow of hues.
I don’t mean to overshadow writer Donny Cates in praising Moore’s contributions here, because it should also be commended how well he’s structuring his Guardians of the Galaxy run. Silver Surfer: Black is a spinoff, of sorts, to his Guardians saga, but I think it also stands on its own as a neat little Silver Surfer story that can be read divorced of that context. Even if I think Moore’s art functions so well as visual storytelling that it almost renders the text redundant, Cates has a pretty good handle on the character and his voice that will serve him well as the series continues.