Posted by: Graeme McMillan on November 12, 2007
Despite Abhay’s feelings about it, I have fond memories of 2000AD. It was a comic that I grew up on, then did the traditional thing of giving up on it before returning, shamefacedly, years later (It was Grant Morrison’s Zenith that brought me back). It was on that second go-around, when I wasn’t seven years old and turned off by Carlos Ezquerra’s art, that I realized that there was such a thing as a 2000AD story – One part stealing from pop culture and turning it into a goofy sci-fi idea to one part really, really obvious plot development that you can see coming from miles away, but still enjoy reading the book enough to keep going, mixed together with a strange attitude towards pacing and execution that amps up everything while also keeping tongue firmly in cheek and winking to the audience, perhaps (Things changed, and not necessarily for the better, in the 1990s, when things started to get painted and take themselves too seriously, but that’s another story). But bearing all that in mind, SILVER SURFER: IN THY NAME #1 is pretty much a 2000AD story.
Sure, sure; writer Si Spurrier comes from 2th, but it’s not just his background that shapes my opinion of the new series. It’s the start, with the comedic organ pirates (who are pirates in space who steal organs! Get it?) and the underwhelming non-battle with them, and it’s the plot that seems to have an upcoming twist that’s less a twist and more the most signposted straight line in the world. It’s the ending of the issue, with the visual joke that plays off the smug hero, that’s both underwhelming and kind of cool at the same time. And, maybe most importantly, it’s the lack of both superheroics and pretention throughout the entire book.
You see, poor Norrin Radd always seemed to get the shitty end of the stick from creators, if you ask me. He was either played as a zen Green Lantern or used as a shitty writers’ grand statement-making Mary Sue for years, instead of someone trying to do something different with the character; I don’t know if it’s because they didn’t know what to do with him, or because they thought he’d be more interesting that way (The one exception was the series a few years ago where he was kidnapping children or something; that one has been semi-forgotten, maybe for its own good), but this feels like the first time in years that a writer “gets” the character and the potential he has.
Add to this Tan Eng Huat’s wonderful artwork – and ignore Michael Turner’s generic, dull cover that manages to screw up the logo – and you have another book that, like Supergirl, isn’t entirely successful but is interesting in the ways that it fails. It’s probably not for everyone, but it is rather Good.