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Silver Surfer #2 reaches back to the history of the character in order to pull a compelling conflict for the Surfer to face. There is also more connection to the wider Marvel Comics world – with The Thing as a main player – than has been shown in many issues of Dan Slott and Michael Allred’s run (though Hulk and the Guardians of the Galaxy were both guest stars in early issues of their tenure). Though the first issue of the new, post-Secret Wars series was solid, Silver Surfer #2 is an even better issue, setting up a very personal adversary for the Surfer
Silver Surfer #2 starts with Norrin Radd, before he became the Silver Surfer, on his home world of Zenn-La, discussing his plans to be an adventurer with his love, Shalla-Bal. He finds out that Zenn-La forbids space exploration not because the planet is perfect or because it fears external conflict but because Zenn-La is too dangerous to other worlds. In the present day, The Thing has been mind-controlled to be a “herald” for Zenn-La by the Keeper of the Great Truth, a being who seeks to erase Earth’s culture and replace it with that of Zenn-La. This means that The Surfer must battle with The Thing. He also pleads with the Keeper of the Great Truth, only to find out that there is now a new Keeper – none other than Shalla-Bal!
It’s pretty interesting how Silver Surfer #2 reaches back to some of the important elements of the origin of the Silver Surfer, namely his planet Zenn-La and his beloved Shalla-Bal. These have not really been touched upon too much by Slott and Allred previously. Making the seemingly perfect Zenn-La into an usurping world is a cool twist on the normal Surfer origin of his world essentially being perfect (and somewhat boring). Turning Shalla-Bal into a foe might rub some longtime Surfer fans the wrong way, but I think it adds a great deal of intrigue for upcoming issues, as Surfer will have a very personal connection to his enemy.
One of the other fun elements that Slott injects into Silver Surfer #2 is the changing status quo of the Marvel Universe. When the Surfer realizes the threat that is facing Earth, he first goes to the Baxter Building to find his longtime allies, The Fantastic Four, without realizing that they are not currently in operation (the Baxter has the logo of Parker Industries, the current tenant of the building, as seen in Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man). He also goes to the Avengers mansion, only to find that it has been turned into a theme hotel. In this way, the Surfer functions as a surrogate for some fans, who feel that the Marvel Universe they know is quite different from the current reality after Secret Wars.
One of the highlights of Silver Surfer #2 is the battle between the Silver Surfer and The Thing. It’s a relatively short fight, but Michael Allred (with colors from Laura Allred) really captures a classic look for The Thing, with his familiar bright colors. The Keeper of the Great Truth, glimpsed in the last issue, also has a strong look from Allred. There are also small touches, such as when Norrin and Dawn Greenwood walk around her home town; they are in overcoats since it is a cold New England day.
Overall, Silver Surfer #2 does a lot of things well. It brings in a beloved Marvel character for the Surfer to face, it touches on the history of Norrin Radd, and it also reintroduces some of those elements from the character’s past in ways that indicate a promising upcoming story. The art is sharp and colorful, especially in scenes where the smooth Surfer battles that rocky Thing. In many ways, this might have functioned as a more exciting first issue of the relaunches series. In any case, Silver Surfer #2 works well, tying together components of the past and the present of the Marvel Universe.