Review: SILVER SURFER #11

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SILVER SURFER #11
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Michael Allred and Laura Allred
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 29, 2015

This issue continues to be a celebration of the brilliance and artistry of the Allred family.  With Michael Allred controlling the forms and Laura Allred providing depth an nuance with color, this issue is a looping tapestry of time and space paradox that will entrance lovers of their work. Instead of a straight panel to panel layout, the story is told through an infinity loop that is only interrupted at the end by the readers own desire to continue on to the final pages. The dedication to timing is impeccable. Within this issue, Michael Allred had to time the four key turns at just the right page crossover throughout almost a whole book of double spreads.

It is a story that Slott and the Allreds built just for the Silver Surfer, as he traverses time and space. He feels the only way to help millions of people find a home and escape attacks is to fold time and space upon itself in order to escape. Unfortunately, this begins a trapped loop of infinity that does not bode well for our heroes. The Allred’s color work continues to sing with a pop art feel… broken only once in awhile by the cosmic interference necessary for the story to complete.

Silver Surfer has all the trappings of cleverness.  However, it comes close to losing its balance upon final delivery.  By looping the story, the creators force readers into trudging through the initial 30 pages of the story that they just completed.  While this drives home the infinite nature of Norrin and Dawn’s predicament, it will be irksome to some readers.  Those who are short on attention span will be distracted by the upside down panels wanting to know what they hold. This book requires patience and following the linear guide provided, with its multiple flip-flops.

Just as Norrin is given a choice on how to break through, the reader must make a choice to turn the page and move on from the loop. Past the loop instead of finding a definitive ending, the reader is continued to give a few more chances to swing back around. This area where the decision has been made.

So, let’s be blunt. If you are one of those people who does not exactly enjoy puzzles with your panels, and want to read the story from as close to the beginning as possible: Read page one, then skip to page 33 and turn your book upside down. It’s not ideal. It’s the closest to a continuous flow of story as you’ll get, though.

We are not talking about Multiversity: Pax Americana where you can read it in multiple ways and find different meanings. We are not talking about Trillium, where each flip of the book pushes the story further and serves a specific purpose. Silver Surfer #11 is a linear story that has been given the ability, through art, to fold and connect back into itself. The beginning, middle, and end are still in the story. You just have to reread through the first half of the book to realize that they are there.

Through the revelations and hurt of Dawn, Slott takes a moment to revel in some potentially heavy moments. Norrin is forced to face the fact that he needs to be whole and complete, unable to give any of himself to Dawn, in order to complete tasks set before him. The revelation that he is able to be successful or not after making these final decisions is rather akin to delving into themes of divorce or separation… the need to serve yourself first in order to be successful in helping others. It is a heartbreaking conclusion that, while not unique, will leave you waiting to see what draws our two main characters together or apart in the next issues.

For those who love beautiful art, puzzle stories and fun in comics, this is the story for you. Even if you find yourself initially vexed, you will lose yourself in the cyclical nature of the story. The clever use of art to create the cycles and the ideology of the power of choice is driven home on multiple levels. It’s a concept that will leave you both smiling and concerned for what lays ahead.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

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