Silver Surfer #1

If this issue is any indication, the second volume of "Silver Surfer" will be just as colorful, creative and warm-hearted as the first. Dan Slott and Michael and Laura Allred take their space romp back to Earth in a quick, cute story that wraps up with just enough of a look at the bigger problems to come. This issue feels just like its predecessors -- in both the good and the bad -- and there are still some characterization kinks to work out. Still, with its quirky, animated artwork and resourceful, affable protagonists, "Silver Surfer" #1 reminded me why this series is so easy to like.

While the adventures are certainly enjoyable, the Allreds' art remains the primary pull of the series. As many critics have noted, Michael Allred's unique style evokes the likes of pop art and Lichtenstein, giving the world of "Silver Surfer" a crafted, retro quality, like a perfectly composed magazine advertisement. In most scenarios, that description would signify something undesirably stagnant, but -- in Allred's case -- there's a groovy warmth underlying everything that makes it work. Most interestingly, for a cosmic comic, "Silver Surfer" really doesn't show off much grandeur or scale. Instead, it makes outer space feel like your quirky aunt's drawing room: surprising and at times disconcerting to explore, but never truly terrifying.

Laura Allred's delightful colors definitely contribute to this feeling. From Dawn and her sister's just-shy-of-costume ladybug and bee attire to the flat, bright background colors, Laura Allred strikes the right tone between fun and funny-looking. She's also never afraid of the literal; when aliens attack, they're little green men, and that's just that.

There was, however, one issue with the artwork: the main weapon of the Hordax looked almost exactly the same color and shape as the main weapon of the Keeper, and it threw me for a loop.

As far as the script, this series has drawn more than one comparison to "Doctor Who," and it's easy enough to see why. The Surfer's man-out-of-time-and-world shtick, combined with Dawn's spunky-quick-thinker bit, is a familiar formula. They don't deviate much from it in this issue, and Norrin continues to take a backseat to Dawn, though I hoped to see some more give-and-take at this point in the run. However, for all its whimsy, "Silver Surfer" is rarely ironic; there's a warmth and an unpretentious hominess to its humor and its stories. It rarely tries to make a point or celebrate anything more abstract than the connections with people you love.

For instance, this issue's plot about the Hordax's thieving of Earth's stories and fictional heroes could have slid into a more bombastic meditation on the nature of art in another writer's hands. Instead, Dawn simply says, "And now [these heroes]'re shaping you, too...You know you must give back what you have wrongfully taken," and the Hordax comply. This scene demonstrates Slott's rare and useful gift for wrap-up. Dawn's solution is almost absurdly easy for her to figure out and execute, and it could have come off as awkwardly abrupt with less leisurely dialogue. However, Slott gets away with this approach by keeping Dawn and Norrin's reactions as low key as a super-easy solution deserves.

In a market with more and more humorous comics, "Silver Surfer" #1 never feels like it's trying too hard or showing off. Its joy and creativity feel effortless, and that's quite inviting.

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