On its surface, “Silver Surfer” #3 has all the hallmarks of a classic. It features the return of Shalla Bal and Zenn-La, a big turning point for Dawn Greenwood and even an appearance by the Avengers. However, while the comic sure does look great, Dan Slott, Michael Allred and Laura Allred’s comic never quite comes together the way it should.
If nothing else, this is a handsome comic, and that’s to be expected. Michael Allred’s art features its familiar handsome ink line, with his trademark expressive characters and ability to draw a crowded scene with the greatest of ease. Comics like “Silver Surfer” #3 remind me why I’ve been a fan of Michael Allred ever since buying “Madman” #1 in 1992. Shalla Bal is wonderfully imposing on that opening double-page spread, giving the Surfer’s defiant pose on the next page an added punch as he raises his fist in protest. Even something as simple as the buildings reshaping themselves to Zenn-La architecture comes across as smooth and fluid thanks to Michael Allred. It doesn’t hurt that Laura Allred — someone whose work in comics deserves far more credit — is once again coloring his work. Her shades pop off the page, but there’s a subtlety to them at the same time; it never feels over-the-top or ridiculous.
That said, the story feels too obvious, but never quite clicks. I do appreciate that the Surfer’s love for Dawn is finally laid out to her, so that the series can stop dancing around what is clear to everyone else. However, the theme of avoiding homogony feels strangely muted as Zenn-La tries to rewrite the universe in its image, lost in the shuffle of an extended fight between Silver Surfer and the Thing and Dawn’s jealousy over any other woman in the Surfer’s past. When the Avengers show up at the end, it’s just one element too many, doubly so considering their non-contribution to the remaining few pages before the climax.
“Silver Surfer” #3 looks great, and it does bring about a story element that’s felt long overdue. However, as much as I loved looking at this comic, it’s one of Slott and Allreds’ weaker installments. I always expect greatness from this creative team, and this time, they’ve just hit average.