Friday, June 29, 2007

Silver Surfer: Requiem #2

Silver Surfer: Requiem #2
While not as good as the first issue, this one was another well-done comic. A basically self-contained Silver Surfer story about the final days of his life spent on Earth, as told from the perspective of Spider-Man. Jeez, if all of JMS's Spidey stories were as good as this one, I'd still be reading Amazing Spider-Man.

Questions, asked and answered: So why does the Surfer ride around on a Surfboard. Doesn't it seem a little, as Spidey puts it, "Hokey?" Answers the Surfer, "It is not a surfboard. It is--there is a human phrase that covers it. 'Form follows function.'" It was never a surfboard, we just imagined it to be so. It is, in fact, merely a vehicle to allow the Surfer to transport himself across the vastness of space, without being forced to close himself off from its majesty. Good question. It seems like this series is asking all the "silly" ("There are no silly questions. Merely good questions that remain unasked." I thank my second grade teachers for that one. It has dictated the course of my life.) questions that nobody ever thought to ask, and comes up with satisfying answers for them. And in turn offers us more complex questions to ponder. I don't want to make more out of this book than what it is - after all, it's merely a comic book - but it seems to be the closest thing to a readable philosophical survey (meaning the questions remain open ended...for pondering, but with no clear answers presented) that I have ever read, albeit in comics format.

To sum up the plot, imbuing Mary Jane with the Power Cosmic for an hour is a wonderful thing. And how nice to see that years from now, Spidey and MJ forever, no matter what JoeyDaQ might dictate editorially. And it's likewise nice to be shown Peter's selflessness in giving her the privilege which was intended for him.

Oddly, when the Surfer ends up giving the entire world a portion of his Power Cosmic, in order to make a go at ending the world's troubles by letting them understand the beauty of the Universe in which they reside, it seems that Fidel Castro is still alive. Or maybe it's just a clone. If they could clone a GOD, why not a dictator?

This particular issue started off rather slow, with a four page sequence (that truly felt longer - when I confirmed its length, I scarcely believed it) of Spider-Man battling a difficult opponent. Basically, he's outclassed. And then the Surfer shows up. And ends it all in seconds. Heh. Genius. Then he "surfs" away, while Peter calls out to him to stop and talk for a second. And when he finally unburdens himself, albeit in a different manner than in the last issue. This time it's "what could be done to fix the world so that people would no longer fight and oppress each other?" - a question which, until the very end, Peter cannot even begin to answer.

There was another point at which I feared that the book might be going off the rails: when Peter brings MJ to be imbued with the full Power Cosmic, I got the sense of "oh no, it's the Power Cosmic that's killing Norrin Radd, and now it's gonna kill MJ too, just like with the Spidey Spunk!", but then I rationalized those fears away by realizing that brief exposure to the power wouldn't kill her, it was merely a lifetime of exposure to it (compare this with tanning, which is slowly but surely killing us all with UV rays) - and who really knows how long it had been before we first saw the Silver Surfer - that was killing him. And I further realized, even though the book doesn't state this explicitly, that relinquishing the Power Cosmic would NOT cure Norrin Radd - the damage has already been done by his lifetime of exposure. Better for him to die as he's lived rather than to spend his final days yearning for a time that he could be free amidst the vast expanses of the universe.

I was going to bust the book down to very good, but upon reviewing my quibbles with it, I believe that it deserves to retain the rank of EXCELLENT which I shall continue to bestow upon it.

Also, I just realized: it hasn't even been a month since the first issue of this book was released! Sure, it goes towards cashing in on the popularity (or lack thereof) of the new Fantastic Four movie, but it remains refreshing to get a comic that's MORE THAN on time. (As opposed to my postings - sorry about that. I just wasn't feeling it last week, and barely read anything. It happens every so often - "Comic Book Burnout", I believe it's called. There's no scientific explanation for it yet.)

Another nice touch: Peter blesses the Silver Surfer with Requiescat in Pace, instead of the more common Rest in Peace, the backronym for RIP. Nice. Peter is, after all, extremely intelligent. That, to my mind, is exactly what he'd say. Well done.

And last, but not least, the art is beautiful yet again. Quite deserving of a rating of EXCELLENT, in my humble opinion.

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