Silver Surfer: Requiem

by Alan Rapp on July 9, 2008

in Comics

  • Title: Silver Surfer: Requiem
  • Comic Vine: link

“My name is Norrin Radd.  The Silver Surfer.  Wielder of the Power Cosmic, former herald to Galactus, Devourer of Worlds.  I have travelled the galaxy, seen more than other eyes could hope to behold in a hundred lifetimes.  And I am dying.”

“As he rose into the sky, I thought..how sad that we did not know him better.  How sad that his voice was heard so little, when he had so much to say.”

In four issues J. Michael Straczynski weaves a heart-wrenching tale of the final days of the Silver Surfer.  A speck has appeared on outer covering of his body, and is growing.  The shell which has kept him alive through space and inside suns has begun to break down.  As it fails, so will Norrin Radd’s nervous system, providing a painful death for our hero.

The first two issues, and the beginning of issue three, deal with the realization of the Surfer’s condition and his final moments on the planet Earth, visiting the people and places he has come to love.  In these pages we get Reed Richards’ frustration, Sue‘s despair, Doctor Strange‘s final gift, and Spider-Man offering comfort.

The third issue deals with a sacred war between two neighbouring planets which has lasted for 50 generations.  The last big effort of the Surfer is to single-handedly end the conflict, and, as always, promote tolerance, peace, and understanding.  Although not as moving as the rest of the book it does allow the hero one final big moment before his voyage ends.

In the final issue Norrin Radd makes his way home to Zenn-La and his beloved Shalla-Bal.  His final days on Zenn-La, much as his final moments on Earth, are spent promoting love and understanding to a world grieving for the loss of its greatest son.  Even Galactus himself makes an appearance to share his grief and honor his former herald.  Through his actions, at the request of Shalla-Bal, Norrin is laid to rest in a memorial fitting such a hero.

Straczynski gets the voice of the character just right.  One important choice for the mini-series, is allowing the reader to see Norrin Radd through the eyes of others and feel their loss at his imminent death.  Even Uatu, he who has has watched all of recorded history across galaxies takes a moment to acknowledge and bemoan the loss of such a singular being.  And for a tale filled with sorrow, their is also joy with Mary Jane’s ride on the surfboard, action as the Surfer ends a war, and contentment with the Surfer’s acceptance of his fate and return home.

Esad Ribic also is deserving of praise for the painted artwork which so vividly captures the character and his final journey.  Whether flying through space, standing on a roof-top with Spider-Man, or lying in a sick-bed on Zenn-La, Ribic infuses the hero with a constant nobility, and a style which compliments the mood of the tale.

The Silver Surfer has always been one of the most complex characters of the Marvel Universe and has provided many a writer with difficulty.  I can think of no higher compliment than to say Jack Kirby would be proud of this depiction of his creation.  Now available in both hardcover and trade paperback, this is one graphic novel you must add to your collection.  Whether simply leafing through to marvel (pun intended!) at the artwork, or sitting down to weep like a baby over the tale, this is one you don’t want to miss.

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