*Warning Spoilers Ahead For Silver Surfer Rebirth #1*
Silver Surfer Rebirth (2022) marks the return of the creative team of writer Ron Marz and artist Ron Lim. Working alongside inker Don Ho and colorist Israel Silva, Marz and Lim’s new five-issue limited series takes place during their original acclaimed Silver Surfer run from the ’90s. Marz and Lim use this new series to return to their Silver Surfer tales thirty years later, featuring everyone’s favorite violet villain Thanos and the coveted Infinity Gems.
In Silver Surfer Rebirth #1 by Ron Marz, Ron Lim, Don Ho, and Israel Silva sees Norrin Rand, the Sentinel of the Spaceways, The Silver Surfer rides onto the pages of Marvel Comics once more. In this cosmic escapade: Silver Surfer and Genis-Vell, son of Captain Mar-Vell, run into one another whilst saving a Kree starship from a black hole. The two begin discussing Mar-Vell, with Genis-Vell asking what his father was like when suddenly the duo seem to crash through some sort of barrier.
Silver Surfer is shocked to see none other than Mar-Vell alive and flying alongside him. Where the duo is flying has also changed, no longer are they patrolling the vastness of the galaxy, they appear to be on a planet under attack by the Skrulls.
Being thrust into a fight against the Skrull War-Machine, Silver Surfer is unable to get a hold of Mar-Vell before he is slain once more by an unknown enemy. As the dust settles and the Skrulls are defeated Mar-Vell’s killer is revealed; the Mad Titan, Thanos appears to request the aid of the Silver Surfer. It appears an unknown entity has stolen the reality gem and is now molding the universe to fulfill their every wish. Now Silver Surfer must move throughout this ever-changing galaxy and uncover who has taken the all-powerful Reality Gem before irreversible damage is done to reality, whilst upholding an unlikely alliance and deciphering how Captain Mar-Vell’s revival is connected to all this.
The immediate problem facing this issue is the fact that it is connected to and takes place within the original Marz and Lim Silver Surfer run from the ’90s. This may pose a problem for new readers trying to develop an understanding of Marvel’s cosmic characters within the modern setting. Moreover, this connection is not directly stated anywhere in the issue, hammering home the notion that new readers may not immediately recognize the disparities in context between the Marz and Lim stories from the ’90s and modern, 2022, Marvel Comics.
Although a 2022 limited series set within a story from the ’90s may pose issues regarding continuity, the writing and art offer a quintessentially ‘90’s feel. Marz writes Silver Surfer’s introduction full of these grandiose proclamations resembling the hyperbolic description presented alongside any new heavy hitters crawling out of the woodwork throughout Marvel’s cosmic adventures across the ’90s. Alongside this is the chronically ‘90’s style of whit accompanying Genis-Vell’s personality as he casually replaces real-world nouns with Marvel’s cosmic lingo, offering an appropriately dated, yet comforting, corny sense of humor.
On top of a classically ‘90’s style of comics writing, the art offers a simplistic, yet well-done, art style seen across a majority of comics throughout the decade. Most of the main cast’s character designs fit into one of two categories, they have either been boiled down to muscular silhouettes covered only by a tight spandex suit or they are decked out in a leather jacket with a majestic mane of hair.
Accompanying the art is the colors and inks Israel Silva and Don Ho respectively, showcasing more practices that were standard for the time, like designing character’s color palettes to stick to two or three key colors and shades and the inking being less than in some modern comic arc, with only smaller instances of hatching and facial definition.
By no means is this a point against the issue, on top of offering a heaping helping of nostalgia for the works of Jim Starlin’s Infinity trilogy, the style is directly lifted from Marz and Lims run from the ’90s. The issue feels tailor-made to fit in with the duo’s ‘90’s run, carrying the key characteristic that would allow readers to seamlessly return to this time period in Marvel’s universe.
And no more does this sense of nostalgia for the Infinity trilogy stand out than in Thanos’ design. Holding all of the classic markings of his look from the ‘90’s such as the eyes cast in shadow, the pointed gold armor, and grooved chin, although this Thanos may not possess the Infinity Gauntlet or Gems we all know and love, he is undeniably the classic Mad Titan dreamt up by Jim Starlin back in 1973
Another strength of the issue is that it appears both Marz and Lim have a clear understanding that they are only able to tell this story within five issues and therefore cater to the fact that. Unlike the crimes committed by other large-scale stories from the time, there is not one moment in which this piece feels static.
Although Silver Surfer’s introduction within this issue does take up a splash page, he is depicted as constantly moving throughout the two pages and his bubbles of dialogue are spaced out into smaller sections; not only is he depicted as performing multiple actions within a short instance, the reader’s eye is inclined to move around the page leading to a stronger sense of engagement. Character’s feel as if they are walking and talking, as if they are always moving towards a goal, talking out of necessity rather than to stop and exposit.
This fast-paced story structure is most notable on the splash page in which the changes to reality occur, standing out as the core of this issue’s story. Rather than having Silver Surfer stop and watch as Genis-Vell begins to fade from reality to be replaced by his father over a series of panels, the change happens instantaneously over a single panel. The effect of the reality gem is depicted as Genis-Vell and Surfer, unknowingly, crashing through their current reality, with Mar-Vell appearing in place of his son.
The imagery of characters crashing through one reality into the next acts as a visual demonstration of Surfer’s shift to a new status-quo that the reader can immediately absorb; Marz and Lim are allowed more time to explore this newly altered reality and Surfer’s immediate reaction and emotions towards and are leaving the opportunity for an explanation when the culprit behind the theft of the reality gem is unveiled.
Aside from a strange choice regarding Marvel’s wider continuity, Silver Surfer: Rebirth Issue One is a strong opener for a limited series. The limited space to tell this story is used effectively by the Marz and Lim creative team, as the issue maintains a fast pace visually whilst maintaining the necessary amount of story and dialogue to establish a competent cosmic saga.
Although this storyline takes place within the Marvel universe’s past, it moves to create a mystery that places the universe at risk, bringing into question whether or not the events of this series shall be written to have a retroactive effect on stories from recent years. Regardless of Marvel’s future, this issue provides a promising prologue to Silver Surfer’s latest outing, with more suspense, mystery, and action sure to come.
Silver Surfer: Rebirth #1 is available now on digital and your local comic book shop!
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