JA Scott’s Quick Hits on Comics: The Silver Surfer Omnibus

Ghost JA

The Silver Surfer Omnibus

The Silver Surfer Omnibus Vol. 1 collects the original Stan Lee and John Buscema run on Silver Surfer, bringing into a single volume Silver Surfer #1-18, as well as Fantastic Four Annual #5 and Not Brand Echh #13. For fans of the Silver Surfer, this is a must have. For fans of Marvel’s cosmic storylines in general, this is a must have. For those who have never bought an omnibus, I would put this in the top ten of books to start the an omnibus collection.

What’s Inside

The 576-page omnibus covers the initial 18 issue Silver Surfer series, which ran from 1968 through 1970. Penned by the man himself, Stan Lee, the art in all but one issue is handled by John Buscema. All the letters pages have been preserved, and there is a an introduction by Stan Lee.

The series takes place after the events of Fantastic 48-50 where the Surfer was banished to Earth by Galactus as punishment for rebelling against his former master. The Surfer fights to break free of his exile, while being hounded and mistrusted by the people he is now forced to live among.

Throughout the series, the Surfer encounters a who’s-who of heroes and villains – Mephisto, Loki, Thor, the Stranger, various members of the the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans, Spider-Man – as he battles to overcome both his imprisonment on Earth and also come to terms with the sacrifice he made so many years ago as Norrin Radd when he gave up his humanity to save the love of his life and his planet from the world-devourer. There are also some one-offs that prove to be very interesting as well, including the heir of Frankenstein, the Abomination, and the Badoon.

Initial Impression

John Buscema’s art always lent itself well to deep colors and lots of ink, and his run on Silver Surfer doesn’t disappoint. And oh yeah, that one issue he didn’t draw, was handled by Jack Kirby, nice when you can call that kind of talent off the bench.

While the stories are a bit dated and the Silver Age pacing slows things down at times, this is some of Lee’s best writing from the era. One particular highlight, the story of Al Harper, a black physicist who helps the Surfer to try and escape Earth in an issue with the Stranger. “He’s treated like an outcast where he goes….” says Harper. “Just because of the way he looks! Just because he’s…different. Maybe it take a guy like me to really understand.”

Stand Out Moment

The first appearance of Mephisto in Silver Surfer #3. The art is fantastic, the colors rich, the inks heavy, the story epic.

As Stan would say, “Nuff Said!”

Final Thoughts

Did I mention that this is a must have for any Surfer fan? The production is exquisite. The panels have been rescanned and the color, which was only touched up, really pops off the page. It was a nice touch to include the letters pages from each issue, and the only drawback is that Tales of the Watcher, the backup feature that appeared in Silver Surfer #1-7, is not included.

For those looking to read the Surfer for the first time, this is the edition to get. The original panels have been rescanned and the color cleaned up but not redone, making for a much better presentation of the original material than the older Marvel Masterworks editions of the series.

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