One of my current favourite comics is a four-part mini-series published under the Marvel Knights imprint, Silver Surfer: Requiem. The series is is written by none other than J. Michael Straczynski himself (yep, he of Babylon 5 fame), and the beautiful, painted art is by Esad Ribic, someone whom I haven’t come across before, but I’ll certainly sit up and take notice if I see the name again.
As you might have guessed, the overarching theme of the mini-series is the impending death of the Silver Surfer, due to the molecular disintegration of the silver “skin” which covers his body, and which is part of him, right down to the deepest level of his nervous system. Even Reed Richards, one of the smartest humans on the planet, can do nothing to help. So the Surfer, in his own stoic, pragmatic fashion, resolves to accept his coming fate, and enjoy his remaining time to the utmost. He hops on his surfboard, and heads off into the big blue (or black) yonder, to see as much as there is to see of the world and universe before he dies.
So far, there have been three parts published out of the four, and each issue is a separate-but-linked segment of the whole story. The first part deals with the visit to Reed Richards, who confirms the diagnosis of the illness, with a bit of a recap of the Surfer’s origin and the fateful adventure in which he rebelled against Galactus and sided with the Fantastic Four and the people of Earth against his former master. The second revolves around a fascinating encounter with Spider-Man, with a nice ending to that segment of the story. And the third issue takes the Surfer away from Earth out to the stars, where he gets involved in a “Sacred War” between two interplanetary races.
The series looks beautiful, and is very well written (as you’d expect with Straczynski at the helm). What I really like about it is the way it deals with people, examining with a critical eye both the beauty and the ugly flaws of humanity (even when the “humanity” is two alien races), the religious fanaticism, the aggression, and the corruption and greed of powerful rulers. Powerful stuff.
Excellent story so far. Can’t wait for the fourth and final segment of the mini-series.