Saturday, February 2, 2013

Stand Alone Complex: The Silver Surfer versus The Flying Dutchman

Hey Gang!

I am back, with a box of new comics gifted to me by a friend (thanks Ben!). Inside, I found an issue of The Silver Surfer by Stan Lee, John Buscema, Dan Adkins and Sam Rosen. I stayed away from this 'Surfer series for a while, after reading 'Kirby: King of Comics' by Mark Evanier. If I remember correctly, Lee went forward on a Surfer series without consulting Kirby, who had his own plans for the character. When a free comic with art by the great John Buscema is presented to me, however, I can't help but take a gander.

The artwork in this issue is beautiful. I want to pick up more of these issues just for the Buscema. His figures are elegant and his Surfer displays a great range of expression (mostly sad in this issue). I dig the coloring as well, and the yellowing of the paper. There just isn't anything like reading old comics.

The story itself is ridiculous, as is to be expected. The comic opens with Mephisto, Marvel's answer to the devil (I think), proclaiming that the Silver Surfer is one of the only men to have ever defeated him but The Surfer's soul will belong to Mephisto! Meanwhile, The Surfer's ears are burning! He starts a mopey soliloquy, with beautifully realized panels by Buscema and company, about how he knows Mephisto is thinking about him.

These panels are spectacular. Particularly the right two.

Mephisto is worried he will destroy The Surfer before he gets his soul, which needs to be volunteered willingly by The Surfer. Mephisto decides he will summon an occult minion to help him. He needs a human to bridge the supernatural world and reality, and picks an occultist who is right in the middle of trying to summon a demon. The summoner is taken aback, saying he wasn't trying to summon Mephisto, and apologizes. Mephisto reacts like a child, telling the summoner he couldn't summon him if he tried, and Mephisto meant to appear before him all along. Yeah, sure dude. Whatever you say.

Dude, relax!

The powerful foe that Mephisto ends up summoning is...the Flying Dutchman. Yeah. Mephisto uses his powers turn The Dutchman into a weird Fu Manchu looking robot with claws for hands. Definitely a big letdown. Meanwhile, The Surfer is still worrying over Mephisto, and starts pining for his lost love, Shalla Bal, in some really pretty panels. Then we are back to Mephisto, who conjurs up a boat for the Dutchman to terrorize the city with. There are some really corny panels where some innocent bystanders react to seeing the floating ship. Oy.

Really?! This guy?!

I thought these were pretttty.

A silly comic with some beautiful artwork, and some real stand-out panels. Not much more you can ask of a 'classic' superhero comic. Until we meet again!