Slott and Allred’s Silver Surfer Is The Best Doctor Who Has Been In Years

As a comic fan I’ve also been interested in the epic science fiction show Doctor Who. At its highs it can be a clever, imaginative, and exciting show where literally […]

As a comic fan I’ve also been interested in the epic science fiction show Doctor Who. At its highs it can be a clever, imaginative, and exciting show where literally anything can happen, though often that anything is represented by a guy in a suit. The show also has some rather embarrassing lows but on the whole I can still call myself a fan. It seems that so can Dan Slott and Mike Allred because they’ve written some of the best Doctor Who stories I’ve ever read and decided to call it Silver Surger.

It might sound like a backhanded compliment at best and an accusation of plagiarism at worst, but trust me that it’s neither of those things. The comparisons are undeniable though. A mysterious alien having adventures around the universe with a human companion for him to explain the high concepts to? A temperamental method of transportation that only the alien understands? Planets with high concept themes that lead to lots of action? This doesn’t mean the stories are simple carbon copies of the Who formula with names swapped though. Rather Slott and Allred take the things that work about the Doctor Who series and see how it fits with everyone’s favorite interstellar beach bum. Rather than just copying Doctor Who they ask what they can do with this formula that could only be done in a comic starring the Silver Surfer.

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What’s very important is how well Surfer and his companion Dawn interact. While it’s impossible to ever be on an equal footing with a man who wields the Power Cosmic there’s a clear level of mutual respect and understanding the two characters have. It’s clear they enjoy each other’s company. The dynamic is also played for laughs such as Surfer’s frustration at the limitations of a human body and Dawn’s continual frustration at Surfer’s inhuman aspects. With this sort of dynamic there’s always going to be questions about why this tremendously powerful alien would choose to spend their time with a completely normal human. Doctor Who recently tried to answer this by surrounding cosmic mysteries around the women, handled very well with Amy Pond and handled incomprehensibly with Clara. Silver Surfer doesn’t even try to address the question. It lets the natural likability of Dawn speak for itself. She’s here because she’s charming and witty and clever and can take care of herself in a scrap. Oh and because we need someone to explain the plot to.

This is a high concept space opera though, so we have to look at the adventures they present, and they do not disappoint. Allred’s pencils have become legendary in their stylized detail. It’s a beautiful book and filled with color, motion, and variety that make every planet that our heroes visit seem like a real, living, breathing place. The most recent story -my favorite issue- (fair warning though, I’ve said that about every issue that has come out) featured a planet of specialists that were all the best in the universe at what they did, followed by the Surfer getting into a tussle with the greatest warrior ever. These stories have the kind of high concept stuff that could only be fully realized in the pages of sequential art.

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Slott and Allred have been around for awhile and while this book has been shuffled under the high profile of his also excellent Spider-man run it’s definitely a book that should be getting more attention. Not only should fans of Doctor Who and space opera check this out, but anyone who loves seeing the imagination that fills the best comics.

Also, people who like Three Stooges gags.

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