The Silver Surfer is one of Marvel’s most mighty and enigmatic characters. Once a man. Norrin Radd sacrificed his life and liberty to safe his home planet Zenn-La, which was about to be destroyed by Galactus the cosmic ‘Devourer of Worlds’. Galactus transformed him with the Power Cosmic. And Norrin became his harbinger. Reborn as the Silver Surfer.
Scouting the Universe for worlds teaming with life for his master to consume. But the Surfer rebelled against Galactus and is now a wanderer.
Alone. Moving from one corner of the universe to another. When he comes across a Utopian civilization he feels at home for the first time in a long time. But all is not well in paradise. What follows is a tale of politics and fanaticism.
Hope and Sorrow. Beauty and Horror. Life and Death. Enter Silver Surfer: In Thy Name…
Utopia or Illusion?
Norrin Radd lost it all. His love. His home. His name. And his life.
Forged anew as the Silver Surfer he has lead thousands of living worlds to their death at the hands of his former master Galactus. The very power of the cosmos pulsating through his veins. A godlike power.
Rising up against the Devourer of Worlds, the Surfer was able to save Earth with some help from its mightiest heroes. For a while Earth was his home. But a nomad is a nomad –and the being that was once Norrin Radd leaves our tiny blue world to once again roam the universe.
This is where Silver Surfer: In Thy Name by Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat begins. Meditating on the beauty and horrors of life, the Surfer is harassed by a gang of Organ Pirates. When his attempts to avoid a confrontation are frustrated, the sudden presence of a huge alien vessel scares the pirates off. Our protagonist is greeted by Ruqtar Koil. Explorocrat of the Ama Collective.
The Ama are an alliance of several hundred different worlds and dozens of races, founded on the principal that reason can overcome any differences. They claim to be a civilization of explorer and scholar. A claim that reminds the part of the Surfer that was Norrin Radd of his lost home.
And while he is skeptical of utopias, he accepts an invitation to accompany Koil and visit Ama-Prime.
It’s beautiful. Otherworldly. A society of beauty, philosophy and tolerance. A place where there is no horror, no zealotry…a place he might call home for a while thinks the Surfer.
Koil approaches our cosmic being and asks him for a favor. A less developed world in the alliance named Brekknis seems to be having problems with a Ghost of some sort. Being a helpful demigod, the Surfer agrees to help, and gets drawn into a conspiracy that will set paradise aflame.
Welcome to Paradise, Now Watch It Burn!
Norrin starts to realize that the Ama Collective is not what it pretends to be. Everywhere he goes on Brekk temples are sealed and religious icons are covered by Ama flags. There is a viscous undercurrent of resentment, even hate of the Ama amongst the Brekk people. This is confirmed when an assassin tries to kill the Ama Empress.
The Surfer finds out why. The Brekks are religious fanatics. And they think the Silver Surfer is the Lightlord returned. Their messiah. Come to lead the faithful as they rise up against their oppressors in righteous holy war!
When he tells them he is not a god, that he wants no part of their madness –the Brekk take it as a test of their faith. Confronting the Ama Empress, he is meet by an arrogant politician. Somebody who wants to impose her ‘civilization’ on the ‘savages’.
Leaving Ama-Prime, the Surfer is once again accosted by the Organ Pirates. Only this time they have brought company. As something familiar but strange drains him of his energy, the Silver Surfer spies the ringleader of the Organ Pirates and realizes he has been betrayed. But he doesn’t know why…
Will Brekk and Ama take each other to the brink of war?
Who is behind the continued attacks on the Surfer?
Will paradise fall because of the arrogance of politicians and the zealotry of fanatics?
The Art & Writing of Silver Surfer: In Thy Name
Silver Surfer: In Thy Name is a philosophical meditation on life and current world politics in the shape of an entertaining scifi-thriller.
Simon Spurrier isn’t a graphic fiction writer I was familiar with but he’s made me a fan. He takes deep abstract concepts and brings them to life in an awesome tale of politics, faith and betrayal.
You feel the Surfers dispassion and detachment from the lives of mortals. But you also experience his love and respect for life. His search for a somewhere he belongs. A godlike being that could snap its fingers and undo any foe, but that chooses to submit (sometimes) to preserve life. But when god is pushed to far, beware his wrath!
Spurrier also knows his Surfer lore and works it into the story. But In Thy Name stands on its own feet. You don’t need to know the Silver Surfer backstory to understand who he is or what is going on in the story. We meet a cosmic being who just wants to be left alone, forced to make earth shattering choices like a god of old. And he struggles with the enormity of it all.
Silver Surfer: In Thy Name asks the big questions. Power and accountability. Reason versus Religion. Beauty versus Horror. Life versus Death.
The Surfer loves life …and sometimes, just sometimes, he almost hates it.
Tan Eng Huat’s art is ethereal blending into the real. His alien characters and worlds actually look alien. This aren’t your low budget 1960’s-sci-fi-television-show aliens. He takes us into strange new worlds that are stunning and majestic to behold.
Huat’s Silver Surfer isn’t just a naked man in silver paint, he is a shining being of untold cosmic power.
When you look at a shot of the surfer sitting on his board in the middle of space, you feel cold. You sense the void around you. And as you turn your head you can see yourself reflected on the mirror polish skin of the Surfer. Amazing art!
Silver Surfer: In Thy Name was published in 2008, and is a scathing look at the politics of our age and breaks them down to its fundamentals… us! Fanatics, hypocritical politicians and tyranny of the masses -In Thy Name sounds like a round up of 2016. An awesome, entertaining story with a very serious message.
Oh and it’s also got some of the most kick ass alien worlds I have ever seen in graphic fiction.
This one is a keeper!
Enjoy your reading!
PS: If you enjoy philosophical science fiction with plenty of action and a thriller atmosphere then Silver Surfer: In Thy Name is for you! Get it here!