When the first issue of Silver Surfer: Black came out, I bought it digitally, expecting to buy the whole series that way. I read it, and realized print would probably better for all the double page spreads, and I could still read it on Marvel Unlimited as it came out. So it all ended up on Marvel Unlimited, and I added it to my ever-increasing library. The Treasury Edition came out, and I touched it, hoping to obtain it at some point in the future. And now we’re here, with the release of the Silver Surfer: Black trade. And I have finally read it! And it’s pretty great!
To be up front, the major reason to pick this up is for the wonderful Tradd Moore and Dave Stewart art. It’s resplendent. It’s unique. It’s exactly what you’d expect from Tradd Moore and Dave Stewart. I’m not even sure there’s a highlight in particular, because nearly every page is its own highlight. Even just being able to see the covers with almost none of the dress on them is notable, but really, this whole series is just those two showing off and then pointing at the last page, shrugging, and somehow one-upping themselves on the next one. Just ridiculous.
Clayton Cowles does does keep up, though, particularly in issue five and with one notable character. There are a few times where it felt like a caption was in a weird spot, but it’s nothing bad, and it’s a part of working with Moore’s insane layouts and use of space.
As for Donny Cates, this is some higher than average work, in my opinion. I noted above that I initially checked out of the book because I wanted to read it in print, but I also was pretty turned off by the Knull reveal. I found it unnecessary and contrived. Even now, with King in Black rolling into view, it could be annoying, but instead Cates and the rest of the team really nailed this series. Much of that has to do with the narrative captions throughout the series. Cates did a great job with them, and they never feel overwritten or plentiful. It gets anime as all hell, and it is amazing.
With this being the third (or fourth, depending on how you count Marvel Unlimited) release, all of this likely isn’t news to you. You’ve probably seen panels, touched the Treasury Edition, and added it to you library like I had. Is this version of the book worth it? Well, the answer is yes and also no.
On one hand, this collection really just makes me want to track down and buy the Treasury Edition. The double page spreads are great in this trade, but being oversized would make them that much cooler. I also love big comics, and this would be worthy of owning in a large format.
On the other hand, Marvel’s trades are kind of awful, especially the paper quality. This collection feels crazy thin, even next to books of similar length, and especially next to a certain other book that comes out the same day. I will also note, as I read this collection, the paper and cover quality never really stopped bothering me, but they were able to lay pretty flat, which was nice in a lot of places. I’ll call it a wash for that, especially when in this case, it feels like it’s worth it in the end.
As one more point in this collection’s favor, this has one of the best title pages I’ve ever seen. Just a wonderful and smart design that uses space in a really cool way!
If you’ve held out on grabbing Silver Surfer: Black, now’s the time. This TPB is worth cover price for the art alone, but the story’s no slouch either.
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