Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun #1 (Marvel Comics)
Comics are used to tell many different stories, but I’m not sure what story Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun is trying to tell. Written by Peter David and drawn by Francesco Manna, this one-shot continues the story from the Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun special from a few months back, but it feels like every other Silver Surfer story you’ve ever read before.
Prodigal Sun essentially follows the same beats as other Silver Surfer stories. In the past, serving as Galactus’ herald, the Surfer arrived at Prodigal’s planet and fought him. Later on, Prodigal learns that he needs the Silver Surfer to help him in his war, and that’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of the same things you’ve read in past Silver Surfer books. There’s really nothing that makes this stand out, other than the fact that this issue focuses on Prodigal.
Peter David is a legend in the industry, but with Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun, he seems to be really resting on his laurels here. There’s no recap for if you didn’t read the Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun special (which I didn’t), and as I said before, the script doesn’t do a lot to make it stand out from other Silver Surfer stories from before. It’s a bit of a bummer from the writer, but then again, David has been writing for so long that I don’t think it’s that outside of the realm of possibility for him to phone it in every once and a while.
On the art side of things, Francesco Manna’s art is pretty solid. Able to go back and forth between cosmic action and the stoic Silver Surfer moments, Manna makes a definite mark with this issue, and plants his flag firmly in the art style of the Marvel brand. I expect big things from him in the future.
While Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun isn’t as new reader friendly as I was expecting, Surfer fans will still find enough to like. Plus those that read the previous Fantastic Four special will probably like seeing the story play out. However, it would’ve been cool for David and Manna to make this more of a easier read for those of us that didn’t check in on the previous special.
Once And Future #1 (Boom Studios)
The Arthurian Legend we all thought we knew isn’t nearly as heroic as it seems in Once and Future, which finds the scabbard of the fabled sword Excalibur going missing, and a young man and his grandmother forced into finding the missing item before it’s too late. Despite what legend tells us, King Arthur was not as noble as he seemed, and a group of British Nationalists are conspiring to resurrect the Once and Future King to bring about the Darkest Days of Britain.
Keiron Gillen’s made a name for himself with the fantastic fantasy series Die and The Wicked + Divine, but with Once and Future he adds a bit of Indiana Jones and Uncharted into the mix, as the mystery of King Arthur plays out more like something you’d see in those adventure series than a full blown fantasy epic like the other two series mentioned. That being said, this mystery is really cool, and Gillen adds fun little throw away lines into the mix that really expand on both our lead character Duncan and his badass grandmother Bridgette. They’re an unlikely pair that are instantly entertaining and a blast to watch.
Dan Mora’s made a big splash on Boom! Studios’ Buffy The Vampire Slayer Series, and he proves that he’s an even bigger talent with Once and Future, which allows him to break free from making his characters look like their live action counterparts. Mora’s clean style is awesomely detailed yet simple, and features enough action and motion that you’ll swear that the panels are moving before your eyes. If Buffy was going to to introduce Mora to comic readers, Once and Future is going to jump him up to the next level.
Once and Future at first didn’t seem like a title I would be interested in, but after only this first issue I’m adding this to my pull list. At six issues, it’s not a huge commitment, and the hook is extremely strong. If all goes well, Gillen and Mora could have the miniseries of the year with Once and Future.
To me, a Ghost Rider book needs to fill certain requirements: He needs to be on a badass bike, not be written like a redneck, and most importantly, be Johnny Blaze. For a book that doesn’t feature any of this, All-New Ghost Rider had to do a lot for me to pick up the second issue. So imagine my surprise when I opened the pages of writer Felipe Smith and artist Tradd Moore’s Marvel Comics debut and ended up really enjoying it. It’s not a perfect debut issue of a series, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, with a very engaging main character.