Silver Surfer Black #1: From darkness
Warning: This article spoils the most significant plot point in Silver Surfer: Black #1. Proceed at your own risk.
Silver Surfer: Black #1 came out this week, and it’s the toast of the town. It’s already going back for a third printing, Tradd Moore is receiving heaps of praise, and it’s all completely deserved. This is an excellent book long before you ever reach its final page, with Cates aptly dramatizing the whole affair through much—but not excessive—narration, Moore shifting between aesthetics in context, and Stewart and Cowles somehow managing to put a top coat on all of that text and linework that makes the whole affair look far easier than it actually was.
But if you read it—and by now you know that you must—you will reach the final page. And you just may be—as I was—incredibly surprised and delighted.
Something here is killing in the dark
If you’re a fan of Venom, and you’ve been following along with Cates’s excellent run on that series, then once you saw that final page—or maybe even the one before it—you knew. You thought you were reading a stirring, expertly-rendered story of the Silver Surfer fighting back the darkness and emerging from the void. You thought that, if Black would connect with any other thread in the Marvel Universe, then that thread would be the current run on Guardians of the Galaxy, also written by Cates. And it does connect to that book, flowing out of some of the events of its first arc. Guardians is where it came from, but we now know where it was headed.
The ominous figure on the final page is, of course, Knull—creator of the so-called Klyntar race of symbiote organisms. Way back in Venom #4, he shared his past with Eddie Brock. Knull was the Lord of the Void, fighting back against light and anything that came from it. He forged the first symbiote as a blade, and used it to battle Celestials and other foundational beings. Eventually, he learned that he could pair his creations with hosts, establishing a hive mind across the cosmos through which he waged war against countless worlds. He was stopped on Earth by a certain mighty prince of Asgard, and has been imprisoned by his own creations since.
We know from Venom that Knull is working very hard at being freed from his prison, and that Carnage will play a role. What we don’t know from that book, or here in Black, is how he ended up in this strange world, face-to-face with Norrin Radd. But however he ended up here, Cates has used Knull to transform a book for which I was reasonably excited—excited enough to buy in print—into essential reading. This summer just got a whole lot more interesting.