Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1
Toni Brooks and her family have moved into the quiet town of Sweetwater. But nothing is quite what it seems in their new home. What mystery did Toni and her family unravel that would call upon the Sentinel of the Spaceways - the Silver Surfer?! And just who, or what, is GHOST LIGHT?
A Silver Surfer Ghost Light comic sounds like a great new sci-fi story. The Surfer is, after all, one of the biggest names in Marvel’s cosmic pantheon. Surely “Ghost Light” refers to some occurrence in space. But none of that’s the case. Instead, Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1 is primarily about the two children in a family that’s moved to Sweetwater, New York.
Toni’s family recently moved into the house belonging to her dead uncle Al. Toni, a teenager used to living in a big city, is understandably upset. She’s left all her friends behind and will be the dreaded new kid in school. Toni’s grandmother also lives in the house, and one night when her parents go out for dinner, she gets to talk with her grandmother about the idea that the women in her family have“the sight.” Toni describes a recurring dream where she finds a glowing person downstairs in the house. When he leaves, she follows and eventually comes to a clearing. Toni and her brother decide to do some exploring that night–their parents haven’t told them anything about what their uncle did other than that he was a scientist. The siblings enter a shed they’ve been forbidden to enter. A secret entrance leads to a lab, and after messing around with things they shouldn’t, an energy burst is released that draws the Surfer to Earth–to that very house–where he demands to know who has disturbed the resting place of his dear friend Al Harper.
Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1 is a difficult comic to evaluate because, on its face it has nothing to do with the titular character or Al Harper who he has a serious connection. Toni is the main character, and it’s through her that we learn that Sweetwater has a strange history, and it’s through her that we uncover that Al has secrets.
The downside is that Toni never feels like a character in her own right. She feels like a means to an end–Jennings’ method of getting the story going without an organic inciting incident. Granted, Toni being Al’s niece and having this vague “sight” leaves the possibility of the character developing into something substantial, but for now, she feels like a device.
Jennings also takes a couple of pages to introduce what may be a point of jeopardy–though this is based more on the assumption than anything concrete. Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1 presents Doctor Sombra Solomon, a scientist obsessed with finding a particular energy signature for years. This happens immediately after Toni and her brother release the energy burst that attracts the Surfer. There’s no explanation about Doctor Solomon’s identity, who she works for, what she wants, or why she’s looking for this energy signature.
The art elevates Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1 considerably. While Toni isn’t a particularly compelling character due to how she’s used in the narrative, De Landro makes Toni and her family fun. They’re all expressive characters, and they all radiate a measure of good humor, even in moments where the dialogue suggests they’re unhappy with something.
De Landro also has a particular skill in sequential storytelling of the mundane. What I mean by that is that there is no action in this comic. We’re dealing with a mother and son playing around, Toni and her grandmother having an in-depth conversation, and Toni talking to a friend on her computer and getting interrupted by her brother. These are all simple moments, and they flow together wonderfully. While I don’t feel like I get to know anyone in this family beyond the most superficial level, the way De Landro draws them makes me think they’d be fun to get to know.
The visual standout in the issue is a single page meant to be the Surfer’s point of view as he approaches Earth. De Landro and Milla manage to simulate the Surfer traveling at unbelievable velocity. It grabs you and somewhat changes the feel of the comic, so on the final page, when the Surfer is on Earth, the comic feels less terrestrial.
Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1 may inspire some curiosity on the final pages, but it does little more than that. There’s not much to really dive into: the characters have little to no depth, there’s no plot in evidence, and the title character appears on a mere three pages. The art does a lot of heavy lifting here and makes much of the issue more interesting than the narrative does. I’m not sure how compelling the issue will be to readers who are not already invested in the Silver Surfer.
Silver Surfer Ghost Light #1: Mild Curiosity
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10