The new Silver Surfer series by writer Dan Slott, artist Michael Allred, and colorist Laura Allred has been one of the year’s most joyful superhero comics, embracing the unbridled imagination of the Silver Age while building a strong friendship (romance?) between the Surfer and his new companion Dawn Greenwood, as they explore the furthest reaches of the universe. (If it sounds a bit like Doctor Who, that’s intentional.) Slott’s scripts have emphasized a sense of spectacular fun above all else, and pairing him with the Allreds has led to visuals that are as effervescent and engaging as the writing.

This preview of next week’s Silver Surfer #7 begins with the kind of bright, cosmic visual that has become the norm for this title, establishing a point of contrast for the darkness that Norrin and Dawn venture into later. The concept of the entire book is that the two characters are pushing each other to explore new parts of themselves as well as new areas of the universe, and when Norrin discovers an abyss he hasn’t seen before, the two charge into the unknown without fear.

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The surrounding darkness draws attention to Michael Allred’s crisp character acting, but also serves a more practical purpose, giving Allred less to draw and helping him work faster. (Allred isn’t the speediest artist, and shortcuts like this allow him to produce without any fill-ins.) Slott is able to make that artistic timesaver an important part of the narrative, showing the amount of thoughtful collaboration that has made this title one of Marvel’s strongest ongoings.

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