Many changes impacted the Marvel universe in 2015, but thankfully Silver Surfer wasn’t affected. It still features the creative team of Dan Slott and Michael Allred, with the excellent bright colouring of Laura Allred, and the Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood are much as they were despite the universe altering events of Last Days.

The charm is over-egged when the pair return back to Earth, but that’s just a temporary aberration as by the second chapter there’s an Earth-threatening problem. Slott offers his comment on how the Marvel universe has altered, and the Surfer turns to the one person he knows who can locate the heroes he needs. It’s not who you think, but does invoke the earliest Silver Surfer stories, as a does a Surfer vs Thing battle on Yancy Street.

That’s part of another innovation Slott brings along. All these years the Silver Surfer’s home planet Zenn-La has been an anodyne background, serving for years as the ideal housing the lost love he could never reach. Slott provides the planet with a culture and an objective. Unfortunately accompanying that a plot element central to the core of what the Silver Surfer has been is subverted for the sake of an actually rather trite shock ending, and the parameters of the Surfer’s powers appear to have undergone a drastic downgrade, again in service of a shock ending. These are strange mis-steps as Slott’s a creative writer, and this type of cheap sensationalism isn’t usually associated with him. Still, he’s proved over earlier books that he plots for the long term, and so may yet rectify matters.

These lapses are in the service of another twist in the Surfer’s story. He’s always been the misunderstood alien, mistrusted and feared when on Earth, yet that’s wiped out at a stroke, and we now see the Surfer fêted. “So Mr. lone sentinel of the spaceways”, asks Dawn, “how does it feel to be universally appreciated for once?” It’s a neat twist, but one that comes at a cost.

While featuring in a strong opening, Dawn herself only takes a limited role until the final chapter, and the series is weaker for this. Her contrasting Norrin Radd’s dour character and her astonishment and resourcefulness when confronted with the wonders the universe offers have been strong points. Back on Earth her personality is diminished.

Allred’s contribution is as sparkling as ever, and there’s a good ending to lead us into the excellent A Power Greater Than Cosmic, but this is a problematical collection.