Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sub-Mariner 70th Anniversary Special #1

I can't justify the price tag, but dang, Namor is a lot of fun, isn't he? The issue follows Namor as he decides to learn more about the Nazis after he spares one of the U-boats off the American coast. He goes "undercover" with a hat and coat (no shoes, no other clothes) in a German bar and is quickly scooped up by a German sleeper agent. She's a hot little number trying to win him over to the Nazi point of view, and she has a great little racial tirade as she looks down onto the streets of New York. Roy Thomas does a fantastic job with her speech. She's an evil characature, totally reveling in the worst parts of the Holocaust, but using her that way has a wonderful payoff later. After he claims to buy into her cause, Namor heads back to the U-boat with her. There more of the true face of the Nazi's as the crew is repulsed by Namor's mixed blood, and they announce themselves as the strongest of believers in the awful ways of WWII Germany. Namor quite contentedly smashes up their sub and leaves the sleeper agent to drown. He had been about to step away from the surface world conflict, but thanks to the clear evil of the Nazis, he is now ready to continue destroying them whenever he can. This was a nice little character piece that not only shows Namor's haughty self-confidence, but also shows what the Avenging Son is capable of when he finally makes up his mind. Good stuff.

Mitch Breitweister's art is fantastic. His 1940's New York is a realized place. The docks, taverns, and even the harbor look "right" in how I picture those things from old movies and stories.

Mark Schultz has a brief backup written and drawn in a Golden Age style, and it is quite entertaining. The odd facial features of Namor's Atlantean spy-master was great, and the lady-aviator was a neat one-off character. The use of an ancient kraken to destroy the Nazi base was perfect. It had a wonderful Golden Age feel (isn't that how an old story would have Namor resolve things?) and at the same time it played to Mark Schultz's strengths as an artist. This was better than the Captain America 70th Anniversary 1-shot. I'm going to keep an eye out for the eventual collection of these 70th Anniversary books, since the good ones are enjoyable enough to justify the average ones.


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