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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
One of the better late Silver Age Marvel offeringsAug. 22 2009
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By about 1968 Stan Lee had hit the wall as a comic book writer. The titles he still wrote, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Captain America, etc were becoming increasingly stale and repetitive. They were still for the most part quite readable but the energy and imagination from the middle years of the '60s were missing.
Fortunately, Lee had brought aboard Roy Thomas to do the writing on some of the "lesser" Marvel titles, like Avengers, Dr. Strange, Sgt. Fury, X-Men, and Sub-Mariner. These titles helped keep Marvel afloat creatively when comic book sales started a precipitous decline in the late '60s.
The Sub-Mariner was never one of my favorite Marvel characters. His problems always seemed largely self-inflicted due to his arrogance and temper making him difficult to sympathize with. I always thought he worked best as the "noble villain" rather than as a "flawed hero". I didn't really think he could carry a title.
The comics in this volume, Sub-Mariner #2-#13 from 1968 and 1969, largely proved me wrong. Thomas sets up an interesting story arc involving a mysterious helmet. But we have plenty of diversions along the way as Namor runs into the inhuman Triton, meets an old enemy Attuma and a new enemy Tiger Shark, picks up some more supporting cast in Diane Arliss and old friend Betty Dean Prentiss, and finally finishes up with Lemuria, Karthon, and Naga.
There are a few missteps along the way. Thomas offers up the obligatory heroes fight each other (Namor and Triton) before combining against the villain (Plant Man). Namor has his usual counter productive and self defeating outbursts of temper. The main plot thread (the helmet) does show signs of being made up as it goes along.
But all in all this is a fast paced 12 issue romp that keeps the reader involved. John Buscema's art is terrific and Gene Colan and Marie Severin do not disappoint either. There is even a bonus parody story from Marvel's humor title Not Brand Echh. Finally, the reproduction is superb.
In short, this is as good a title as Marvel had in the late '60s, with the possible exception of the Avengers. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Classic Thomas and Buscema Stories.Sept. 1 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is a gem of the Marvel Masterworks series. The Sub-Mariner has always been a somewhat minor character in the Marvel cannon---a hot blooded antihero or quasi-villain who has often rubbed fans the wrong way. Writer Roy Thomas loved the character as a kid and these stories reflect his admiration expressed during a time period that witnessed Thomas surpass Stan Lee as Marvel's premier writer. Thomas creates a fascinating back story that bridges sword and sorcery ideas into Marvel's superhero universe. For seven of the 12 issues included in this volume, he is joined by perhaps Marvel's premier draftsman, John Buscema, who adds a dynamic power to the stories. Buscema would later make his work more Jack Kirby like to attempt to appeal to a broader audience, but these stories showcase his work at the most dynamic. His rendition of Namor's would be queen, Lady Dorma, is a revelation of how a blue skinned female can exude such breath taking beauty. This volume recounts the start of the Serpent Crown, which has become an important part of Marvel mythology. It also collects Sub-Mariner # 8, which is an example of all the craftsmanship that Roy Thomas can bring to the comic book medium. I highly recommend this book to all comic fans.