Suspended Animation Review
Namor, The Sub-Mariner, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, back-issue prices vary.
In 1990, Marvel Comics began a second on-going series for an established character; The Submariner. This was not, however, a redo of the former series which had ended over a decade before. Gone were the “Atlantean King” storylines, and undersea adventures. Instead, using the vast riches of the sea to finance a different kind of coup, Namor decided to tackle the business world, in hopes that, as a corporate mogul, he could affect the cleanup and maintenance of the world’s seas. This was the premise of Namor, The Submariner.
Considering how many attempts have been made over the years to revitalize seemingly worn-out characters, I believe this was one of the best such projects the industry has ever seen. One of the things which made it so was the introduction of new foes, by writer and artist of the series, John Byrne.
Namor’s main nemeses in the series were Desmond and Pheobe Marrs, the brother/sister head of the Marrs Corporation. Also introduced in the series was an albino businesswoman called “Head Hunter,” who, fittingly enough, had the heads of her defeated corporate enemies mounted on her walls; or… did she?
Also appealing in the series was Byrne’s art. Many comic fans will say that his best work was done during his runs on The Uncanny X-Men and The Fantastic Four, but his work on Namor gets my vote. I’ve never seen a better use of shading and textures in Byrne’s work than in this series. In fact, I’ve rarely seen better in comics, period. Of course, his ability to relate great action sequences, as well as more subdued scenes is as strong in this work as anywhere.
Namor, The Submariner is suggested for anyone who enjoys thrilling super hero action, stories of corporate intrigue, or just good comics art.
You can find the series at comics shops, online auctions, and comics conventions. It can often be found in 25 or 50 cent boxes.
Review by Mark Allen