Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"...And To The Vanquished--Death!"

The introduction of Tiger Shark to the Marvel Universe may have proven little more than an annoyance to the incredible Hulk, but it proved to be fatal to the human father of the Sub-Mariner--and, back in the day, the character proved to be a considerable threat to the Atlanteans as well as to Namor himself. Obviously Tiger Shark is a force to be reckoned with, though the evidence of that assertion can seem a little unclear. If Namor, who derives his great strength through contact with water, can humble the Hulk if their battle takes place beneath the waves, what sort of advantage could Tiger Shark hold that would not only let him defeat Namor twice, but also made it possible for him to usurp the throne of Atlantis?

Is Tiger Shark truly the Sub-Mariner's superior?

For the purposes of his introductory story, the short answer is: yes and no.

It would be more accurate to say that Tiger Shark, born from a procedure performed by the villainous Dr. Dorcas, was created to be mightier than Namor, yes. On paper, at least, that certainly seemed to be the case.

Yet for a good part of this story, Namor suffers from post-procedure depletion of his strength by the morphotron device. And so, his initial confrontation of Tiger Shark results in his defeat: does his second meeting, when Tiger Shark runs into and menaces Namor's beloved, the lady Dorma, and Namor fights in her defense--or tries to.

And with Namor presumed dead underneath the wreckage of Dorma's vessel, Tiger Shark forces Dorma to lead him to Atlantis so that he can seize power.

But Tiger Shark is short on a few facts. For one, Namor is in exile from Atlantis and no longer its ruler; and for another, the Atlanteans are currently wanderers who are searching for a new undersea location to rebuild since the destruction of their polar home by the man called Destiny, and, later, their second city, by the weaponry of the Plunderer. There really isn't much power to be had in ruling the Atlanteans by Tiger Shark; indeed, there is no throne of Atlantis--or an Atlantis, for that matter--to lay claim to. But as you might imagine, that's not going to stop him--and with only minimal forces to defend against a hostile super-villain, the Atlanteans' options to resist Tiger Shark's power play are limited.

Naturally, Lord Seth's chances against the likes of Tiger Shark are slim to none, and he quickly falls beneath his foe's savagery and might.

Ha ha--"...we, the Council of Elders of the Atlantean Empire!" That's a glass-half-full council, isn't it. Look around, council members--you don't even have a city, much less an empire. "Atlantis" at this point is little more than a settlement.

Nevertheless, Tiger Shark now lawfully takes his place as the Atlanteans' ruler--though from the way he lords it over his subjects, he won't exactly go down in the scrolls as the most benevolent ruler the Atlanteans ever had. Fortunately, Namor has caught up with him, and takes advantage of the same law in an attempt to depose him. By this time, of course, Namor has recovered from the effects of the morphotron--though when it comes to predicting the victor in this contest, it's fair to say that all bets are off.

(But, come on--with two pages left in this story, the smart money is on Namor.)

So while Dorcas obviously intended for Tiger Shark to have the power of his namesake as well as that of the Sub-Mariner, we can probably assume that, put simply, Dorcas wasn't as successful as he believed he was--an assumption that receives some substantiation when a similar transferal is made during the incident with Namor's father. That said, Tiger Shark, thanks to his disposition and distinctive costume (and, let's face it, those razor-sharp teeth), remains a predator that no one is eager to find snagged on their hook.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

That is just amazing, muscular art from Big John!

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