Saturday, March 29, 2014

Harbinger Of Revenge


It was a dark kingdom that both we and the Sub-Mariner left behind after the story of the Brethren was concluded with that alien race's slaughter by the Atlanteans, who mistook them for enemies. In Prince Namor's absence, Atlantis had been embroiled in conflict with the hordes of the barbarian Attuma, who no doubt considered the kingdom ripe for conquest with its powerful figurehead having abandoned it. Returning from yet another battle, Atlantis' soldiers made all the wrong assumptions about the Brethren, taking no chances--and leaving no survivors. And Namor, faced again with an Atlantis in turmoil, headed out once more to open sea.

Yet he hasn't wandered far from the city, and can't help but note the cloud of guilt and grief that now clings to its people.



But, unknown to all, there was a survivor of the massacre, one who fortunately wasn't present when the Atlanteans descended on the Brethren with swords drawn. The Brethren had left their women behind on their world while they searched for sanctuary on another; but they carried a stowaway, one who now approaches the city of her race's murderers.



Tamara of the Sisterhood, understandably bitter, forms a plan of revenge against the Atlanteans, and reveals herself to their patrol vessel in order to gain entrance to the city. Her guards brutally escort her to Vashti, the city's regent, where she attempts to gain his trust:




As for Namor, we still find him covertly watching Atlantis outside its walls, making note of the change of spirit in his people (due to the discovery of Tamara) and being curious about it. Yet his plans for remaining undetected are derailed when he's attacked by one of the Haab, a brutish and violent servant of the Brethren that's hungry and feels like Sub-Mariner for dinner:



It isn't long before word spreads of Namor's arrival, and he and Vashti meet to discuss Tamara's situation. Their sympathy toward her as well as their earnest efforts on her behalf are almost enough to sway her from her plan of vengeance. Almost.



You almost get the feeling that writer Steve Gerber intends to simply have Namor slip back into his role as Prince of Atlantis. But, while preparations are made to accommodate the repairs on Tamara's ship, Namor takes a few moments to reflect on that prospect:



This story isn't helmed by Dan Adkins and Mike Friedrich, who respectively plotted and wrote the prior issue dealing with the Brethren tragedy; instead, we have Bill Everett and Gerber filling those respective roles. But as we'll shortly see, it seems they're on the same page with Adkins and Friedrich as far as things taking a turn for the worse whenever Namor feels it's a good idea to again abandon his kingdom.



Tamara decides to go full steam ahead with her plan; and with the Haab's assistance, she manages to make sure the "provisions" she's loading into her craft are actually missiles and explosives. When the ship is finally ready and Vashti sees her off, Tamara is unfortunately ready to engage in a different flight plan altogether.



Namor can't help but detect the barrage of explosions occurring in Atlantis and races to investigate, soon realizing that Tamara is instead on a mission of revenge. After evading her attacks on him in the air, he finally is able breach her ship:



Yeah, I winced at that, too.  It's the second time in the story Namor announces himself as the "scourge of the seas," which I suppose has to find its way into Namor's speech regularly since production is now slapping that caption on each cover (alternating with "Scourge of the Seven Seas," depending on available cover space). Actually, I'm surprised that Gerber didn't have Tamara respond with "Haab! Stop the Scourge of the Seas!"  I would have fallen out of my chair.

After dealing with the Haab, Namor discovers that Tamara has set the ship on a collision course with Atlantis, where it will explode with its deadly cargo and result in massive fatalities. He also discovers that her lengthy exposure to Earth's waters has made her a formidable opponent:




Her plan now in ruins, Tamara realizes that the odds are against her prevailing, especially with Namor present. And when she's brought before the royal court, her pleas seem to have the unexpected benefit of giving both herself and the people of Atlantis a small measure of closure from the tragedy of the Brethren.




Finally, leniency is decided for Tamara, which includes a surprising choice for her guardian--another who perhaps needs time to heal and find his way back.



Sheesh--Namor's back for five minutes, and already a war with the human race is brewing.
Sure didn't take him long to find his trident again, did it?

Sub-Mariner #58

Script: Steve Gerber
Layouts: Sam Kweskin
Finished Art: Bill Everett
Letterer: Artie Simek

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I got my grubby little hands on this reprint at some point in the '80s, but the first time I actually ran across Tamara was years earlier, in the pages of Super Villain Team-Up.
Not knowing her origin, I was completely mystified to turn the page and come upon, for no apparent reason at all, A Red Chick.
I could only conclude that, apparently, some Atlanteans are red! And I let it go at that.

Anonymous said...

Did I say reprint? I think I confused it with Marvel Super Heroes, which reprinted the old Tales to Astonish. This issue was actually not too far away from the end of Subby's solo mag. Damn my feeble brain! Now my face is red!

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