Monday, June 5, 2017

Sub-Mariner: Dismissed!

OR: "Define 'Untamed Wrath' ..."

There aren't many Thor vs. Sub-Mariner bouts on the books--perhaps because the Hulk turned out to be better at selling comics than Namor when it came to challenging other powerful Marvel characters, while Namor proved a better match for Iron Man. There were Namor's skirmishes with Thor in those early Avengers stories; and there was a blink-and-you-missed-it exchange of blows in The Invaders which was disappointing to say the least. And inbetween...

Well, you can avert your eyes if you already know where I'm headed with this.

Namor and Thor, battling it out on the streets of New York--wow! At first glance, it's the clash of titans fight that we've been waiting for--but while it certainly shapes up as a clash between these two characters, there's nothing even closely resembling titanic in this face-off. In other words, the bookies took a bath on this one.

To break it down for you as to how Namor and Thor came to blows (though it's being generous to even put it in those terms):

  • Tamara, a guest of Atlantis, has been captured by a Russian fishing trawler and mistaken for a mermaid.
  • The trawler drifts out of international waters, and is boarded by a U.S. naval vessel, whose men discover Tamara being kept in one of the ship's water tanks. It's decided that Tamara is to be turned over to the United Nations in order to determine which country she "belongs" to.
  • With Tamara's water tank brought to the U.N. building, the Avengers are contacted to provide additional security, and they agree to send one of their members to stand guard over the captive. (Guess who?)
  • Namor, learning the news of Tamara's captivity from his young cousin, Namorita, is incensed, and flies to New York to gain her freedom. And since Namor doesn't make a habit of observing surface-world protocol, he brushes past the U.N. guards and heads directly to Tamara's holding area. (That info was given to reporters? Really?)

Which brings us to this scene, which doesn't waste a moment's time in cutting to the chase.

Thor's request was reasonable enough--but Namor's bull-headed approach could have been avoided if he'd simply suggested that Tamara be allowed to recognize him. Instead, he decides to remove Thor by force, at least long enough for him to free the captive--yet the God of Thunder isn't about to be dealt with by a fire hose.

As the battle moves outside, we don't get so much as a "THOOOM!" Sub-Mariner punch from Namor; in fact, astonishingly, he throws no punches in this battle. For what it's worth, we do get a "PHTHONG!" from one of his strikes. So far it seems apparent that neither Namor nor Thor will be eager to recount this fight to anyone in Atlantis or Asgard with any sense of pride.

Namor decides to head for the river to renew his strength, which would normally have us expecting Namor to kick it up a few notches and take control of the battle while also taking off the gloves. Instead, both Namor and Thor find they have new distractions to hamper their fight--water pollution and boaters, respectively.

(No, I don't know what makes Asgardian eyes immune to pollutants, either. The fact that it was even brought up seems proof that there's nothing else going on here that we should be interested in.)

How this fight... oh, let's just call it a skirmish now, shall we? ... concludes is beyond humiliating for Namor and far from Thor's finest hour--but it leads to turning the final page to this issue, and that can only be a good thing at this point. As for Tamara, she'll remain a prisoner for the time being, though we're probably all agreed she should count her blessings that she wasn't a witness to... well, to whatever this was.

At a later date, Namor and Thor throw down in the Atlantis Rising crossover event, where they actually slug it out to an extent. Probably because the "Linda" is nowhere in sight.


Anonymous said...

If the Sub-Mariner is a "monarch born" why isn't he King Namor rather than just Prince Namor ?

Comicsfan said...

That was certainly a gray area for a long time, Colin. At his wedding, he was named Emperor, yet the couple was officially announced as "Prince Namor and Princess Dorma ... Emperor and Empress of Atlantis." Here in this story, Namor had just returned to Atlantis after a long absence, having abdicated his throne following the death of Dorma--a throne and title he wasn't quite ready to reclaim, despite the crisis involving Tamara. No wonder the Atlanteans always seem to be in disarray, if they're not even sure how to refer to their ruler.