Review: Essential Sub-Mariner Vol.1

I’ve been waiting years for Marvel to get around to releases this book.  The Sub-Mariner is the last of their silver age super-hero titles to have gone without an affordable edition in print.  For that alone I’ve been wanting this to complete the collection, but also I always loved the character of Namor, probably the most pompous figure in comics, and a lot of fun because of that.

But sadly I think I see why Marvel was hesitant to bring these back.  As it turns out, there are exactly two types of Namor stories.

  1. Namor has a misunderstanding with the human race and nearly declares war
  2. Someone tries to claim the throne of Atlantis from Namor

Now, this collection has stories from 35 issues, granted most of these are only 12 pages long, but still, these schticks get old pretty quickly.  And it doesn’t help that there’s a fairly glaring problem with the art as well that I just can’t get past, even with greats such as Bill Everett, Gene Colan, and John Buscema at work.  

Namely, no one can seem to remember that Atlantis is actually underwater!  Why does the city have paved roads!?!  Why are robes in fashion and why don’t they float!?!  Why is Dorma’s hair perfectly styled, only to appear wet when she’s out of the water!?!  You get the idea.

There are a few decent issues here, and in small doses the stories can be fun, but as a whole, not one of Marvel’s better efforts.

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3 Comments on “Review: Essential Sub-Mariner Vol.1”


  1. What is your take on current Namor?

    • geekylibrarian Says:

      I’m not a huge fan of the idea of retconing him into being a mutant, and I really don’t feel that he has much business hanging around the X-Men. That said Emma Frost and him work pretty well together, and I do like the slightly suspect morality he’s been able to display by allying with people like Magneto and Dr. Doom in recent history, while still being one of the good guys, more or less.


      • I always thought he had always been the first mutant, seeing as how unlike most Atlanteans he could live amongst the surface dwellers.

        His spot in the whole Planet Hulk/WWHulk thing was hilarious. I pictured him as a Chris Tucker type wildly flailing his arms telling everyone they were messing up.


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