Fantastic Four annual #1
Issue(s): Fantastic Four annual #1
Review/plot: The last time we saw Namor he was still searching for the Atlanteans. This annual starts off with him apparently having found them and being crowned Prince (which seems to be as high as you go in Atlantis - there are no kings)(we'll later learn that the reason that Namor is named Prince is because the missing King Thakor's body has not been found so he's not officially dead).
Lady Dorma was all set to marry Krang, but now that Namor has returned she drops him without a second thought.
Krang thinks that "If Namor had not returned both Dorma and the crown might have been mine!". He's not shown in this story, but Lord Byrrah has been in charge of Atlantis in Namor's absence, as shown in Marvel: The Lost Generation (Byrrah's first published appearance is not until Tales To Astonish #90).
Meanwhile the FF are going stir-crazy, fighting each other. Reed suggests they take a vacation, but of course his idea of a vacation is taking a cruise through an area where sea monsters have recently been reported.
The sea monsters are the work of Namor, who has declared the Seven Seas and all the skies above them his kingdom.
The FF are captured and told to deliver that message to the UN. Reed is impressed by Atlantean technology, but he also notices that Sue gets sullen and moody after meeting Namor again.
At the UN (which includes a ridiculous Khrushchev parody who continually bangs a shoe on the table)...
...a Dr. G. W. Falton tells the origin story of the Atlanteans and Namor. His story is meant to 'prove' to skeptical assembly members that Atlantis actually exists.
In my reprint, the original story is supplemented here by four pages of art by John Byrne (in a deliberately simple style) that expands on the meeting between Namor's mother and father...
...shows that Namor was a member of the Invaders (something that hadn't been published at the time of the original story)...
...and retells the classic beard-burning scene from FF#4. Then Reed, clearly agitated that Falton's story may show Namor in a too-sympathetic light when he wants Namor's blood due to his jealousy regarding Sue's feelings, starts giving a hate mongering speech. As Reed rants and foams at the mouth, Falton begins undressing!
He is actually Namor in disguise. Hearing Reed, he declares war on the human race.
Atlantis conquers New York almost instantly. The army is afraid to counter-attack due to the risk to civilians, but Reed figures out that only Namor can breath out of water, so he builds a doohickey that evaporates the water in the Atlantean's helmets.
At the end of the issue, Namor returns to Atlantis to find his people have fled, due to the fact that he used Atlantean technology to rescue Sue, who, during a post-war FF/Namor fight...
...was almost drowned by a jealous Dorma.
I just realized that the Invisible Girl doesn't use her powers once this whole issue.
It's interesting that the Krang/Dorma roles are almost reversed here - sure Krang hates humans (who doesn't?) but he seems to be the voice of moderation while Dorma is wildly vengeful.
Namor is referred to as "possibly the first-known mutant of our time".
Here's another bizarre shot of Reed using his powers, which i always enjoy:
And here's some Thing/Torch horseplay.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Avengers haven't formed yet so it's a good excuse for why they didn't figure prominently in the Atlantean invasion. Presumably other NYC based heroes dealt with the Atlanteans in minor ways until Reed's doohickey kicked in. This annual takes place between FF#18 and #19.
Continuity Insert? P - the new John Byrne pages include material that weren't in the original, including the scene with the Invaders, and an expansion of Princess Fen's meeting with Namor's father.
My Reprint: Fantastic Four Special Edition #1 (1984)
Inbound References (9): show
I think the first Marvel annual was either for Strange Tales or Journey Into Mystery.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 2:03 AM
Addressing Mark's comment (only 5+ months later!), Strange Tales annual #1 came out a year earlier, but it was all reprints. Strange Tales annual #2 came out around the same time as this annual (a blurb at the end of that annual announces the FF annual "on sale now"). Journey Into Mystery annual #1 came out in 1965.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 3, 2011 2:21 PM
oh my god! the Sub-Mariner ripped that scientist's head off!
Posted by: min | December 13, 2011 9:48 PM
The idea that Namor is a mutant always seemed kind of convoluted to me, since he already belongs to a race of non-humans with amazing powers. As I understand it, he's half-Atlantean (and that half is normal), but also half-human, and the human half brought mutancy? I just... it's... I dunno. Whatever.
Posted by: Paul | May 16, 2012 10:05 PM
in my '63 issue, there is no discussion of the Invaders or a recap of the beard scene, but does include word-for-word the panels where Namor's parents meet (although it is over kirby and ayers' drawings, not byrne's). it also includes an expanded retelling of Spiderman's attempts to join the FF, and a reprint of FF #1
Posted by: Colin | September 20, 2012 5:44 PM
Of course he's a mutant. His wings are neither atlantean nor human traits.
Posted by: Louis | September 21, 2012 1:44 PM
Louis, the counter-argument is that since both Namor and Namora/Namorita have the same characteristics, they are hybrids and not mutants. The counter-counter argument is that when you breed a horse with a donkey, you don't get a pegasus. I'm sure we could find message boards debating the topic to death, and since it's essentially super-science we'll never resolve it. Marvel says he's a mutant, so that's that. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | September 22, 2012 12:01 AM
The original rejected cover was first published in FOOM#8.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2013 6:56 PM
If not for the sheer luck of Namor and the Thing seeing Sue Storm trapped in the kelp, FF Annual #1 would have been the blonde girl's last story. Lady Dorma came extremely close to drowning the Invisible Girl here and you are right when you noticed that Sue did not use her powers even once in the entire lengthy Annual! Looking back at 50+ years of the Fantastic Four, Sue Storm came as close to being killed here as in just about any other issue one can recall.
Posted by: Frightful Four fan | May 9, 2013 4:55 PM
Even more amusing when you realize that, if she'd developed the force fields she was later known for by this point, she could have easily survived simply by forming an invisible bubble of air and floating up to the surface.
Since I'm trawling through all these issues in chronological order, I forget when she first got the force fields... how long after this do they finally show up?
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | August 29, 2014 9:01 AM
Fantastic Four #22. Not too far off from here.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 29, 2014 9:36 AM
I don't think this can be Vashti, can it? He doesn't meet Namor and become his Grand Vizier until Namor's ASTONISH series.
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 2, 2014 1:30 AM
It seems you're right. Don't know where i got that from. I've removed him. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 2, 2014 7:53 AM
"This annual takes place between FF#18 and #19."
Posted by: Sataniel | October 11, 2015 9:19 AM
In Fantastic Four #18 it's said that their fight with Dr. Doom from #17 was their "last adventure", so this annual definitely should not take place in between. Thanks for pointing it out, Sataniel. I've adjusted the placement.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 11, 2015 12:02 PM
There was also a MILLIE THE MODEL ANNUAL #1 in 1962. The cover says "All New Stories". The series continued in subsequent years.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 11, 2015 4:59 PM
Khrushchev reportedly did actually bang his shoe, and his fist, on the table at the UN, as evidenced in this delightful set of photos from a google image search ... where we also see Superman banging one of his red socks on a table lol... I was hoping to find a video of it but after a short search was unable to do so, ah whell.
Posted by: James Holt | July 13, 2016 11:06 PM
According to GCD, Strange Tales Annual #2 went on sale in June '63, edging out FF Annual #1 in July, for the honor of 1st Marvel annual with new super-hero material.
They also say that Sol Brodsky altered the FF annual's reprint of FF #1's first 13 pages: "The first page is altered to add the word Origin and the look of the Human Torch, the Thing and Reed Richards have been updated by Sol Brodsky to reflect their contemporary (Summer 1963) appearances."
Never noticed that before, nor had I noticed that Byrne had redrawn the scene in the Sub-Mariner story, where Namor's parents first met, which was pointed out by Colin in the comments above. Thanks @Colin
Posted by: James Holt | August 6, 2016 8:54 PM
The photo of Khrushchev with the shoe is a fake, but there is video of it: http://www.raistoria.rai.it/articoli/la-scarpa-di-kruscev/11034/default.aspx
So Namor was confirmed as a mutant by Byrne's new pages added in 1984? Hadn't seen the Byrne pages before. I'd always thought "Namor being a mutant" was first introduced in the 90s Namor solo series, had no idea these extra pages existed.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | August 7, 2016 7:58 AM
Namor being a mutant was first suggested in Uncanny X-Men 6.
Posted by: Michael | August 7, 2016 9:08 AM
Oh yeah, I used to have that comic as a kid but I don't think I ever made the connection! I think I mentally filed it away with when Magneto tried to recruit other non-mutants (Thor, The Stranger), more a plot device ("How do we get Namor in the comic?" "Ah, let's say they think he might be a mutant") than actually saying Namor was a mutant.
But okay, that makes sense then, that Byrne would have read that as a kid and decided to confirm it when he got the chance. Not just a cash-in to make Namor a mutant once mutants became popular...
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | August 7, 2016 11:48 AM
Now that Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Squirrel Girl have been de-mutantized, I predict that Namor will the next one to have his origin changed to nonmutant.
Posted by: Steven | August 7, 2016 5:52 PM
Thanks Jonathan, that Comrade K really was quite the animated commie menace wasn't he? He had the Western World up in arms for years after all his tough semi-maniacal posturing at the UN. No wonder Stan, Larry, Jack, and Don were so quick to support Pres. Kennedy's anti-communist stance back then, what an astounding bunch of theatre & propaganda, what a world, much like now.
Back to the '80s, I vaguely remember the idea of mutant Namor being tossed around in the fan press prior to the retcon'ed reprint of 1963's Fantastic Four Annual #1 in 1984's Fantastic Four Special Edition. Byrne may have been feeding the fans rumors, but I really can't recall the specifics. Michael's reference to UXM #6 was also being discussed during that time. Byrne was giving lots of interviews plus writing and drawing both Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight, each of which featured Sub-Mariner x-overs.
Steven, you're very likely right & I'd be surprised if it was otherwise. The cinematic universe is eating the comics universe alive.
Posted by: James Holt | August 7, 2016 7:09 PM
Namor was first identified as a mutant by Prof. X in X-Men#6. I get the confusion because he was an Atlantean/human hybrid which explains him being amphibious and being stronger in the water than on land. I does not explain the amount of strength or his wings which allow him to fly so I think that is his mutation.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 24, 2016 9:34 PM
The Spider-Man backup had some very crazy use of webbing, including electrified webbing that was never used in Spider-Man's own series (which Spidey says he designed for "those gay, carefree moments").
Posted by: Enchlore | June 18, 2017 9:26 PM
Atlantis must have a different form of primogeniture than most human societies. As the illegitimate child of the queen, there must be a real dearth of male, legitimate relatives for Namor to be considered the rightful heir.
Posted by: Andrew | April 4, 2018 7:28 PM
It gets even weirder when we get to Namor 56-57, which fnord has reviewed- it turns out that any of Namor's father's descendants can be king of Atlantis.
Posted by: Michael | April 4, 2018 9:55 PM
Atlantean dynastic inheritance might simply be based on the eldest child. Even those monarchies which based primogeniture on eldest son might go to a daughter instead of another male relative if there are no sons. From Thakorr it went to Fen (his daughter, and it appears she had no brothers) and then to Namor, who was made a legitimate heir like many royal bastards have been (and we don't know if Namor was considered illegitimate by Atlantean law since I'm pretty sure Fen and MacKenzie were married on his ship).
It's also entirely possible that there was a succession crisis, and that Namor was considered the best candidate in some kind of elective monarchial scheme. Many kingdoms have had an elective monarchy.
Posted by: Chris | April 5, 2018 2:17 AM
Marvel Unlimited seems to have the original version of the issue, without the Byrne inserts, and the mutant reference is there. Are we sure this was as Byrne addition? It looks like it's from the original issue to me. It's in the last panel on the bottom of page 18.
Posted by: Corey | July 16, 2018 11:46 PM
Comments are now closed.
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