Issue(s): Namor #4, Namor #5
Phoebe Marrs was actually nervous about doing anything to aggravate Namor now that they've find out that it's him that's taken over Oracle. Her brother hits her.
Phoebe, are you sure you didn't want to let this guy kill himself in issue #1?
Phoebe pays the abuse forward by harassing and firing one of her employees.
Namor and Namorita are still pretending that Namor isn't alive, so they go to the event in disguise.
Tony Stark and the Fantastic Richardses are at the Oracle event, so Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, and the Invisible Woman are around to help when the tanker explodes.
But the explosion also draws Namor out of his disguise, exposing for sure that he's alive (after already going most of the way there in the previous arc). He winds up trapped inside the oil, and he has to be rescued...
...and taken to the FF's headquarters for treatment. But he recovers and goes off to confront the head of FORCE, who has set a bomb intended to light the oil spill on fire. Namorita leaves to get the New Warriors, and Iron Man is distracted by a drone plane that he thinks holds the bomb. So it's just Namor that confronts the FORCE leader. And she turns out to be a fanatic suicide bomber.
But Namor pulls some fire-eating manta rays out of his ass to contain the fire.
Mr. Fantastic hilariously tries to kidnap one of the "Therma-Rays" for study.
Earlier in the story it was mentioned that if it became known that Namor was still alive, he might attract the attention of the business interests that were suing him (a dangling thread from Roger Stern's run). In the aftermath of this issue (after the New Warriors belatedly show up), Namor is arrested.
This plot could work almost as well in an Iron Man comic (well, except for the resolution!), but that's the point. It's really with these issues that we're seeing what it means for this book to be about Namor as a "corporate raider". Any environmental message is ruined by having the environmentalists be too-dumb-for-words patsies, but i could definitely see the basic plot in a pair of low key Michelinie/Layton Iron Mans from the early 80s. It is a little slow and content-light, though.
Byrne is doing some experimenting with shading, and both issues feel like all the pages are covered with some kind of filter. That might have been something to retain just for the underwater scenes. It's a little weird to use it for everything. It's like everyone is walking around during a major smog alert.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The events of issues #2-3 happened "last night".
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCarrie Alexander, Desmond Marrs, Firestar, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Justice, Mr. Fantastic, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Nova (Rich Rider), Phoebe Marrs, Speedball, Sub-Mariner
The weird shading may have been done to evoke the first Golden Age Sub-Mariner stories by Bill Everett.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 16, 2015 7:09 PM
Deciding placement of this story relative to New Warriors is interesting. In New Warriors 2, Walter Rosen says the Warriors have only made two public appearances. And New Warriors 3 is said to be the first time the Warriors have met since issue 2. So it's possible this story takes place after issue 3. Alternately, Rosen might simply not have heard about the events of this story.
Posted by: Michael | June 16, 2015 8:54 PM
I loved the duo-shade (or whatever it was called) that Byrne was using on the Namor series. The underwater scenes especially look exceptional! The whole book in general had a unique appearance that set it apart from pretty much the rest of Marvel's books of the time.
Posted by: Bill | June 16, 2015 9:21 PM
@Michael, yeah, their appearance here is so subdued that i don't think it would be on the Genetech guy's radar.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 16, 2015 10:08 PM
Put me down as another lover of Byrne's Duo-Shade. At a time when artists were taking shortcuts like smoke in front of feet, Byrne went the extra mile, here.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | June 16, 2015 11:42 PM
If Namor was able to mimic the unique abilities of sea creatures, as shown not only by Byrne at the start of this series but back when Kirby reintroduced him in the Silver Age, why did he need to seek out the assistance of the Therma Rays? Wouldn't that ability also be at his disposal?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | June 16, 2015 11:53 PM
@Vincent: I like Byrne's art here well enough, but it's not like he doesn't do shortcuts of his own. Backgrounds are not his favorite, for instance. I know less is more but New York disappeared in those last two scans.
What is the point of arresting him if you then announce you're gonna skip several weeks? Seems a bit wonky. But if I remember well, there is a lot of womky plotting on Byrne's Namor. Which is a masterpiece compared to Harras's run. Cannot wait for more Namor reviews!
Posted by: PeterA | June 17, 2015 12:36 AM
Yeah, I can't believe we didn't get to see an issue or two of Namor visiting with lawyers and signing legal documents. That would have added so much more. ;)
Posted by: Bill | June 17, 2015 10:28 AM
Anyone else think that Namor's disguise looks just like Byrne himself, but with dark hair?
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 22, 2015 12:01 PM
The first five issues of this Namor series made for a promising and intriguing start. It was nice to see real architecture being developed issue to issue. I was also instantly much more attracted to what was going on here than in Byrne's just earlier WCA run, which I had mixed-tending-toward-negative feelings about.
For one thing, the art seemed improved over that series, a bit of a comeback in that respect, and I'm definitely with those who like the "duo-shade (or whatever it was called)" effects, particularly for the watery scenes. That was a really fresh look. The conclusion to this story was a bit disappointing, though, arguably another ex. of something I was commenting on elsewhere in relation to FF issues.
FORCE seems to have been inspired by such "eco-terrorist" groups as Earth First!, which in turn was inspired by the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang, so art imitating life imitating art. Earth First! was attracting a fair bit of attention with its "direct action" approach in the late 80s, so it's not surprising to see Byrne extrapolating from that. The environmental theme (which had cropped up tangentially in his work earlier, like when Galactus materialized planet-devouring equipment out of NYC air pollution) was great to see and predates, to take just one other ex., Mike Grell's "Shaman's Tears" by a few years.
Oddly enough, though, the thing that delighted me most with these issues was the scene in #4 in which Namorita bragged about her "to die for" legs but then discovered that at the posh party no one was really interested in ogling her in her super-short skirt because they were all totally obsessed with, as she puts it, "Money! MoneyMoneyMoney!" Wonderful satire there. The legs thing, though, and the appeal for "surface men" can be interpreted as self-commentary of sorts, since it had been clear for years that there were few things Byrne loved to draw more than women's legs. I'd have to go through stacks of his issues to be sure, but maybe he really got going on that with Aurora from Alpha Flight. And there's that infamous FF issue where they brought back Jean Gray in her torn black dress. Then it really took off when he went over to DC and started drawing Lois Lane and all those LexCorps women in short skirts. There were always plenty of leggy females in his work from then on (not to mention the infamous She-Hulk shaving gag scene ...). Of course, it was part of a larger trend and reflected the changing/maturing audience of comics -- er, graphic storytelling, I mean.
Posted by: Instantiation | August 9, 2016 7:58 PM
Page 1 of issue 5 is a spot-on send-up of the recaps that introduced all the "part two" episodes of the 1960s Batman TV show. I can hear William Dozier reading the captions. (The last caption is the clincher.) You have to just imagine each scene (panel) doing a freeze-frame before moving on to the next one. Hilarious.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | May 3, 2017 11:34 PM
I wished this duo-shading thing was used more often in various comics. It looks really good!
Also I'm gonna sound extremely obsessed with details, but I'm pretty sure Justice appears in this issue. In the panel with the tiny shapes of everyone in the last page there's someone with a big cape next to Namorita and the other New Warriors.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | June 12, 2017 3:07 PM
Agree regarding Justice. Thanks Nate.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 28, 2017 9:06 PM
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