Characters Appearing: Attuma, Black Bolt, Diane Arliss, Gorgon, Karnak, Lockjaw, Medusa, Stingray, Sub-Mariner, Sunfire, Triton
Issue(s): Namor #45
Namor is with Stingray and Diane Arliss. Stingray is trying to convince Namor to help rebuild Dr. Dorcas' lair into a new Hydrobase, which he suggests could be used both as a research center and as a place where Namor could serve as a kind of ambassador to the surface world. The conversation is interrupted by a report of a beached minke whale.
We actually saw the whale in an opening segment of the issue that takes place "three months ago". A family of minke whales was attacked by Japanese fishermen in the Antarctic Ocean. The fisherman were subsequently attacked by Atlanteans led by Attuma, not for environmental reasons exactly but because the fishermen were encroaching on their own hunting grounds and endangering their food supply. In the confusion, one whale survived, and now it's made its way all the way to the Boston harbor, near where Submariner and company are.
Namor heads to the harbor and everyone is happy to see him (for once?). A police officer hopes that Namor can order the whale back into the water. Namor says that he can't command whales like he can other sea life, but he can communicate with them. He does so, and learns about the situation in Antarctica. The whale then dies. Namor heads to Antarctica.
The previous Japanese fishing boat was destroyed by the Atleanteans, but the situation is basically repeating itself now, except this time the Japanese have brought ninjas (hey, say what you will, but in the Marvel universe Japan has ninjas, so they might as well use them).
Namor arrives and initially takes the side of the fishermen.
But Attuma makes the environmental pitch. The fishermen use the excuse that they're only hunting whales for "research" (this was clearly not the case, and it has also been a real life complaint that Japan has used this excuse to get around a ban on whaling).
When Namor turns on the fishermen, he's stopped by the arrival of Sunfire.
The only way to really settle a contest like this would be to have the two of them entering a contest to determine whose pony tail is more luxurious, but instead they fight. Despite Sunfire identifying himself and the two having fought before (way back in Sub-Mariner #52-54 and more recently in Avengers West Coast #71), Namor talks like the Human Torches are his only reference points.
Attuma is intent on making the situation a three-way fight.
A point is made to demonstrate Attuma's near-Namor level strength.
Attuma, having destroyed the boat, withdraws with his troops (a few unconscious ones are left behind). Namor helps rescue fishermen thrown into the icy water, and he gets whales to help, too. Seeing the whales gets the fishermen to reconsider their jobs, but Sunfire is the holdout.
Sunfire is not looking too good in this story if he has to be educated on the nutritional habits of his own country. And without being allowed a rebuttal (i'm assuming Namor/Herdling is correct but allowing for the possibility of some nuance), Sunfire just looks like a total goon for the whaling industry.
While Namor is lecturing Sunfire about why he is wrong, he realizes that Stingray's idea for him to serve as a kind of ambassador makes sense. So at the end he returns and agrees to help build the new Hydrobase. Namor's acceptance of the (unofficial) ambassador role raises the possibility of this book taking on an environmental focus, which is potentially interesting (although it's a direction for Namor that has been teased at least twice before without going anywhere).
Also in this issue, we see the Inhuman Royal Family living at an amusement pier at the Jersey shore.
Triton decides he doesn't like living as a "freak", so he leaves.
This kind of mediocrity is actually kind of refreshing after the Jae Lee issues.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Last issue is not in continuity. Next issue is a Starblast tie-in, and actually the scene of Triton leaving the Inhumans will be repeated in Starblast #1.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I wouldn't have pegged the Atlanteans as whale-eaters. Attuma says whalers are overfishing their food supply, while Namor says his people know whales have more value alive... that sounds contradictory, though by "his people" Namor may mean the kingdom of Atlantis specifically and not homo mermanus as a whole. I can seem Attuma's tribe hunting whale now and again, but it's implausible for them to be starving from whale depletion. The sea has plenty of other things to eat.
Posted by: Mortificator | March 15, 2017 12:55 PM
Sunfire also fought Namor briefly in Defenders #10.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 15, 2017 9:23 PM
Sunfire certainly possesses a "my country, right or wrong" mindset, so I could certainly see him defending whaling simply because he doesn't like the idea of the rest of the world telling Japan not to do something.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 15, 2017 10:13 PM
I think comic creators have never understood how to accurately portray underwater characters. They would need to be streamlined- I know, I know- suspension of disbelief, escapism, etc.- but that really glorious ponytail is just *ridiculous*.
Sunfire's Japanese slur on Namor is an example of what Marvel writes always did, especially in the 80s', and largely with Hispanic characters- always have them speak in perfect English except to say ONE word in their native language, as if to show the writers were bilingual. It looked ridiculous then and looks ridiculous here. Isherwood is not a bad artist, tho'.
Posted by: Wis | March 17, 2017 1:04 AM
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