Issue(s): Sub-Mariner #25
This issue also begins an unfortunately drawn-out storyline. This series began with the really unfocused Paul Destine plot, but after that the stories got... somewhat... more concise. This issue brings us back to the Roy Thomas Meander, however. And it's really frustrating because it starts here on a really promising note. Namor and Dorma discover an Atlantean outpost where everyone has been killed by pollution.
So Namor begins enforcing Atlantis' borders, turning away ships that try to cross and sinking or beaching those that refuse to respect the boundaries.
He then storms the UN and demands, quite sensibly, that Atlantis be included into the United Nations.
Unfortunately the UN (or a mob within) refuses his application for membership, which is really bewildering. Here is a nation that has launched invasions on several occasions and is currently engaged in a controversial practice that is interfering with international trade. And he wants to negotiate! But they send him away, and US soldiers even try to apprehend him as he's leaving.
Namor responds by ordering a missile fired at the soldiers, but he regrets the order when he sees civilians (and Diane Arliss) in the target area, so he flies back and stops the missile. His subjects aren't exactly impressed with his second-guessing.
Don't worry about that action Namor is promising in that panel; there won't be any.
There's also an annoying sub-thread where Lady Dorma wonders if the real reason Namor is going to New York is to see Diane Arliss...
...and of course she does show up. Frankly i could do without a love triangle in this book but if there's going to be one, a little actual development of it would have been nice. It seems the mere existence of Arliss is enough to cause tension in Namor and Dorma's relationship.
There have been some theories put forth in the lettercols about the origins of the Atlanteans, and this issue takes an initial stab at it.
It doesn't get into the question of how the Atlanteans evolved to breathe under water, and says that they just came to occupy the sunken city of Atlantis, which was previously a surface nation. Next issue's lettercol also affirms that the name "Atlantis" was never actually used in any Golden Age stories, which is probably not really a relevant fact although it's interesting.
When Namor first discovers the poison at the Atlantean outpost, he opens up a crevice in the ocean floor and tosses all the canisters into it. I thought it would be ironic if it all ended up landing in the Mole Man's kingdom or something.
Taken on its own, this issue is fairly interesting, and my Quality Rating reflects that (plus i like Our Pal Sal's art). I do find the lack of a rational response at the UN to be really annoying, though, and unfortunately while this issue feels like a major turning point, the plot point here becomes less of a driver of stories and more of a background thing that never really goes anywhere. I realize this book couldn't have become Diplomatic Intrigue Monthly and the other real alternative would be another Atlantean Invasion and lord knows we didn't need any more of those, but that just means that Roy Thomas has written himself into a corner here.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place before Iron Man #25 due to a reference in that issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Allowing Atlantis into the UN would probably be a step too far for the marvel "world outside your window".
Posted by: kveto from prague | June 3, 2017 3:04 PM
The UN admission could probably have been better handled, but there's a lot of reasons why admitting Atlantis would cause problems. First, any recognized Atlantean state would wreck havoc with established laws of the seas. If there is a huge sovereign state in the middle of the Atlantic, what would that mean for oceangoing traffic and fishing rights? What about Atlantean claims around Antartica? Attuma's nomadic bands elsewhere? And possible other underseas peoples (like the Lemurians)? That might deny humanity access to a lot of the sea. Second, it would open up the door to similar claims by other non-homo sapiens species. Would the Mole Man, Tyrranus, Lava Men, the Inhumans at Attilan, and how many others also demand to be recognized? Third, at this time the UN was heavily divided between competing camps, and any one of them might be especially denouncing on Namor for a completely unrelated issue.
Lastly, Namor commits huge diplomatic faux pas here. Springing this on unprepared delegates (who of course need instructions from their governments) is not going to achieve his ends. He'd have been better to send ambassadors first to the major maritime countries to bring up the matter first so that the international community could better prepare for Atlantis's claims. Of course, Namor (and Atlantis) is just too inexperienced with the surface world to understand how to proceed. Atlantis probably does not have a diplomatic corps at all.
Posted by: Chris | October 10, 2017 4:26 PM
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