Issue(s): Sub-Mariner #5, Sub-Mariner #6
But first let's start with some expository dialogue. While laying on a beach (swimming to see Reed Richards is sooooooooo tiring, apparently. He's made this journey in between two panels in the past; now it's taken him half a year), Namor is attacked by a giant robot and is blasted by a laser beam. Where a lesser man might have just said "unnngh!", a Roy Thomas character says "Now... while my senses are stunned... the robot grasps me in a grip of iron!". Way to trust your artist, Thomas.
Namor wakes up in the laboratory of Dr. Dorcas, who is working to fix the spine of professional swimmer Todd Arliss.
Todd's sister Diane is there as well, but she's a little uncomfortable about the shady doctor. Todd is focused on getting his spine healed and doesn't care about much else. Dorcas infuses a combination of Namor and a shark's DNA into Todd, turning him into Tiger Shark.
Tiger Shark seems to be stronger than Namor and also turns on Dorcas, but despite several references to providing Todd with Namor's amphibian powers, he gets weak out of water very quickly. Tiger Shark also beats Namor in the rematch, and he grabs Lady Dorma, who has left Atlantis to search for Namor, and brings her back to Atlantis so he can claim it for himself.
Once again the Atlanteans prove themselves useless without the Sub-Mariner, and Tiger Shark easily takes over.
Diane frees Namor but Namor gives her a good toss, thinking she is Tiger Shark. He puts the fear of god into Dr. Dorcas and leaves her with him for care while he heads after Tiger Shark. Namor defeats Tiger Shark this time...
...and in choosing to imprison him instead of kill him, he re-earns the respect of the elder council, and becomes Prince of Atlantis again. You never know with that elder council. Sometimes they're bloodthirsty wildmen who want to wipe out all of humanity, but sometimes they admire restraint and mercy. No wonder Namor is so messed up.
There's a brief interlude where we get to look in at Paul Destine, who is like "What the hell? I thought Namor was chasing me? Oh well.", but at the end of this story, Namor basically says that Destine is just going to have to wait a bit longer.
I really enjoy John Buscema's art. It's not groundbreaking like a Steranko; it's just clean good storytelling in a classic style.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: You wouldn't know it from anything here, but this takes place after Namor's fight with Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel #4.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Tales To Astonish #5, Tales To Astonish #6 (1979)
Inbound References (12): show
Tiger Shark was always a good opposite number to Namor.
Posted by: kveto | October 8, 2016 6:57 AM
I liked Tiger Shark too. Visually it made a difference in this book that he did not have the typical blue or green coloring that dominated a lot of characters.
He was another foe like the Abomination or Scorpion who was a true counterpart to the hero, but more powerful. Yet rather than be seen as a more powerful Hulk, Spidey, or Subby, too many writers downplayed that and their threat levels greatly diminished.
Posted by: Chris | October 8, 2016 12:55 PM
Diane Arliss's appearance and name might have been inspired by Diane Arbus, a famous art photographer of the 1960s.
Posted by: FF3 | March 10, 2017 8:21 AM
I particularly like Buscema's handling of the background - the rocks and sea - on the splash of #5.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 10, 2017 1:06 PM
Two great straight ahead freight train Covers and art that solify Tiger Shark as Iconic new character from the get go.It will be an honor to see Namor and some of his enemies grace the Silver screen eventually!
Posted by: RocknRollguitarplayer | March 17, 2017 12:32 AM
In #5, Dorcas says that he deliberately added limits nto Tiger Shark's powers using the morphotron, so that's presumably the idea regarding T.S.'s rapid strength loss.
The idea seems to be that Namor is weakened by his recent adventures and by the transfer -- it's repeated int he dialogue quite a bit -- so Tiger Shark wins at first, but then a rested-up Namor trounces Tiger Shark in the rematch. Subsequent writers will typically treat Tiger Shark as less powerful than Namor overall and utterly dependent on constant contact with water.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 23, 2017 2:52 PM
Comments have been disabled for the summer while i'm not around to moderate.
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