Namor annual #4
Issue(s): Namor annual #4
This issue pits Namor against Baron Von Strucker. It's not the first time the two World War II characters have crossed paths, but the one in Invaders #30 was so short you might have missed it by blinking, and the one in Marvel Universe #1-3 hadn't been published yet.
In this story, Strucker is accompanied by a High-Zero and an Agent Thirteen.
Strucker is visiting an undersea Hydra base because a project called Blue-Face has been completed. A project two years in the making, it is a toxin that prevents gill-breathing creatures from extracting oxygen. The groundwork was developed by a Phillip Desmond, who Hydra subsequently killed. But the report from the Hydra scientists is cut off due to an attack from a sea monster.
Later, at Aquaria, Walter Newell (Stingray) and Diane Arliss watch helplessly as an Atlantean gets eaten by another monster.
Namor comes in to help out. It turns out there are a lot of these monsters, and they are slaughtering the Atlanteans and humans who work at Aquaria.
Namor stops the immediate massacre...
...and decides to hunt the swarm to its source. Walter wants to go with him, but Diane Arliss convinces him not to go by telling him that she's pregnant (i guess the novelty of the two kids that Namor #42 showed that they already have has worn off already).
Namor's follows the trail back to Strucker's ship. Strucker repels Namor with an electric shock grid. But Namor then returns and drops a couple of revelations. First, the monster that attacked Strucker is one of Marrina's offspring. Second, Namor has found out about the toxin, and, surprisingly, he's going to allow Strucker to leave with it.
But High-Zero spots Agent Thirteen messing with the canisters.
And then Zero smashes the remote control for the toxin when Strucker tries to use it against Namor's people.
It turns out that Thirteen was disguising himself as Zero after killing him, and that Thirteen is really the son of Phillip Desmond, the guy who Hydra killed after the toxin was developed. Namor then attacks the ship, but Strucker activates a self-destruct countdown and escapes. Everyone, including Alan Desmond, is presumably killed. Marrina's offspring is also killed in the explosion. Regarding the other monsters, as Michael notes in the comments, they were somehow being produced by Marrina's offspring. Makes you wonder what the rest of Marrina's offspring are up to.
This story acts as if the offspring are definitely Namor's. But a footnote in Namor #55 will point to this annual and say that Namor is unable to have children because he's a hybrid.
The question of Marrina's children is the most interesting thing about this annual and it's pretty unsatisfying in that regard. The story clearly wants us to be intrigued by High-Zero and Agent Thirteen, but i'm not really sure what to make of them. And in terms of the story being partially from Baron Strucker's perspective, no real insights into his character are given.
A second story has Namor encountering an Atlantean who's become super-powered thanks to exposure to a dumping ground for military waste.
Namor stops "Deathcharge" and exposes the US Senator who was allowing the dumping. The final panel is a doozy.
A pin-up tells us to be on the lookout for Deep Six, the Heroes of Hydropolis.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Aquaria/Hydropolis was first seen in Namor #46, a storyline that led into Starblast. Stingray was injured during Starblast and was still injured as of Namor #54. By Namor #55, Stingray has recovered, and that issue also references this story (in a weird kind of way, but this story definitely takes place while Namor still thinks Marrina's kids are his, whereas in that story it's been confirmed that they aren't). Note that Stingray's costume is "shredded" in this story, which may be due to the original injury that Stingray sustained, but may also be due to when Diane Arliss wore the suit in Namor #54 and fought Namor (a fight that she's keeping secret from Walter). I noted in the Considerations for Namor #54 that it doesn't seem like there's enough time for issues to take place between Namor #54 & 55, but it seems like a recovered Stingray can only appear between those issues.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I don't think the other monsters in the story are Namor's offspring- quite. Namor says that the creature is "creating and sustaining its own life forms". Does that mean it's transforming ordinary fish into alien creatures or that it's giving birth to its own life forms? Namor calls the life forms "parasites".
Posted by: Michael | February 18, 2018 11:01 AM
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