Saturday, October 08, 2005

Defenders Saturday

Sub-Mariner #22

For those of you wondering, I don’t know what a “regular” issue of the Sub-Mariner looks like. I was going to make a joke about how often the Sub-Mariner has been cancelled – but it just seemed mean. I will remind those of you who like mutants that, according to Marvel comics, the Sub-Mariner is the first mutant to appear in the Marvel Universe. This little tidbit failed to inspire people to buy the comic book.

Anyway this is the second of a three-issue cross over (of sorts) involving the menace of the undying ones. In a theme of odd headgear, the first panel shows Namor, underwater, wearing a glass helmet. As he goes into surgery he has a flashback to how he stopped being able to breath under water, but four panels in Dr. Strange, not happy with any flashback that doesn’t involve him, interrupts to fill us in on what happened in his own issue of this crossover. Apparently the Undying Ones came to earth a really really long time ago, and they have this weird idol.

After the flashback, Namor (a.k.a The Sub-Marina, a.k.a. Fishy Joe) has the bizarre urge to find this weird idol. He travels to Boston, flies out of the ocean and says, “The City called Boston! Somehow I know I have a mission here . . . one which I must perform at any cost!” Namor is a type A personality – he is very goal oriented. He is drawn to a house of Kenneth Ward. He meets a cute girl who claims to be Kenneth Ward’s niece (named Joella). They seem to be hitting it off when Dr. Strange gives the Sub-Mariner a mystic message. “The Den, Sub-Mariner. You must search the den!” I must note that this story takes place before cell phones were common.

After rushing into the next room, he fights a cat-monster and defeats it in four panels. As the Sub-Mariner humbly puts it, “It is because I am not of the surface-dwelling race, girl! I am one whom they call the Sub-Mariner.” That last line does sort of leave it open to the suggestion that there are other Sub-Mariners out there. He leads Joella out into the yard, where she immediately faints. The Sub-Mariner topples a statue and pulls out the evil idol. It looks kind of like a frog and kind of like a fish without the attractive qualities of either.

Suddenly Dr. Strange (goofy mask and all) shows up and attacks Joella. Joella becomes a cat-monster and gets defeated. Hard to know what the point of that was. Dr. Strange then exposits for another page on what just happened. It turns out only the Sub-Mariner could fight a cat. And another cat gets the statue, turns into a giant monster, and drags Dr. Strange and the Sub-Mariner into another dimension. Sub-Mariner fights the monster while Dr. Strange fights a magic house cat. And loses. But then he uses his magic to put water all over the Sub-Mariner, who starts winning. Then Dr. Strange grabs the idol and says, “The Sub-Mariner needs more than mere strength now! He needs the power of Dr. Strange’s sorcery.”

They start to drive the cat-monster back – and then Dr. Strange sends Namor back through the portal, in order to set up Dr. Strange’s crossover with the Hulk. I mean, because one of them has to stay behind to guard the portal. Namor strides off, grateful for Dr. Strange for dragging him to Boston, getting him involved with the undying ones, and then sacrificing himself to save Namor.

The Kindness of the Sub-Mariner “Stand Aside Female! I have no time to answer!”

The Grammar of Dr. Strange (thinking to himself, during his battle with a cat creature) – “But, even while I’m battling this growing Beast-That-Thinks-Like-A-Man, I must help him [Namor]”

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