Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Classics - Sub-Mariner #8

   If a casual reader wondered why Marvel Comics became such a hot commodity - especially in the '60s - this issue of the Sub-Mariner is a perfect example of why the House of Ideas was the place to be.

   In an issue that's part flashback (as Namor discusses his early career and his first human friends when he came to New York in the 1940s) and part donnybrook.

   The story is being narrated by a mysterious woman writing the events in a diary. She relates how the police recovered a mysterious helmet - the one that powered one of Namor's foes, and would cause even more problems in the future for the entire world.

   The helmet is being carried to a safe place by the wise-cracking  Thing, which gives legendary artist John Buscema a great excuse to craft a heckuva knock-down, drag-out fight between the two characters.

   And it's worth noting that, at this point, this was one of the few times we saw someone other than Jack Kirby drawing everyone's favorite member of the Fantastic Four. I remember being surprised at how different Buscema's version was - but I liked it. Which was good, since he'd eventually take over the title after Kirby left.

   At any rate, the battle finally concludes as an unexpected figure intervenes - and the twist on the final page, as the identity of the narrator is revealed, is genuinely moving - something that's all too rare in comics.

   I can probably count on one hand the number of comics that actually left me choked with emotion - and this is one of them.

   It was that combination of action, great art, humor and a lot of heart that made Marvel the best in the business.

Grade: A


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