Essential Sub-Mariner—Volume 1

essential sub-mariner volume 1 cover trade paperback
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10

Love early Namor

Some drawn out storylines, lack of good villains

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Tales to Astonish (Volume 1)/Daredevil (Volume 1)/Tales of Suspense/Iron Man & Sub-Mariner/Sub-Mariner

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Stan Lee/Roy Thomas/Raymond Marais/Archie Goodwin

Artist:  Wally Wood/Gene Colan/Jack Kirby/Jerry Grandenetti/Bill Everett/Dan Adkins/Werner Roth/John Buscema

# of Issues:  36

Release Date:   2009


Tales to Astonish (1) #100

Reprints Daredevil (1) #7, Tales to Astonish (1) #70-101, Tales of Suspense #80, Iron Man & Sub-Mariner #1, and Sub-Mariner (1) #1 (April 1965-May 1968). Imperious Rex!!! Prince Namor the ruler of Atlantis tries to protect his kingdom from dangers outside of his kingdom and within. As he fight to control his land, he also finds himself often in conflict with the surface world, and the heroes that live there.

Written by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Raymond Marais, and Archie Goodwin, Essential Sub-Mariner—Volume 1 is a black-and-white reprint of Namor’s early solo issues.  It features art by Wally Wood, Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, Jerry Grandenetti, Bill Everett, Dan Adkins, Werner Roth, and John Buscema.

This Marvel Essential collects most of the Namor stories leading up to his own series. It doesn’t collect any of his one-shot appearance, but it does include Daredevil (1) #7 which is referenced in the first issue of Tales to Astonish (1) as a lead-in. Like all Marvel Essentials the collection is more about quantity than qualitys.

When Namor reappeared in the Silver Age of comics in Fantastic Four (1) #4 (May 1962), he was one of the first returns of the Golden Age characters (followed by Captain America and others). In the Golden Age, he had carried his own comic, but it took a while for Namor to get his chance to fly and swim again with guest appearances in other titles like Fantastic Four, Avengers, and Uncanny X-Men. Namor shared Tales to Astonish book with the Incredible Hulk and then both Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish branched off into Iron Man (1), Incredible Hulk (2), Captain America (1), and Sub-Mariner (1). Before Iron Man and Sub-Mariner got their own title, another shared one-shot issue called Iron Man & Sub-Mariner #1 (April 1968) was released and is also collected here. Sub-Mariner ended up being the shortest of the series running until issue #72 (September 1974).


Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1

I have always liked Namor. Despite Aquaman always being a joke at DC Comics, Namor has never been much of a joke. Comics about villains always appeal to me and Namor teeters between hero and villain in the comic world. Namor’s fiery temper helps really propel this series because I’ve never liked his supporting cast or rogue gallery much. Attuma, Byrrah, and Kang all just kind of blur so I prefer it when Namor faces off against other super-heroes like Hulk or Iron Man.

The series is also loaded with a lot of good art and some classic artists. Namor has always looked like a rather dynamic character and with all the underwater stuff, it is hard to get much style, but most of the artists succeed here. One drawback from the Essential is the lack of color and you sometimes forget that Namor is talking to Atlanteans since no one is blue.

I enjoy Essential Sub-Mariner and hope that they continue to collect his solo series because I felt once he got a chance to really expand on the stories, Sub-Mariner became much more enjoyable comic than many early issues of Iron Man, Captain America, and Hulk. I have never felt the character has really been captured as well as it was in the early days of Marvel’s birth and think this Essential is definitely worth checking out!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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