New Reviews of Old Comics
On a recent trip to the Comic Depot I found about a half dozen issues of Sub-Mariner from the late 60s early 70s, this being the oldest of them. As hardcore comic readers we want to read these things in order or as close to it as we can, right? Sub-Mariner has been around for a long, long time, so it’s rather surprising he’s not a bigger character than he is. Back in the 80s we didn’t see much of Namor apart from cameos in various books and a four issue limited series. I think he came back around and joined the Avengers for awhile. After that I lost track of it. Anyway, he’s always been an intriguing character who crosses back and forth over the good and evil line easily.
“Call Her Llyra…Call Her Legend!” is a self contained story written by Roy Thomas with Sal Buscema and Jim Mooney providing the pictures. Believing the entire undersea world is threatened by land dwelling humans and their atomic bombs, Namor sets off from Atlantis to Lemuria in the Pacific so he can forge an alliance between the one time enemies. After hitching a ride from a manta ray and swimming through the Panama Canal, Namor arrives in Lemuria only to be surprised that Karthon is no longer the leader, having been replaced, forcibly, by Llyra, a female of unknown origins. Since this is a comic book, Llyra is only too willing to correct that wrong. Her mother was once the head of a struggling “oceanarium” who inadvertently captures Llyron, a resident of Lemuria. It’s love at first sight between the human woman and sea dweller and all is fine until Llyron gets eaten by a shark; for real. Already pregnant when that tragedy happens, Llyra’s mother gives birth to twin girls, one of them Llyra who developed gills and now lives underwater. She is powerful and able to mentally control ocean creatures, like electric eels that knock out Namor. When he comes to, Namor finds himself trapped in a tank, his strength sapped by chemicals, until he meets Laurie, Llyra’s human twin sister who feels for Namor and stops the flow of chemicals. Back to full power Namor breaks out of the tank, which leads to a battle royale between Namor, Llyra and her fish friends. This goes on for a couple pages until Namor gets the upper hand on a whale, lossening some boulders which bury and kill Llyra. Just before burying her Namor discovers Llyra and Laurie were the same person, and meets the grieving mother. The end.
At first I found this story to be rather boring; pages of wordy build up, Namor blathering on using his princely formal dialect. *yawn* Things picked up dramatically after Namor swam through the Panama Canal and we got to the main part of the plot. Roy Thomas’s story about the human and sea-man hooking up and having a split personality daughter was really good. I’ll be generous and rate the art work as standard for the times. On its own, the cover is kind of cool looking, but it has almost nothing to do with the story inside and that’s a pet peeve of mine. Beyond that, I’m hoping this issue of Sub-Mariner is indicative of the other ones I have left go through, because it was pretty good.