Namor: The First Mutant #1 Review or At Least it’s Not Aquaman

Stuart Moore – Word Wrangler
Ariel Olivetti – Artiste
Jae Lee and June Chung – Have got you Covered

My comic reading habits have changed greatly. I used to read a huge amount of titles “religiously”, and store them up for some distant future. Now I pick up whatever draws my interest. I’ll try anything that dusts my fancy and move on as soon as my boat ain’t floating so high in the water. A good example is Brightest Day. That flaming turd was purchased by me up to and including issue #5. How does nothing happen in the course of 6 issues?  (I assure you I can count; I’m a teacher at my day job. There was a zero issue)  Apparently things are starting to get going but there are still near twenty parts to go, and I am long gone. Catch my interest quick because I am not coming back.

Marvel must have cursed me these past few months, because I am on board not one, but two of their current crossover events. Shadowland started off so strongly that I sent Steve Wacker (the editor) a tweet of congratulations on putting together such an impressive event. The success stems not from the permanent change these events supposedly will bring. You’d have to be an idiot to think “change” stemming from any of these DC or Marvel events will still be in play in five years. The reason I’ve enjoyed Shadowland so much is the event concept that ran full steam ahead from the first issue.. This week with only a couple of definite buys I decided to give the ole X-Men a shot and catch up on Curse of the Mutants.

I read the first two parts of the new adjectiveless X-Men and then turned my attention to Namor‘s umpteenth relaunch. I don’t need to waste a lot of time talking about the resurgence of vampires in pop culture. Marvel has followed on the bandwagon of popular trends before, so I have no trouble with their hitching onto this one. X-Men #1 and 2 began the saga of Vampires vs. Mutants fairly well, but Paco Medina’s artwork fell a bit flat in conveying the necessary terror.  The idea of a horror story set in the mainline Marvel Universe was one of the bigger selling points.

The launch of Namor centers on an integral piece of the saga; the title characters acquisition of the head of Dracula from the depths of Atlantis. Even if you didn’t read the two previous chapters in X-Men, Stuart Moore’s script allows you to jump right in and enjoy Namor’s journey to the sea floor.  Moore’s story builds suspense as from page to page. There’s time to immerse (Oh, I love those puns) completely in Namor’s realm as the book opens with prophetic words from a sea hag. Namor allies with some Atlanteans, and finally presses on to face the horrors of the deep.  There’s a lot of action, but a few too many spalsh pages.  I could have done with just a little more setup at the outset.  It’s definitely not perfection, as nothing is resolved, but this bad boy doesn’t say One-Shot, so anyone picking it up should expect to come back next month or not bother giving it a look.

The plotting is solid, but where the story soars is in Ariel Olivetti’s art. This is a horror and if the vampires aren’t scary what the hell is the point. Olivetti’s monsters are far more menacing than anything Paco Medina put out there in X-Men. The artwork also brings regal majesty to Namor in every image he appears, but there’s a gleam of fright behind his eyes. That’s a neat trick!

The whole point behind an event is to keep you coming back. The longer you keep buying the less likely you will abandon ship along the way. Nothing about Curse of the Mutants has been great so far, but I am intrigued enough to stick around a while longer. It’s off to a much better start than Blandest Day with cover boy Aquamoron.

Worth a Look

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