Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Marvel Unbound - Sub-Mariner: Revolution

Marvel Noise episode 37 was released today and includes another installment of "Marvel Unbound". As always, here on Random Thoughts Escaping is a corresponding entry with links and such. Enjoy!

I have always been intrigued by Marvel's anti-heroes. These complicated characters who often reside in the gray area between the forthright do-goodery of Captain America and the vile nastiness of Doctor Doom are the kinds of characters that I appreciate most.

Ever since first picking up Marvel Team-Up #122 back in 1982, Man-Thing has always seemed pretty cool. Mute, woe begotten, misunderstood. Whenever he shows up in a Marvel title, I'm generally on board. I'm the same way with Marvel's original anti-hero, Namor the Sub-Mariner. I love the angry guy with pointy ears and winged-ankles. He's fiery and arrogant as often as he's exposed and well-intentioned. The oldest comic book I own is one of my dad's that my grandma had kept and given to me: issue #33 of Atlas Comics' Sub-Mariner from 1954. It's falling apart, but its great Bill Everett cover of Namor ripping the oxygen tube of a Soviet diver in half is still hanging on. And I lapped up the mid-'80s four issue mini-series from back in the day.

When I started to really get back into comics last summer, I noticed the Sub-Mariner limited series on the shelves of my local comic book shop, but didn't pursue it at the time. I did keep my eye out, though, and when I saw it coming in trade paperback, I made sure to grab it. Written by Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson, its proper name is Sub-Mariner: Revolution.

In continuity, it follows the events of Civil War. Tony Stark is Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Mac Gargan's Venom is a member of the Norman Osborn-led Thunderbolts. And all hell is breaking loose. The story revolves around a rogue Atlantean sleeper cell in the Pacific Northwest that is causing problems both above and below sea level. Namor is not trusted by the U.S. government and his kingdom is in disarray because of internal fighting. Throw into the mix some familial conflict and the need to evacuate all of Atlantis (along with the requisite Sue Storm cameo), and you get a fairly entertaining tale.

Much like the current Might Avengers Secret Invasion tie-in issues, this limited series jumps back and forth in time often and confusingly. And although the story arc might not seem as important as some of the others that have shaken things up over the last few years, by the time you get to the final four pages of the book that consist of a first and second epilogue, there is a nice dose of intrigue left hanging over the Marvel Universe. (And if anyone knows if and where this story thread is picked up, please let me know over at the "Marvel Unbound" thread of the Marvel Noise forum. Thanks!)

Phil Briones' art is enjoyable, and his full-page Wolverine on the last page of issue #2 is awesome! There are no real extras in this trade paperback to speak of, but it does include the art from all six covers of the original monthlies which is pretty cool since the six covers were done by five different artists. The covers by Leinil Yu and Marko Djurdjevic on issues #3 and #4, respectively, are fantastic!

Despite containing a somewhat under the radar story and not being able to boast the extras that entice fans to double-dip, you can pick up Sub-Mariner: Revolution for less than it would have cost you at the comic book shop the first time around as monthlies, and I think you'll get your money's worth.

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