Written by: Christopher Cantwell
Art by: Pasqual Ferry
Colors by: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters by: VC’s Joe Carmagna
Cover art by: Pasqual Ferry, Matt Hollingsworth
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: October 12, 2022
Namor the Sub-Mariner #1 imagines a future Earth where a Kree WMD devastates the atmosphere and melts the ice caps to cover most of the livable ground in water. Years later, an older, wiser Namor tries to find peace between a sprawling Atlantis and the shrinking population of drylanders.
Is It Good?
Namor the Sub-Mariner #1 is fine. Christopher Cantwell sets up an interesting, alternate future and keeps the focus on an older, wiser, and dare I say, kinder Namor. There are plenty of new things to chew on in a future that looks bleak for Atlanteans but increasingly bad for everyone else. So, is the “What if…?” setup and elevated cover price ($4.99 for only 22 pages!?) worth the read? The jury’s still out on that question.
The strength of this issue is the fully fleshed-out world Cantwell has imagined for Marvel readers. The nature of the catastrophe is explained quickly but fits within a familiar context for the Marvel Universe (no, it’s not a cheap nod to “climate change”). The introduction of the future versions of Marvel characters works well enough as the air breathers struggle to survive in an increasingly aquatic world. And the socio-political conflicts fit the scenario.
There are two points that longtime Marvel readers may wrestle to accept. First, this Namor is a very different Namor than at any point in his known history. There’s not a trace of hot-headedness or arrogance in his demeanor. You could justify that almost complete personality change by accepting a Namor who willingly gives up his throne because there are no more enemies to fight may have mellowed in his older years.
Second, there’s not much of a hook in this first issue. In scriptwriting terms, the hook is an “Inciting Incident” to get the story moving. You get a little action when Namor pays a visit to the NYC colony, and tensions spiral into a skirmish, but that’s about it. In other words, Cantwell does a fine job constructing a future Earth with all its troubles, but he leaves out a moment that grabs you and lets you know Namor is about to go on a journey. Cantwell relies on the strength of his world-building to convince you to come back for issue #2, and it’s simply not enough.
Thankfully, the art pays off. Ferry and Hollingsworth do a commendable job fleshing out an expanding Atlantis, a shrinking NYC, and a bedraggled human population on the verge of extinction while Atlantis prospers. The set and character designs are great, and the coloring is excellent.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Namor the Sub-Mariner #1 brims with gorgeous artwork and an impressive amount of world-building to set the stage for Namor’s journey. Unfortunately, the issue is all stage dressing and no substance beyond the world-building, so you’re never given a reason to come back to find out what happens next.