Hi Everyone. We are skipping a monster sized two part Marvel and a standard DC episode because of technical and rendering and microphone difficulties. It just sounds horrid. You’re not missing anything, and it’s far beyond the low quality we strive to bring you in normal show terms. So try to enjoy episode 239 instead. Oh, and as a quick aside-I’ve been able to isolate the buzz that has been cursing our show for months-it’ll be gone forever soon, hang in there! Anyway, THIS episode, 239, has TJ talkin’ ’bout hanging out on Twitter, but that’s never good, as they were talkin’ bout BvS. We go back for a short period about the heavy handedness of Dc movies. Eventually we get to January’s Marvels. We star with A-FORCE 1, bringing Singularity into the Universe, along with Anti-Matter-and Medusa wants to arrest her. HOWARD TEH DUCK 3 presents Shocket and Ms Howard, telling us that Howard has himself become the Nexus of all realities The Stranger, The Collector, and Skrulls make an appearance. Lots of fun. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 6 Is all about a thematically swapped Cloak and Dagger, springing Mr Negative, hanging around in Shanghai. The Spider-Mobile is not the draw Dan thinks it is, sorry dude. EXTRA-ORDINARY X-MEN 5 and 6 brings Sinister to the fore, and his half assed Cyclops clone. Who has something go wrong, and they all go to Weird World for no reason. SOLK 3 Cindy doesn’t know who she should reveal stuff too, between Pete and her coworkers, and there’s a therapist and Shrike and a goblin fight. ALL NEW AVENGERS 2-3-4 Chitauri, artificats, Kamala and Nova, sewers, long fights ranging everywhere, and the RETURN OF EDWIN JARVIS, disdainful of the new Avengers digs. CAPTAIN AMERICA 5 gives us Joaquin’s origin at the hands of Karl Malus. HAWKEYE 3 is starting to turn sour with the flashbacks and half issues. Still dealing with Clint and Kate’s estrangement, Kate dumps on America Chavez while Clint retreats to Bart’s island. CAPTAIN MARVEL 1 has Carol taking over the ALPHA FLIGHT BASE in orbit. Let’s just go from there. DR. STRANGE 4 Dying Libraries-dead Sorcerers’ Supreme-and the consequences of magic use.
STAR WARS 14-DARTH VADER 15-VADER DOWN. There isn’t anything better in space fantasy comics right now. We’re not even getting into it. Just. Go. READ IT. STAR WARS 15 brings us back to Lukes youthful days banging up the family skyhopper, Obi Wan taking jobs defending Jawas, and Owenb being taciturn and jerky. It’s awesome. OBI WAN AND ANAKIN 1 is uh..well, it’s not the best new Star Wars I’ve read. For some undisclosed reason Anakin wants to leave the order, but not before a mission to a nonsensical post apocalyptic planet. SPIDER WOMAN 3 is just so much fun with evading Skrulls in an inter-dimensional hospital. Dude, find it and enjoy. MS Marvel 3 Bruno is in the clutches of the real estate magnate, brainwashed, and Kamala must team with Mike for the antidote. IRON MAN 5-the throw down with Doom, Tony, and Madame Masque. OLD MAN LOGAN 1 just kinda pops into existence and then he goes to Westchester and bah. THOR 3 features Thor fighting Loki. Innovative, we know. We finish up with SILVER SURFER 1, featuring Dan himself as Dawn’s dad, The Hordax trying to steal imagination itself, and THE KEEPER OF GREAT TRUTH. Which is just channeling motherfuckin Starlin, right there.
Episode 236- You Brought Booze and Comics-I Have Room For You In My Life and Bonus Syndication Episode of THE GEEK EMBASSY WITH PHIL FOGLIO!
The Rev and TJ goof off pretty effectively looking at prints and talking Emerald City. Reed Pop kinda irritates Tech. We run in to the episode for Decembers’ Indy books. We announce our new and incomplete and completely useless YouTube audio only channel. We run through 3 issues of SOUTHERN CROSS-4,5,6-which is a pretty enjoyable and freaky and science fictiony. WAR STORIES 15- The continuing story of fighters over the Pacific from the UK, featuring an angry pilot that has simply decided the everything must be killed. DESCENDER 8 gives us visions and haunted planets, ghosts, and dying miners. RAGNAROK 7 is an amazing feature that shows us 1000 screaming fire demons, and the confrontation between Regn and Thor. It’s crazy pants. MERCURY HEAT 6 has ridiculous pundits, power suits, psychotic cops just trying to make a living, and planetary scale plots. THE SHADOW 5 frustrating Cullen Bunn is all very Old Godsy kinda stuff, and it’s staggeringly cool. Read it. HARROW COUNTY 8 The tension between Emmy and Kammi comes to ahead as Kammi takes her haints to Emmi, offering partnership or death, essentially. 007 VARGR 2 and 3 are prime examples Bond comics, and it’s fund and weird and grim and gross and action as you could hope. LOBSTER JOHNSON: THE GLASS MANTIS is a one shot we liked because Lobsters is not only the man, but all men. REBELS 9 is a departure as we follow the friendship between British officer and Native American through the years till their philosophical departure during the war. WE STAND ON GUARD 6 ends this farce of a political statement with nipple ships but the inability of advanced cultures to fuse hydrogen and oxygen. REVIVAL 35 presents complex storytelling with hearts ripped out, betrayals, soul shmoos, and main characters on the run. Saga 32 is solid gold once again, presenting a caper tale as Alana and Marko break in to a building and effect their escape with the info on their child. INVISIBLE REPUBLIC 8 is high quality but bordering on too too complex, interspersing flashbacks and current stories almost haphazardly, and in seemingly unconnected ways. ATOMIC ROBO AND THE RING OF FIRE 4 gives us a 10 mile wide Kaiju. I don’t have anything else to add. Read IT. We end the ep with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA 19, one of our last, and the truly amusing thing is the Harry Potter analogue getting a beat down.
Special on this release is the syndicated episode from THE GEEK EMBASSY-our pals and convention podcast partners. Regina brings you an awesome and worthwhile interview with the inimitable Phil Foglio! Thanks, we appreciate it! Once you listen to that, go over to their site and catch up with the adventure over there!
Welp, it was a great big long weekend, filled with crazy shit to look at and many, many, MANY cosplayers! Here’s the stuff that’s fit for consumption by TechJedi-MAKE SURE YOU GO OVER TO ANDREW’S FLICKR for the better ones!!!!
Browse through all that stuff while listening to multi hour Monster-Size ECCC episode coverage! Featuring:
We start off with Lego builder extraordinaire JEFFREY ALAN THOM-
Then we speak to Miles Greb of “After the Gold Rush”- a return to optimistic scifi, which if you’ve been listening we love.
The WOMBMATES make their debut in our feed, and we talk some major shit over the course 42 major minutes!
Dave Stoll then regales us with details on his amazing silent comic, give a listen about “DANGER THIS WAY!”
Jeff Martin takes the wheel as we talk about his cartooning, including “Where is Zog?” published by HEAVY METAL!
Evan tells us about “SURVIVE THE HORDE”-a party game of international stature!
Our new friend Rezlenn tells us all about her property, the ‘Zine “The Object Heads”
We get some extreme podcasting in with our esteemed cosplay guest DEZI DESIRE!
Next week, we’ll release our syndication of THE GEEK EMBASSY’s interview with the inimitable PHIL FOGLIO! Mad props to Regina for nailing such a stellar name throughout comics.
Now enjoy some pics!
Tech talks a little bit of Deadpool, where he laughs his matafugin ass off. We go through some DC cancellations for pre-Rebirth-most of which we can’t be buggered about. Eventually December’s DCs come to the for, starting with WONDER WOMAN 47, featuring Cheetah, lone survivors, and the quest for the macguffin that provides immortality for Amazons. BATGIRL 46 has Babs canvasses neighborhoods for in involving the ol’ evil real estate developer shtick. BATMAN 47 features a most ridiculous method of playing poker, language games, and the final buildup to ending Superheavy, thank god. DETECTIVE 47 , where the various knock off Robins are captured, and Jim and Dick work together. HARLEY QUINN TEAM UP 1 brings in the worlds worst plan to sell superheroes to bad guys. HARLEY AND POWER GIRL 6 finishes off the story with PG and Vartox’s wedding, robot PEEGEES, some grossness, and some laffs. SUPERMAN 47 displeases us with Jimmy knocked out, mumbo jumbo hard drives, and the lineage of Vandal Savage…SINESTRO 18 shows us the Paling reaching Earth, and tactics till now are failing, necessitating physical only attacks-bringing in Diana and Clark. Who get rings. Hmm. JL 3000 #7 confuses us cause we missed an issue. The team is broken, Supes is dead, and Kara goes on the defensive. STARFIRE 7-Kori meets Dick on a boat with arms dealers. DKIII #2 Carrie arrested! False testimony! Kandor!Batmobiles! Excitement? we top it all off with ASTRO CITY 30 Zo, interdimensional prepubescent alien, meets the injured Karl Furst, and realizes not everything is as expected in the world he knows.
That’s a pile of comics for you kids!
The Rev is looking forward to an R2D2 mini..sort of. Nothing interesting is covered, so we jump right to the blech of THORS 4. Moving rapidly on to SILK 1, which Rev questions the very existence of but TJ is faithful on. SILVER SURFER 15 sees the completion of the Universe, turn-arounds, treachery, and late night pseudo-philosophical ramblings. UNCANNY X-Men 600 puts Beast on trial, and while it touches on severe ethical problems, it skips over and conversations of substance. CHEWBACCA 3 and 4 gives us Chewie exhibiting his legendary strength saving the miners, and Chewie, in a ballsy move, disguises himself as a wardroid. STAR WARS 11 and 12 Ambushes! Dengar! Gladiators! HUTTS KICKING ASS! Why aren’t you reading this?! VADER DOWN 1, VADER 12, and VADER 13 bring us the tale of Vader interrupting Luke’s quest for the the first Jedi temple, fighting an enormous amount of Rebels, crashing, and facing even more Rebels that just don’t count. Han and Leia argue military priorities vis a vis Luke, but Aphra finds him first.
We watch the 87 Masters of the Universe. Rev is um, quick on the uptake. We go through far too many Marvels and have to split the shows again. We gloss over signature limiting at cons. Mention the DC cancels. passingly mention TechJedi’s Grand Buffy Re-Watch 2016. Rev catches us up on his Gotham watch. This all brings us up top the new Marvels’, starting with THOR 1, which confuses the crap out of me, mystical recovery wise. Volstagg make a compassionate appearance that we love. HOWARD 1 has Tara and Howard road tripping, coming across the ever amazing Wizard and the also ever irritating Titania. MS MARVEL 1 bring s magical kamala Avengers training, Bruno with a new girl, and some tech ridiculousness. IRON MAN 3 is a twist as Tony gets spanked by Maque, all in the wrong way. Epic facial hair bros is the greatest panel ever, and you don’t get to disagree. DR STRANGE 2 Mind Maggots. Friggin ew. Stephen gets a new librarian. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 has Zodiac on the prowl again, as Pete opens the Internal Baxter Building. The Zodiac attak to kill one of their own, which is villainy. Literally, not Whedon-y villain-y. SPIDER WOMAN 1 is a great issue with the training of Porcupine giving up motorcycles, and SKRULLLLSSS. CAPTAIN AMERIC 3 brings back Karl Malus, making more animal guys. And Discount CapWolf Jr. AVENGERS 1 Sam saves some people on a bridge and is faced with an unwinnable choice. Chitauri show up, and handily defeats everyone. Kamala and Nova fightflirt, and it’s funny and fun. HAWKEYE 1 volume…i dunno..PI. The split storytelling that was so innovative two volumes ago is still giving us good stories, but it needs to converge faster. We close out with CAP WHITE 3, where the mission is in danger, Cap has to be schooled about a more urgent patriotism than he can understand, and Bucky strangely starts losing faith in Cap.
Come check us out on Facebook, twitter @TMG_Cast, leave us voicemail at 275 533 4910 and mail us at email@example.com, and occasionally see what we have to say textually at www.TMGcast.com
The Future Ain’t What it Used To Be-17 Issues of NOW! Comics Terminator
Midtown Comics had a gigantic sale recently-and certain books, long runs thereof as well-were less than a dollar a piece. I got over 100 dollars worth of comics-some of which are in the previous retrospective, “Something’s Fishy-24 Issues of John Byrne’s Namor”. This time around though, I’m going to talk about the 17 issues of NOW!s Terminator book. I got those 17 issues for less than 15 dollars. I only got 17 as that’s all there were-the book met an ignominious death at the hands of Tony Caputo, part time writer of the book and full time publisher, editor, etc of NOW! It wouldn’t shock me that younger followers would know nothing of NOW!; in 1990 they were already rapidly heading towards the scrap heap of comic book obscurity, and honestly, If I’ve ever met anyone that has actually read NOW! books, they haven’t ever talked about it-which is telling. It’s telling, but it’s also odd, because NOW!’s entire line consisted of very popular licensed books, including Ghostbusters, Speed Racer, Terminator, Mr. fucking T for god’s sake, and others. In the second half of the 80s these properties were big enough that they took NOW! to the third place among all comics publishers, if for a short short time.
Terminator, honestly, was probably the best of all the NOW! Books; but that’s not saying much. Consistency of the creative team was nil-in the scant 17 issues, there were four writers-Fred Schiller, Tony Caputo, Jack Herman, and finally Ron Fortier took over as the main writer. Fortunately, the visuals stayed rendered in one consistent fashion, thanks to Thomas Tenney. The bad part about that, however, was the amateurish and barely legible art. Action sequences were crude and confusing, mechanical renderings were overwrought and nonsensical, and there were few characters, most notably the Terminators themselves, that didn’t run around with sunglasses or some other effect on their faces. The general character sheets were mid 80s punk/street. Lots of mullets, pouts, frowns, torn off sleeves and vests. Weapons had no physical sense to them, and were frequently large and unwieldy, lending an air of savage destruction, but due to story considerations-the need to always be in terrible danger from the T-800s-never effective. Tenney doesn’t seem to have had much of a career after Terminator; I could only find vague references to OHOTMU, and the first four issues of Force Works-so yeah.
Early on in the run, it’s established that the dregs of the leftovers of humanity’s remaining defenders are formed under the name “Sarah’s Slammers”-which, just, ugh. They’re stuck in 2031-making this book both sequel to the ’84 movie and possibly but not necessarily prequel to Judgment Day.
This is a group straight out of the tough guy group playbook-mechanic; explosives guy, smartass, leader, tough girl…. At any rate, these pseudo-archetypes follow the other playbook; the we-have-no-resources-and-move-from-place-to-place playbook. Issue by issue the desperation gets cranked up higher and higher, as Skynet releases more and more versions of Terminators, mysteriously still needing skin, despite not being infiltration but front line overt combat units. Early on, the losses of the initial group are filled out by the arrival of the undocumented survivors of a spacestation that have come down to replenish their supplies. They bring down Konrad-an android they created on the station. This creates a large amount of tension, because these guys are not exactly A.I. Specialists, to be sure. A Death-Android is a Death-Android, after all. He befriends the little brother of Kyle Reese, whom we never do see, and you know? It’s actually quite refreshing to see a property spring from another property, and not be obsessed with creating ties back to the original in every other goddamned scene. There’s Timmy, Reese’s brother, and that’s it. No second cousins, no clones of mothers, no cross time alternate fathers, it’s just a group of defenders.
Konrad and Timmy end up separated from The Slammers, and make their attempts to get back to Miami to meet up with the Russian subs. On the way, they fight alligators, scores of Terminators, and bond as expected.
All through this, Skynet is developing a personality. Strangely, I liked this above all other things in this book. Frequently in science fiction, or what passes for it in the movies and tv and comics, the EVIL A.I BENT ON WORLD DESTRUCTION is sequestered in “The Core” (ugh-18 years in IT and nothing is ever referred to as “The Core” or “The Mainframe”-unless it actually is a fucking mainframe) and it never speaks, or when it does, it’s kind of above it all and self important-unless it’s like Ultron, where it’s just a raving lunatic. This Skynet, this bizarro world version, creates holographic carnival barkers for itself and monologues just as you’d expect from that visual-bombastic, over the top, and just on the edge of entertaining. If A.I. is a true psychological entity, thinking for itself, making decisions, having feelings, well hell, why wouldn’t it actually have some fun with itself, so to speak? I do ridiculous things all the time, you do, everyone does-because we have personalities that are covered by more than one narrow description. So an A.I. that feels the need to introduce its newest killer robot, well, have fun with it-it’s ridiculous but whatever. In this, Skynet is just a guy with way too much power and an electronic body.
At any rate, eventually we get back to actual evil and the latest Terminator rips out poor Timmy’s tongue, taunting the ever more human Konrad. John Connor finally makes an appearance, cause what’s future warfare against skeletal titanium killers without John Connor? And Timmy starts a journal.
The last issue is an escape from a Terminator Death Camp. Where for the last time, the ridiculous variety of new Terminators is increased, granting us the Art-Deco-Term, an odd combo of regular ol Terminator, beaded hips(!) and flesh faces, including biker ‘staches and giant assed shades. Good God.
I’m glad I re-read this stuff, but having come back to it 25 years later, I’m relatively certain it’s going to be another 25 before I bother re-re-reading them-and I better get’em even cheaper next time.
The Rev is talkative. We watch 009-1SomethingCyborgSpyFlick, which we’ll have to abandon. It’s DC Week so we kinda ramble as much as possible, and note that REBIRTH is on the way. Yeah. OK. Go. We talk about our own plans for Rebirth for a little bit, trying to figure out how the pieces will fit. This is a very long episode and we go back and forth a lot.
Eventually we get down to books with BATMAN 46, featuring the amusing Looney Tunes Covers. Poor Jim Gordon is losing against Bloom until Snyder-Science gets him out of it. STARFIRE 6 takes a turn for the Romantic as Sol and Maria canoodle till they get called away on an emergency-The Bounty Hunter finally arrives, but he’s a bit of a piker. WONDER WOMAN 46 is a bit of a weird issue, with Eirene having cracker her damn brain, spending unending pages on the beauty of war and balance like a stoned freshman philosophy major. SUPERMAN 46 is just…wowo, it’s fuckin terrible. Sorry, it’s just so damn bad. Super Powered God UFC. Take that as you will. SINESTRO 17 stops us from quitting DC altogether by showing us Sinestro and Black Adam fighting side by side, and that’s a sight to behold. BATMAN: EUROPA 1 Batman and Joker-working together to find the guy that infected them with a virus-made amazing by Azzarello. BIZARRO 6-Colin the Chupacabra was the GL of his sector-chew on that, and love it like we do. HARLEY AND POWER GIRL 5 Metallica lyrics and fighting giant heads. dear lord, I’m not supposed to love it, but I do! DETECTIVE 46 is a silly issue that seems to be a filler, which is fine, but they have Jim go to Antarctica because the other 6 JLA’ers are not bright enough to figure some stuff out. BATMITE 6 mercifully ends, with Star Trek pilots, the President, and other dimensional JLs. ASTRO CITY 29 Is a nice Heinlein reference, with the story of an apparently evil empire being occasionally assaulted by Furst Family, told from a young child’s perspective, and that of his warrior sister. Pack in that characterization my man. We love it. We end the night with DARK KNIGHT 3 number 1-which is a weird, gigantic story that we think Miller is using for biting social satire, but it’s just not cutting it. Events have moved on in this, the oldest and oddest of Elseworlds, Lara is training, they have secret babies, it’s gonna take some time to process this.
We watch “Contracted: Phase Four”. Where the other three are we don’t know. Lament the loss of several celebrities through the last few weeks. Rev finally finishes Daredevil and some Jessica Jones, and several Flashes-and for once he’s not disappointed. Complain some more about the Black Series Figures. Tech mentions the 17 issues of NOW! Terminator covered in the next entry…Then there’s some Namor, and some Tom Strong, and Johnni Future, still going through fallout from the Midtown 2015 purge.
Finally we get to November’s Independents-starting with HARROW COUNTY 7-involving the seduction of all the haints Emmy placated and getting ready to turn them 0n her. HELLBOY 1953-The Witch Tree + Rawhead and Bloody Bones brings us two shorts revolving ancient Romans, Boudicca’s soul, and a pub haunted by irritated spirits. JAMES BOND-VARGR 1 is nice, but frankly it’s the opening sequence to every other Bond flick ever. BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA 18 is on 22 page poker instruction manual interrupted by a comic book. THE FADE OUT 11 presents the *ridiculolusly under-planned attempt of Gil and Charlie to finally get evidence against Kamp, and failing in the single worst way. WE STAND ON GUARD 5 gives us the concept that candy bars prove life over VR-and Amber starts a suicide run. VELVET 12 is welcomed back warmly with X-33 sent to work on Velvet-X-14 steps in and saves the day, providing taught, hi class spy drama we adore. REBELS 8 regales teh tale of the subversive printer, sent to prison and encouraged to write further by another inmate. Seth then confronts a slave working for the British. ATOMIC ROBO and THE RING OF FIRE 3 give Robo his new body, and plans are made to see in nukes *inside Biomega will help at all. SAGA 31 is a Hazel story, both currently and in flashback, which entertains us immensely. DESCENDER 7 continues to amaze us with the introduction of a planet condemned to die by a robot bounty hunter, who then takes the job on Tim-21…WAR STORIES 14 continues Tokyo Club, in the all-recrimination issue. INVISIBLE REPUBLIC 7 has the parallels of King Arthur and Arthur, and that’s a bit of a stretch. CULLEN BUNN’S SHADOW 2-4 is a tour de force of mystery, magic, twin .45s and the end of the world through Lovecraftian horrors.
I was a senior in high school in 1990, and, really, at both the heights and depths of mys teen dorkiness. We didn’t really call ourselves geeks then. Comics nerd, dork, anything else. I was mere months away from a stint in the Army, and a bit of a dry spell in regards to comics. Basic and advanced training left very little money and especially almost no time or storage for comics. Then, eventually they sent me to Korea, and although the PX had comics, they were extremely limited-almost exclusively a narrow range of DC and Marvel; although I was lucky to keep getting Shadow of the Bat, and was able to get Death of Superman, and even Infinity Gauntlet. I saw the very strange and early beginnings of the wackiness that was Image, but the more I read about them in Comics Buyers’ Guide, the less I liked any of them.
At any rate, that was the early Nineties in comics for me-but at the beginning of the decade, one of the most venerated and irascible creators, John Byrne, was given the first Marvel Superhero, Namor.
Namor has the longest and probably most varied history of any Marvel hero-with as many heel/face turns as any 4 pro wrestlers. He faced the Nazis with Captain America, he faced down the FF, joined the Avengers, and then, eventually, after Tales to Astonish, after his own 60s volume 1, after a 4 issue mini and a 12 issue maxi, he got the “I do things my way” Byrne volume. Byrne had taken the FF in directions no one expected, and he took Post-Crisis Superman to a place far more people could understand and appreciate than had been around for decades-no Silver Age goofiness, no 70s angst, and no litany of powers no one could even keep track of, popping up on-demand. So, we had good feelings when CBG told us that he was taking Namor.
He went the full Byrne. Namor was taken out of the whole Atlantean motif, and turned into the owner of “Oracle Inc.”, which I’m sure Byrne had no idea Larry Ellison was already. Oracle was funded by all the lost treasure Namor found from sunken ships over thousands of years, which is fairly clever. Re-reading that for the first time, I had forgotten that-it made so much sense and made things, storytelling-wise, incredibly convenient without being contrived. In many books anybody can make any kind of money they want, without explanation, and it never runs dry. Namor needed a supporting cast though, as he was hardly going to run a multinational and save the world’s oceans and fight villainy by his lonesome. Right off the bat he met Caleb and Carrie Alexander, oceanographers, and he developed strong feelings for the young and attractive Carrie, and gave her father a place in the company-in gratitude for determining the physiological reasons Namor would have his heel turns over the years-his peculiar hybrid biology meant that imbalances based in either being in OR out of water too long would drive him mad.
I appreciated several things about these first issues. Byrne was quite happy to fill out his supporting cast with POCs, and it never felt like marketing. Not only did their presence in the book feel as natural as anyone else’s (and why shouldn’t it?) but these were competent people-they were able to find and assist Namor because they were out in the field doing basic science. Caleb and Carrie were smart, competent, caring people. Caleb even took over running aspects of the company Namor trusted him so. This put Caleb, the oceanographer, in a position he could do something proactive and truly in character for the oceans. Carrie eventually falls for Namor, and this was, well, kinda easy to see coming.
Byrne brought in other things Namor had never encountered before; his Villains were a mishmash that honestly didn’t seem to fit, yet still provided readable stories. There were actually repercussions as well-as when the giant pollution monster Sluj, product of genetic engineering gone wrong and it’s reactions to the horrifying chemicals inherent in the seas’ pollution, affected Namor by removing his ankle wings-(a nod to the 1954 book) which, really, honestly, are probably the single weirdest mutation till Grant Morrison took over X-Men. Look up Sluj- it’s a bizarrely poignant antagonist, appearing as far as I know only this one time. Sluj was the tragic child of researchers Dr.s Carolyn Sheridan & Jerry Baker. The setup up to his appearance took several issues, as Byrne would do frequently. I feel the recent Secret Wars, with it’s reliance on resurrecting, for frankly no purpose, storylines and motifs long dead, missed the boat on making Sluj a Baron of Battleworld.
The Griffin, on the other hand, has had a shocking number of appearances, most of which are just terrible-but in the context of Namor, Johnny Horton has been reduced to an animal level intellect, run mostly by instincts, set against the Sub-Mariner by his business rivals, Desmond and Pheobe Marrs-and eventually, ignominiously, becoming Namor’s mount, for fuck’s sake. The Griffin is not a great character, a worse villain, and not worth the pixels to render.
I’m skipping over the Marrs’ for a moment-although they show up very early, the real action-y type stuff happens with the revival of Master Man and Warrior Woman-a plot thread that lasted several issues, setup by the abduction of the Original Human Torch, whose blood would be used to revitalize them after suspended animation. Nazis are always easy villains, but Lohmer losing his powers to Axel Nacht, who had watched over his suspended animation over the decades. Warrior Woman was not so monitored though, and she , it was felt, would need to avoid brain damage by getting an infusion of synthetic blood from the Human Torch(original). Why that woould work is the magic of comics. Warrior Woman abandoning Lohmer for no longer being an ideal specimen after Nacht took his powers, well, that fired up some delicious irony. It’s a necessary nod to Namor’s Invaders days, and addressed that part of his history tightly, and with a sufficient amount of action to satisfy 1990 readers. The best thing about Master Man and Warrior woman is that you can beat on Nazis all day and never feel guilty.
Now, the Marrs’-Desmond and Phoebe-are business rivals of Namor’s, but unfortunately that never really made sense as they didn’t actually directly compete at a business level-it’s just the Desmond is a complete fucking lunatic, ready to put a .45 to his head, when he discovers that he can engage in business chicanery to entertain himself and put Namor out. Desmond had an unfortunate identification with Alexander the Great, apparently-”…for there were no more worlds to conquer, etc. He’s bombastic, incredibly sexist, completely unprincipled, and has no qualms about using his sister not as a partner in schemes, but a pawn. This backfires spectacularly, as Phoebe eventually falls for Namor, and foils him. Phoebe, unfortunately, is not a very complete character at all-very one note, bipolar-she’s either fawning over Namor, or playing the hard nosed business woman. Even when she does honestly fal for Namor, we know that the rest of her personality is such that Namor could never accept her as a lover.
Re-reading Namor after all these years was a completely new experience. It’s been 25 years, and I had only gotten the first 8 or so before the events in the first paragraphs, so many of the events were lost on me or I never new-like the long running and seemingly ill-fitting Danny Rand-is-he-or-isn’t-he subplot. That was a complete surprise to me. It went on forever though, as was typical for the old school writers-drop a panel here, drop a page here, take a year to get to the point where it would all come to a head and matter. At this point, I’ll just give you the low down of that entire subplot from the Marvel Wiki:
“….Some time after this, the alien Super-Skrull duplicated Rand’s likeness, fully assuming his identity in order to use the Rand Corporation and gain economic control of the Antarctic paradise known as theSavage Land. This conflicted with the plans of another company, Oracle Inc., owned by Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner. Namor, Namorita, and Misty Knight confronted Super-Skrull, who, his plans ruined, abandoned Rand’s identity and fled. The assembled heroes set out on a search for the real Danny Rand, eventually freeing him from the H’ylthri with the help of Namor and the sorcerer Dr. Strange. Rand had found himself cured of his cancer due to his chi meditations when in stasis with the H’ylthri. “
Another detail that I both hated and loved was Namorita. Namor’s long suffering, supportive cousin has been a largely unknown quantity to me since the 80s, as none of the books she was in were ever something I frankly wanted to read. New Warriors? Jaysis, no, keep it to yourself. Now, Namorita always seemed to me to be a simple knock off character, in the vein of “let’s have a girrrrrl Namor!” John Byrne took that in a direction I never expected, and I had great difficulty not taking it as the hoary old thing it seemed-’cause it was. Namorita was the clone of Namora, Sub-Mariner’s first cousin, brought to term in an otherwise standard pregnancy by Namora herself. In a nice twist of comic book science, hybrids like Namor and Namora, descendants of full blooded Atlanteans and Humans, are sterile. That’s real science. A liger, for example, is sterile. A mule is sterile. Namora’s husband couldn’t handle that thought, so Namora went looking for the exiled geneticist that could make a clone. This revelation floored me, and floored Namorita, and provided a lot of really good tension and drama.
Namor is one of my favorite heroes-I have this throwback mentality that likes his heroes above it all-noble, selfless, more than us. Better than us? Not really. But more. Namor spouts the big, ridiculous lines no one else can get away with-”IMPERIOUS REX!” He has a sense of honor, of responsibility, and although he’s brash and impulsive, he can be made to see sense. John Byrne’s run on Namor was imperfect, but it was fun, it was filled with drama, it was dense and never had the feeling of being thrown together. The current attitude towards John Byrne is one of the old school troglodyte, he can get the work done but he’s not part of the times, his attitudes of the past, but as abrasive as his blog posts and interviews can be, his work shows a great respect for storytelling, for the characters, and for the form. I was happy to re-read these issues.