Namora #1: Under The Sea (And We’re Not Talking About Ariel)


This was the perfect book to pull from a dollar bin at a comic show (I might have even paid less for it, I don’t remember). Namora #1 is a single-issue story by Jeff Parker (who has had some experience writing the character during the Agents of ATLAS series) with art by Sara Pichelli before her Ultimate Spider-Man breakthrough.

Namora is Namor’s half-human cousin and a general nice person. The story begins with her rescuing some Russian sailors from a kraken, only to find out that the sea monster has a peaceful coexistence with a colony of lost Atlanteans. Unfortunately Namora realizes that everything is not what it seems as she has a conversation with her deceased daughter Namorita (who was killed back at the start of Civil War). Ultimately it’s up to the Atlantean princess to save her people from the sea monster.

The resulting issue is a lot of fun. It’s a complete story and everything is resolved by the end. It comes across kind of like a pitch, like Marvel was trying to gauge the interest on the character getting her own mini or ongoing series. I enjoyed it, as it was a different take on the Namor/world of Atlantis. So this gets a thumbs up. What also gets a thumbs up is the cool variant cover by legendary lady comic artist Ramona Friden!

Avengers 1959 #1

Art by Howard Chaykin

What happens when you combine Howard Chaykin, some lesser known Marvel characters and a retro-1950s espionage spy story?

Other than something that I would buy, you have Avengers 1959. The first issue was epic fun and in a way is kind of like a Mad Men view of the earliest incarnation of the Avengers.

That said the story takes place over a decade after the team’s first meet up in World War II. This was previously shown in flashbacks in New Avengers. 

After Namora, Kraven, Sabretooth and Dominic Fortune all narrowly escape attempts on their lives, Nick Fury decides its time to get the band back together again.

In their last outing, they tangled with the Red Skull and the Nazis, so I’m assuming this miniseries will have them facing Hydra, the logical successor.

Art and story wise, Chaykin delivers. His art is gritty and pulpy, which only fits a story from this time period, and Jesus Aburtov’s colors only accentuate this. Story wise, this is typical Chaykin. Crazy violence? Check. Tough sexy women are all over the place, whether it be Phantom Blonde who is using her seductiveness to get to war criminal Dieter Skul, or the assassin posing as a hooker who nearly offed Nick Fury.

There’s also a really uncomfortable-but-funny scene involving the Chaykin created character Dominic Fortune while he’s trying to introduce a female companion to the mile high club. Their plane comes under attack, so Fortune does what James Bond do in a situation like that:  he gives her a parachute and tells her to jump out of the plane! We don’t know what happened to the woman, but I’m pretty sure she’s not going to be interested in a second date.

Absurdity aside, this is a lot of fun getting to see Chaykin doing a project like this. It’s a great introduction into his world and style, especially if you’ve never read anything of his before.