Prologue: my apologies for the recent radio silence from Your Comic Relief, I have been wrapped up in things relating to Christmas and New Years, I should be able to update frequently between now and New Years, and daily updates will officially resume on the 2nd of January. Just giving myself some room to breath if necessary during this hectic time of year. Now, on with the review!
Lead-up to the Story
This storyline takes place after Civil War has ended, and is a continuation of Wolverine’s Civil War tie in. His tie in was focused around finding Nitro, and the discovery of Atlantian sleeper cells in the United States, which were eventually recalled. Essentially, Namor had placed a number of these cells around the country to monitor the populace and government, and to act if necessary. The other important outcome of the story arc is that Nitro, the one responsible for the attacks in Stamford, Connecticut, is the custody of Atlantis.
Plot Synopsis and Evaluation
The story itself is a six part mini, written by Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson. They have done an incredible job with this series, the characters are likeable, the story moves at a good pace without becoming too sporadic, and the ending is great. The full story is far too long and expansive to examine in the scope of this post, there are some main points. After Civil War, Namor was pressured to recall all of the sleeper cells back from the United States, and he did so. Suddenly however, attacks are being preformed by Atlantians on American soil, and SHIELD is brought in to investigate. Naturally, SHIELD believes that Namor had not recalled all of his sleeper cells. Sub-Mariner: The Initiative is the story of Namor’s quest to clear Atlantis’s name, and alone the way he has confrontations with Atlantians (isn’t there always political unrest in Atlantis?), Wolverine and Venom, among a few others. The story hooked me almost instantly, and while it dragged its feet a little during issues 4 and 5, issue #6 has the potential to chance the Marvel universe.
The pencils are done by Phil Briones, and while some of the characters are not drawn the way we may be used to them – Tony Stark looks somewhat Asian – everything looks commendable. While it does look commendable, nothing really looks exemplary. Like I said, everyone tends to look slightly more Asian than you would expect, this makes Namor resemble some poor bastard child of Spock and The Mandarin. While I was reading through the series however, I was actually too wrapped up in the story to notice it. Two possible conclusions can be drawn from this; the story is so amazing that anyone could have drawn it and I’d have been ok with it, or, that the art really isn’t poor enough to make an impact on my appreciation of the comic. Both are true, although perhaps I’m just oblivious, but I like to think that’s untrue. Perhaps I am being harsh; the art may feel a little rushed at times, and the characters may not be drawn the way we have come to expect them, but the art is not bad by any means. It’s just different.
Is it Worth Buying?
Absolutely. As poorly as many believe Marvel has handled many situations, and I agree with several of these accusations, I have been in love with this series, and I feel it exemplifies everything Marvel is capable of. Also, the end of issue #6 has, as I have said, the potential to chance the Marvel universe just as much as Civil War did, see the following spoilers section for more details.
At the end of Sub-Mariner: The Initiative, all of Atlantis evacuates using the previously thought mythological secret tunnels, and essentially diffuse into millions of sleeper cells throughout the world. Namor takes the Atlantian army to “[his] only ally in recent days,” in Latveria, Dr. Doom. Also, Namor has a son.