Wednesday 12 May 2010

Savage Sub-Mariner #69. The Sub-Mariner vs Spider-Man!

Savage Sub-Mariner #69, Sub-Mariner meets Spider-ManThis is more like it. Spider-Man vs Namor, twenty pages of rip-roaring action, web against water, sticky toes vs ankle wings. At last that question answered; "Who'd win a fight between Spider-Man and the Sub-Mariner?"

Well, no, in fact, it isn't.

Despite what we're promised on the cover, there is no fight between Subby and Spidey. They meet early in the tale, have a chat in which Namor gives us an info-dump on what's been going down in Sub-Mariner-land and then go their separate ways, as Subby basically stages a re-enactment of what happened last issue, in Sub-Mariner #68, by fighting and defeating Force. It has to be said that, for all his boasts of being unbeatable, Force is again, as super-villains go, a noticeably useless foe for Namor who defeats him in double-quick time.

But our anti-hero's not the only one doing re-enactments. In a sub-plot so prominent it practically becomes Plot, a group of characters re-stage the Beatles' Yellow Submarine movie by rescuing a place called Zephyrland from the spell of the dreaded She-Beast.

Savage Sub-Mariner #69, Sub-Mariner meets Spider-Man, Dr Strange
Who are these people? And what have they done with the "A" Plot?
It being Yellow Submarine Mark 2, they do it of course by using music. I don't see what these events have to do with anything and have no idea who these people are - or what guest star Dr Strange has to do with it all - but the truth is that, with Subby spending the first half of the tale info-dumping and the second half quickly defeating a foe he quickly defeated last issue, it's this somewhat odd subplot that actually gives the issue most of its appeal.

The other thing that lends it appeal is the artwork. It's pencilled by George Tuska who I know isn't everyone's cup of tea, and inked by Vince Colletta who I know is even less everyone's cup of tea, but their style's mesh pretty well here, to some degree nicely cancelling out each other's weakness - although I do have to admit Tuska's Spider-Man looks too muscular and has a strange shaped head (NB: not a Dr Strange shaped head).

It seems that, after this, there were only three more issues of this title, which is a shame because The Savage Sub-Mariner was one of my favourite strips as a kid, and it's a pity not enough people shared my enthusiasm to keep it going. Oh well. As we all know, like the tide itself, Namor may sometimes recede but, in the end, he'll always come back.


nyrdyv said...

Any time there is an appearance by Dr. Strange in the '70s it has got to be good. Of course, having both Dr. Strange and Namor in the same issue of a comic, it must be heaven.


Steven G. Willis

Steve said...

Hi, Steve (suddenly, not for the first time in my life, I feel like I'm talking to myself), thanks for dropping by. Dr Strange and Subby are indeed a boon to any comic.

Cease said...

Here we have a very non-formulaic writer in Gerber, trying to get a grip on how to bring his interests and sensibilities to Marvel (so he can keep his job and stay out of advertising, which, if Man-Thing #12 is any indication, scarred the lad).

Steve said...

Hi, cease ill. Nice to hear from you. I do always find Gerber entertaining, even at his silliest.