Marvel’s latest promotionally priced title is released today. The next one is Uncanny X-Men next week, followed by the first June issue of Incredible Hulk. They lose money with each one, with the hopes of picking up enough new readers with later issues of the title. They got me with the Fantastic Four issue last year, but not with the Daredevil issue in February. Will they get me this time?

General Information

Title: Namor #1
Author: Andi Watson script based on a Bill Jemas story
Illustrator(s): Salvador Larroca on pencils and Danny Miki on inks
Original Publication Date: April 30, 2003
Cover Price: $0.25US, $0.40Can

Premise

Set in the 1920s and 1930s, this will tell the story of Namor’s
formative years that led him to where he is now. This issue tells
part of that story, but only part.

High Point

The last page gives a hint of the maturity of future stories. (I’m
not sure why we had to wait for that page, though.)

Low Point

The lack of any character depths or characterizations. I have no
reason to care about any of these characters. The only one I really
like by the end is Bobo, and not our protagonist.

The Scores

This is original in the sense that the character is best
known as a superhero, and yet there’s not a hint of superheroics
anywhere in this issue. This looks like it’s shaping up into a decent
story about fear of the unknown. It’s set in the early decades of the
1900s, which is fairly unique, but without showing any real fashion or
technology in these pages, people not already somewhat familiar with
Namor’s history will have no idea why that time period was chosen for
this story. I give 4 out of 6.

The artwork is excellent. It looks very blue, as the setting
requires of it, but that could give them the chance to do some great
work with colour contrasts when they go into the surface world. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The story is far from complete. Most of the issue seems to
be spent establishing things that will become important, but there’s
not really enough to tie them together here to hold the reader’s
interest into the next issue. I’d believe that this could have the
best first trade paperback of the Tsunami titles, but I doubt it’s the
best first issue. I give it 3 out of 6, although it may come across
better in a more complete package.



The characterization is horrible. I got the impression that
Namor feels nagged and Bobo puts the welfare of others before his own,
but that’s about it. I know nothing about any other characters, which
is not a good way to start a new series. I give it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced could have been better.
There are 25 pages in this issue, and the first 22 did nothing for
me. That’s pretty sad. I give it 2 out of 6.

The flow was well done, particularly in the transition
between decades. The only problem was near the beginning; I don’t see
that mother leaving her daughter alone long enough to build a sand
castle that large. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent issue. While it’s certainly worth the
cover price for the art alone, I’m not sure if I’d want to come back
to the series until a trade paperback is available to deliver the
complete story. (I suspect that will be out in October or so.) I
give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Namor #1 receives 23 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

Six titles (Sentinel, Runaways, Human
Torch
, Venom, Mystique and Namor) were
launched in the first wave of Tsunami titles. (The first issue of
Venom is out next week, but the rest are out.) This was the
one chosen for the 25 cent issue promotion, and I’m wondering why.
I’ve read the first portions of the other issues on DotComics, but I
haven’t read the full issues. Still, Sentinel,
Runaways, and Mystique all got off to more gripping
starts than this one. This barely covers anything about where this
title is going. (All the Previews text says a love interest is
introduced next month, and she’ll be the only other character
significant enough to make it onto the cover.) The title will lose
money at this price, and yet it’s not the kind of issue that would
encourage me to come back next week. Had it been up to me, I’d have
made Runaways the promotional title, based only on its first
half.

The next promotionally priced issue is next week’s (May 7) issue of
Uncanny X-Men #424. That review will be a few days late.