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The Start Of The Quest!
Not All My Power Can Save Me!
To Walk Amongst Men!
The Thing From Space
Atlantis Under Attack
October 2004 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Sub-Mariner: Volume 1

voice cast: John Vernon, Bernard Cowan, Peg Dixon, and Gillie Fenwick

director: Bill Everett

87 minutes (U) 1966
Maximum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Tom Matic
Coming from the same series of Marvel Comics adaptations as Iron Man, Sub-Mariner has none of the wisecracks and Cold War rhetoric of Tony Stark's atomic age hero. Prince Namor of Atlantis by contrast inhabits a fantastical undersea world of quasi-Biblical, sub-Shakespearian dialogue, Ionic columns and magic tridents. Although many of its trappings come from classical mythology, Namor's Atlantis also possesses a technology of sorts, including robot-driven tanks. The SF elements in Sub-Mariner are like these of a Flash Gordon nature, and the cartoon has a similar structure to such Saturday morning serials.

The initial quest narrative pits the deposed prince against the usurping tyrant Warlord Krang, whose domed head, pointy ears, goatee beard and epicanthic eyebrows make him resemble an underwater Ming the Merciless. In Atlantis, social hierarchy is indicated by the height of the eyebrows, with royals having high curving brows and more plebeian types more average ones. With his heightened brows and pointy ears, Namor can best be visualised as an underwater, bodybuilding Mr Spock in swimming trunks. It is not long before he and his faithful companions face such terrors as 'the Dome of Doom', 'the Quagmire of Doom' and finally 'the Iron Idol of Infamy'. On the way, he occasionally enlists the help of Neptune, God of the Deep.

Again contrasting with the militarism of Iron Man, Sub-Mariner has an antiwar dimension. While Prince Namor wishes to avoid war with the 'surface people' (us), he is deposed by the warmongering Krang. While Namor is off pursuing his quest to find some magic trident or other, there are rumblings of discontent from the plebeian types, who are sick of getting taxed to pay for Krang's military spending. This leads to a popular uprising, which Krang brutally suppresses, but only after some angry Atlanteans have burst through the doors of his throne/control room. Even after removing Krang, Namor still has his work cut out preventing war between Atlantis and the surface people, who have begun underwater drilling that is threatening the undersea kingdom. Surfacing to confront the humans, Namor goes all Man From Atlantis with shades of The Creature Walks Among Us. Like Iron Man, Sub-Mariner is a piece of hokum, but its colourful underwater setting makes it a bit more watchable.

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