THE X-MEN versus THE BROTHERHOOD OF EVIL MUTANTS & NAMOR
The Sub-Mariner joins the Evil Mutants (Marvel comics)
Where: X-Men #6 When: July 1964
Why: Stan Lee How: Jack Kirby
The story so far...
Once friends, two of the Earth's most powerful natural forces - Professor Charles Xavier, and the man called Magneto - become bitter enemies as they are divided by philosophy.
Forming their own mutant factions, each pledged to their own ideals of a better world for mutantkind, they come to blows as rivals.
In these formative days, both Xavier and Magneto consider the possibility that the legendary war hero - the Sub-Mariner - may in fact be a mutant, and thus begins a race to pledge the mighty warrior to each other's cause.
Will the stubborn ruler succumb to Magneto's deception, or recognise the righteous path of Xavier? Stay tuned!
Sub-Mariner (#60): Sub-Mariner defeated Tigershark and Dr. Dorcas with the aid of Spider-man.
Beast (#75): Beast assisted in the capture of Wolverine, controlled by Hydra.
Cyclops (#76): Cyclops was also present whilst tracking the Hydra influenced Wolverine.
Magneto (#116): Magneto was devoured by zombies, despite a valiant fight.
Tale of the tape...
Strength: Sub-Mariner 5 (Super Strength)
Intelligence: Beast 6 (Genius)
Speed: Quicksilver 6 (Sound Speed)
Stamina: Magneto 6 (Generator)
Agility: Ice Man 7 (Unlimited)
Fighting Ability: Sub-mariner 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Scarlet Witch 7 (Solar Power)
Happy New Year all! Naturally my computer is succumbing to the crippling effects of the Y2k07 bug, and updates have slowed again. Apologies!
Moving right along, we have some of the most prominent names in the Marvel Universe making their first feature appearances. I don't know how the X-Men have managed to stay off the radar this long, or more notably their chief adversary - Magneto, master of magnetism.
Certainly Magneto is well regarded as one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel universe, much more impressive in the comic books than his big screen appearances, which perhaps mirror some of his earlier appearances such as the story featured here.
Over time we've come to know Magneto as a much more formidable force, difficult to exhaust, and even harder to get near. His magnetic forces are capable of doing everything from repelling attacks; physically manipulating other individuals by the tiny amounts of iron in their blood; and his power even extends so far as to affect the movement of the Earth.
In prime condition, Magneto is not a guy to be messed with.
It is said Professor Charles Xavier is of comparable stature, but the broad application of abilities is what certainly gives the master of magnetism his edge. Something as simple as the helmet adorned atop Magneto's head can render Xavier's abilities naught, while such devices are much less likely to curb the mutant skills of Magneto.
Lurking between these giants is a less likely power, but one no less omnipotent.
Scarlet Witch, similarly to Jean Grey, reveals herself to have great, but uncontrolled potential. Recently displayed in the House of M series, Scarlet Witch has highlighted her hex magic is capable of extending it's reaches so far as to reshape reality in any image she sees fit.
An ability very likely shared by Jean Grey when in possession of the Phoenix power. A power with which Grey has come to be closer and closer associated.
The likes of Quicksilver and Cyclops, thought more specific, should not be scoffed. Though their mutant capabilities occupy a much narrower field, they each possess their own impressive bredth.
With his solar generated energy blasts, Cyclops can make range attacks of incredible destructive force. With the aid of his ruby quartz visor these attacks are famously referred to being as refined as to shoot through a keyhole, or so wide that they could span a football field.
Alternatively a character like Quicksilver can move at speeds so fast, he may appear as little more than a blur. This proves useful offensively, whilst also ensuring the potential safety of companions, particularly his sister, the Scarlet Witch, over whom he keeps a stubborn guard.
Mastermind's psychic abilities do not approach Jean Grey or Professor Xavier's, but he is none the less effective as creating illusion and minor distraction. Not terribly effective alone, but as a tool for someone as dangerous as Magneto, the slightest doubt can be the turning point.
Of course, I haven't even begun to acknowledge the presence of the special guest of the story. A character pledged by the Brotherhood, but not yet specifically aligned to either side -- the Sub-Mariner.
A mutant himself, Sub-Mariner arguably approaches the level of power possessed by Xavier and Magneto, although his own skills have their own slant.
Existing in the deepest pressures of the ocean, Namor's strength is impossible, as is his iron will and endurance, which are arguably powers unto themselves.
Between the evenly matched forces of the X-Men and the Brotherhood, Sub-Mariner could very realistically be recognised as the deciding factor. However, the X-Men are a better balanced team, compared to the top heavy Brotherhood. Without the Sub-Mariner, the Brotherhood also find themselves outnumbered, which is no small edge.
Average: The X-Men 22.83 (+1.5)
Overall: The X-Men 137 (+9)
The Pick: The X-Men
What went down...
At the dawn of the Marvel Universe proper, things were a little different.
Sub-Mariner had preceded all these bozos by about thirty years, and he was even best pals with Captain America, so he was something of a big man on campus.
Magneto has beaten Xavier to the pledge, but things aren't going all in the Magster's favour. Having arrived on Magneto's secret island, the Atlantean monarch is not at all impressed.
Knowing a good thing when he has it, Magneto tries to seduce Namor with the use of his attractive young daughter - the Scarlet Witch. Unfortunately she has little reign over her powers, and accidentally solicits the firing of a couple of electric bolts at Namor's back.
Unphased, Namor finally notices the charms of the young girl, but it's at this time that the Angel swoops in for an attack, knocking Mastermind down, and prompting Toad to use his inspired powers to leap.
It's after that unceremonious entrance that Angel reveals he has a message for Magneto, but by then he's none too interested. Instead, Magneto tosses a bunch of magnetized boulders Angel's way.
Just to show how much of a bigshot he was at the time, Namor tells Magneto to shove it while he shows him what REAL power is! Nobody's getting away with that these days, nosiree.
Real power, as it were, apparently involves snatching out of the air before tossing him in a non-consensual fastball special. How humiliatin'!
Fortunately Beast is waiting on the plank of the X-Men's pirate ship [I wonder if they call it the blackbeard... Yuk yuk... - Merciful Mike] and with the help of Iceman, they bring Angel to safety.
Magneto continues to wreak havok, using a giant magnet to blast the X-Men's ship to smithereens. It is only by Beast's strength that Prof X doesn't end up a legless man in a swimming contest, and Iceman is quick thinking enough to freeze up some solid ground for the team to regroup.
As the team make their way to the secret island, mysterious thorny roots emerge apparently from nowhere. Professor X is steady when he orders to Cyclops to walk directly toward the spikey thorns without hesitance. No doubt the Professor can see through what is clearly an illusion cast by the Mastermind, but hey, even if he's wrong it's probably a win-win.
The illusions failing, Quicksilver enters the field to halt Cyclops as he attempts to sabotage the mighty magnet. Quicksilver's staggering speed leaves the X-Man shooting at air until Jean Grey intervenes, using her telekinesis to snatch Quicksilver into the air, and jerk him around until he's too dizzy to run.
From the safety of his lair, Magneto berates the Scarlet Witch as she pleads with her master to save Quicksilver from the clutches of the X-Men.
Ever the chivalrous chap, Namor steps in with the intention of tearing Magneto's machines asunder as punishment for speaking in such a way to a woman.
The noble Sub-Mariner finds himself assaulted as pieces of metal hurl themselves at his mighty muscles, binding and constricting his very movement.
Cyclops blasts his way into the fort, sending the Brotherhood sprawling. Mastermind casts the illusion of a fog, giving them the opportunity needed to retreat deeper into Magneto's lair, but the Scarlet Witch is too slow. Magneto, declaring his survival of greater importance to the mutant race, leaves her to the men he has painting as demons.
Fortunately the Sub-Mariner assumes the role of burly protector!
Enforcing the Witch's pleas for her brother's freedom, Sub-Mariner engages in combat with the Beast. Again the Sub-Mariner proves his superiority, besting Beast's strength.
Field-leader, Cyclops, tries to organize the troops to make a strategized attack against Namor, but the hot-headed Angel is too impetuous.
He leaves Cyclosp to plan, as he flies into battle, crossing directly into the path of a helpless Beast, man-handled by the Sub-Mariner.
With his hand forced, Cyclops makes a spotaneous attack, unleashing his optic blasts with unforgiving force.
Pinned to the wall Namor boasts the potency of his enduring will, challenging him to do his worst.
Cyclops does not have opportunity to tire, suffering the probability altering hex power of the Scarlet Witch, who sees fit to aid the man who did defend her.
As the rocks beneath his feet loosen, Cyclops' breaks his beam and the Sub-Mariner is free to deliver vengeance to the X-Men once more.
The intervention of Professor Xavier stays Namor's hand, and while the Atlantean royal takes offense to being referred to as a "pawn," he does not follow through with his fury.
Instead, Magneto launches one final bitter attack from the mechanical electro-magnet. The invisible magnetic force pins the Sub-Mariner to the ground, crushing down on him with untold force.
Unable to move, Namor strikes his mighty fists to the ground again, and again, and again, shaking the ground. His blows unsettle the island, toppling the giant magnet and ending it's attack.
Tired of the insolence of the squabbling mutants, Namor returns to the ocean, leaving the Brotherhood to escape on board a rocket, while the X-Men see to repairing their ship.
Well, I think this is a first as we close out the year.
Since he ended up fighting everyone and winning, the sole victor here is Namor, with an assist from Scarlet Witch.
I can't say I have many comics from the sixties, so it's quite fun to feature this, the oldest comic seen on Secret Earths thus far.
Particularly as it harkens back to a time when a dear favourite of mine, the Sub-Mariner, was almost the kind of celebrity we now recognise Wolverine or Spider-man as.
In the latter part of this decade Namor has enjoyed a more noteworthy time in the spotlight, featuring in The Illuminati, while also having a unique connection to the heart of the on-going Civil War crossover.
It seems fitting that Namor's connection, the death of his cousin Namorita, stems at the very beginning of the event. As I've often said here, Sub-Mariner is the Kevin Bacon of the Marvel Universe.
Spidey has his pals, but Sub-Mariner has links to everyone.
While I enjoy the fact that such an integral character to Marvel's history is again enjoying more priminent success, I do have to be somewhat reticent about the approach. I've had several people alerting me to the confirmation of a new Namor on-going title, and as good news as that is, one can't help but imagine what's coming won't last.
As much of a purest I am, I'm just expecting something a little too plain, and I think to succeed in a starring role, Sub-Mariner needs something a little bit different. A little bit spicey, and unexpected, but still with grounding that makes sense.
I don't think it's necessarily required, but I consider it a good idea to distance Namor from Atlantis. For whatever reason, it just isn't a compelling scenario, no matter how ingrained it is to the character.
I'm a fan of the idea of Namor in the "real world," interacting with elements he's familiar with, but still struggling to come to terms with them.
I tihnk he works on the surface so well because he has spent so much time there over the years. He becomes a very versatile character when you cast a net over all the ideas that have been tried, and I think that's where you really find the strength of the character.
I love that there's a corporate history, I love that there's a mutant connection, I love that he's dealt with Daredevil and Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
I think if you bring this all together, and think about the character's history, you find a lot of compelling story potential.
I also like the fact that he's incredibly connected, despite being something of a solemn loner character, and a character who really hasn't had to connect with the world, or understand it on anyone else's terms. He's a character of dichotomy, even down to his genetics, which is also a source of story, I believe.
Those reading can probably tell I'm just dying to talk about my 'pitch,' but I'll let you guys off easy today. Let's just say, I'm disappointed Marvel haven't discussed there plans with me, because they're really not helping!
Still, Iron Fist as Daredevil? I can work with that...
The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 5