gc8's Fantastic Four #4 - The Coming of the Sub-Mariner! review

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Best of the Early Fantastic Four stories

From a writing standpoint, the fourth issue (coincidence?) happens to be the most memorable of the early issues. It brings the Sub-Mariner back into the Marvel Universe, and is often reprinted. It's also a little less silly than most of the early issues (especially the last one). Although there's plenty to dislike, like Johnny Storm being able to (and choosing to) create a tornado in downtown NYC (after the team detonated a nuke there), and some of the things listed below, but for all the good reasons I did feel compelled to give it four stars - however, I'm going to take this opportunity to discuss why I've always hated Sub-Mariner as a character:
 

  1. The name: Namor is fine, but Sub-Mariner? Can you think of a dorkier name that also fails to roll off the tongue?
  2. His costume. Granted, Sub-Mariner being essentially a sea guy has more excuse than anyone to run around in a skin-tight speedo, but does he really have to have a belt with an 'S' on it? Who does he wear that for? His subjects know him as Namor, shouldn't it be an 'N'? And who wears a belt with swim trunks anyway?
  3. In this issue Johnny burns off his beard (never mind that anyone who has burned hair knows that you can't just burn part, once it catches, it burns to the root - ouch!) but why does Namor, a fish-dude have hair at all? No sea creatures have hair... or feathers for that matter (don't talk to me about land creatures that jump in the sea once in awhile like otters and penguins). Which brings us to...
  4. Why does he have those stupid wings on his feet? Granted he doesn't actually fly in this issue, but he does in other ones. And how could those tiny wings possibly provide enough lift for him to fly? And assuming they could, he would be flying knees first with his body trailing behind and his head and arms hanging upside down looking backwards!
  5. Finally - what an a-hole! Johnny rescues him from a Bowery flophouse and restores his memories... and gets repaid by Namor vowing a violent death to him! This from a character that was considered a hero of WWII.
 
I could go on, but I'll leave it to the reader to decide - if you don't have the kind of issues I have with Namor, you'll probably agree it's an excellent early issue - if you have the same Namor issues I have... well, take solace in at least he doesn't fly, and the rest of the issue is pretty good (except the part where the Thing fights some kind of undersea bug in Giganto's stomach).

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