Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Merely Doom's Puppet

Super-Villain Team-Up #3 (Marvel, December 1975, 25 cents)
"If Vengeance Fails!" Writer: Jim Shooter, Artist: George Evans, Inker: Jack Abel, Letterer: Ray Holloway, Colorist: Ellen Vartanoff, Editor: Marv Wolfman.

While I understand that Prince Namor, the Savage Sub-Mariner, is an antihero and occasional foil for other Marvel heroes, I can't quite buy that he is a super-villain, per se. So a book featuring super villains—and starring Namor—seems a bit strange to me. As does a team-up book pairing him with Dr. Doom, who is definitely a super-villain. So I'm curious about the business reasons inspiring this book—because the creative inspiration isn't entirely clear. The series lasted 17 issues.

After killing Billy Dean, Namor's lover, Dr. Dorca becomes the object of the Sub-Mariner's ire. Tiger Shark and Attuma attack Namor in turn before Dr. Doom arrives. Doom downs the trio of foes ("I... had forgotten! You seek to ally yourself to the Prince of Atlantis!") and the two retreat to Doom's amphibious skycraft—and then Castle Latveria—to regroup. Healed and refreshed by a chemical brine-bath, Namor discusses an attack on Hydrobase with Doom.

They attack, and the Sub-Mariner frees the hostage amphibians before tracking down Tamara, who was being questioned. The battle is hard fought, and p. 26 is quite impressive. Evans's artwork is decent enough, but it is Abel's inks that make the issue worthwhile visually. The issue also includes a one-page letter column, "Bad Tidings."

Read Also: Super-Villain Team-Up #2.

Super-Villain Team-Up #6 (Marvel, June 1976, 25 cents)
"Prisoner!" Author: Steve Englehart, Artist: Herb Trimpe, Inker: Jack Abel, Letterer: Tom Orzechowski, Colorist: Janice Cohen, Editor: Marv Wolfman.

Trimpe's artwork is less giving to Abel's inks in this issue, and the artwork is not as strong. Doom has imprisoned Namor, threatening to "let you die—slowly and in agony!" The Fantastic Four arrive to rescue Namor, making it past Doom's border defenses. Meanwhile, a mysterious person called the Shroud also attempts to make his way into Doom's castle. (He later succeeds, making for an fun last panel.)

Doom demonstrates a controlled nuclear blast to Henry Kissinger (!!!) before freeing Namor and ordering him to stop the Fantastic Four. He begrudgingly does so. "Haven't they yet realized that I am no longer in control of my own actions?" A disappointing issue—and series concept, really—given that Namor is merely Doom's puppet, although the Fantastic Four appearance might have attracted some readers.

The issue also includes a one-page letter column, "Bad Tidings," which includes a letter of comment from Ralph Macchio.

Read Also: Hero for Hire #9 and Super-Villain Team-Up #5.

Availability: Both issues were reprinted in Essential Super-Villain Team-Up, Vol. 1.

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