Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Say NaMOR! Say NaMOR, squire! (Monty Python Reference? No?) (Issue #6)

Wow, I've already read my way through an entire year of the X-Men! Of course, there are only six issues in a year, so I feel cheap celebrating it ... but anytime I get to have cake and wear a party hat is good by me. CAKE!CAKE!CAKE!CAKE!

You know who WOULDN'T like cake? Namor! (He's kinda a jerk!)
[I am not getting nominated for that "Best Segue In A Comic Book Blog" award, am I?]

But more on that later, you know who DOES like cake? The X-Men. [SECOND non-nomination!] Especially if it's brought to them by the obliging Jean Gray who cannot wait for the Women's Movement to gain some more steam ... or can she? She seems rather accepting of her role, actually:

"Why, whatever else is a woman FOR, Professor?!"
While Jean continues to hover in the background, wearing an apron and scolding the boys on their table manners (all true!) The Professor reads in the newspaper that Namor, the Sub-Mariner, has been spotted in the area. His decision that the X-Men should go out to find him and get him on the side of good before Magneto does. It is SUCH a mid-sixty's arms-race parable type of story that I cannot decide if it's intentional or not. If it's intentional, it's so thinly veiled that even the most liberal of harem masters would say it's indecent. (In this analogy, the arms race is a harem?)

Then this happens:

For someone who has just been told they are a mutant, he certainly buys in quick. Shouldn't this have been a bigger deal for him? Yet he accepts it with all the casualness of someone being told that the Talapia special is, in fact, sold out. (Though, personally, I do a LOT more soul searching and weeping when that happens to me, but I'm no sub-mariner who is used to having fish run away from him before he can eat them, I suppose..)

It has just occurred to me that I should attempt a "Sub Marinara" joke when I order my next meatball footlong at SubWay. I'll let you know how that goes.

I'd also like to note that, because I take notes for these blog posts on my phone, my phone now recognizes "Namor" as a correct spelling and has added it to its dictionary. This X-Men project is the gift that keeps on giving. I can only hope that in a few years I'm going to misspell "no more" and my phone will suggest "Namor". The smile that that will cause will last all too briefly, but it'll be powerful. Future good times!

I seem to be increasingly fascinated with costume changes, and it scares me, but Jean Gray's costume changes from a hood to a mask

"Whip My Hair" really moved her.
Wrapping it up, Namor realized that he's been played and wants no more to do with us filthy land-walkers and returns to his watery home to be among his people, the sea-swimmers. The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who were caught by the X-Men, are allowed to escape because, as Prof X says, he'd rather they, "...join us of their own free will." (You know, that free will that he took away from The Vanisher?! Ok Ok, I'll lay off The Vanisher fiasco, for a while, I promise). Jean Gray chimes in:

Women just don't want to see other women succeed.
Yes, Jean. It's better she go back to her abusive relationship with Magneto than stay and compete with you for the affections of the X-Men. Also: Not said, but you can tell Jean is thinking it: "Magneto gets mad at her because of something she did." So, overall, yeah ... this issue set women's lib back a couple of months, at least.

In conclusion:
As I move from one ... fiscal? comical? issue-ical? ... year to the next, I ask myself this question: If I were a kid in 1964 (and despite my grousing like an old person about the weather, kids today, and sodas just not tasting the same as they did when I was younger, I was NOT) would I have stuck with this series? Would I have continued reading? The honest answer is: Probably. Though, if only because this comic is about outsider kids, suffering from alienation. And if my youth in 1963 would have been anything like my real childhood, then I'd have been a helpless nerd who needed any friends he could get - even ones made of ink on paper.

I also would have continued reading in the hopes that it would be a sign of my devotion to mutants and that my strong faith in them would one day transform ME into an X-Man, myself. (Which, secretly, is also the reason I'm doing this project, in the first place. Professor X, you have my number, use it!)

One last thing. I know I've not given much (any) space to discussing the marvelous ads that these old issues have, but...


Want to read along? This story are covered in X-Men Volume 1 (Marvel Masterworks)