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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

It's a shame that Namor isn't more popular than he is today. One of the very first Marvel superheroes, he's also the oldest mutant the company has.

Namor the Sub-Mariner - monarch of the mighty, sunken empire Atlantis - strives to balance his fiery temper with his responsibilities of state. Ruling from his undersea throne, Namor's foremost concern is the welfare of his subjects. But on occasion, he rises from the depths to defend all humanity! Namor is an amphibian, and so breates water and air with equal facility. He can lift about 85 tons at peak capacity, although his strength degrades the longer he remains on land. Namor is able to fly for several hours at speeds of up to 60 mph before tiring, and he possesses limited invulnerability.

Part of the "Fantastic Four"-themed Series 2, Namor has often been a foe - and even sometimes and ally - of Marvel's first family. He was an environmental activist before there were even words to describe such a thing, proving just how in-touch (or plain lucky) Stan Lee was back in those days.

There haven't been a lot of Namor figures over the years, so this Marvel Legends version was a welcome offering. Wearing a dark blue vest and pants, he doesn't look like your standard Sub-Mariner. The vest is removable, though, which leaves him with a fairly un-detailed body - great custom fodder. Now that he's finally reaching clearance prices, Namor's a worthy purchase.

Standing 6⅝" tall, Namor moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, ankles and toes. He's even got those silly little wings on his ankles. His muscles are fairly well sculpted, with a great paint job to make them stand out more. He's got an imperious look on his face, perfect for the monarch of the seven seas.

Namor, two years older than the pretender to the crown who swims under DC's seas, set the standard by which all aquatic warriors are judged: improved strength, vision and durability, all forged by the pressure of tons of seawater. More regal, more versatile and more driven than Aquaman, Namor is the mer-MAN!

Like the rest of the Marvel Legends, Namor comes with a detailed base. Similar to the Human Torch's fire base, Namor also has a suspending tower. His represents a column of water, swirling 6½" upward to carry him toward his foe. Though there is a wall-​mounting bracket on the bottom of the base, it just looks bad when hung on the wall. The base is also being reworked for ML5's Nick Fury, which means that he won't be able to hang on the wall, either. Namor has one other accessory, the world's most ostentatious spear.

Actually, it's the Trident of Neptune, the weapon of the Roman god and the symbol of Atlantean royalty. It's a ridiculously ornate design, but it's taken straight from the comics - specifically, John Buscema's 1968 cover for Sub-Mariner #1. But what works in two dimensions doesn't always work in three - all the shapes of the spear are right, but the layout is wonky. The "fins" above the head of the trident are turned 90° around the shaft, rather than being aligned; was this done to make the spear more visually interesting, or just because they wouldn't fit the way they were drawn? In the art, the tail that wraps around the shaft just disappears around the back, but the sculpt can't cheat like that, so it just has to just sort of stop when you get around there. The trident is 8⅞" long. Namor was sculpted by Phil Ramirez, so presumably the trident was as well.

Namor comes with a reproduction of Savage Sub-Mariner #67, which introduces and explains the costume worn by this figure, which makes it a good choice. Sadly, it's still Namor, so that's not helping its coolness. He's holding the trident on the cover, but it's a simplified design.

There was some confusion about why Namor was wearing not his classic costume, but rather something that hadn't been seen in the comics for decades. Actually, the answer's very simple: the country is directed by Christians.

No, not the nice, level-headed Christians you see at church every week; we're talking about the Fundamentalist, Bible-thumping "American Taliban" whackjobs who make a bad name for everyone else: Jerry Falwell decrying a character for toddlers as gay; the Catholic League pulling off a successful boycott of a film they've never seen because they don't like the idea of it; a president who ignores his duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution because he can't understand the concept of "separation" of church and state. Those Christians. The scumbags.

In this reactionary, neo-Puritanical age, do you really think people like that would long let a figure remain on shelves that was mostly naked? I'm sure it would be viewed as an affront to decent society. Or at least their idea of it.

Of course, it could just be like Jesse Falcon said, that the costume was more interesting. Whichever.

-- 03/15/03

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