|NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT #6 cover by Phil Noto|
By Jim Beard
Coming off his first arc on NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT, writer Stuart Moore looks forward—as everything goes to Hell! The Sub-Mariner plunges headlong not into the waves but the searing sands of his worst nightmare, and pulls readers right along with him.
“I started thinking about Wolverine's recent trip to Hell, and the differences between the two characters,” Moore explains. “Logan has a truckload of sins to atone for, and a lot of enemies who didn't exactly wind up going upstairs when he killed them. Namor's Hell is different: a vast, endless desert of loneliness and doubt, completely devoid of the water he needs to survive.
“The ancient kings of Atlantis are the ones who drag Namor down there, which brings up all kinds of other interesting questions about the role of a monarch, what kind of society Namor is trying to build, and whether it's possible to escape a Hell of your own making.”
Central to the series stands one of Marvel’s oldest characters, a hero to whom Moore relishes being caretaker. In fact, he feels he can read everyone’s favorite Atlantean like a book.
“Namor's greatest strength and his greatest weakness are one and the same: his enormous pride,” he says. “Deep down, he believes he can do anything: build a new Atlantis, get any woman he wants, defeat any enemy through sheer power and will. People like that are very potent forces; they accomplish great things. But when they fail, they fail spectacularly, leaving a trail of collateral damage all around them.
“He can be a real [censored], but at the same time, he's incredibly loyal and honorable. The first guy you'd want at your side when things get bad. I think of him as a real old-style pulp hero, almost like Conan underwater, but very modern at the same time.
|NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT #7 cover by Phil Noto|
The new arc, “Namor Goes to Hell,” pulls in varied aspects of Namor’s life and kingdom, and further strengthens the book’s ties to the X-Men’s world. In the last few years, the Sub-Mariner’s status as the Marvel Universe’s first mutant has exploded and Moore promises there’s even more to be told on this score.
“The X-Men's island, Utopia, is directly above New Atlantis, the colony where Namor is trying to gather his scattered people,” he notes. “That makes it very easy for guest stars to—literally—drop in. Emma Frost and Dr. Nemesis appear in NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT #6, and there's a particularly juicy X-appearance in issue #8. Issue #5 also established a connection between Namor and Loa, the young X-Man, and she's crucial to the Hell storyline as well.
“But the presence of the X-Men also has a deeper effect on Namor's relationship with his people. Some of them already resent the amount of time he spends on the surface world, and they don't like the fact that Namor’s surface allies cast an actual shadow over the new colony. Some Atlanteans don't trust mutants, either. We'll be delving into that in this storyline, and it all explodes in the next one, ‘The Fire Down Below’.”
For its own part, Atlantis enters a critical juncture in the new storyline and becomes what the writer describes as a “delicate point” in its king’s forthcoming absence.
“Namor wants very badly to reassemble his proud people, and to build a more enlightened, less savage society than the rigid, caste-based, warrior Atlantis of the past,” says Moore. “But they don't all trust him. Namor also faces a challenge from Commander Krang, who helped lead the defense of New Atlantis against the Aqueos vampires. A lot of Atlanteans think Krang would be a better leader, and we'll see him building his power base while Namor's trapped in Hell.
|NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT #8 cover by Phil Noto|
And of course, Moore also promises not only guest-spots from other Marvel notaries but also new characters and concepts.
“Doctor Doom makes a significant appearance in this storyline,” he promises. “He and Namor have a complex relationship based on sparring for power, and at the same time, they're two of the only remaining monarchs in the Marvel Universe, so they understand each other in a way other people can't. That wound up playing nicely into the story of the Atlantean kings.
“We'll explore how the kingdom’s mixture of science and magic works, and the various castes that make up the Atlantean people. You've mostly seen Warriors in the past, but there are also Builders, Judicators, Herders, and more. We'll also be building up the Logomancer, Namor's royal scientist-mage. He's a crusty little old guy, a lot of fun to write. There just might be a new love interest in Namor's life, too. And wait till you meet The Burrower!”
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