John Byrne’s run establishing this series was kind of a train wreck but at least he brought back Iron Fist. Now, Bob Harras takes over and seems to want to take the book in a different direction, but has a string of artists and inkers assigned to the book, which makes it feel very disjointed and unplanned. And everybody gets new costumes. On the cover to #34, above, Namor almost looks grotesque.
He brings Namor back to Atlantis for a war against undead Atlanteans, abruptly moves Iron Fist, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing out of the book (even though they’ve been major characters), mostly drops the “Namor as corporate leader” shtick, gives Namor his footwings back.
As you can see, the art is highly stylized.
And look what Jae Lee does to Tiger Shark…
Lee is a distinctive artist, and his shadowy, monstrous work sets a creepy tone for this book as it moves back into (and under) the Ocean. The problem is, he doesn’t’ stay with the book, and the switches in tone don’t help elevate the mediocre writing. It feels jumbled and purposeless.
By the end of this arc, Namor has freed Atlantis from corrupt leadership (again) and nearly everything Byrne did is undone. Byrne’s work on Namor wasn’t great, so it’s not like I’m sad to see this reboot, but this work isn’t great either. Like Byrne’s run, it’s just a little above average.
Creators: Bob Harras, with art by Jae Lee (pencils and inks through issue #38), Jae Lee on pencils with inks by Jimmy Palmiotti on #39, then Palmiotti takes pencils with assistance from “Howard Rourke” (who appears to really be Bill Sienkiewicz) on both pencils and inks, and finally we move to Scott Kolins doing the art on #40. All artists with very different styles.
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.