In the 1920s, the young Prince Namor encountered a little girl named Sandy on the beach. Six years later he meets her again, and both have changed: Namor has grown into a handsome young man, and Sandy has transformed into a beautiful girl. Of course there's a mutual attraction between them, confirmed when Sandy invites the self-revealed Atlantean to a social mixer on shore. But you don't have to have read Hans Christian Andersen to know how this love story will turn out...
When I first heard that Andi Watson of all people would be co-writing this series with Bill Jemas, I was a tad bit concerned. (Anyone who's read MARVILLE will understand why.) When I discovered that Jemas had come up with the story and that Watson would be writing the script, however, all those fears evaporated. Reading the second issue of NAMOR is precisely like reading an issue of SLOW NEWS DAY or BREAKFAST AFTER NOON, only without the trademark deceptively simple Watson artwork. Watson's attention to character here is just as insightful and sharp as his work on those indie series, and the strength of his writing is such that, even if this series hadn't been about one of Marvel's oldest continuing characters, we'd still want to read it. It's just that good.
I do find myself wondering what this series would have looked like had Watson illustrated it, however - his almost cartoonish style would have provided an interesting counterpoint to the completely realistic emotional undercurrents of the script. As it is, however, we get the impressively clear and beautiful work of Salvador Larocca and Danny Miki, providing a style which makes even the underwater scenes, which are normally boring in just about every series or comic devoted to such heroes as Namor or Aquaman, exciting and captivating. Special thanks should go to J.D. Smith, whose colors are what give this artwork the depth it deserves. Any lesser colorist might simply have slapped the same blue tones on everything, including the Atlanteans, and considered his work done, but Smith's work is exceptional.
There are a few minor problems here, such as the seemingly anachronistic surfing scene (even though young people did surf in the 1920s, one wonders if they really looked much the same as they do now) and the niggling fear that this story may end up being all too predictable (will Namor find true love on the shore? Yeah, but not until another blond girl named Sue Storm came along...) But apart from that, NAMOR is a book that reads beautifully, looks marvelous, and captures the imagination in a way that few stories written about the Sub-Mariner have ever managed to do. Dive into it.