Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Aquaman gets the Fisherman, Namor gets Tiger Shark. Seems fair.

While I'm not a huge fan of Aquaman or the Sub-Mariner, I usually enjoy their books when I get them. But I'd have to say, while neither has a deep Rogues' Gallery, they do have a couple good ones. Black Manta is probably Aquaman's best, and for Namor, I like Tiger Shark.

He's got a pretty good origin: former Olympic swimmer Todd Arliss was making plans to cash in on his victories, when he was injured while saving a drowning man. (Tellingly, Arliss was thinking of the headlines at the time.) In the Marvel tradition of Dr. Strange or Daredevil, normal doctors could do nothing for him, and with his swimming career seemingly over, Todd takes an alternative-medicine approach. He turns to Dr. Dorcas, who plans to use his 'Morphotron' and the Sub-Mariner to turn Todd into an amphibian. It fixes Todd's back, sure, but also gives him gills, and "the powers and limitations of a shark."

Todd didn't really want to be a villain or a shark-guy, but there he is. He doesn't want to be Dorcas' puppet, and ends up fighting Namor since he's pissed about being held captive. Weakened by the experiment and then distracted by the return of Lady Dorma, Namor gets beat down; and the newly-named Tiger Shark takes off with Dorma as his captive, possibly so he has someone to talk to for his new life under the sea...

Years later, in both the Fox Avengers cartoon and the Busiek/Bagley Thunderbolts, Todd would be shown to be mutated into a more shark-like form; not unlike every shark-guy in comics. I liked him better has a guy in a suit (although he could lose the fringe...) and seem to recall him handing Wolverine his ass during Acts of Vengeance.

Scans from Tales to Astonish #5 (reprinting Sub-Mariner #5) "Watch Out for...Tiger Shark!" Written by Roy Thomas, art by John Buscema, inks by Frank Giacoia.

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