“The Taking of Tridents 1-2-3”
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artists: Clay Mann(p), Terry Pallot(i), Lee Louridge(c)
In the first Marvel Adventures appearance of Namor, the Atlantean invites Sue for a peace summit on an Atlantean sea-station. Sue of course brings the rest of the FF. Other guests at the summit include a crusty old stereotype sea captain and Attuma. The sea-station is not merely a place of technological wonder; it's also meant to be a gallery for Atlantean heritage and artwork. The Lemurian Tridents serve as the centerpiece for this exhibit, but there's just one problem. One-moment security laser beams surround them, the next moment they vanish. The prime suspect? The Invisible Woman.
The latest from Van Lente is just impressive in every aspect of writing. The characters ripple with personality as their dialogue roils with wit and resonance. Namor for instance insists on calling Mr. Fantastic "Stretchy Man." The insult combines his disdain for Reed as well as his want to belittle him in front of his object d'amor Susan.
The dialogue distinguishes some characters from their more familiar sources. Attuma and his men for instance become almost Klingon like and Johnny and Ben refer to them as "the hicks" of the sea. Susan's dialogue bears her optimism and sweetness that charms even Attuma and is men, while Security Chief Andromeda speaks tersely and in a pragmatic manner that befits her status.
The dialogue runs though a good detective story. Van Lente introduces the suspects. He plays up the red herrings and he does a good job framing Sue. There's a telling moment in the story from Reed where he admits that the evidence against his partner is damning.
Love beyond Namor's appreciation for Susan blooms at the conference. In the most hilarious moment in the book, Clay Mann, Terry Pallot and Lee Louridge mingle their talents to portray Johnny Storm's hormones aflame for Andromeda. Given the sexy but not obvious way she's drawn, who can blame him? It's also obliging to the Torch that the Thing when they stage a fight bats him toward the lady of his desires. The Thing's strategy is a sound one and goes beyond doing Johnny a favor. If Andromeda is stuck with a love-sick puppy, she can't very well be observing Reed examining the evidence.
Reed's intelligence and confidence comes through the pages in how he treats Namor. He accepts that Namor has the serious hots for his partner, and he uses those emotions to his advantage to force Namor to release the station from lockdown--the second most hilarious moment in the book--in order to solve the mystery. Reed's trust in Sue is without a doubt.
Van Lente plausibly embroils the Fantastic Four in a classic detective story device while the art team brings a decidedly futuristic nuance to the panels as they animate the characters.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!