Namor the Sub-Mariner #45

Issue Date: 
December 1993
Story Title: 
Hunting Ground

Glenn Herdling (writer), Geof Isherwood (artist), Michael Higgins (letterer), Dr. Martin (colorist), Mike Rockwitz (editor), Ralph Macchio (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

After finding a whale beached in Boston, Namor learns how it got there. Heading out to the Antarctic, Namor happens upon a Japanese vessel being attacked by Attuma and his followers. At first, Namor battles Attuma but, once he learns that the Japanese sailors were hunting whales, he turns his attention to them. Before he can cause further damage to the Captain, he is attacked by Sunfire. Sunfire was there as protection from Attuma and his forces who have attacked Japanese vessels in the past. As Namor and Sunfire begin to do battle, Attuma fires a harpoon at them which hits Namor. Enraged, Sunfire attacks Attuma and knocks him into the water. Once he does, Attuma tosses the ship in the air, with the sailors falling off into the sea. Namor is able to recuperate, catches the ship and, along with Sunfire and a whale, saves the crew. Making his way back to Massachusetts, Namor tells Walter Newell that it’s time to rebuild Hydrobase. In New Jersey, Triton leaves his fellow Inhumans behind and leaps into the water to follow his own path.

Full Summary: 

Three months ago, in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic Ocean, the Japanese catcher vessel, Sierra, has been sailing the icy waters for the past several months. It’s mission – the wholesale slaughter of Minke whales under the guise of “scientific research.”

The captain of the vessel barks orders to harpoon the Minke calf but the tides are turned when the hunter suddenly becomes the prey when the captain gets a spear chucked into his chest. Just then, a number of Atlantean warriors board the ship. As they do, they tell the surface dwellers that they have invaded their home for the last time, prepare to die!

The battle is fierce but mercifully swift. The makeshift weapons of the sailors are no match for the strength and precision with which the water-breathing barbarians wield their coral-edged swords. The sailors can only beg for mercy as the leader of the barbaric horde arrives and shows them none. Standing over the slaughtered sailors, Attuma tells his faithful troops well done. The surface-dwellers have exploited their hunting grounds long enough. No longer shall they lay silent when they endanger the food supply of their people. So swears Attuma! In the distance, a lone Minke calf escapes the carnage, leaving behind a dead mother as it heads north.

In the present, in Gloucester Beach in Massachusetts, where the regal figure of Namor ponders a decision that may well have far-reaching consequences for the land and sea that are both his to call home. Sitting on a nearby rock, Walter Newell tells Namor that they can reconstruct Dorcas’s domed research station to create an undersea environment in which humans and Atlanteans can coexist. It would just require a joint effort from both races and (quietly) funding from his company Oracle, Inc.

Namor informs Walter that he knows not the state of affairs with Oracle sine he left it in the care of his cousin, Nita. He also cautions any joint venture between their races since they always seem to be at odds. Walter says his point exactly. By working together with him acting as ambassador, they can begin to erase old prejudices and establish harmony. Imagine how the research facility could enlighten the surface world as to the importance of its last and greatest resource – the sea. When Namor asks who would live in such a place, Walter replies himself for one as well as his wife, Di…

Before Walter can finish his sentence, Walter’s wife, Diane runs towards them and tells them that the harbor patrol has just notified her that a whale has beached itself. With a concerned look on his face, Namor tells Walter that he must borrow one of his submersibles to hasten his journey to Boston Harbor.

In Boston Harbor, as the beached whale lies on the sand, the onlookers stare in awe and concern. Once the Sub-Mariner arrives on the scene, the law enforcement says thank god. They’ve been trying to push it back into the water, but it doesn’t want to go. Maybe he can command it to… Landing on the beach, Namor tells him that he cannot command these majestic creatures as he can other life in the sea. But he can communicate with it. Ripping off his shirt, Namor exclaims that the cetacean has expired. But its dying thoughts portrayed disturbing images in the Antarctic, near the site of old Atlantis. There is much surface dwellers do not know about these gentle giants. But if they are in danger, the avenging son will heed their call.

In the Antarctic, a Japanese ship attempts to harpoon a whale but misses. When it does, the captain tells his mysterious friend in the cabin that the current market price for whale meat will make this harvest most profitable. Just then, a spear flies in, narrowly missing him. The captain gives the call that they are under attack. Seeing a number of blue-skinned men climbing into the vessel, the captain states that they must be the beings responsible for destroying so many of their vessels in recent months. But this time, they will not find them unprepared.

With that, a number of ninjas emerge and attack the oncoming Atlanteans. One of the Atlanteans asks what madness? Sword-bearing warriors appearing as if from nowhere… Once he is killed, another says that it’s impossible. The timid minnows now fight like frenzied sharks. They are undone! Taking out four ninjas himself, Attuma calls his followers spineless jellyfish and to hold their ground. Attuma does not surrender so easily. To vanquish these air-breathing slugs they need only to slay their captain. With that, Attuma tosses his sword at the captain.

At the last second, Namor blocks the sword with his wrist guard and tells Attuma “not today, barbarian.” No more shall die while he yet lives. As Namor leaps down towards Attuma, Attuma calls him a half-breed and tells him that this affair does not concern him. Grabbing Attuma by the throat, Namor tells him that everything at sea concerns him, especially this close to his old home. Fighting back, Attuma calls Namor pink-skin and says it is his home now and he is not welcome. He then gives the order to his faithful horde to dispose of him.

While Attuma’s followers descend upon their foe, Namor asks Attuma if it has been so long since they clashed that he has forgotten the legendary might of the one true Sub-Mariner? Yelling out “Imperius Rex,” Namor tosses the warriors away as if they were ragdolls. Backhanding Attuma, Namor tells him that he disgusts him. He violates their most sacred laws by slaughtering the giant whales that have been their companions since time immemorial. Attuma asks Namor if he’s blind. Pointing over to the captain of the vessel, he states that these barracudas are overfishing their food supply. Women and children are starving in that city they are trying to re-colonize.

Angrily grabbing the Captain by the collar, Namor asks him if it’s true. Is he disregarding the international whaling committee’s moratorium on commercial whaling? The captain stammers n-no. They may still harvest limited numbers for research. Gritting his teeth, Namor angrily asks the Captain that he dares call such senseless slaughter “research?” Maybe he should conduct some “research” on… Before he can move any further, Namor is blasted in the back with a solar flare. Removing his disguise, Sunfire tells Namor that he suggests he conduct himself with better manners or his next solar flare will be the last thing he ever feels. Because his attire has changed since last they met, allow him to introduce himself. He knows him as Sunfire!

At the amusement pier at Seaside Heights, New Jersey, within a tent marked “sideshow performers”… As Triton works out, Karnak says to him that he does not understand why he persists in this activity. Triton replies that of all people he should know that since they returned to Earth they must acclimate themselves to its higher gravity. Gorgon remarks that they must be over fifty tons of resistance on that hydraulic press. Triton proceeds to tell him that he would do well to being an exercise program too. Remember how easily they Inhumans fall prey to Earth’s pollutants. Gorgon responds that the only pollutants he’s gonna fall prey to are amber-colored liquids with suds floating on top. Slapping Karnak on the back, he asks him right? Karnak tells him o-of course.

As Gorgon and Karnak depart the tent, Gorgon tells his fin-headed friend that if he cares to join them, they’ll be in the bar tent. They’ll be the ones surrounded by a harem of beautiful women. Even as his teammates depart, the figure (Triton) remains silent, lost in a state of unrelenting obsession.

Meanwhile, in the Ross Sea, Sunfire stands over Namor and tells him to stay down. He adds that when the Japanese government asked him to protect its whaling fleet from suspecting pirates, he was more than happy to oblige. But squashing the hybrid who was largely responsible for the defeat of their ancestors nearly fifty years ago is an unexpected bonus. One of Attuma’s followers stands behind Sunfire and tells him keep gloating pompous air-sack. It will give him time to strike. Just then, he does and slashes Sunfire across the back.

Turning around, Sunfire says to him that he would dare strike him from behind, one who can generate a psionic field that absorbs any blow his armor can’t. He then asks if his blue skin will do the same for his plasma burst. Before Sunfire can strike, Namor tackles Sunfire and tells him that he will not find out today.

As they fall into the sea below, Attuma’s follower exclaims Neptune’s Trident! Namor’s lunge carried them both into the sea. Attuma asks him if he realizes that victory is now within his grasp? The follower answers o-of course. Making his way over to him, Attuma asks him what possessed him to aid the surface-loving half-breed. The follower answers that h-he was helping them. Lifting him up by his neck with a jerk, Attuma tells him that he has no need for his kind of help just as he has no further need for him. With that, Attuma tosses him away with great ease.

Attuma remarks that perhaps he can yet influence the outcome of this affair. Looking over the edge of the vessel, Attuma asks what madness? The very sea is boiling like molten lava… Emerging from the sea, locked in battle, Namor asks Sunfire if he’s insane. Generating such extreme heat could melt surrounding glaciers causing havoc untold worldwide. Sunfire tells him not to lecture him. That was merely a sample of his true ability. Namor remarks that he has met two Human Torches in battle. He will not allow a cheap imitation to defeat him.

Maneuvering behind Namor, Sunfire asks him what is the power of a matchstick to that of a sun. Even now as he struggles against his ion field, the intense heat absorbs his precious strength-giving moisture. Struggling, Namor weakly says he’s de-hydrating… must… reach… water… must… break…

At that moment, Attuma grabs one of the harpoon guns and aims it skywards. As he does, he states that the flying air-breather underestimates Namor’s power. Thus, it shall be Attuma who rids them of this uninvited arbitrator so that they may resume their battle without further interference. Once Attuma fires the harpoon, Namor is able to free himself from Sunfire’s grasp. While he falls to the sea below, the harpoon strikes him. Seeing what has transpired, Sunfire calls Attuma a barbarian dog and asks him what he has done. He sullied an honorable victory with the vilest form of trickery imaginable, shooting a disabled opponent in the back. Now suffer the consequences of Sunfire’s wrath! With that, Sunfire shoots Attuma in the chest with one of his solar blasts.

Soaring in the sky above the ship, Sunfire mentions that his solar flare carried Attuma overboard and his army followed. Does that mean this affair is over? Just then, Sunfire notices that the ship is rising from the churning sea, scattering its crew into the icy waters. This is not possible. In the water, underneath the ship, Attuma states that it is indeed possible for one who is powerful enough to have taken on the Sub-Mariner and won, just as this battle is now won.

At that moment, Attuma tosses the ship into the air and tells Sunfire to catch. As he makes the attempt to get out of the way, Sunfire exclaims no. There are still people aboard the… Once the ship strikes Sunfire, Namor explodes from the sea and tells Sunfire to fear not for his countrymen, the scourge of the seven seas shall not allow any harm to befall them. Catching the ship in mid-air, Namor states that, although he loathes their ideals and practices, ignorance is no reason to condemn a man to an icy grave. Flying down towards the sea, Sunfire asks Namor – alive? Namor replies aye, though the healing waters of the Antarctic took much time to counter the injuries he sustained from him and Attuma.

Peering out of the water, Attuma laughs and remarks that those two will never save the entire crew before Father Neptune claims their worthless souls. He then tells his faithful troops mission accomplished, time to go home. Once they depart, Sunfire informs Namor that their rescue efforts proceed much too slowly. Some of the men are already succumbing to hypothermia.

Leaping into the water, Namor curses Attuma and his belligerence but the avenging son will not submit so easily. Watching Namor leaning up against a whale, Sunfire asks him what he’s doing. Namor informs him that he has the ability to request the aid of the majestic beast. He then tells to Sunfire to pray to whatever god he worships that its ego is not as big as those he’s witnessed today. Shortly, the whale begins to swim around, collecting the stranded sailors from the vessel.

The rescue efforts continue until Sunfire picks up the last one, whom Namor identifies as such. The sea did not claim a single life, he states. Inside, the captain says h-he has been a foolish old man. When he gazed into the great beast’s eye, he realized that he has dedicated his life to slaughtering an intelligent species in the name of profit. Sunfire tells him that is untrue. He has merely supplied their expanding population with the means to nourish itself. Survival of the fittest…

Overhearing him, Namor tells Sunfire that for one with such strong nationalistic pride, he displays a poor knowledge of his country’s history. During the turbulent days which followed World War II, many of his country’s children were fed whale meat because it was a cheap source of protein. It has since become a delicacy, catered only to the rich. But his people know that whales have more value alive than dead. Perhaps if they learn more about them, they may learn more about… each other.

On Gloucester Beach, in Massachusetts, Walter Newell is playing a friendly game of football with his wife Diane when Namor arrives. He apologizes for the intrusion, but there is no time to waste in their mission to unite their two peoples. Walter asks if he means…? Namor says yes, let them rebuild Hydrobase.

That night, at the Seaside Amusement Pier, Gorgon asks Triton if he is sure this is what he wants. Triton tells him and the other Inhumans present yes. Far too long has he swum in the small dank, lifeless underground streams of the Moon. Now, he needs time to explore the seas, to explore himself. Medusa tells him that he’s an Inhuman, a member of the Royal Family. Please don’t leave them. Looking down towards the water, Triton asks the “Royal Family?” They are freaks in a sideshow and whereas they may be able to disguise themselves to dwell among humankind, where Triton swims, he swims alone. With that, Triton leaps into the sea, leaving the other Inhumans behind.

Characters Involved: 

Namor (the Sub-Mariner)

Walter Newell (Stingray)
Diane Arliss (Walter’s wife and sister of Tiger Shark)

Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida)

Attuma and various unnamed members of his barbarian horde

Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, Lockjaw, Medusa, and Triton (all Inhumans)

Various unnamed Japanese sailors and ninjas
Various unnamed people in Boston Harbor

Story Notes: 

Doctor Lemuel Dorcas’ research station was destroyed in Namor the Sub-Mariner #43.

The Avengers Hydrobase was destroyed in Avengers (1st series) #311 during the Acts of Vengeance storyline.

Written By: