Namor: The First Mutant Issue 1
It's a funny thing when an ongoing book starts with a tie-in. It happened a couple years back with Deadpool and Secret Invasion, and it left me with pretty much the same feeling as this issue. Disappointment. Yea, it's good, but it just doesn't feel like this is how you should introduce Namor. Namor is a fantastic character, full of opportunity to explore a realm like nothing else we've seen. Instead we get this. A decent comic with flaws that ultimately just doesn't impress me enough like I wanted it to. Oh well.
The series begins with an elder Atlantean woman telling a tale about how life began and what the Aqueos are. Namor has enough of her though and runs off to find his Elite Guard to find the head of Dracula. However, when he gets there he finds the General is dead and as a result recruits his son and the Tridents to aid him instead. They go off and try to find the chest its in and encounter a group of the Aqueos but still manage to make it out with the head intact but it would seem the Aqueos won't go down as easy as thought...
So I hate to say it, but almost all the faults with this issue come from the writing, at least for me. I mean, Stuart Moore does a serviceable job on writing, but his script lacks energy, his characters are flat as can be, and the plot is just not original enough to hold my attention. I mean, I get that it has to serve a certain purpose because it's a tie-in, but in the deepest parts of me I really don't think it should be a tie-in. This is a book that needs the treatment Iron Fist got a couple years back, with an expansion of the past and a blast of mysticism to make it stand out. While I can appreciate certain parts of the story to a degree, it just lacked heart and faltered as a result.
Art is a different story for me. Ariel Olivetti gives his best work here and it's great to see. I first saw his work on Cable and it was his art that helped truly pull me into that world. A couple years later, his art is now much more fully-rendered and certain panels stand out as being epic, something Namor needs. That being said, I don't think his art really fits for Namor. It's too jarring and separates you from the action. I would rather see some good ol' fashion pencil and ink on this then what we get here. While it's pretty, it just isn't right. And in a move I rarely make, I'm going to call out the letterer, Joe Caramagna. While he does a fine job and there is nothing wrong with it, I think that if he really let loose he could bring the script to life and make it much more captivating.
Overall, while there is nothing directly wrong with this comic, it just doesn't do enough for me. I'll read next issue and hope for improvement but I don't think this book will really be great until it fixes some major problems with originality and self-reliance. 3 out of 5.