Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Gene Colan
Inker: Mike Esposito
The quest for the Cosmic Cube has led Doctor Doom, Namor and Cindy Jones to the Mississippian Bayou, but Doom isn’t convinced that Cindy should accompany them any further. This does not sit well with Namor so he leaves, taking Cindy with him.
Landing in New Orleans, Cindy immediately recognises the dwelling where she once lived and hints at the unhappy reasons she left. We soon discover that this place is, in the words of her old roommate - hippy Johnny - a “happy little drug-pushing nest”, which seems a contradiction.
Johnny threatens Namor with a gun, which is never a good thing; in the confusion one of Doom’s henchmen appears and kidnaps Cindy, and as the police arrive so does Doom, to collect his ‘friend’ Namor. He makes it clear that Cindy is his hostage and will remain so until Namor has fulfilled his part of the bargain.
Sometime later, Doom’s jet is over the Gulf of Mexico and Namor is tasked with scouting out the underwater den of the criminal organisation A.I.M.
Doom believes M.O.D.O.K., A.I.M.’s erstwhile leader, to be dead - following the events of Captain America #133 - a mistake M.O.D.O.K. plans to use to his advantage with his Android Army.
It’s clear that Conway still doesn’t have a solid handle on the direction he wants to take this title, and the inclusion of Doctor Doom almost relegates Namor to a supporting role in his own comic. There are still some dodgy allusions to Doom’s nobility, especially in his prevention of the rape of Cindy by one of his henchmen, and the internal monologue he is given on page 10:
“Doom…you are a fool. Once more your clever manipulations have alienated a man who might have been an ally…a man you might have called your friend! Namor hates you now… and though it pains you to admit it, Von Doom – he hates you with good reason.”
Don’t you just feel sorry for the ol’ terrorist?
The interlude in New Orleans also came across as padding, adding nothing to the plot, but highlighting Doom’ stupidity; if he hadn’t demanded that Cindy go no further with them, then he wouldn’t have had to organise Cindy’s subsequent kidnapping to ensure Namor’s co-operation.
The art was disappointing, Mike Esposito not being a particularly sympathetic inker for Gene Colan, but Colan’s storytelling is, as always, clear and distinctive.