This is one of those books that immediately falls into the category “They reprinted that?” I thought the same thing when I saw Skull the Slayer and Omega the Unknown get reprint volumes, and I’m just as astonished and glad they did.
This single volume reprints the 12-issue Saga of the Sub-Mariner and the 4-issue Saga of the Original Human Torch from the mid-eighties. Roy Thomas once again comes through in glorious style, retelling the life stories of Marvel Comics’ two oldest characters (much like he did with the JSA in the America Vs. the Justice Society limited series (also recently reprinted in TPB form). Naturally, the histories are incomplete, only going up to the time of the Torch’s second demise (in Fantastic Four Annual #5) and Namor’s second modern series (by John Byrne), but each are a midget history of Marvel Comics. Particularly, the Sub-Mariner story gives you a lot of information that you might not have gleaned before by just reading the individual stories, and covers a lot of the grey area of Namor’s history, such as the time period between the end of the Golden Age and his first modern appearance in FF #4.
While the stories are basically history lessons, they’re still very good comic book tales, with excellent pacing and just enough action to keep you interested in the “heavy reading”. The artwork is pencilled by comic legend Rich Buckler, one of the few artists that should always rank up there with Kirby, Ditko, and Buscema in the Marvel Pantheon.
WARNING: These are NOT decompressed stories like most modern readers are used to; you’ll have to actually READ the stories to know what’s going on.