Thursday, April 30, 2009

Imperious Rex

Season: 1
Episode Number: 8
Season Episode Number: 8
Production Number: 116
Airdate: June 9, 2007

Writer: Len Uhley
Director: Franck Michel

Voices: Hiro Kanagawa (Mr. Fantastic), Lara Gilchrist (Invisible Woman), Brian Dobson (The Thing), Christopher Jacot (Human Torch), Sam Vincent (H.E.R.B.I.E.), Michael Adamthwaite (Namor), Don Brown (Henry Peter Gyrich).

Plot: Namor has declared that no surface dweller shall enter the depths of the seas or else there will be war! It is up to the Fantastic Four to bring peace between the surface and the Lost City of Atlantis, but that may be harder than it seems due the extreme pigheadedness of the Sub-Mariner!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Imperious Rex is a great episode. Why? Because it stars the Invisible Woman. Susan has always been the most interesting character of the Fantastic Four. It has been a journey for Sue over the last almost 60 years since her debut in Fantastic Four #1, 1961. She went from token 60s female that was used mainly as the damsel in distress, to a strong, confident woman who is quite possibly the most powerful member of the team.

While Ben is still the sensitive brute, Johnny is still the immature hothead and Reed is still the intelligent leader, Sue's character doesn't really look anything like it did in the 60s.

In this episode, we get to see Susan in full force as she tries to reason with Namor. We see her passion and her determination as well as how well she uses her gift of invisibility, a perfect representation of the woman she has become. It is well written, well executed and exactly how I imagine Susan should be.

The other good part of this episode is the guest-appearance of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Despite having had his own series in the 60s, Namor has always been a guest star for various shows over the years, mostly Fantastic Four cartoons. And even though he used to some substance to his character in the past, these days in the comics and cartoons alike, he is always portrayed as a human hater and a hotheaded, pompous jerk.

Well, this episode is no different, however, what this episode does that is different than his other guest appearances is take him seriously. He is real and he is a threat. No more of this talking in weird English and silly ponytail. This is the Sub-Mariner at its finest. I feel that a Namor animated series that was based on this version and design of Namor would really stand out.

In a superhero cartoon such as this, one has to suspend a certain amount of believability when watching the antics on screen. Giant mutant whales? No problem. Flight due to tiny ankle wings? Sure. A city of amphibian humanoids at the bottom of the ocean? Sounds good to me. Susan being able to maintain an air bubble despite enormous water pressure? Yeah right! Susan telling Johnny to use his flame to light their way even though it would use up all the oxygen in the air bubble? I don't think so!

It's really amazing what chose to believe as fact and what seems ridiculous while watching these shows. Smart writers are able to create a world that no one questions. But sometimes it seems like they leave in little details, like fire using up oxygen, hoping that we won't notice, but we do notice. Oh, how we notice.

DVD Releases:
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - The Complete First Season

  • Back to Episode Guide

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