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What threat could unite staunch enemies the Fantastic Four and the vengeful Sub-Mariner? The aquatic nomad Attuma, as Marvel Comics readers discovered in 1964 in Fantastic Four #33's “Side-by-Side with Sub-Mariner!” by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This blue-skinned savage, chieftain of a tribe of water-breathing warriors (Homo mermanus) long since departed from the sunken civilization of Atlantis, attacks the undersea kingdom, convinced that he is fulfilling prophecy by claiming his rightful throne from Prince Namor (Sub-Mariner). With a bloodthirsty army under his command and an arsenal including a hydro-powered battering ram and an ionic ray, Attuma almost seizes Atlantis until the FF—fearing that Attuma would next invade the surface world—helps Sub-Mariner defend his kingdom. Pummeling Attuma to his knees, Namor rebukes, “No barbarian shall wrest from me my crown and scepter!” This defeat did not settle well with Attuma, who enlisted the aid of other supervillains—including Krang, Dr. Dorcas, Tiger Shark, and even Dr. Doom—in his later efforts to obtain the Atlantean throne and wreak malice across the globe. Casting a startling image in his serpent-skull helmet and wielding his trident-sword with unnerving accuracy, Attuma, who sometimes wages war in his battlecrafts called Octo-Meks, finally usurped Namor's crown in 2001, forcing the Sub-Mariner to once again seek help—from the superhero “non-team” the Defenders—to vanquish Attuma's forces. The original Attuma story was adapted for animation in 1967 as the “Danger in the Depths” episode of Hanna-Barbera's Fantastic Four series, with a character named “Prince Triton” (not the member of the Inhumans) replacing Sub-Mariner, who was unavailable due to another licensing agreement. Toy Biz produced an Attuma action figure— with “sword-slashing action!”—in 1996.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.