Sunday, August 6, 2017

Inhumanity - Cry Triton!

(Special Note: This is rare re-post from the Dojo's early days. I found I was repeating much of what I said here, so why not just offer up the original with a few alterations.)

One the earliest comics I ever stumbled across was Thor #150.

And as good as the lead story was in that issue, it was the back-up which really lingered in my memory and captured my imagination. Triton was one of the Inhumans, a hidden race of genetically altered people who lived isolated from the great mass of mankind.

They are introduced in Fantastic Four #45, though one member named Medusa had been active some time before that as a member of The Frightful Four. On that cover you can see Triton for the first time, his green scaly arm extended from an obscuring cloak.

Inside the book, we get a closer look at Triton, a being we can only presume must be rather hideous since he hides himself even from his own kin.

In Fantastic Four #46 we get a better look at Triton when his life-preserving cloak is torn off. We see he's a muscular titan, a true aquatic life form.

Soon after this initial hostile encounter, Maximus the Mad enables Triton to shed his limiting cloak on the surface by fitting him with a stylish system of tubes which allow him to breathe outside the ocean's depths.

Armed with this technology we finally see that Triton, the most isolated of all the Inhumans is rather handsome though still bizarre in his look to human eyes.

The origin story of the Inhumans finds itself being told in the back of the Thor comic after the demise of the venerable Tales of Asgard back up is ended. There we learn of the origin of this offbeat race and of Black Bolt's beginnings.

The story then shifts to Triton and he shows up for a trio of dynamite stories in which he meets a "Creature" who seems all too familiar.

This history ends with Triton visiting the surface and discovering to his dismay that the Inhumans must hide themselves for the time being.

Triton then shows up in modern continuity in the most logical place ever, the Sub-Mariner series. He co-stars with Namor in a rockem' sockem' two-parter fighting an unusually powerful Plantman.

After that Triton becomes an occasional part of Namor's cast, showing now and again to assist the Sea King.

Eventually he and his fellow Inhumans get their own series in Amazing Adventures.

This then leads to a fantastic crossover with The Avengers during the Kree-Skrull War.

After that Triton seems to lose his momentum, becoming just one more Inhuman. Sadly I think Marvel gave up trying to break him out as a solo star, a distinct feeling early on.

He does show up now and again, such as the time he co-stars with Ben Grimm in an issue of Marvel Two-In-One, but Triton's salad days alas are behind him.

But he'll always be a favorite of mine.

Here are a couple of original pages from John Buscema's take on Triton. That's Frank Giacoia on inks.

Rip Off


  1. I see he lost the 'fin' on his back not long after losing his 'sealed moisture bag'. It's as if Jack hadn't thought too much (past the scales) what Triton was going to look like 'til he drew him without the 'bag'.

    1. He does evolve. I think Triton was originally to be a bit more of a one-off, but somehow circumstances were such that he became a more central character and then needed a sprucing up to make him more classically "heroic". Or like he often did with details, maybe Kirby just forgot about the back fin.

      Rip Off

    2. That kind of reminds me of Bill Sienkiewicz's art when it was really taking off in bounds in the mid-1980s, how the same gun would look different from panel to panel. Personally, I never had a problem with that. By the way, that FF 45 cover is another work of art; everything's just coming together.

  2. I'd never thought of Triton as a potential spin-off hero. Unlike Stingray, he duplicates Namor power-wise ( unless the Avenging Son is using his Kirby-powers) and has a bland personality despite his striking appearance.

  3. Sub-mariner, Triton and Stingray. When I was a kid that was my dream team.


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