Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artwork: David Marquez
Colours: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 10th October 2018 (Comixology)
Whilst Bill Everett’s creation Namor has arguably always been portrayed as a holier-than-thou, pompous anti-hero, it is doubtful many within this comic’s 58,185 readers were expecting the paranoid Human/Atlantean hybrid to show quite such a lethal willingness to believe the worst of land-dwellers as he undoubtedly does in issue nine of Avengers.
In fact, the King of Atlantis appears so determined to play the insane, homicidal arch-villain in Jason Aaron’s “The Defenders Of The Deep”, that it’s hard to reconcile the Alabama-born writer’s incarnation of the Sub-Mariner with the man who was once actually a well-respected member of this comic’s titular team; “This man is an invader in my realm. And invaders will no longer be tolerated. War Sharks. Finish him.”
Happily however, the Defender’s downward spiral into the darkest depths of his unstable personality provides this twenty-page periodical with some thoroughly memorable moments, including the truly sickening, cold-hearted murder of the hero Stingray, who was supposedly one of Namor’s “oldest friends from the surface world.” Walter Newell’s demise really is incredibly well-penned by the Inkpot Award-winner, with the hapless oceanographer being brutally beaten so mercilessly by the Scourge of the Seven Seas that even the horrifically savage Tiger Shark visibly blanches at its severity.
Somewhat less vicious, though just as surprising, is the Sub-Mariner’s apparent ability to hold off the latest roster of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes single-handedly. Marvel’s First and Mightiest Mutant has always been one of the publisher’s more formidable powerhouses, especially when submerged, fighting beneath the waves. Yet his ability to withstand both Thor’s Asgardian hammer and Iron Man’s technologically-enhanced grip simultaneously is a stunning achievement, even if the underwater monarch’s strength has been additionally fuelled by “the power of righteous rage!”
Wrapping this tour-de-force up with a pleasing bow is David Marquez’s artwork, which at times, such as Namor’s all-too brief tussle with the Black Panther, and the aforementioned gory demise of a hapless Stingray, are breathtakingly dynamic. Colour artist Justin Ponsor’s contribution to the murky ambiance of this comic’s deadly deep fathoms also cannot be overstated, especially when the book’s sudden return to the bright daylight of the surface world will momentarily blind any perusing bibliophile whose eyes have become accustomed to the rich blue-greens of the Sub-Mariner’s domain.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]