Avengers #9: The Defenders of the Deep
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: David Marquez and Marcio Menyz
Variant Covers: JG Jones; Jong-Ju Kim
What You Need to Know:
The Avengers broke in their new headquarters and now are onto their next mission. It seems Namor, The Sub-Mariner, has once again declared war on the surface world and the Avengers want to intervene and talk some sense into the King of the Seas. What the Avengers don’t know is something is different about Namor this time. Namor is deadly serious and he has a team behind him to rival Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
What Just Happened:
The issue begins with Tiger Shark attempting to rob a cruise ship in the Bahamas. Unbeknownst to Tiger Shark, his brother-in-law, Stingray, is aboard the ship and intervenes. As the battle falls into the ocean, Namor interrupts both men. Namor gives them an ultimatum: join him, or leave the seas forever. Stingray tries to reason with Namor, but Namor beats him to a bloody pulp. As Stingray begs for his life, Namor summons his “War Sharks” to finish him off. Namor repeats his question to Tiger Shark, and while mortified, Tiger Shark accepts.
Days before, The Avengers are in route to Atlantis to reason with Namor and free the hostages from the Roxxon whaling ship. Before they reach Namor, they are attacked by Atlantean soldiers. While Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ghost Rider battle with the soldiers, Black Panther is tracking Namor. Namor, however, finds Black Panther and attacks. The Avengers rush to T’Challa’s aid and engage Namor, but learn he is stronger than ever before, easily brushing off Thor, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ghost Rider. Captain America is able to get Namor to calm down for a few minutes to speak, which Namor grants him out of respect. Captain America asks him to release the hostages, but Namor states he has lost faith in the surface world’s justice system. T’Challa and the Avengers realize that Atlantis is in ruins and asks him what happened. He states that the First Host ruined Atlantis. The Avengers offer to help him rebuild, but he tells them to take the hostages and never return.
It seems the final straw for Namor is that the children of Atlantis reject his aid and leave Atlantis for potential aid on the surface world, dying in the process. The Avengers lock the hostages in a prison in New Mexico far from the seas, but Namor is able to flood the whalers cell using their toilet to drown them. Namor has once again declared war on the surface world, but instead of leading an invasion, he plans to focus on defending the seas with help from Tiger Shark and other foes turned allies: the now dubbed Defenders of the Deep.
It’s great to see bad-ass, pissed-off Namor again. Well, Namor is always pissed off, but it’s good to see him as a true threat to the Avengers as a whole. Namor seems more compelling as a villain and it seems like outside of T’Challa and Cap, the Avengers are underestimating the Sub-Mariner. Jason Aaron and David Marquez waste no time establishing Namor as a credible threat by having him brutally beat Stingray and feed him to his “War Sharks”. And Marquez does an awesome job illustrating the brutality of the attack and the they look amazing.
Aaron and Marquez also do a great job illustrating how strong the average Atlantean is by having the Avengers struggle with the Atlantean soldiers. What really impressed me was how Namor is shown as a powerful nemesis for the Avengers. He single-handedly battles back the Avengers, making it look easy against heavy hitters like Thor, Captain Marvel, and She-Hulk.
The dialogue exchange between Namor and She-Hulk made me laugh out loud. Jason Aaron also has a respect for the history between Captain America and Namor when Namor only yields out of respect for Cap. Aaron has me convinced that something is different about Namor and the Avengers are going to suffer because of it. Namor has made the call to his sea-dwelling-foes-turned-allies and I’m excited to see how the Defenders of the Deep match up with this Avengers team.
David Marquez’s art is wonderful in this issue and his design for Namor makes him look like a true king of the seas. My only issue is that even though Atlantis is supposed to be in ruins, it does not look detailed enough to show the reader how vast the destruction is. Marquez more than make ups for this with his amazing illustration of the Avengers and Namor cutting loose on each other.