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Avengers #9: Review

Oct 2018
Jason Aaron, David Marquez

Story Name:

The Defenders Of The Deep

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #9 Review by (October 21, 2018)
This issue includes an obituary for Gary Friedrich who co-created the original Ghost Rider.

This issue #9 also continues the Legacy numbering in small print which makes it also #699. Next issue will highlight the Legacy numbering so it'll be Avengers #700. But it'll be back to the smaller numbers for the succeeding issues.

It sounds here as though Namor claims that the Homo Mermanus Atlanteans are descended from the humans of the original surface Atlantis.
This was not how the 2nd edition of the Marvel Handbook series summarised things. Atlantis was sunk by a combination of local warfare and the 2nd Celestial Host's attack on the Deviants. The origin of Homo Mermanus was unknown but they later settled in sunken Atlantis.
However a totally different story was told by Poseidon in Incredible Hercules #123. The sinking was caused by Atlantean wizards overreaching themselves, but their last act was to convert Atlanteans to Homo Mermanus so they could survive the catastrophe.

Atlantis has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, and sometimes the people have just moved to another location and called *that* Atlantis. In Sub-Mariner's WWII apps it was in the Antarctic. The 1st Namor mini-series had it in the Pacific in his youth, but then they returned to the Antarctic due to pollution. Paul Destine destroyed that city in 1958, as revealed in flashback in Sub-Mariner #1. They moved again to the North Atlantic which was where Namor found them in Fantastic Four Annual #1, but *that* place got destroyed in Tales To Astonish #98. Subby built a new Atlantis in the Atlantic in SM#7, but it seems they they reused the Antarctic city in #15-34. New Atlantis then continued to be the main site despite being destroyed several more times until they abandoned it after it was *really* destroyed in the Sub-Mariner: Revolution mini-series. After a period of dispersion in the surface world including Latveria they moved to a newer New Atlantis beneath the X-Men's artificial island Utopia. *That* got destroyed in Avengers Vs X-Men. Then the old New Atlantis was rebuilt until it got destroyed again in Squadron Supreme (2016) #1. And rebuilt again so it could now be squashed by a falling Celestial.

Atlantean attacks on the surface world are numerous. Some of the highlights are:- An attempt to flood the surface in 1941 (Human Torch Comics #5b). The invasion in Fantastic Four Annual #1. The aptly-named Atlantis Attacks crossover in all the 1989 Annuals. Then there's all the single-handed 'invasions' by Namor beginning with Subby vs Human Torch in Marvel Mystery Comics #7-9.

The Horn Of Proteus was introduced in Namor's very 1st Marvel Age app in Fantastic Four #1 where he used it to summon Giganto, and it's been summoning undersea monsters sporadically ever since.

What Wakanda did to Atlantis? This probably refers to Wakanda destroying Atlantis during the long build-up towards Secret Wars III. Which was in retaliation for Namor drowning Wakanda in Avengers Vs X-Men.

The Defenders Of The Deep are a new team, most of whose members have history.

Todd and Diane Arliss were introduced in Sub-Mariner #5-7 where Todd underwent genetic manipulation by Dr Lemuel Dorcas to become Tiger Shark which also made him insanely savage. Scientist Walter Newell débuted in TTA#95 but helped Namor against Shark in SM#16. He created his Stingray underwater suit in #19 and met Diane, and they started dating in #26 and they married by Marvel Two-In-One #74.
Stingray recently spent a lot of time with Deadpool in DP's 2016 series and the 2 DP & Merc For Money 2016 series. Diane Newell last appared in a couple of the DP issues with him. Stingray then went to apps in Secret Empire. Tiger Shark was also in SE but not the same issues, and then popped up in Jessica Jones #18.

Orka is another long-running Sub-Mariner foe since SM#23-24 where he too was genetically enhanced by Dr Dorcas. He was eventually killed in Heroes For Hire (2006) #8, and seen in the Underworld in Incredible Hercules #129-130. But he's alive in the post-SWIII new universe, as seen in Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha and Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #13.

Andromeda is an adventurous female Atlantean warrior who joined the New Defenders for the end of their run #143-152. After recovering from her death there she bopped around the Marvel U until it was destroyed in SWIII. This is her 1st app in the rebuilt universe.

Echidna, mother of all monsters in Greek myth, has only previously been in Fearless Defenders #11-12 as 1 of the villainous Doom Maidens. She doesn't look exactly the same here as she did then. But she's accompanied by 3 giant piranha fish so maybe she is the mother of monsters.

There's a tentacled creature in the picture which Marvel Wiki identifies as Manowar. This sentient jellyfish was 1st seen in Fantastic Four Unlimited #11. He joined the Atlantean terrorist group Fathom Five for several apps in New Thunderbolts. And that's it until now.

Maybe next issue we'll find out that the other 2 members of the team are also known chars.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #9 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue ended with the Avengers heading to the Antarctic to investigate a clash between Atlanteans and a Roxxon Corporation whaling ship.

This issue is set 3 days later but has flashbacks to intervening stuff. There is also a continuous present-day voiceover by Namor the Sub-Mariner.

We start in the present with another Roxxon ship, a cruise liner in the Bahamas, which is attacked by Tiger Shark who says they have to pay him a toll to use these waters. As it happens Stingray is vaccationing on the liner with his wife. The pair have history because Walter Newell's wife Diane is Todd Arliss' sister. As Tiger Shark tries to bite him Stingray tries to persuade his foe to let him attempt to reverse the genetic changes that drove him insane.

Namor's voiceover reminds us of the 1st great surface civilisation Atlantis which was sunk by a great cataclysm. And this gave birth to the undersea Atlantean civilisation of Homo Mermanus, who are stronger and faster than the surface-dwellers.

And Sub-Mariner interrupts the fight and asks the combatants to swear allegiance to him or leave the oceans forever. Walter uses his long friendship with Namor to try to talk him out of 1 of his typical futile attacks on the world above. But Subby beats him to a pulp and then sends in a pack of partially-armoured war sharks to finish him off. Tiger Shark thinks it prudent to say he'll join Sub-Mariner, and they head off to recruit more allies.

The voiceover disputes the idea that Homo Mermanus arose only as an accidental bi-product of the sinking of Atlantis. He reminds us humans of our descent from sea-creatures and claims that the birth of his people corrected an evolutionary mistake. Atlanteans are the true masters of the world and they will soon claim their birthright.

3 days earlier the Avengers (minus Black Panther) approach the site of Atlantis in the Mid-Atlantic. Captain America needs a breathing-mask and Iron Man's armour does the job for *him*. But Captain Marvel, Ghost Rider and Thor operate underwater without problems, and even She-Hulk doesn't seem to need to breath (I think she can hold her breath for a *very* long time). They are met by Atlantean troops and a fight ensues despite Cap saying they come in peace.

Then an Atlantean blows the Horn Of Proteus which does its usual job of summoning a random sea monster. The beast swallows Ghost Rider and his Hell Charger car (which also works just fine underwater). But GR just increases his flames inside the animal's throat until it spews him out. Iron Man and Thor decide to punch the monster into submission.

Back to Namor's voiceover. He himself was born of another seeming accident when his Atlantean Princess mother met his human father. The pink-skinned hybrid Prince was not initially accepted by his blue-skinned brethren. But it was his destiny to rule them, as he will now rule all.

Meanwhile the other Avenger Black Panther (also needing a breathing mask) has been sneaking into the ruins of Atlantis. He has knocked out some guards but now he is discovered by Sub-Mariner. Namor has a personal beef with T'Challa for Wakanda's actions against Atlantis. But Captain Marvel, Iron Man and Thor break up the grudge match. IM and Thor attack with armoured fist and hammer, but Subby easily holds both back. Thor's current hammer isn't as powerful as Mjolnir, but still Namor is stronger than when they last fought (Thor (2018) #1). Namor puts it down to his righteous rage over the recent destruction of Atlantis. Carol Danvers joins in with a blast which has no effect. Then She-Hulk drops in (literally) and lands with a massive gamma explosion which scatters everyone but still doesn't down the King of Atlantis. Ghost Rider arrives in Hell Charger and slams into him, but Namor lifts the car over his head. Until Cap shows up and tells him to stop fighting.

Because of their time together (in the WWII Invaders) Namor grants Steve Rogers an audience. Steve refers back to the end of last issue when the Roxxon sailors killed some Atlanteans. He says kidnapping the killers to face execution in Atlantis wasn't the right move to make - it could mean war with the surface world. Rogers wants the prisoners back and promises they will face US justice.

But rather than give Sub-Mariner a chance to answer Cap asks why Atlantis is ruined and its people reduced to living in caves. We now learn that 1 of the dead Celestials landed on the city during the attack of the Final Host in our opening arc. Namor doesn't want to hear that the surface world suffered similar devastation, or the Avengers offer of help. He tells them to go and take the murderers with them, and never return. The Roxxon captives are handed over and the team leave.

Subby's voiceover says the sinking of the original Atlantis was only the 1st upheaval in Atlantean history. The undersea city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. But the Atlantean spirit has never been broken.

But in the days ago scene when he invites some Atlantean children to leave their cave and come to the royal place where they will be looked after, the kids run away from him.

We now rejoin King Namor in the present day where the voiceover mingles with his actual speech as he talks to his recruits. Yesterday those kids walked ashore in America looking for help. They died choking in the air while humans watched laughing. So now Sub-Mariner has declared war. His 1st act was to take revenge on the Roxxon murderers who had been placed in a New Mexico prison out of Atlantean reach - he caused polluted seawater to flood out of the toilet in their cell and drown them. But this time he's *not* going to invade the surface world - the humans can have that. The Atlanteans will claim the seas. And his shock troops will be the Defenders Of The Deep:- Tiger Shark plus Andromeda, Echidna, Orka, possibly Manowar, a white-haired zombie(?) and a crab-human hybrid.

David Marquez
David Marquez
Justin Ponsor
David Marquez (Cover Penciler)
David Marquez (Cover Inker)
Marcio Menyz (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jennifer Walters)


Plus: Andromeda, Echidna, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Manowar, Orka, Roxxon Corporation, Stingray (Walter Newell).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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