Ignore the Fear Itself banner, and The Deep comes off as a new Defenders book. Namor contacts Stephen Strange who casts a spell and reaches out for his and Namor's old comrades. The spell goes haywire, and we end up with an engaging change in the roster, beautifully characterized.
Loa accompanies Namor. All I know about her is that she's tough and can breath underwater as well as on land. Loa is the second newish character I've encountered in a Fear Itself book that intrigues me, and our substitute Hulk is most fitting.
The Deep includes a number of fan-favorite villains. While I have no idea who the Atlantean spooky woman might be, Tyrak and Tiger Shark sit and snarl at Attuma's table. It's like a Namor Revenge Squad. Most of the issue, Namor and the Defenders live up to the team name by guarding humanity against a group of Lovecraftian sea-monsters, and that suits me fine.
Lee Garbnett, David Meikis and John Rauch design some vicious beasties, and their artwork also lends to the derring-do of the heroes. Loa sports some interesting body markings, consistent in each panel. She describes herself as a kid, and the artists draw her that way, albeit in a fetching wetsuit that catches the light in a cool way. Namor despite being badly beaten by the hammered Attuma looks like he can bench-press a tank. Dr. Strange occasionally appears befuddled giving him a warmer personality, and our surprise Hulk proxy is a statuesque figure blazing colors that really shouldn't compliment each other but do. I can't begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying this Heroic Age of Marvel even in the light of the Fear Itself. I'm even impressed by the guest that's late to the party.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Kyle Garrett also reviewed Fear Itself: The Deep #1. Read his thoughts, too!
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