Fear Itself: The Deep #3

A comic review article by: Ray Tate


Today's secret word is Tiger Shark. The Shark was an actual tiger shark that experienced a mutation that allowed him to become humanoid. This creature plagued quite a few DC stalwarts such as, but not limited to, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman. The Shark's mantra was, "I am the Shark, and you Wonder Woman are my prey!"

Marvel's Tiger Shark shares little similarity to DC's Shark. In fact, Tiger Shark, a surgically modified Olympian swimmer, has more in common with Kobra. Tiger Shark is a loser. A wide array of Marvel heroes besides Namor have encountered the Tiger Shark. Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, She-Hulk, Hank Pym, The Human Torch, The Thing, Ms. Marvel, the lovely Tigra and Hellcat, just to name a few, have all seen the Tiger Shark's ass as he attempted to run or swim away. Thanks to The Deep you can add Lyra, the second She-Hulk, to the list.

When last we saw Lyra, the Undying Ones possessing Atlantean citizens were pulling her into the depths. Lyra cannot breathe underwater, and this would seem to be a problem for any air-breathing champion. Fortunately, Lyra isn't alone in The Deep. She has been inducted into The Defenders, and Dr. Strange, though no longer the Sorcerer Supreme, can still perform magic. Pity the Tiger Shark.

It puzzled me for a moment why Lyra couldn't shake these characters. Does she not after all possess the strength of her parents the Incredible Hulk and Thundra? Yes, and no. Lyra gets stronger when she's calmer. 

In a standout scene, Tiger Shark finds Lyra meditating beneath the sea. He believes that she is preparing to receive his uber bite. He is in for a rude awakening. And so another hero painfully subdues the Tiger Shark. Souped up powers or no, the Tiger Shark is still an idiot, and Cullen Bunn in this amusing scene emphasizes the fact. Lee Garbett whets his chops with another great moment expressing Lyra's strength in illustration. There's the wind-up, and there goes Tiger Shark, torpedoing though the coral, through the water, I do believe he'll reach the surface! The crowd goes wild! It's a good thing Tiger Shark does have extra oomph this week. Otherwise, he'd need Dr. Dorcas to repair his spine again when he lands. That's not entirely a joke. Dr. Dorcas was the surgeon's name. No, seriously.

The Defenders must track down the source of the Atlanteans' and Undying Ones' fusion. The Defenders split up before Stephen can stop them. Will this mean certain defeat for the Defenders? As you might have guessed from the Lyra example, no. Writer Bunn sets up the Silver Surfer. Norrin Radd appears to soon fall victim to a classic comic book chestnut, but no, Bunn remembers that the Silver Surfer like the rest of the Defenders are insanely powerful and competent. See, the Surfer can tune into this little something called The Power Cosmic, and that turns one of the Namor Revenge Squad's little ploy pear-shaped. The dialogue for this scene is pretty hilarious as the Surfer disses the Avengers as the power players in the Marvel Universe. The Defenders, however, oh, they're a different animal entirely. Originally, they were a team of loners that only got together to save the planet. They would then disband until the next world threat happened along.

When Dr. Strange tracks down the host of the danse macabre, she thinks she's all that, but that's when she learns a valuable lesson. The Defenders are willing to do anything to guard the planet. The Hulk, Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange and Namor were not classic heroes. Rather they were protagonists. This latest version of the Defenders while more openly heroic in history is still willing to cheat, and this is an excellent Garbett executed Loa spotlight. 

I still don't exactly know who this character is, apart from the fact that she's an intelligent, strong female superhero more than familiar with Namor, but really, when someone plunges her fist through another character, you really don't need to know much more than that. I'm in love. Comic books speak the language of action and Loa, thanks to Garbett, speaks it well. 

Accompanied by colorist John Rauch, who accents the special effects of magic and the exotic skin tones, Garbett and Bunn nearly make The Deep another five bullet excursion. If only the last issue just wasn't so awesome. Every other chapter is going to pale by comparison.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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