Namor: The Best Defense #1 Review: Marvel Takes Readers Under the Sea

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Writer: Chip Zdarsky / Artist: Carlos Magno / Marvel

Back at NYC, I went to a panel titled, ‘Marvel: Next Big Thing,’ and this OG Defenders run was a big announcement at the time. Bringing back the original team is a big deal for lifelong comic fans and today’s younger generation of readers. I fall into the latter category, with this being arguably the most obscure comic I’ve ever jumped into. Sure, I’ve heard of Namor and even seen him pop up in a few Avengers battles, but I’ve truly never dove into the mythos and story behind the “Other Atlantean King”. So here we are, descending below the waves and acclimating ourselves with the council of Atlantis to discover exactly what kind of man Namor, the Sub-Mariner, is.

In this issue, Namor starts off at odds with his right-hand men and women. He has grand plans to seek allies and protect the rebuilding Atlantis but is suffering from a flaw many kings succumb to. He has left everyone out of his vision and embarked on a mission that some consider asinine…moves that could prove costly down the road.

He’s off to the land of the outcast Dovani, a species that hasn’t been seen in hundreds of years. He doesn’t know where they are or what kind of welcoming he’d be in for, but he’s putting his civilization on his back and ridin out dolo!

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I think there are some great aspects scattered throughout, but the story doesn’t flow as gracefully as I’d hoped and the artwork doesn’t quite stick the landing. I do love the attention to detail in many of the sea creatures. Dozens of whales, sharks, eel, fish, and sea turtles are beautifully worked into so many panels. There are going to be plenty of readers that ride for the unique style, but there are going to be just as many who are going to see this issue as a bit dull. And to each their own.

Chip Zdarsky is the brains behind this story that features some lofty ideas spanning vast seas, and Carlos Magno is the artist drawing this classic Marvel looking book, in a super stimulating era of comics. Zdarsky does a great job of capturing the internal battle that Namor is forced him to endure. Life isn’t east as a half human Atlantean King and that thought process is explored in depth. Magno helps Namor: The Best Defense #1 separate itself from DC’s King of Atlantis, for this take is unique in many ways. The ending really changes everything about Namor and his crusade to unite two kingdoms. More importantly, this ending means the Defenders are that much closer to uniting like Voltron, and I cannot wait until that goes down!

6.9 Silver Namor Sightings out of 10

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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