Fear Itself The Deep 1-4

I Never Knew How Much I Missed Dr. Strange 'Til I Read This

The threat in this series is enough to re-form the greatest non-team of them all - the Defenders!

Well, this is a new group of Defenders. Let's see: Dr. Strange, Namor and the Silver Surfer are here from the original team. Only the Hulk is missing. The green lady is his daughter, the new She-Hulk. I wasn't very impressed until she revealed that she grew stronger the calmer she became. How refreshing; totally opposite from her Dad. Loa, the other girl, is an energy mutant who's been hanging around with Namor. I've always considered the original Defenders to be the most powerful Bronze Age Marvel team, even topping the Avengers. Dr.Strange is Master of the Mystic Arts, Silver Surfer is a herald of Galactus, the Hulk technically has no strength limits. I mean, Namor was the weakest member and he's a been a Marvel powerhouse since the 40s. Personally, if the Silver Surfer is on my team, I'd feel confident - it's that Power Cosmic thing that he has.

The threat I was talking about is Nerkkod, Breaker of Oceans. He's the guy in the panel below - the big guy in the outfit with the LED lights. Nerkkod is the transformed Attuma, old enemy of Namor. Of all the Worthy, he's got the crudest looking hammer but he's as powerful as the rest of them. The other guys in the panel are his troops, but Nerkkod is so powerful he doesn't really need them.

The series is about the clashes between these two groups and the conflict is well-played and a satisfying read.

The most satisfying part of The Deep for me is the appearance of Dr. Strange. I've read some of his Silver Age adventures, and some of his 70s appearances including a lot of Defenders. I'm particularly fond of the spells : The Shield of the Seraphim, the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, the Flames of the Faltine - and my favorite - the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak. The Deep adds two more.

As the Doctor states this is Belial's Beckoning, a summoning spell he uses to gather the neo-Defenders. Cullen Bunn provides capsule histories of the spell and that's a great addition.

Another noteworthy detail is that the Doctor in no longer Master of the Mystic Arts. I think that's a good move from Marvel. I heard that they were having a hard time with Dr. Strange because he was too powerful - he tended to skew the storyline. Now that he's been dampened down maybe we'll see more of him.

The spell in the panel above has no name and Strange uses it to separate demons from their monster hosts but it was originally meant "to drive goblins from grain stores".

It was great seeing the Strange One.

Oh yeah, one more spell. This one allowed the team to breath underwater.

Posted by  Pete Albano - December 29, 2011

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