The mystery of concordance continues.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Mitch Breitweiser
Colour: Mitch Breitweiser & Bettie Breitweiser
Continuing on from the previous issue, Namor the Submariner discovers a stone door, hidden in the depths of the ocean that bares the symbol of the Concordance Engine, the mysterious machine that the Defenders recently stole.
Much like the previous issue focused on Doctor Strange, Namor takes the spotlight this time around in a story that looks at his childhood as well as expanding on the current mystery of the enigmatic Praeters. Fraction has wrote Namor quite a bit in recent years in Uncanny X-Men and it’s interesting to see him examined as an individual (despite still being on a team). His handling of other people is how Namor is characterised, from the disapproval of an Antlantean scholar for fleeing and the direct, aggressive and somewhat brutal handling of finding a new subterranean race, Namor’s ego is forefront. Even his indifferent view of his team mates seems cold and yet and he never totally unlikable. This is helped by the flashbacks of his tough upbringing from his mother that shows how she moulded him into the man he is today, and how the identity of his father can shape him further.
I found Namor’s habit of clicks (such as “tcch”) in this issue was a good quick way of showing his arrogance and disregard, though some would argue its frequent use would seem boorish for the character I felt they fit, as he’s not a man to mince his words or care what others think about him, so to show his contempt as blatantly and quickly as possible seems very in character.
The introduction to Captain Nemo seems right at home for The Defenders. Outlandish devices, magical creatures and mysteries of the past are all what this book is about and by showing this mystery goes back further into the past helps its substance and that the Praeters and the Concordance engine was able to kill someone who acted as The Defenders of their time shows its danger.
Defenders is still a team book and many of the other members make a showing as Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer and Red She-Hulk accompany Namor into the ocean. They don’t do much here other than contribute to the fight scenes but its important for them to be there to keep the team dynamic alive, and they provide a few good lines and allow for Namor’s reflections on them, I personally enjoyed Namor describing Red She-Hulk as a “Tourist.”
The epilogue of the issue is dedicated to Iron Fist and his relationship with on again, off again girlfriend Misty Knight. The scene would of looked right at home in an issue of Fraction’s Immortal Iron Fist, and the appearance of Danny Rand’s fellow Immortal Warrior, Fat Cobra makes me all the more excited for next issue.
The art by Mitch Breitweiser was a great fit for the issue. His style’s roughness matched the murky, underwater sequences better than regular artists Terry and Rachel Dodson would have. This is especially the case for the octopus women as Breitweiser gives them a creepy, dangerous vibe, were as the Dodson’s style would of made them look more attractive and glamorous. His style also fit the Iron Fist/Misty Knight sequences as it reminded me of David Aja’s pencils from the character’s previous series.
Fraction portrayal of Namor continues to be fascinating and the book’s overall mystery has got me hooked.