Characters Appearing: Abomination, Andromeda, Captain America, Carrie Alexander, Crystal, Hercules, Jack Langstrom, Nadia Dornova-Blonsky, Quicksilver, Stingray, Sub-Mariner, Tamara Rahn, Thunderstrike, Tiger Shark, Triton, Vision, Vivian Morgan, Wilfred Maxwell
Issue(s): Namor #58, Namor #59
The setting for both fights is a sunken Russian gamma/nuclear sub, which is being claimed by a new Russian criminal organization called, er, The Organizatsiya, who has been hired by AIM to bring them the sub.
It's later said that AIM wants the sub to help with the construction of AIM islands (plural) "throughout the world". Despite the brief mention of gamma-rays, the sub doesn't seem that high tech, which makes you wonder why Marvel's premier evil super-scientist group needs it.
Unaware of The Organizatsiya, Namor is trying to deal with the sunken sub when the Avengers show up.
The Avengers are hunting Namor after his "attack" on New York in the last arc, with Captain America taking the idea that he's Namor's parole officer seriously. They also now think he sunk the submarine.
Namor gets help from his aquatic friends, who are calling themselves Deep Six (after Tiger Shark says, "please tell me yer not gonna give us some goofy name like "Wetworks").
You would think that Crystal and Triton being on opposite sides of this fight might have led to some interesting dialogue or at least a quick resolution to the big Misunderstanding, but instead we get some goofy-ass lampshading about how Crystal can breathe underwater now but never thought to use that ability to help her cousin.
The fight is eventually ended when Namor takes a swipe at Tiger Shark for going after the Avengers too hard.
That ends what seemed like a promising exploration of Tiger Shark's character that might even have led to his reformation. Instead he and Tamara leave and won't be seen again in this series (and they won't ever be seen together again, with Tamara having only one more appearance).
But his willingness to beat up on Tiger Shark proves to the Avengers that he's still a good guy, so they leave.
Meanwhile, though, the Organizatsiya has kidnapped the Abomination's wife to force him to work for them.
So after the Avengers leave, the Abomination shows up to claim the submarine.
The Abomination quickly knocks out Namor, Andromeda, and Triton, leaving just Stingray, who smartly doesn't attempt to put up a fight on his own.
Stingray instead goes looking for the Organizatsiya. The Organizatsiya, apparently familiar with the Crimson Dynamo's armor and prepared to deploy countermeasures against that and similar technology, zap Stingray with an EMP and take him captive.
Meanwhile, Namor recovers and continues the fight against the Abomination alone. There are multiple comparisons to the Hulk.
The Abomination discovers that his body is "suited... for water sports", and even thinks that he'd do better than the Hulk under water.
I do wonder how the Abomination is talking under water. I know that characters like him and the Hulk can hold their breath for a long time, but it seems extravagant to waste air with endless exposition. And it's not like Glenn Herdling hadn't thought of such things; earlier, it was said that Thunderstrike was only using an air mask so that he could "fit in" with the rest of the Avengers (in fact, i would have suggested that he and Hercules were only wearing masks so that they could communicate with the rest of the team).
Anyway, the Abomination holds his own (or better) against Namor in the standard under sea environment. But Namor wins the fight by first taking the Abomination into Namor's third natural environment, the air, where he pummels the Abomination for a bit, and then finishes him off by bringing him deep into a trench (the Hellencian Trench, 15,000 feet deep, if you want the specifics), where he says the Abomination's bloodstream would fail to avoid nitrogen absorption.
The Organizatsiya calls off the fight before that, though, telling Namor that they are holding Stingray hostage. Namor agrees to help retrieve the submarine, but he secretly finds Triton and Andromeda and has Andromeda rescue the hostages while Triton tries to disable the sub's nuclear capabilities. Andromeda succeeds and the threat is seemingly ended, but the Abomination grabs the sub's warhead detonator and blows up the sub while Triton is still in it.
Abomination then escapes and has his vengeance on the Organizatsiya.
A subplot in these issues has scientists Vivian Morgan and Wilfred Maxwell discovering that the Azures Islands are sinking.
Morgan is a new character, but - continuing Herdling's fun use of continuity - Maxwell was a Gammabase scientist who appeared few times in the early 80s.
Things get weirder than you might expect with this plot.
Nothing super great here - this would have been completely missable in the 80s - but it's much more readable than the average book at this time. Geof Isherwood's style is not to my liking - i can't tell if he's neglecting the fact that the Abomination is supposed to be scarred at this time because everyone looks deformed - but he can layout a book and tell a story and choreograph a fight, and that puts him above 90% of the artists at Marvel at this time. Herdling's use of continuity is fun, and it goes beyond just "hey, wouldn't be cool if Namor fought the Abomination?". He actually thinks about how the Abomination would fare under water and has Namor win the fight not through sheer brute force or just luck, but by having him utilize his unique elements (i.e. his ability to fly and withstand the ocean's deepest depths). There's a lot here that feels sloppy and i could see a reader just lumping it in with the rest of the 90s dreck, but it is a little more worthwhile than that.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have the Avengers here between Avengers #382-383. That causes me to push this back in publication time a bit. It also seems to begin not too long after the last Namor arc, so that works out.
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