Sub-Mariner: The Depths

sub-mariner the depths cover trade paperback tpb
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Interesting homage to Heart of Darkness

Don't expect a typical comic book adventure

Comic Info

Comic Name: Sub-Mariner:  The Depths

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Peter Milligan

Artist: Esad Ribic

# of Issues: 5

Release Date: 2009

sub-mariner the depths #1 cover review namor

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #1

Reprints Sub-Mariner:  The Depths #1-5 (September 2008-May 2009).  Dr. Randolph Stein has been brought in on a mission.  A man named Marlowe has disappeared on a quest to find Atlantis.  While common belief is that Marlowe became unhinged, Stein’s background on debunking myths has led to his selection.  Stein discovers that the crew of the submarine believes in Namor and Atlantis, and as the sub goes deeper into the heart of darkness, Stein begins to question what he believes.

Written by Peter Milligan, Sub-Mariner:  The Depths is a Marvel Comics limited series.  The series was printed under the Marvel Knights imprint and features art by Esad Ribic.

I have to admit that I got this book on a whim when I found it on the discount rack.  I like Milligan’s stories in general and I like Namor so I figured even if it was just a so-so read, it might still be fun.  I actually kind of enjoyed Sub-Mariner:  The Depths and found it a bit (ironically) deeper than many other comics.

sub-mariner the depths #4 cover namor

Sub-Mariner: The Depths #4

The book is an homage to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.  Milligan directly makes a nod to it by naming the character being sought out “Marlowe” (in Heart of Darkness “Marlow” is the character seeking out Kurtz).  Heart of Darkness is a literary classic, and Milligan makes an interesting tie to it.

The story follows the Heart of Darkness path.  Stein’s character’s objective is to bring evidence of Atlantis back to his mysterious backers.  As the story progresses Stein too begins to become unhinged and follows the mental path of Marlowe.  Like the novel, the sub stops along the way and finds people at various levels of insanity. Stein peers into the void…sees Namor, Atlantis, and realizes no one who doesn’t take the journey could understand or should be faced with the darkness.  He returns to the surface and lies about what he saw…at a great sacrifice.

Normally five issues is a bit short to tell a story, but that is another reason why Heart of Darkness is a good choice.  Heart of Darkness is largely psychological, and it is a short novel.  Milligan adapts it in a way that it really does fit the story and add Esad Ribic’s creepy version of Namor, and you have a winning tale.  If you go into Sub-Mariner:  The Depths expecting a typical comic book, you’ll be disappointed, but if you go into it as a journey, you might see it is better than you expected.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response