7 Times Namor Fought Against Marvel Heroes
Don’t like the side Namor is fighting for? Wait five minutes…
Since his debut in 1939, Namor the Sub-Mariner has played one the longest metaphorical games of ping pong the Marvel Universe has ever seen. Sometimes he is one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. Other times he does everything in his power to destroy the surface world for atrocities done to Atlantis.
In INVADERS #6, written by Chip Zdarsky and with art by Butch Guice, Namor is currently the later. After launching a missile strike on the surface, it is up to Captain America, Winter Soldier, and the original Human Torch Jim Hammond to try and talk sense into their former teammate.
This is not the first time Namor has been the opposition to Marvel’s heroes. Here are some other stories where the antagonist was the Sub-Mariner.
From the beginning, Namor had a tumultuous relationship with the surface world. Convinced the surface world was attacking their underwater kingdom on purpose, Namor’s mother and the kingdom’s elder appointed Namor as their champion. Accompanied by his cousin Dorma, the Sub-Mariner attacked and destroyed a lighthouse, rendering it useless to incoming ships. While Namor saw this as a “first strike” in the war against the surface, the guards of the lighthouse had no idea what had happened, other than that a strange man in a bathing suit had attacked them for seemingly no reason. It makes you think what a pleasant, 15-minute conversation at the beginning of all this could have avoided.
Namor vs. The Fantastic Four
While suffering from amnesia, Namor lived as a derelict in New York City’s Bowery district. Johnny Storm stumbled across him by chance while he was in hiding from teammates after one of their classic fights. Using his powers, Johnny gave the disheveled Namor a “torch shave” and threw (with zero scientific facts to back up his claim) him in the ocean so he would regain his memory. It worked (but even for Johnny Storm, that was reckless), and Namor swam back to his kingdom, only to find it destroyed from nuclear tests. Once again waging war on the surface, Namor summoned the ancient creature Giganto to destroy New York. Marvel’s First Family thwarted the attack and cast him back to sea, but not before meeting Sue Storm for the first time. His attraction to her would become either the cause of or solution to multiple conflicts between Namor and the Fantastic Four.
Namor and Hulk vs. The Avengers
Namor’s battle with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was arguably the most significant fight in the history of the Marvel Universe, as it inadvertently caused the return of one of the planet’s greatest heroes. After feeling persecuted, the Incredible Hulk left the Avengers. Namor discovered the Hulk and convinced him to join forces. This alliance failed from the start, as the two would continuously think about how they would betray the other rather than focus on the task at hand. During a battle with the Avengers, Namor and Hulk kept trying to one-up the other, which led to their defeat. Hulk, having reverted to Bruce Banner, was able to escape undetected while Namor barely evaded capture. In his rage at losing to the Avengers, Namor went on a rampage in the Arctic, throwing a large ice block into the sea. Little did he know that inside the block held the frozen body of his old Invaders teammate Captain America, whom the Avengers rescued and revived (and you know the rest of THAT story already).
Namor and Magneto vs. The X-Men
After realizing that Namor was probably the world’s first and most powerful mutant, both Charles Xavier and Magneto attempted to recruit him into their respective teams. Thanks to some manipulation by Magneto, one of Namor’s aides convinced him to give the master of magnetism a chance. Considering Namor was amid his “hatred of humans” kick, it didn’t take much work. In the most predictable twist in the Golden Age of Comics, the arrogance of both Magneto and Namor led to a full battle between the two with the X-Men caught in the middle. Namor, who decided he was too good to join ANY team, returned to the sea and plotted his next attack against the surface.
This entry isn’t as straightforward as some of the others. The Illuminati is a secret group of the strongest and smartest in the Marvel Universe. Comprised of Iron Man, Professor X, Namor, Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Strange, and Black Bolt, this group has overseen the most significant events in the Marvel Universe, even if they weren’t directly participating. The question is whether or not that is a good thing. Do these men have the right to “tower” above everyone else and make decisions for the Marvel Universe without it knowing? Ironically, Namor left the group when he believed they went too far by sending the Hulk into deep space (unknowingly setting off the events of PLANET HULK and WORLD WAR HULK) as a way to neutralize his threat. Was the Illuminati a good idea at the time? This one is for the reader to decide.
Avengers vs. X-Men
After learning the Phoenix Force was on its way back to Earth, both the Avengers and X-Men determined that its goal was to possess Hope Summers, the descendant of Jean Grey. Now a member of the X-Men, Namor helped his new team fight off the Avengers, who wanted to take Hope into their custody. When the Phoenix Force arrived, a mishap caused it to split, possessing Namor, Magik, Colossus, Emma Frost, and Cyclops. Dubbed the Phoenix Five, they decided to use their powers to make Earth a better place (at least according to them). Seeing the Avengers as a threat to their goals, Namor followed them to Wakanda and used his powers to flood the country, killing thousands of innocent people. After being drained of the Phoenix Force, Namor understood the error of his ways, but at the same time earned a lifelong enemy in T’Challa, the Black Panther.
Sometimes you have to become a villain to your people to be a hero for your people. When Hydra and Hydra-Cap took over the U.S. Government, they went after Atlantis to acquire Namor’s shard of the Cosmic Cube. To avoid any further involvement from this new surface regime, Namor turned Atlantis into a police state, imposing his will any and everywhere, locking up anyone who didn’t follow him. When his old teammates Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Toro arrived seeking a sanctuary, he had them locked up as well. It took the combined efforts of the Torch, Toro, Bucky Barnes, and Namora to help Namor realize what he was doing was wrong, and restore free will to his people.
When you open a book featuring the king of Atlantis, it’s a flip of the coin as to what side he’s aligned himself with. One thing is for sure – whenever the Sub-Mariner is involved, it’s best to hope that side is yours.
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