Published December 7, 2022

The Golden Age Boys: Captain America and Namor’s Friendship, Explained

Captain America and Namor have been friends for a very, very long time. Read on to discover the origins of this unusual, but profound Golden Age friendship.

One of the Marvel Universe’s longest (and perhaps strangest) friendships blossomed between Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, and Namor McKenzie, the Sub-Mariner, in the Golden Age of Comics when they served together as members of the Invaders during World War II. Since then, they’ve remained steadfast friends, even if sometimes they’ve come to blows due to their ideological differences. Here’s everything you need to know about Captain America’s friendship with Namor. 

When Steve Met Namor

The son of an Atlantean princess and a human sea captain, Namor has found himself at odds with the human world over the years, often attacking the surface for one reason or another. In 1941 specifically, Namor kidnapped President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, believing the Americans had attacked Atlantis. Roosevelt attempted to reason with Namor, and Rogers eventually showed up to rescue the President. The two fought, and a group of Nazis used the battle as a distraction to grab Roosevelt for themselves. In response, Namor and Rogers put aside their differences and retrieved Roosevelt. The two later parted with a mutual respect for one another. 

Sometime later, Namor unleashed a massive tidal wave on New York City. That attack on the United States ended with Captain America incapacitating the Sub-Mariner and taking him into custody. Soon, though, the Americans discovered a secret team-up between a group of rogue Atlanteans led by Meranno, AKA U-Man, and the Nazis. As a result, Rogers and Namor again partnered up to stop their mutual enemies. After that battle, the Invaders were formed. 

As members of the Invaders, Rogers and Namor fought against the Nazis and struck up a friendship that would last decades. Still, there’s always been some tension between Namor’s more brutal, pragmatic nature and Captain America’s optimism and penchant for mercy. 

At the end of the war, fate intervened, and their friendship was put on ice—literally. Rogers was frozen and presumed lost. Namor subsequently teamed with other versions of Captain America as a member of the All-Winners Squad, among other teams, but the Sub-Mariner eventually had his memory taken away by Paul Destine, rendering him an amnesiac and forcing him to wander the world without any recollection of his real identity.

Namor and Steve, Reunited

After Johnny Storm, AKA Human Torch, restored Namor’s memory, the character became something of a villain in the Marvel Universe, facing off against the Fantastic Four and other heroes. He even served as one of the earliest adversaries for the fledgling Avengers. Following a battle with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Namor encountered a group of Inuit people worshipping a man frozen in ice. In a rage, Namor threw the block of ice into the sea, which began to thaw, accidentally releasing the person inside, Captain America, and returning him to action. 

Saving his old ally was a complete accident. At the time, Namor’s amnesia was still affecting him in such a way that he couldn’t recognize Captain America. When Rogers joined Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS (1963) #4, the team battled against Namor, and neither party recognized the other. Rogers, for his part, was still recovering from having been frozen for decades. 

Steve and Namor later remembered each other and reaffirmed their friendship. Still, Namor’s fierce defense of Atlantis and Atlantean interests has been a major point of tension between them, as those goals have led the Sub-Mariner to make ethically questionable choices. Some, like Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, have even questioned whether Rogers is too lenient towards Namor and if their friendship clouds his judgment. 

Captain America has always been something of a good influence on Namor, though. The Sub-Mariner eventually joined an iteration of the Avengers, due in large part to his relationship with Rogers, who understood the good that his Invaders teammate could do. Rogers has never stopped believing in Namor, and when the Sub-Mariner was brought to trial for his various crimes against humanity, the Sentinel of Liberty noted that he would have testified on his old ally’s behalf, though was prevented from doing so by law. 

In response, Namor has shown that, while his loyalties are always to Atlantis first, Captain America will forever be important to him. During CIVIL WAR (2006), Namor sided with Rogers against Stark and brought an army of Atlanteans to his aid. Following Captain America’s short-lived death at the end of that event, Namor vowed to protect the body of his fallen ally, which was interred in the Arctic. 

Despite those team-ups and fond moments, not everything has been good between Namor and Rogers. In AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (2012), for example, the two came to blows over what to do with the Phoenix Force and Hope Summers. In Jason Aaron’s current run on AVENGERS (2018), they fought again when Namor brutally murdered some Roxxon soldiers threatening the ocean. He later attempted to turn humans into Atlanteans while under the influence of a psychic construct of a former World War II buddy named Tommy Machan. In the end, though, Rogers and Namor always seem to end up on the same side, and the two stopped Machan together. 

Now, following a major schism with Bucky Barnes, who joined a mysterious cabal known as the Outer Circle in hopes of destroying it, Captain America and Namor have again proven their friendship in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY (2022) #7. Once an Invader, always an Invader!

Check out the latest meeting between Rogers and Namor in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY (2022) #7 by Collin KellyJackson Lanzing, and Carmen Carnero, on sale now!

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