Meet Namora, Namor’s Super Hero Cousin
Who is Namora? Read on to learn more about Namor's heroic cousin, who has served on such teams as the Avengers and the Agents of Atlas.
Namor the Sub-Mariner has defended the depths since the very beginning of the Marvel Universe. However, he has not always defended his undersea kingdom alone. Since her debut in 1947, Namora has helped her more famous cousin protect Earth and its oceans from all kinds of threats. Much like the Sub-Mariner, Namora’s history stretches from Marvel’s earliest days to modern events like WORLD WAR HULK (2007) and ATLANTIS ATTACKS (2020).
From Namora’s Atlantean beginnings to her signature role in the Agents of Atlas, we’re taking a closer look at Namora and how she swam into the modern age.
NAMORA AND NAMOR THE SUB-MARINER
Much like Namor, Namora is a half-Atlantean, half-human mutant with flying abilities, super-strength, underwater super-speed, and other such Atlantean powers. Aquaria Nautica Neptunia debuted in MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS (1939) #82 by Ken Bald and Syd Shores, where she and her father – an adopted member of the Atlantean Royal Family – were among several Atlanteans called to a celebration by Lord Thakorr. A group of treasure-hunting criminals led by gangster Stomp Richards attacked the event and killed many of its attendees. After Namor arrived at the crime scene, Neptunia teamed up with the Sub-Mariner to avenge the fallen and dubbed herself Namora. Together, the pair made quick work of Stomp and his gang, and Namora started living with Namor’s human friend Betty Dean.
Throughout the remainder of the 1940s and into the 1950s, Namora operated as Namor’s post-WWII Super Hero partner, and the pair fought numerous pirates, treasure hunters, and other villains. Namora also developed a romantic interest in Namor, but she largely kept her feelings secret. She also starred in a short-lived solo series, NAMORA (1948), which ran for three issues.
In SUB-MARINER COMICS (1941) #39, Namor creator Bill Everett established Namora and Namor as cousins. This flashback story was the first of several that showed Namor and Namora growing up together as childhood friends and exploring their powers throughout their adolescent adventures.
NAMORA AND THE AVENGERS’ LOST GENERATION
Namora and Namor eventually faded into the background of the Marvel Universe, but the Sub-Mariner returned strong in FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #4 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, which revealed that an amnesiac Namor had been missing for years – and worse still, part of Atlantis had been destroyed by nuclear testing. As a result, Namora’s fate was unclear for years.
As Namor’s adventures continued, Namora went largely unmentioned until SUB-MARINER (1968) #50 by Bill Everett, which revealed Namora’s apparent death and introduced her cloned daughter, Namorita. After taking refuge with her child in the undersea kingdom of Lemuria, Namora was poisoned by the villainous Llyra, her rival for the affections of Lemuria’s Prince Merro. Although this seemingly killed Namora, she was actually frozen in a state of suspended animation, which would not be revealed for decades.
While Namorita established herself as a hero and helped form the New Warriors, Namora lived on through flashback stories that revealed more details about her past as one of the more prominent heroes of the 1950s. When Namor went missing, Namora joined the Monster Hunters, a group of adventurers led by Ulysses Bloodstone, as revealed by MARVEL: THE LOST GENERATION (2000) #2 by Roger Stern and John Byrne. Namora was also approached by Jimmy Woo, who tried to recruit her to his government-operated G-Men team. Although she declined, she led Agent Woo to M-11, the Human Robot, who joined the short-lived group.
While dating Kraven the Hunter, Namora joined Nick Fury’s secret team of black-ops Avengers in 1959, as revealed in NEW AVENGERS (2010) #10 by Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato, and Howard Chaykin. To take down a new Red Skull who was gathering power in Europe, Fury and Dum Dum Dugan recruited Namora, Bloodstone, Kraven, Sabretooth, the original Silver Sable, and mercenary Dominic Fortune for a top-secret black-ops mission; in return, he would drop the various charges against them. After killing this Red Skull, the team recovered his stash of Super Soldier Serum before splitting up.
Shortly after that mission, Namora reunited with this Avengers team in AVENGERS: 1959 (2011) by Howard Chaykin. Together, Fury, Namora, and this team took on the mystical villain Geoffrey Sydenham and his group ICON, which planned to summon Dormammu.
NAMORA AND THE AGENTS OF ATLAS
After decades in suspended animation, Namora returned to the waking world thanks to Jimmy Woo and the Agents of Atlas in AGENTS OF ATLAS (2006) #4 by Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk. In that series, a rejuvenated Woo assembled several heroes from the 1950s – including M-11, Gorilla-Man, Venus, and the Uranian – to take on a powerful secret organization called the Atlas Foundation. After M-11 led the team to Namora’s body and opened her coffin, she woke up, rescued the group from some attacking creatures, and joined the team. When the team finally tracked down the Atlas Foundation’s leader Plan Chu, the villain offered Woo control over the organization. Woo vowed to turn the Atlas Foundation into a force for good, and Namora and the rest of the team officially banded together as the Agents of Atlas.
Shortly after her return, Namora began mourning Namorita, who was killed by the explosive villain Nitro at the start of CIVIL WAR (2006). Although Namor had believed her dead, Namora still felt abandoned by her old friends and allies. So, when the Hulk announced his plans to attack the Illuminati members who left him in space in WORLD WAR HULK (2007), Namora was sympathetic to his cause and teamed up with the like-minded Amadeus Cho, Hercules, and Angel to form the Renegades in INCREDIBLE HULK (1999) #107 by Greg Pak and Gary Frank.
During their time on the Renegades, Namora and Hercules kissed, and the pair briefly dated shortly after that when Hercules visited Atlantis. After helping Hercules battle an Amazon invasion, Namora and Hercules ended their relationship, partly due to her lingering feelings towards Namor.
NAMORA RETURNS TO ATLANTIS
Namora and Namor’s lingering romantic aspirations played a critical role in the Agents of Atlas’ next mission. After battling Skrulls during SECRET INVASION (2008), the Agents of Atlas posed as villains in an effort to covertly undermine Norman Osborn’s plans during DARK REIGN (2008). To maintain the illusion, they traveled to the undersea city Oceanus to confront Namor about his time as part of Osborn’s Cabal in AGENTS OF ATLAS (2009) #6 by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman. Although Namora and Namor began arguing and their teams started to skirmish, Venus – one of the Agents of Atlas – used her siren powers to diffuse the situation. This display of power also caused Namor and Namora to embrace and admit their long-standing attraction to each other.
Although the two made plans to marry, Namora and Namor realized their union was the long-standing goal of the Atlantean scientist Tulem and his efforts to create more powerful Atlantean-human hybrids through genetic manipulation. Uncertain about the origin of their attraction and how genuine their feelings were, Namor and Namora ended their relationship. After that incident, Namora returned to the Agents of Atlas, where she helped Woo turn the Atlas Foundation into a positive force and even teamed up with a time-tossed team of Avengers.
During SECRET EMPIRE (2017), Namor declared Atlantis neutral in the fight against Hydra, and Namora emerged as the leader of the undersea resistance against him in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD (2017) #2 by Paul Allor and Brian Level. As Namor grew more authoritarian, Namora teamed up with the original Human Torch, Toro, and the Winter Soldier to help him realize the error of his ways. Although Namora was captured and almost executed by her cousin, the heroes helped Namor recognize that he had failed his people, and the Sub-Mariner relented.
As Namor took an increasingly aggressive stance towards the surface world, Namora continued to split her time between Atlantis and the Agents of Atlas. After Woo assembled a new team of Agents of Atlas to protect Asia, the original and new Agents of Atlas teamed up to protect Pan, an artificial city powered by an Atlantean dragon, in ATLANTIS ATTACKS (2020) by Greg Pak, Ario Anindito, and Robert Gill. When Namor threatened Pan, Namora played a critical role in reaching out to Atlantis and taking down Michael Nguyen, Pan’s villainous creator.
Between the Agents of Atlas and her solo adventures, Namora has proven herself to be one of the Marvel Universe’s most enduring heroes, both on the surface world and in the ocean’s deepest depths.
For more Atlantean adventures, don't miss NAMOR: CONQUERED SHORES (2022) #2, on sale November 16!
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