Born to a warrior nomadic Atlantean tribe super-strength, Attuma was prophesied to one day lead his people. Taking it seriously, he believes he’s destined to rule Atlantis, conquering it twice successfully, but faces opposition from Namor McKenzie, AKA Namor the Sub-Mariner, and heroes from the surface world.
Born to the Skarka warrior tribe of nomadic Homo mermani, Attuma possesses 10 times normal strength for his race. At some point, Atlantis banishes the Skarka, forcing the tribe to live as raiders, but Attuma’s father builds a new tribe, the Chasm Folk.
When his mother dies birthing him, a prophecy at the time suggests that Attuma would one day lead his people. Despite this prophecy, the enslaver Rorak takes Attuma and puts him to work in ancient mines. Attuma survives the grueling work, growing strong and ruthless, eventually leading his fellow Skarka to overthrow Rorak’s minions and flees.
Attuma grows up to become the barbarian chief and marries Lady Gelva, with whom he sires a daughter, Andromeda. Ashamed that his first born was female, he casts her out to fend for herself.
When Namor returns as Atlantis’ monarch after decades of amnesiac wandering on the surface world, Attuma amasses his army against him. Namor’s spurned lover Lady Dorma allows Attuma’s forces into the city, and they quickly overpower the Atlantean army. Dorma realizes her error and retrieves the Fantastic Four, who disable Attuma’s weapons while Namor bests Attuma, forcing his army to retreat.
As a member of the species Homo mermani, Attuma has gills that enable him to breathe underwater and is adapted for the extreme pressure, cold and darkness of the ocean’s depths. Since his genetic enhancement, he can lift upward of 85 tons, breathe indefinitely on land, and swim at 60 mph. Before these procedures, he could lift 40 tons on land and somewhat more underwater, and could only breathe on the surface for 10 minutes before suffocating.
He is proficient with a sword and hand-to-hand combat, commands vast legions of undersea barbarians, and has access to scientists, vehicles, and advanced weaponry.
Surface and Underwater Opponents
Attuma’s most persistent foe is Namor the Sub-Mariner, ruler of Atlantis whom he often attacks and sometimes usurps. He eventually allies with him for the restoration of Atlantis.
While Attuma’s daughter Andromeda Attumasen is biologically bound to him, she becomes disgusted by his tactics and allies, so she joins the Defenders against her father, the Atlantean conqueror.
Attuma leads a Barbarian horde with Lord Arno as one of his chief commanders. Attuma’s followers include Brodar, Burka, General Epititus, Gort, Grokko, Kor-Konn, Lorvex, Mako, Saru-San, Serestus, Worta, and Wurta. Attuma also enslaves Tyrak as one of his barbarians, who gains additional strength from experiments.
To conquer and rule Atlantis, Attuma forms several alliances with Orka, a fellow superhuman, and the Atlanteans Krang and Byrrah. Attuma also assembles the Deep Six, a group of aquatic villains, to defend Atlantis, and joins Alexander Gentry, AKA Porcupine’s Lethal Legion.
A Conqueror’s Conquests
Attuma then decided to conquer the surface world, about which he knew little, and captured a plane carrying Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp, to study humans. Wasp sent a message to Hank Pym, AKA Giant Man, who attacked Attuma’s base to rescue her. Assuming all humans had Giant Man’s powers, Attuma abandoned his plans and fled.
Attuma later plotted to use a Nautilium missile to render surface air unbreathable. Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, happened upon Attuma’s plans and, after battling the villain, destroyed the missile with an experimental submarine. Renewing his efforts, Attuma used a machine to create tidal waves and flood the surface. He again captured the Wasp, who alerted the Avengers. Weakened by Attuma’s ship’s humid air, Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, AKA the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, fell to Attuma and his troops. However, with additional aid by teammate Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, Captain America sabotaged Attuma’s machine, destroying his ship as the Avengers escaped.
Soon after, Attuma found an extraterrestrial servo-robot unintentionally deposited on Earth, and his agents programmed it to assault Atlantis; though Namor was unable to harm the robot, he transmitted a message to its owners, who reclaimed it, foiling Attuma once more. Attuma then formed an alliance with the Atlanteans Krang and Byrrah, whereby Byrrah used a hypnosis ray to ensnare Atlantis’ citizens and usurp Namor’s throne, sending him into exile and inviting Krang and Attuma to rule Atlantis with him. However, Dorma tampered with the hypnosis ray, and the people regained their senses. Hoping to salvage victory, Attuma and Krang readied Attuma’s “supreme weapon,” which unleashed a vortex on the city. Namor returned and destroyed the weapon before any damage could be wrought, and Attuma and Krang escaped.
The Atlanteans later exiled Namor and abandoned their city, hoping to find respite from constant attacks. Capitalizing on Namor’s absence, Attuma enslaved the wandering Atlanteans. Several barbarians captured Namor and brought him before Attuma, whom he challenged to single combat. Fearing losing face with his troops, Attuma agreed and donned a suit of electrified armor, using it to overpower Namor. However, one of Attuma’s soldiers betrayed him and freed Dorma, who disrupted the machine powering Attuma’s armor. Attuma’s advantage canceled, Namor knocked Attuma unconscious and freed his people.
Shortly thereafter, Attuma gained Atlantean scientist Ikthon’s loyalty, though Ikthon continued feigning allegiance to Namor. Seeking to sow discord between humans and Atlanteans, Attuma planned to use Ikthon’s Earth-Borer to destroy Manhattan and blame the attack on Namor. Seizing a ship full of human hostages and capturing Namor, Walter Newell, AKA Stingray, and the Inhuman Triton with an electrified net, Attuma imprisoned them in a force field. Threatening to kill hostages, Attuma ordered the heroes to fight each other to the death, but they escaped and routed Attuma’s forces. In desperation, Attuma activated the Earth-Borer, but it malfunctioned and exploded, prompting Attuma to flee.
Soon after, on Namor and Dorma’s wedding day, Attuma’s barbarians assaulted Atlantis in full force. Aided by a visiting Lemurian army, Namor repelled their attack and wounded Attuma, who ordered a retreat. Attuma regrouped and piloted another Earth-Borer in an attempt to destroy Atlantis. However, Namor discovered Ikthon’s treachery and intercepted Attuma, destroying the Earth-Borer and throwing Attuma from the city. Attuma then allied with Ivan Kragoff, AKA Red Ghost, who placed several aquatic life forms under their control, and sent an army of sea creatures and barbarians to attack Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Defenders—Namor, Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk, Brunnhilde, AKA Valkyrie, Hawkeye—defended the city, but Namor was stunned by the sea creatures and captured by Attuma, prompting the Defenders to surrender rather than risk Namor’s execution. The villains mentally enslaved the heroes by bombarding them with cosmic rays and sent them to destroy Atlantis. Learning of their allies’ location, Dr. Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange, and Norrin Radd, AKA the Silver Surfer, blocked the cosmic rays, freeing the heroes from Red Ghost’s influence; Hawkeye knocked out Red Ghost while Namor defeated Attuma with a single blow.
Attuma subsequently allied with Dr. Lemuel Dorcas and Todd Arliss, AKA Tiger Shark, and the three attacked Hydro-Base, subjugating its mutated amphibious Hydro-Men inhabitants and seizing its advanced technology. When Namor traveled to Hydro-Base to seek scientific expertise, the villains ambushed and overwhelmed him. Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom, desiring an alliance with Namor, teleported him to safety, but not before the villains murdered Namor’s former lover Betty Dean Prentiss. Doom and Namor returned to Hydro-Base, and Doom battled Attuma while Namor freed the Hydro-Men and then single-handedly defeated all three villains. Attuma was placed in the Hydro-Men’s custody but quickly escaped. Devising a new plan, he stole the government-developed Chloro-Beam to empower his soldiers and captured Victor Shade, AKA the Vision, while his servant Tyrak captured the other Avengers, all of who were fitted with slave-collars and sent to destroy Hydro-Base and kill Namor. However, Doom had been conducting experiments at Hydro-Base, and after battling the Avengers, freed them from their slave-collars and joined them against Attuma. Attuma was brought low by the Vision and Namor while the Avengers defeated his troops.
Feeling betrayed by Namor’s affection for the surface world, the Atlanteans asked Namor to relinquish his throne, leaving Atlantis in the charge of a triumvirate of nobles. However, High Priest Shakkoth fomented civil war, prompting the Atlanteans to ally with Attuma for protection. Given command of Atlantis’ army, Attuma crushed Shakkoth’s forces and then assumed control of Atlantis, discrediting Namor through propaganda campaigns. To lure Namor into a trap, Attuma captured his lover Marrina; Namor’s first rescue attempt was repelled, as the Atlantean population opposed their former monarch. Namor returned with the Avengers and Alpha Flight, who occupied Attuma’s troops while Namor fought Attuma. With the battle going poorly and realizing Namor did not wish to reclaim the throne, Attuma permitted the heroes to leave with Marrina.
Shortly afterward, Attuma allied with the Deviant Priestlord Ghaur and Llyra Morris, AKA Llyra, who plotted to summon the Elder God Set and promised Attuma a portion of the world to rule, though they secretly planned to sacrifice their Homo mermani allies to Set. Given command of Llyra’s forces in addition to his own, Attuma ordered attacks on several ships passing through the Panama Canal. Iron Man and Namor repelled Attuma’s soldiers, but Namor seemingly perished in the battle.
Disgusted with her father, Andromeda revealed their relationship and escaped to lead a rebellion against him. Undeterred, Attuma sent portions of his army to attack multiple strategic points in the USA, but teams of Avengers defeated each contingent. Attuma then led his troops in an attack on a water purification plant, where they came across Jean Grey, AKA Phoenix, and Hank McCoy, AKA Beast. Desiring Grey for a mate, Attuma took her captive and ordered Beast killed. However, Andromeda’s rebels rescued Beast, and she challenged Attuma to a death-duel. Attuma accepted, and defeated Andromeda while Beast escaped with Grey. Attuma would have slain Andromeda, but Ghaur whisked her to safety, claiming she was necessary for the ritual to summon Set. Attuma subsequently ordered a full assault on New York City, sending the Megasaur monster to reinforce his army. While the Atlantean soldiers attacked the surface, Ghaur and Llyra had Atlantis destroyed. Confronted with Atlantis’ destruction, Attuma was captured by the military as his troops withdrew.
No longer in control of Atlantis, Attuma led the barbarians in colonizing a city, where they noticed that illegal Japanese whaling was causing food shortages. As Attuma attacked a fishing vessel, Namor assumed Attuma responsible for the whale slaughtering and assaulted the barbarians until he was informed of the true assailants. The Japanese hero Shiro Yoshida, AKA Sunfire, defended the whalers, attacking both Namor and Attuma, who capsized the whaling vessel before leaving the scene. Attuma and his barbarians then settled at the Antarctic site of Old Atlantis, but the Sea Leopard attacked them, mistakenly believing they sought the Vibranium deposit he guarded. Sea Leopard defeated Attuma, and nearly defeated Namor and Andromeda as well when they arrived to investigate, but the three worked together to vanquish him. Namor departed, leaving Sea Leopard at Attuma’s mercy.
Soon after, Attuma found the Hulk floating in the ocean, and had his scientists draw his gamma-irradiated blood. Attuma used the blood to mutate himself and was equipped with a tank to feed him a continual supply. In his monstrous form, the rampaging Attuma overpowered both Namor and the Hulk but was defeated when the heroes disconnected his feeder tubes, cutting off his supply of gammablood.
Later, Namor and the original Defenders were cursed by Yandroth and consequently teleported away to combat evil whenever Earth was threatened. When Namor disappeared from Atlantis, Attuma’s army easily conquered it. Soon after, Nathaniel Richards, AKA Kang the Conqueror, arrived to conquer the 21st century and offered any who joined him a place in his new order. Answering the call, Attuma and his army assaulted Prince Edward Island, Canada, with the monster Torg at their command; the Avengers repelled Attuma’s assault and defeated Torg.
Attuma soon assembled aquatic villains known as the Deep Six to defend Atlantis. Namor and the Defenders tried to reclaim Atlantis several times, but were always teleported away at a critical juncture. Eventually, the Defenders surprised the Deep Six and defeated them one by one; Namor bested Attuma in personal combat, reclaiming his throne. Attuma soon attacked Atlantis again, but his forces were driven to the Florida coast by the Olympian Heracles, AKA Hercules, as one of his twelve labors for a reality TV series. Frustrated at repeated failures, Attuma led a massive army and several Octo-Mek robots against Manhattan, where they battled the Avengers; the barbarians retreated when Attuma was decapitated by a blow from Robert Reynolds, AKA Sentry. Doctor Doom retrieved Attuma’s body, reattached his head, and surgically enhanced his abilities, offering an alliance in which Attuma’s people would become Latverian subjects in return for their loyalty as soldiers. Attuma’s answer is as yet unrevealed. Attuma goes on to hunt down his tormentor and slaver Rorak, and when he caught up with him, he showed no mercy, declaring that mercy was for fools and cowards.
When former All-Father of Asgard the Serpent, and brother to Odin Borson, sent seven hammers to Earth, the Hammer of Nerkkod fell to the seas which Attuma discovered and received its immense power. Calling himself Nerkkod, Attuma began an all-out attack on oil rigs and lines in the Pacific Ocean and came up against James Hudson, AKA Guardian, leader of Canada’s Super Hero team, Alpha Flight. Guardian teleported Attuma away from his forces who were left leaderless and retreated. Attuma soon defeated Guardian and attacked Canada’s Atlantic Coast and spread chaos in Newfoundland where Robert Baldwin, AKA Speedball, opposed him but failed to defeat him.
Attuma then caused destruction everywhere he traveled from British Columbia to the coast of New Zealand, and Hawaii. He made his way to New Atlantis underneath the mutant refuge Utopia, where he battled with Namor. Forced to escape Attuma’s great power, Namor flees with the help of mutant Loa. Attuma then left his minions to hold New Atlantis and left to conquer elsewhere only to come up against Namor and the Defenders. While Attuma lost the hammer during a one-on-one fight with Namor, he regained it and fled. He was soon summoned by the Serpent to battle Earth’s heroes in Broxton, Oklahoma. During the battle, the hammer wielders, including Attuma, were stripped of their weapons and powers thanks to Asgardian weaponry provided by Odin, and the Serpent was defeated by Thor Odinson, AKA Thor.
Attuma fled and took over the undersea realm Lemuria to understand its secrets and bide time while creating weapons to attack the surface world and conquer Atlantis once again. His efforts led him into a conflict with Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, who sought to obtain an ancient scroll for S.H.I.E.L.D. Attuma sent his monster Kophin after him but ended up in a battle with the Hulk himself and was thrown into Kophin’s jaws, who swallowed him and Kophin disappeared into the depths of the ocean. Attuma’s forces were defeated and Lemuria was soon freed.
Later, Attuma reappeared to ally with Namor and restore Atlantis. During this time, the Squadron Supreme attacked the city, prompting Attuma to come to Namor’s aid. The Squadron’s Power Princess decapitated Attuma. Attuma was eventually resurrected and he remained allied to Namor, protecting Atlantis from external threats.