Who is Namor?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is finally coming to Disney Plus on February 1st and one of the obvious highlights ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) of the film and a long time favorite character of mine is Namor, King of Talocan. But who is this character? What are his roots in the Marvel comics mythos? There are quite a few differences in Namor’s origin and the culture of Atlantis but Namor has always been a fascinating keystone in comic history, so let’s dive in! (Haha!)
Namor the Sub-Mariner made his first appearance in print in 1939 in Marvel Comics #1 published by then Timely Comics, so my mans has been in the action since day one. Marvel Comics then was a pulp magazine where its characters were often sci-fi or western heroes or participating in the war effort, which was where Namor’s exploits oft lied. With his Herculean strength and flight capabilities from his Hermes like ankle wings, Namor was a hugely popular character and eventually formed the pantheon of Nazi-punching heroes we know as the Invaders, amongst the likes of Human Torch, Toro, and of course Captain America. But as the Golden Age of Comics came and went, Namor faded into obscurity for several years until his rediscovery in the 60’s by Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four.
In the comics, Namor is the son of human fisherman Leonard McKenzie and Princess of Atlantis, the Lady Fen. He is the ruler of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis and is also Marvel’s first ever character known as a mutant. He is also infamous for his bad attitude towards the surface world and his many lady loves, with his decades long pining for Susan Storm, the wife of Mr. Fantastic, and his torrid affair with Emma Frost, the then wife of X-Man Cyclops. This all may sound like a history lesson, but he has such a colorful background that no matter how you shake it would have been hard to adapt to the silver screen but the MCU ended up adapting his story in an extremely fresh and exciting way.
In the film, Namor is born to a Yucatec-Mayan indigenous mother in the 1600’s, who’s entire people took to the seas and changed to their aquatic counterparts due to the power of a vibranium infused plant. He rules an underwater paradise known as Talocan (based on the Mexica underwater underworld known as Tlalocan) which he vows to keep safe from the surface world at any cost. Now despite these changes, Namor has always quarreled with the surface world, and has had its fair amount of tussles with the Black Panther and Wakanda as a whole. Their similarities as advanced societies hidden from the outside world did not keep them from fighting, in the beginning normally over foreign espionage and misunderstandings usually resolved by the end of the issue that is until Avengers vs. X-Men and the era of the Phoenix Force. During this storyline, Prince Namor imbued with the cosmic power of the Phoenix a la Jean Grey and Thanos’ Black Order, Namor actually destroys Atlantis to save his people form the Mad Titan, but this altered the course of T’Challa and Namor’s relationship forever. To the point where T’Challa both stabs and lands a literal planet on Namor to kill him (he’s fine now), it seems as if they’re relationship will continue to evolve in shaky alliances and bitter betrayals, but the film adaptation has been a fascinating look into how that relationship will go forward between the two nations.
Now I am starting to ramble in this article, but if you have not had the chance to see this film you will have the chance to do so in just a few weeks but in the meantime, come out to any of your local Bedrock City Comics stores so we can keep you up to date with all the happenings of the Sub-Mariner and so much more!