Set to make his long-awaited cinematic debut in the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Namor is one of the most globally talked about Marvel characters right now. Known chiefly for his role in the Netflix series, Narcos and the movie The Forever Purge, actor Tenoch Huerta is confirmed to be playing the Sub-Mariner himself.
Certainly one of the most underrated Marvel characters ever, Namor has an extensive history that goes back over eighty years. Though he’s often disregarded as “Marvel’s Aquaman,” Namor has plenty of qualities that make him unique.
10/10 Namor Made His Comic Debut In 1939
As previously mentioned, Namor has some of the most substantial histories in Marvel. In fact, Namor was one of the first Marvel characters to ever appear in comics. First appearing briefly in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly by Bill Everett – a small magazine of cartoons sold in movie theaters – Namor made his official Marvel debut in Marvel Comics #1 by Carl Burgos.
Easily one of the most important comics ever, Namor made his comic debut alongside the original Human Torch, The Angel, and the Masked Raider. In the comic, Namor attacks a group of divers investigating a shipwreck, establishing himself as a predator of the seas.
9/10 Namor Dances The Line Of Anti-Hero
Like many other Marvel characters, Namor is often misconceived as a straight-up hero or a straight-up villain when, in reality, Namor is one of Marvel’s greatest anti-heroes. Though Namor’s debut in Marvel Comics #1 featured him killing innocent salvage workers, from Namor’s perspective, he was protecting his homeland.
While his methods are brutal and often result in innocent death, Namor’s motivations are good in nature, as he only wishes to keep Atlantis and the rest of the seven seas safe from human influence. This has remained a continuous theme for Namor and will likely play a part in Wakanda Forever.
8/10 Namor Made His Modern Marvel Debut In Fantastic Four
In 1960, Marvel began its Silver Age era, resulting in a brand new universe with characters like Doctor Strange, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. This new era also featured the reintroduction of numerous popular characters from the Marvel Golden Age, like Captain America and Namor.
Namor was reintroduced to the new Marvel Universe in Fantastic Four #4 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In the comic, after separating from the team and bunking at a housing facility near the docks, Johnny Storm encounters Namor, a character Johnny instantly recognizes as an anti-hero from his favorite comic books.
7/10 Namor Has A Longstanding Alliance With Doctor Doom
The original diabolical duo, Namor and Dr. Doom, are longtime allies. As two frequent adversaries of the Fantastic Four, Namor and Doom became natural allies when they first teamed up in Fantastic Four #6 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Not stopping there, the two were later given a ten-issue run as teammates in Super-Villain Team-Up issues 1 through 10. Though Namor’s anti-heroic nature has resulted in conflicts between the two, they’ve both remembered how much they share in common. Years later, as teammates of the Cabal, Doom and the Sub-Mariner made a secret deal that they would join forces against their teammates if such a need arose.
6/10 Namor Is A Founding Member Of The Defenders
First appearing in Marvel Feature #1 by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, and Bill Everett, The Defenders, are among the strongest superhero teams in Marvel history. Originally comprised of Namor, the Incredible Hulk, and Doctor Strange, the Defenders were formed to defend Earth from interdimensional demons called the Undying Ones.
Though Namor and Hulk initially despised working alongside each other, Doctor Strange convinced the two to stay together for a time. Unlike most superhero teams, the Defenders have no official rules, no official base of operations, and an ever-changing roster, though the original three have remained for most of its history.
5/10 Namor Went To War With Wakanda
Though Namor is an anti-hero, from Wakanda’s perspective, he’s a serious threat with a history of stirring up conflict. As shown in Rise of the Black Panther #2 by Evan Narcisse and Javier Pina, Black Panther and Namor’s first meeting actually resulted in an unexpected team-up, but, perceiving a potential threat nonetheless, T’Challa opened a file on Namor.
The file turned out to be more than a great idea as Namor and Black Panther became adversaries soon after. In fact, during Avengers Vs. X-Men, Namor launched an all-out invasion of Wakanda using the full power of Atlantis, leading to the deaths of thousands of innocent Wakandans.
4/10 Namor Joined The Phoenix Five In Avengers Vs. X-Men
First appearing amid Avengers Vs. X-Men – a thirteen-issue series by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, and John Romita Jr. – the Phoenix Five is a group of mutants possessed by the Phoenix Force. After being split by Iron Man, the Phoenix Force possessed Namor, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, and Magik.
Using their nearly limitless power, the Phoenix Five created Utopia – a floating fortress for housing and protecting mutants, leading to a massive shift in the conflict. Though the Phoenix Force initially worked as a force for good and peace, the group quickly devolved into power-hungry tyrants.
3/10 Namor Is A Founding Member Of The Illuminati
Though he was absent from the MCU’s version of the Illuminati shown in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, Namor is a founding member of the Illuminati. A covert think tank made up of the most influential superheroes in the world, the Illuminati first appeared in New Avengers Vol 1 #7 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, and Mark Morales.
Though the Illuminati was formed to ultimately help humanity and the superhuman community to coexist, the Illuminati has done things many consider harsh and not heroic. Because of this, Namor’s anti-heroic nature has made him a swift and effective member of the Illuminati.
2/10 Namor Served Both The Avengers And X-Men
A special status in Marvel comics, Namor is one the few characters to have joined both the Avengers and the X-Men. As Marvel’s first mutant, it was only natural that he eventually joined the X-Men in an official capacity. Shortly before the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Namor joined the X-Men.
Also, in 2017, the X-Men rescued Atlantis from an attack by the Abomination and later offered Namor and his people permanent residence in Krakoa. Like the Fantastic Four, Namor first encountered the Avengers as a villain, but after a long adventure together, the team offered him an official spot on the roster. Though he rejected the Avengers’ initial offer, he later joined the team as an official member.
1/10 Namor Made Peace With Black Panther In Secret Wars
As previously mentioned, Namor and Black Panther have had massive conflicts that resulted in thousands of deaths. However, that didn’t stop the two heroes from making peace and joining forces during Secret Wars, a ten-issue series by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic.
One of the most significant events in Marvel history, Secret Wars involved numerous different realities in the Marvel Multiverse colliding with each other, events that became known as incursions. Amid the incursions, numerous versions of heroes and villains across Marvel clashed to protect themselves and other innocents. Among these heroes were Black Panther and Namor, who, after acquiring the Infinity Gauntlet, play a critical role in the event’s final stages.
NEXT: 10 Pieces Of Marvel Lore Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Should Explore