In Marvel Comics, Namor was always a crusader for his people and fought to ensure their safety from any and all that would threaten them or his home. As a result, he gained a reputation for being a ruthless warrior who had no qualms about taking a life to protect Atlantis. These actions put him at odds with nations like Wakanda but also earned him allies like Captain America during World War II. But whether an ally or an enemy, Namor has always been a character who fought against prejudice.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks Namor’s MCU debut and also his crusade to overpower and rule the surface world. But even though much of his actions were viewed as antagonistic, his motivations were steeped heavily in social issues. That said, with his origin altered for the big screen, the parallels are much more subtle but still evident.
Black Panther‘s Namor Has Always Fought Social Issues
In Marvel Comics #1 (by Bill Everett and Al Anders), Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was unleashed on Earth, and he showed in just a few short moments why he was a force to be reckoned with. Whether it be explorers trying to understand their planet or scientists experimenting with things they don’t understand, Namor was there to eliminate them without remorse. He even rocked ships off course with his superhuman strength. However, it would be revealed that the cause of his crusade was due to men killing his kind in droves with their experiments. This foundation for his hatred toward the surface would later evolve as time went on.
Namor, even as he grew more accustomed to the heroes of the surface world, always plotted what would be best for Atlantis. Because of this, few of the heroes he encountered were considered friends. The main reason for this was the moment he felt they’d turn on him or his people, he would kill them without hesitation. He was a King through and through, and whether it was Dr. Doom or Captain America, he worked in the favor of his people.
How Does Namor’s Past Connect With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
Where the comic book iteration of Namor made it clear exactly who he was fighting against and why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Namor made sure to show it in a way that impacted him more deeply. In the film, a flashback showed a young Namor burying his mother when he suddenly saw colonialists enslaving people native to the land of his mother. Seeing this, he immediately struck in anger, killing those who had hurt the native people and burning their homes to the ground. This prejudice and injustice fueled his hatred for the surface world and ensured he would never allow his people to have a similar fate, just as Wakanda had done.
Namor’s story in the comics may be different than what was shown in the MCU, but his motivations have remained. He’s sought to undo prejudice and injustice with an iron fist as he’d rather fight against oppressors and die trying than see any who are undeserving suffer. This mindset connects the two versions in a way past MCU counterparts can’t and has helped showcase why this Namor may be the MCU and the comics’ most interesting and complex character.