Namor and fish politicsPosted: 07/10/2012
Do you know about Namor the Sub-Mariner? I hope so. He’s one of my favorite characters, despite (or maybe because) his superhero costume looking like this most of the time:
No, he’s not European. That man’s the proud superhero king of Atlantis, that legendary underwater kingdom we all assume Amelia Earhart and Ernest Hemingway secretly live. Let’s go over a brief background for the buff merman.
Namor has been around for a while. Not just in comics (1939), but also in the Marvel universe, where he fought alongside Captain America in WWII as part of the Invaders superhero team. He also has the distinction of being the first mutant. Yup, before Cyclops and Professor X and all that jazz. Y’see, besides super strength, super speed, super durability, and underwater breathing he inherited from being half-Atlantean (his father was a ship captain), he can also fly. Which has nothing to do with Atlantean DNA. So how do you explain that superpower? Well, since he didn’t get into an industrial accident or have a mad scientist experiment on him, Marvel decided to retcon him into a mutant. It’s all good though, because now he can join the X-Men.
Most importantly, Namor is terribly confident, with an arrogance equal to other Marvel dictators. The killer abs certainly help. And in the Sub-Mariner miniseries, written by Mark Cherniss and Peter Johnson, his threats, cockiness, and fighting prowess really get to show off. Our article today examines Namor yelling at weaklings. And it’s awesome.
The story begins with some political issues. Not for long, though.
Turns out on the surface world, a group of Atlantean terrorists blew up a parade. Namor gets to figure out what’s going on. First stop, the supervillain Nitro.
Oh well. And since none of his loyal subjects are brave enough to solve this mystery, it’s up to the royal detective. Of which Namor is only one of those things.
I did mention political issues, right? One of the benefits of Namor stories is you get to add the kingly drama that made Game of Thrones such a hit. Just with blue sea dudes. Sure, Namor is the strongest and most powerful of the Atlanteans (hybrid DNA, y’know), but it’s not going to stop usurpers from living out their power-hungry dreams.
Spider-Man he’s not. Because Namor ain’t American, he doesn’t have to follow all those pesky laws that prevent him from maiming rebellious fish people. Unfortunately, that also makes him a threat to United States homeland defense when Atlantean terrorists blow up the homeland.
Despite all his fist-shaking, Namor is a superhero, not a villain. He’ll do sneaky, morally objectionable things, but Al Qaeda he’s not. So now he gets to go on a field trip to stop a radical fringe group of his own people so Atlantis isn’t foreign threat #1. Unfortunately, stuff like this keeps happening:
A constant theme you’ll come to realize is Namor’s buddies not acting all buddy-buddy. Luckily for us, Namor has little control over his ego-laden temper. He also gets a rough refusal from his supercrush the Invisible Woman. But you have to read the miniseries for that scene.
Also, what comic would this be if he doesn’t run into a major supervillain? A terrible one, that’s what.
How could you not like Namor after this fight? I’m not exaggerating when I say Namor’s one of the heaviest hitters in the Marvel universe. His strength is about equal to The Thing. He has over 80 years of combat experience. Oh, and he commands one of the strongest armies in the world. Don’t mess with Atlantis.
I’m skipping around, as you can tell, but he does finally meet up with the terrorist faction. Led by his estranged son. Where he beats the crap out of all of them.
With that situation wrapped up, our hero can go back to the delicious salmon and sea bass in underwater palace. Well, except for one little problem. A total rebellion sparked during his time away. How do you stop the conflict and regain control of your throne? By being majorly scary, that’s how.
Oh, and that hair’s breadth from a full-out war with the surface stemmed from the terrorist attack? Well, Namor’s going to kill two birds with one stone. First with a revolutionary idea:
And then with a chilling speech:
Politics ain’t easy, but thank goodness for leaders with rock solid ideals and abs who can make the tough decisions to spare his people. Now he can go back to seducing Cyclops’ girlfriend.