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Prince Namor. Cover art for Sub-Mariner #1 (2007 limited series), by Michael Turner
Character Name = Namor the Sub-Mariner
Publisher = Marvel Comics
Debut = Motion Picture Funnies Weekly (April 1939)
Creators = Bill Everett (writer & artist)
Real Name = Namor McKenzie
Species = Human Mutant, Homo mermanus/Homo sapiens superior Hybrid
Homeworld = Atlantis
Alliances = Invaders
All-Winners Squad
Deep Six
The Cabal
Dark X-Men
Aliases = Namor the First, the Avenging Son, Imperius Rex, the Sub-Mariner
Powers = Amphibious physiology
Superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability and longevity
Telepathic and bioelectrical powers

Namor the Sub-Mariner is a fictional comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe, and one of the first superheroes, debuting in Spring 1939. The character was created by writer-artist Bill Everett for Funnies Inc., one of the first "packagers" in the early days of comic books that supplied comics on demand to publishers looking to enter the new medium. Initially created for the unreleased comic Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, the Sub-Mariner first appeared publicly in Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939) — the first comic book from Timely Comics, the 1930s-1940s predecessor of the company Marvel Comics. During that period, known to historians and fans as the Golden Age of Comic Books, the Sub-Mariner was one of Timely's top three characters, along with Captain America and the original Human Torch. Everett said the character's name was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

The mutant son of a human sea captain and of a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis, Namor possesses the super-strength and aquatic abilities of the "Homo mermanus" race, as well as the mutant ability of flight, along with other superhuman powers. Through the years, he has been alternately portrayed as a good-natured but short-fused superhero, or a hostile invader seeking vengeance for perceived wrongs that misguided surface-dwellers committed against his kingdom.

The first known comic book antihero, the Sub-Mariner has remained a historically important and relatively popular Marvel character. He has served directly with the Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Invaders, and the X-Men as well as serving as a foil to all of them on occasion.


Publication history

Golden Age

Namor the Sub-Mariner first appeared in April 1939 in the prototype for a planned giveaway comic titled Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, produced by the comic book packager Funnies Inc. The only eight known samples among those created to send to theater owners were discovered in the estate of the deceased publisher in 1974. When the giveaway idea fell through, creator Everett used the character for Marvel Comics #1, the first comic book by Funnies, Inc. client Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel. The final panel of the earlier, unpublished eight-page Sub-Mariner story had included a "Continued Next Week" box that reappeared, sans lettering, in an expanded 12-page story. The series Marvel Comics was retitled Marvel Mystery Comics with issue #2 (Dec. 1939).

Namor's first cover appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #4 (Feb. 1940). Art by Alex Schomburg.

Everett's antihero would eventually battle Carl Burgos' android superhero, the Human Torch; however, as the United States entered the Second World War, Namor would ally himself with the Torch and the allies against Adolf Hitler and the Axis powers. Other friends included Betty Dean, a New York policewoman introduced in Marvel Mystery Comics #3 (and later known as Betty Dean-Prentiss), who was a steady companion, and his cousins Namora and Dorma.

Namor starred in the Golden Age comic book Sub-Mariner Comics, published quarterly, then thrice-yearly, and finally bimonthly, from issues #1-32 (Fall 1941 - June 1949). A backup feature each issue starred the detective-superhero the Angel. Along with many other Timely characters, Namor disappeared not long after the end of WWII and the decline in popularity of superhero comics. He also briefly fought crime as a member of the post-war superhero team the All-Winners Squad, and, through a 1970s retroactive continuity, was given a history of having fought with the Allies during World War II in the superhero team the Invaders. Both these super-groups were built around the core of Namor, Captain America, and the original Human Torch. Some issues of the 1975-1979 series The Invaders reprinted Golden Age Sub-Mariner stories.

The Sub-Mariner experienced a brief revival in the mid-1950s, starting with Young Men #24 (which also briefly revived Captain America and the original Human Torch) and then in Sub-Mariner Comics #33-42 (April 1954 - Oct. 1955). During this time, Namora had her own spin-off series.

Silver Age and after

Namor returned in Fantastic Four #4 (May 1962), where a member of the titular superhero team, Johnny Storm, the new Human Torch, discovers him living as an amnesiac homeless man in the Bowery section of Manhattan. The Human Torch shaves the "bum" with his flames, recognizes Namor, and dumps him into the river in the hopes of restoring his memory, which it does. Namor immediately returns to his undersea kingdom (given a name in this issue for the first time in Namor's history, as Atlantis), but finds only an outpost destroyed by nuclear weapons testing during his amnesiac years. He assumes that all his people are scattered and that he will never find them. Vowing vengeance on the surface world, he attacks it with an array of sea creatures. As the Fantastic Four battles him, he becomes enamored of team-member Sue Storm, a romantic crush he would carry for years.

Silver Age Sub-Mariner #1 (May 1968). Cover art by John Buscema and Sol Brodsky.

In The Avengers #4 (March 1964), Namor discovers an Arctic tribe worshiping a frozen figure preserved in a block of ice. Enraged at the idolatry, he throws the block into the ocean, where, after Namor's departure, it subsequently melts to reveal Captain America's body frozen in suspended animation; the superhero team the Avengers would shortly revive him. The previous issue, Namor joins the Hulk in an attack on the Avengers, but is repulsed when the temperamental Hulk leaves the fight.

This Namor, beginning in the 1960s during a period fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books, is more authoritative, arrogant, and solemn than the impetuous youthful character of the 1940s and mid-1950s, speaking in neo-William Shakespeare dialogue rather than the more colloquial speech of his youth.

Again an antihero during this period, Namor variously finds himself allied with the supervillains Doctor Doom and Magneto, but his royal nobility and stubborn independent streak make these alliances-of-convenience short-lived. After various early guest-appearances, — including in Daredevil #7 (April 1965), a rare superhero story drawn by comics legend Wally Wood — Namor receives his own starring feature in the split-title comic Tales to Astonish (beginning issue #70, Aug. 1965). He was then spun-off into his own title, the 1968-74 series The Sub-Mariner. Some of the later issues of this series are notable for having been written and drawn by the character's creator, Bill Everett, shortly before his death; as well, they reintroduced a now-older Namora, and introduced her daughter, Namorita Prentiss.

Following a four-issue miniseries a decade later, Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner (Sept.-Dec. 1984), by co-writers Bob Budiansky and J. M. DeMatteis and art by penciler Budiansky and inker Danny Bulanadi, Namor again received an ongoing series in 1990. Namor, the Sub-Mariner, which ran 62 issues (April 1990 - May 1995), was initially written and penciled by John Byrne (who took over the inking as well from issues #4-21). From #26-38, the series' penciler and eventual penciler-inker was then-newcomer Jae Lee, with Bob Harras scripting from #33-40. Thereafter came a variety of artists and writers. This series followed Namor as CEO of Oracle, Inc., a corporation devoted to reducing pollution, particularly in the oceans, and provided the stage for the return of the 1970s martial artist superhero Iron Fist, who had been presumed dead.

The 12-issue miniseries Namor (June 2003 - May 2004), credited to co-writers Bill Jemas (then Marvel's president) and Andi Watson, and penciled initially by Salvador Larroca and later by Pat Olliffe and others, explored Namor's youth, charting his teenage romance with a young American girl in the early 20th century. A six-issue miniseries, Sub-Mariner vol. 2 (Aug. 2007 - Jan. 2008), by co-writers Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson and, primarily, artist Phil Briones, introduced Namor's heretofore undisclosed son, Kamar.

Never fundamentally either a hero or a villain, Namor has protected his kingdom and sought vengeance on the surface world only when he feels his realm is threatened. Although he has served alongside, or even as a member of, superhero teams — most notably the Defenders, a "non-team" in which through mystical means he was forced to ally with Doctor Strange, the Hulk, and the Silver Surfer, the Avengers, and both the World War II and modern-day versions of the Invaders — Namor remains an outsider.

Fictional character biography


Namor was born in the capital city of the Atlantean empire, then located off the Antarctic coast; he was born of the pairing of Atlantean Emperor Thakorr's daughter, Fen, and an American sea captain, Leonard McKenzie, of the icebreaker Oracle. When Fen did not return from investigating the ship's presence in their Antarctic waters, Thakorr sent soldiers to attack the Oracle, thinking that she had been captured. In truth, McKenzie had taken her as his bride. In the ensuing attack, McKenzie was believed to be killed, and Fen returned to her kingdom. Nine months later, a pink-skinned child was born among the blue-skinned Atlanteans. He was raised in Atlantis, and when he matured, he would alternate between living there and adventuring in the oceans and on the surface. He became the Prince of Atlantis, and a warrior for his people.

World War II

When World War II broke out, Namor put aside his differences with the surface world, and he fought alongside the team of Allied heroes that called themselves the Invaders, namely Captain America, his sidekick Bucky, and the original Human Torch. Namor was injured after the war and lived for a time in the Bowery district of New York as an amnesiac derelict who went by the name "Macin". During this time, the original site of Atlantis was destroyed by nuclear testing, forcing its inhabitants to move to a new location.

Post-World War II

After being awakened from his amnesia by Johnny Storm of the "Fantastic Four", Namor discovered the ruins of Atlantis. Believing that his people had been destroyed along with his city, Namor vowed revenge on humanity. After several attacks thwarted by heroes, including the "Fantastic Four" and the Avengers, Namor finally discovered the new home of the Atlantean people. After being repelled one more time in an attempt to seize New York City with his empire behind him, Namor called off his now baseless vendetta.

Sub-Mariner #67 (Nov. 1973), introducing the short-lived mid-'70s costume. Cover art by John Romita & Mike Esposito.

Namor eventually returned to Atlantis to marry his cousin, Lady Dorma, with whom he had fallen in love. However, Llyra, an evil princess of Lemuria, another submarine culture, kidnapped and replaced Dorma at the wedding hoping to usurp Namor's kingdom in that way. Legally, though, Dorma was the one Namor had married, but he still had to find his wife. Unfortunately, Llyra had taken Dorma to the surface world in a tank as bait, and when Namor arrived, she smashed the tank to distract him. Namor was unable to save Dorma, and nearly went insane from grief. Not long after, Namor would reunite with his father, long thought dead; however, the reunion was brief and bittersweet, as Leonard McKenzie gave his life in battle against the villain Tiger Shark.

After being deposed from his throne and driven from Atlantis, Namor joined the Avengers. He was briefly married to Marrina, an aquatic-alien member of the Plodex as well as a member of Alpha Flight. Marrina had been abducted by Attuma at the time, and was holding her prisoner until Namor freed her with help from both the Avengers and Alpha Flight. Both he and Marrina established a small society of Atlanteans who were opposed to Attuma's tyranny in Namor's underwater grotto called Deluvia. Later, Marrina's genetic disposition to evil emerged and she was thought to have been killed battling the Avengers, but was she later revealed to be alive, but in a coma. Namor is still unaware of this fact.

Afterward, during the "Atlantis Attacks" storyline of 1989 Marvel annuals, rogue Atlantean elements declared war on the surface. Namor was presumed killed in the opening battle at the Panama Canal, but had actually survived, and after turning the tide of battle kept permitting the public to believe he was dead. During this time he rediscovered his cousin Namorita.

Months later in the South Pacific, father-daughter oceanographers Caleb and Carrie Alexander found a nearly mad Namor and nursed him to health. Caleb had long theorized that Namor's "rage" was due to his half-human half-Atlantean blood chemistry, and he equipped Namor with a monitor to warn when Namor had to seek either air or water. This allowed Namor to control his metabolism for the first time. Determined to continue to preserve the oceans and his people, but without revealing himself, Namor collected sunken treasures to finance his purchase of a corporation he renamed Oracle, Inc., using the Alexanders as proxy buyers. Under the guise of an international businessman and CEO of Oracle, he supported environmental causes. However, Namor was forced to reveal his survival when a terrorist bomb detonated on an Oracle submarine supertanker, threatening New York City. Later, Namor lost his ankle-wings when he released a mutagenic scrambler within the animated garbage-monster Sluj.

While continuing his business endeavors, Namor traveled to the dimension of K'un-L'un, where he found the hero Iron Fist, who had been presumed dead for many months. Returning to Earth and investigating the apparent invasion of Earth by the K'un L'un sentient plant race the H'ylthri, Namor was forced to fight their captive, the X-Men member Wolverine. The battle was interrupted by the sorcerer Master Khan, who wiped Namor's memory and dumped him in the American Midwest. Namor was "missing" for almost a year, and was known as "Rex," until Namorita tracked him down using a psychic link to him she had recently discovered. Namor did not regain his memory until sometime afterward, when he and the apparently resurrected Princess Fen were captured by Doctor Doom. The ship Doom had used to do so was then magically imprisoned in a bottle by Master Khan, who then assumed Namor's form and sold off much of Oracle's holdings. Namor soon broke the bottle and the spell, and killed Khan.

During the Acts of Vengeance, Namor was possessed by the supervillain the Controller and fought Captain America, who defeated Namor and released him from his mind-control.

Namor was then recalled to Atlantis to deal with border attacks by the "Faceless Ones". After Fen attempted to usurp the throne, it was revealed she was actually the witch-queen Artys Gran, who had stolen Fen's body. Namor was killed battling Gran's sorcerer-king husband Suma-Ket, but revived by Father Neptune, the deity worshiped by Atlanteans. In the process, Namor had his wings restored and was given the sacred golden armor of his ancestor, with which he defeated Suma-ket's forces. The real Fen, trapped in Gran's body, died defending her son from a final attack from Socus, the villains' servant. Namor eventually returned to both ruling Atlantis and running Oracle, Inc., but has generally remained away from the surface world. Oracle began funding the charitable super-group Heroes For Hire, with the team using an Oracle facility as its headquarters.


Namor is a member of the clandestine policy group the Illuminati, with Mister Fantastic, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Professor X, and Black Bolt, although he is hostile in his opinions. When his cousin Namorita is killed in the explosion and mass deaths that lead to the Superhero Registration Act, which Namor also opposes, he activates sleeper agents of the Atlantean royal guard to search for Nitro, the supervillain who was responsible. With the aid of Wolverine, he captures Nitro. In the climactic battle between the pro- and anti-registration heroes, Namor brings an army of Atlanteans to aid Captain America's forces. Later, Namor attends the private, Arctic funeral of Captain America, promising the few others present that no one shall disturb the site.

Namor was the sole Illuminati member who opposed the plan to exile the Hulk off-planet, arguing instead that the Illuminati should have attempted to aid the Hulk, and because of this, he was spared the Hulk's wrath upon his return to Earth. He also (correctly) predicted Hulk would return to seek revenge for having been shot into space. Upon the Hulk's return, Namor's cousin Namora allied with Archangel and Hercules in an attempt to support the Hulk's plans.

Destruction of Atlantis

Namor discovered he had a long lost son, Kamar, who attempted to usurp the throne of Atlantis by forcing war with the United States. Due to these events, Namor was forced to evacuate the entire civilization of Atlantis; ordering his people to emigrate to the surface world to live within sleeper cells, leaving an overcharged Nitro to explode within the empty city-state, assassinating the then-captured Kamar. After this, Namor formed an alliance with the supervillain and European monarch Doctor Doom, leading a contingent of Atlantean soldiers to be based in Doom's nation of Latveria.

Secret Invasion

Not long after that, Iron Man summoned the Illuminati to discuss whether that indicated a potential invasion, with Namor insisting otherwise. Subsequently, Black Bolt, revealed to be a Skrull imposter, attacked them all before being killed by Namor. Namor claimed that he no longer trusted the remaining four Illuminati members and left the disillusioned group.

Dark Reign

Namor teamed up with Captain America to recover the original Human Torch's body before it is used as a weapon. However, he is captured and tested with a virus made from Jim Hammond's DNA and cell structure, but his Atlantean physiology purged him of the virus. Afterward, they make sure that Jim has a proper burial.

Namor was one of several leaders summoned to a meeting convened by Norman Osborn, including Doctor Doom and Emma Frost, who is revealed to have a past with the character, as well as implying that Namor bears feelings for her. Namor and Doom spoke after the meeting ended and both expressed doubt in Norman's plans, which Doom suggests they utilize so that he could gain control over the land-bound nations of Earth, leaving Namor undisturbed as the ruler of the seas.

As Osborn's meeting is adjourned, Namor meets with Emma Frost where it is revealed that she and Prince Namor share a romantic history. During her days as the White Queen, Sebastian Shaw sends Emma to convince Namor to join the Hellfire Club. Instead, Namor takes her to his kingdom and they begin a relationship. Believing Emma to have betrayed him for Namor, Shaw sends a reprogrammed Sentinel to Atlantis, attacking the two and destroying the kingdom. As Namor confronts Shaw for his treachery, Selene takes telepathic hold of Emma, erasing her memories of Namor. He vows revenge on Shaw. In the present, Emma reveals that her initial battle with Phoenix unlocked her memories of Namor. She makes a pact with him, seducing Shaw and using her telepathy to make Namor believe she has executed him, while secretly telepathically incapacitating Shaw. Per their deal, Namor vows to protect mutant-kind as his own people, while Emma promises to use her powers to protect Namor's psyche when and if they are betrayed by Osborn.

An unclear duration of time after Hercules and Snowbird returned to Earth with Amadeus Cho (with the ultimate victory of the God Squad being set around Reed Richard's escape and Secret Invasion #5), Namor confronts Hercules in the first part of the Love and War saga and attacks him, but is assuaged by Namora's insistence they are on the same side. After Neptune, in a weakened state, was abducted by Hippolyta and her Amazon warriors, at the behest of Hera and Pluto, who forced him to cede his shares of the Olympus Group to them, facilitating their takeover of the same; the Amazon Princess Artume likewise forced from him the location of the Omphalos. He was rescued from Artume's clutches by Hercules, Namor, and Namora and taken to Atlantis by Namor for the priests to heal him, with Namor expressing still a great deal of awe, concern, and respect for his deity, willing to sacrifice the surface world to tend to him.

At some other point Osborn assigns him to capture the now fugitive Tony Stark, but he fails.

Namor consents to reunite with the other five members of the Illuminati a week after the Secret Invasion when a desperate Reed Richards reassembles the organization to gather aid and guidance for the problem of alternate reality Civil Wars through his newly constructed machine he has dubbed the Bridge.

An uncertain period after his meeting with the Illuminati, Namor's mind and image is projected upon a psychic plane by the telepath Emma Frost for the Cabal to meet for the second time and the six continue their discussion of various topics. Osborn promises to take care of The Mighty Avengers, and other issues are discussed, such as the unsuccessful (as of yet) hunt for Tony Stark, the pouring in of the Asgardians into Latveria (which Loki argues was in accordance to her agreement with Doom), the reinstating of Doctor Doom as monarch, the massing mutants from San Francisco, the problem of Mister Negative, the Punisher's assault on the Hood, the dismantling of Camp Hammond, and various other issues. Meanwhile, Loki seeks to use her own Avengers to weaken and break Osborn, a goal shared by Doom and Namor (though they do not know of her plans, nor she theirs), and gathers all of them once more in her previous guise as the Scarlet Witch.

Six weeks after the invasion, Namor meets with the Black Panther to ask him to join the Cabal and prepare for Osborn's downfall. T'Challa politely, but firmly, declined. Doom then attacked him afterwards.

When an Atlantean sleeper cell launched a terrorist attack on California, Osborn orders Namor to publicly denounce the rogues, and execute them, leaving one alive to parade before the media. Namor vehemently refuses, stating that what they view as terrorism is actually retaliation against the surface-dwellers for destroying the planet that they share and walks out on the Cabal.


Namor also joins the Dark X-Men by Emma Frost's request. Under Osborn's control, the Dark X-Men along with the Dark Avengers, effectively take control of the city of San Francisco, which has been rocked by riots caused by anti-mutant groups supporting Proposition X (which will force mutants to be unable to reproduce), while at the same time turning the regular X-Men organization into outlaws again. After regaining control of the city however, it is revealed that both Namor and Emma were working secretly with Cyclops to evacuate all the mutants in San Francisco, to a new base off the coast of California. Realizing that he's been had, Norman and the Dark Avengers plan an assault on the mutant Utopia, demanding Narmor's head and Emma's heart with Cyclops forced to see it happen. After the Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men are defeated, Namor stays with the rest of the X-Men on Utopia.

Powers and abilities

Because of his unusual genetic heritage, Namor is unique among both ordinary humans and Atlanteans; he is sometimes referred to as "Marvel's first mutant," because, while the majority of his observed superhuman powers come from the fact that he's a hybrid of Human and Atlantean DNA, his ability to fly can't be explained by either side (Atlanteans are an off-shoot of "baseline" humanity); though, in terms of in-continuity chronology, there were many mutants in existence before Namor. Namor possesses a fully amphibious physiology suited for extreme undersea pressures, superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, flight, and longevity. Namor has the ability to survive underwater for indefinite periods, and specially developed vision which gives him the ability to see clearly in the murky depths of the ocean.

Bill Everett, in his first Sub-Mariner story, described the character as "an ultra-man of the deep [who] lives on land and in the sea, flies in the air, [and] has the strength of a thousand [surface] men". No other powers were mentioned. When the series was revived in 1954, Namor lost his ankle wings and with them the power of flight; they, and his full strength, were restored in Sub-Mariner #38 (Feb. 1955), in which Everett additionally wrote a flashback story, "Wings on His Feet", detailing their appearance on Namor at age 14. This story was twice reprinted during the Silver Age of Comic Books, in Marvel Super-Heroes #17 (Nov. 1968), and in the book Comix by Les Daniels.

Namor possesses wings on his ankles to which he attributes his power of flight. On occasions when they have been lost or badly damaged, he has experienced a loss of flying ability. He could not fly as a child, and the power only manifested when the wings developed in adolescence.

Namor has the ability to swim at superhuman speeds, even by Atlantean standards. The exact limit of his speed is unverified, but must at least be an excess of 70 knots.

Namor has greater longevity than a normal human being. He is well over 80 years old as he was born in 1920 in the Marvel timeline, but has the appearance of a male in his prime. His identity as a pre-WWII superhero is well-established, making him less subject to the sliding timescale of the Marvel universe.

After he was revived yet again in the 1960s by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Namor demonstrated powers of various sealife that had not been shown in earlier stories. However, an editorial note in Marvel Tales #9 (July 1967), stated explicitly that "nautical Namor has since lost his power to imitate the characteristics of fish...."

In all his incarnations, Namor possesses superhuman strength and, with the possible exceptions of Orka and Tyrak at their full sizes, is the strongest Atlantean ever known. The exact level of his strength is dependent upon his physical contact with water, in which he needn't be submerged. It has been shown as sufficient to effortlessly toss a water-filled ocean-liner, despite the underwater viscosity. His strength diminishes slowly the longer he is out of contact with water, though an extended period on land does not result in his death, as it would for a typical Atlantean, and his power is retained in full as long as he keeps himself wet. Namor also possesses superhuman stamina and resistance to injury due to his hybrid nature. Namor's strength level is such that he has held his own in hand to hand combat with beings as powerful as the Hulk in the past. When underwater, Namor is rivaled only by the Hulk and Thor in terms of raw strength.

Some stories have mentioned that Namor has gills for breathing underwater, and artists such as Salvador Larroca have drawn him with gill slits on either side of his neck. In The Sub-Mariner #18-22 (1969–70), beings from outer space surgically closed Namor's gills for a time, leaving him with the ability to breathe air but unable to breathe underwater. Other sources have stated that his lungs contain oxygen diffusing membranes that allow him to breathe underwater.

Due to a unique aspect of his hybrid nature (not shared by Namorita), Namor is vulnerable to oxygen imbalances in his blood that trigger manic-depressive mood swings; he can prevent imbalances by regular immersion in water.

Namor was given possession of the Time Gem. This gem allows the user total control over the past, present, and future. It also allows time travel, can age and de-age beings, and can also be used as a weapon by trapping enemies or entire worlds in unending loops of time. As with all former Illuminati members, Namor has sworn to never use or reveal the location of the gem, though it is clear it is no longer upon his very person.

Namor was educated by the royal tutors of the Atlantean court, and speaks English, Atlantean, and Lemurian. He is a highly skilled business executive.

Formerly depicted abilities

In The Fantastic Four #9 (Dec. 1962), Namor states, "I have the powers of all the creatures who live beneath the sea! I can charge the very air with electricity — using the power of the electric eel!" In the same issue, "the radar sense of the cave fish from the lowest depths of the sea" enables him to sense the presence of Sue Storm when she is invisible. He uses "the power to surround himself with electricity in the manner of an electric eel" again in Strange Tales #107 (April 1963), and #125 (Oct. 1964); in the former he also manifests the power to inflate his body like a puffer fish. These extra powers were ignored, however, when Marvel gave Namor his own feature beginning in Tales to Astonish #70 (Aug. 1965).

Another ability unknown in the Golden Age and rarely displayed is his telepathic rapport with many forms of marine life. He also had a limited empathic rapport with Namorita.

An editorial note in Marvel Tales #9 (July 1967), which reprinted the story from Strange Tales #107, stated explicitly that "nautical Namor has since lost his power to imitate the characteristics of fish...." His electrical abilities were, however, seen out of comic continuity in 1991's Spider-Man: The Video Game. Furthermore, Namor employed these "lost" powers semi-regularly in his 1990's series, under John Byrne's pen.

"Marvel's First Mutant"

Marvel has repeatedly identified Namor as "Marvel's first mutant", which is true with regard to the order in which the character appeared in print. However, he is not the oldest mutant in the fictional Marvel Universe timeline. A number of mutants predate him, including Apocalypse (born in the 30th century BC), Selene (active since at least 10,000 BC), Exodus (born in the 12th century AD), Wolverine (late 19th century AD), Mystique and Destiny (dates of birth unknown, but known to have been active at the "Dawn of the 20th century"), the demonic mutant Azazel, and a group of mutants known as the Externals.

In X-Men #6 (July 1964), X-Men leader Professor Xavier and antagonist Magneto each suspect Namor is a mutant. Later writers in the 1960s and 1970s described him as a hybrid, not a mutant, in order to distinguish him from the mutant X-Men. When the series was revived in 1990, the series title logo carried the subtitle "Marvel's first and mightiest mutant!"

Namor is actually a hybrid of Atlantean and Human physiology, although he has principal characteristics that neither Atlanteans (Homo mermanus) nor Humans (Homo sapiens) possess. These include his ability to fly, his strength (which is several times that of an Atlantean), and other seldom seen (since the early 1960s) abilities including electricity generation, radar sense, and telepathic rapport with marine life.

In the first issue of the five part Illuminati miniseries, after being experimented on by the Skrulls, it was confirmed that Namor is not only an Atlantean/human hybrid but also a mutant.

Other versions


Namor is still active in the MC2 future timeline, and still uniting occasionally for battle alongside the Hulk and Doctor Strange as "Defenders". His appearance, while slightly older looking, is unchanged save for growing a goatee. In Fantastic Five (Vol 2) #1 it was revealed that he had held Doctor Doom captive for over ten years, after the mad monarch destroyed Atlantis. Doom subsequently escaped, and in #4, Namor is seen being tortured by him. He is freed after Reed Richards sacrifices himself to send both his and Doom's consciousnesses to the Crossroads of Infinty.

Ultimate Namor

In Ultimate Fantastic Four #24, the team is surveying the ruins of Atlantis and finds an estimated 9,000-year-old tomb containing the hibernating Namor — an imprisoned Atlantean criminal, considered the worst villain of his time. Reed Richards' translation of the Atlantean language reveals Namor's claims of kingship to be false.

His extreme intelligence allows him to become fluent in English in a matter of minutes merely by listening to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the Fantastic Four talking. Confronting the human, Namor withstands full-strength flares from the Human Torch and is strong enough to fight the Thing, withstand Sue Storm's force fields, and stretch Richards (Mr. Fantastic) to near-breaking. He destroys machinery designed to contain the Hulk. Though beaten by the Fantastic Four, he creates a tidal wave in the shape of Poseidon, threatening to destroy Manhattan with it. He is appeased when he demands, and receives, a meaningful kiss from Sue Storm. He then returns to the sea.

Namor reappears at the end of issue 55, rescuing an unconscious Sue after she was attacked by the Ultimate version of the Salem Seven.

Ultimate Namor is a mutant Atlantean with amphibious physiology suited for high water pressure. He has vast super strength, durability, high speed swimming ability, flight, and water manipulation.


In the Marvel 1602 limited series Fantastick Four, Namor is reinvented as Numenor, Emperor of Bensaylum, a city beyond the edge of the world. When the characters arrive in his realm he is arguing with his cousin Rita (Namorita) about her reluctance to marry. She suggests that this is because he refuses to find a consort himself. Upon meeting the Four from the Fantastick, however, he is attracted to Susan Storm, and attempts to woo her, unsuccessfully. He later plots with Otto von Doom to win her, while "disposing" of Sir Richard Reed. However, Doom turns against him, and Numenor is stabbed with his own trident and dies.

Because Bensaylum is not underwater, its inhabitants are portrayed as basically human (although they retain the pointed ears).


Namor assisted Doctor Doom, Hulk, Magneto, Red Skull, and Ultron in a plot to take over New York.

Marvel Zombies

Namor can be seen as a zombie who is attacking Black Bolt. He is later killed in battle when the Marvel Zombies try to attack and devour the Silver Surfer who manages to kill the zombified Namor in the ensuing crossfire. However, a zombified Namor appears in an alternative zombified Marvel Universe in Marvel Zombies Return as one of the few surviving zombies.

House of M

To follow up on Scarlet Witch's alteration of reality, Namor was considered the "first mutant" in the reality that she created under Quicksilver's approval. He represented Atlantis when he was meeting with Magneto.


In Exiles issues 14 & 15, Namor appears as a king who has taken over Latveria. Another version of Namor is black and is married to Sue Storm and has a son Remy.

Earth X

In the Earth X series Namor suffers from dementia. He is responsible for the death of Johnny Storm. As a result Franklin Richards used his powers to cause half of Namor's body to be continually on fire.

Earth 9602 (Amalgam Comics)

Namor is combined with DC comics King of Atlantis, Aquaman to create Aqua Mariner.


A Namor from another time appears with the three original Defenders to battle the forces of the Red Hulk and his Offenders, due to a bet made by the Elders of the Universe.

In other media


  • In the 1950s, a television series was planned starring Richard Egan, but it never went into production. Similarly, a Sub-Mariner television pilot was announced during the seventies but never filmed due to the similarity to the short-lived Man from Atlantis.
  • Sub-Mariner appeared in the Spider-Man episode "Wrath of the Sub-Mariner", attacking New York in response to pollution caused by The Kingpin.
  • He appeared in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "To Rule Atlantis" voiced by Raoul Trujillo. His portrait is seen in the conference room in "Avengers Assemble" Pt. 1.


On September 13, 2006, Universal Studios announced that director Jonathan Mostow was attached to rewrite and direct Marvel Studios' Sub-Mariner. Kevin Misher is producing through his Misher Films, along with Marvel Studios. The screenplay had initially been written by David Self.

Video games

  • He is a playable character in the 1991 Sega Spider-Man: The Video Game.
  • He has a cameo role in the Captain America and the Avengers arcade game.
  • He is a boss (video games) in the 1997 Fantastic Four (1997 video game) game.
  • In the Spider-Man (2000 video game) video game for the PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Nintendo 64, Namor has a cameo in the game's "What If?" mode during the underwater Carnage battle.
  • Namor appears as a Non-player character in the Xbox, Xbox 360, Personal computer, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Joe J. Thomas (who was chosen in a fan contest to have his voice in the game) in the Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC versions and by Peter Renaday in the PSP and PS2 versions. He is taken captive by brainwashed Atlanteans, under the power of devices known as Sonic Emitters (technology supplied by Doctor Doom to Namor's archenemy Attuma who could take the crown of Atlantis for himself) and trapped in an impenetrable pod full of air. Although freed by the heroes, he is too weak to fight and Namorita has to tend to him. One of the game's side missions has the player searching for rare Walek Seaweeds which are used in a medication that will heal Namor and is located in the Temple of Negrete. If the player succeeds, Namor will grow to trust surface dwellers and join an international organization of superheroes that will thwart further threats upon the Earth. Otherwise, Warlord Krang will usurp the throne from the weakened Namor, convince the Atlanteans to attack human warships, and use the stolen nuclear weapons to wage a devastating war upon the surface world. Namor has special dialogue with Iceman when he's sick, and the Invisible Woman and Black Panther when he's healed. During the end credits of the game, heroes can be heard doing voice overs for their characters, in game. During which Namor asks why he saw someone else come out of the recording room before him, as he believed he was the only hero appearing in the game, surprised to find that other heroes would appear. In the Game Boy Advance version of the same game, Namor can be unlocked as a striker.


Solo series and features

  • Motion Picture Funnies Weekly unreleased promotional comic (1939)
  • Marvel Comics (Marvel Mystery Comics #2 onward) #1-91 (Oct. 1939 — April 1949)
  • Sub-Mariner Comics #1-42 (Spring 1941 — Oct. 1955)
  • Tales to Astonish #70-101 (Aug. 1965 — March 1968)
  • Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner one-shot (April, 1968)
  • Sub-Mariner#1-72 (May 1968 — Sept. 1974)
  • Sub-Mariner Annual #1-2 (1971 — 1972)
  • Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1-2 (March - June 1975)
  • Super-Villain Team-Up #1-13 (August 1975 - August 1976)
  • Marvel Spotlight #27 (April 1976)
  • Tales to Astonish vol. 2, #1-14 (Dec. 1979 — Jan. 1981; reprints Sub-Mariner #1-14)
  • Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 1984)
  • The Saga of the Sub-Mariner #1-12 (Nov. 1988 — Oct. 1989)
  • Namor the Sub-Mariner #1-62 (April 1990 — May 1995)
  • Namor the Sub-Mariner Annual #1-4 (1991 — 1994)
  • Tales of the Marvels: Inner Demons one-shot (1996)
  • Incredible Hulk/Sub-Mariner Annual (1998)
  • Namor #1-12 (June 2003 — May 2004)
  • Sub-Mariner vol. 2, #1-6 (August 2007-January 2008)
  • Sub-Mariner: The Depths #1-6 (September 2008-December 2008)

Marvel Masterworks and Essential Marvel

  • Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner Volume 1 (2004; reprints Marvel Comics #1, Daredevil #7, and Tales to Astonish #70-87)
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner Volume 2 (2007; reprints Tales to Astonish #88-101, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1, Sub-Mariner #1)
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner Volume 3 (2009; reprints Sub-Mariner #2-13)
  • Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Sub-Mariner Volume 1 (2005; reprints Sub-Mariner Comics #1-4)
  • Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Sub-Mariner Volume 2 (2007; reprints Sub-Mariner Comics #5-8)
  • Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Sub-Mariner Volume 3 (2009; reprints Sub-Mariner Comics #9-12)
  • Essential Sub-Mariner Volume 1 (2009; reprints Daredevil #7, Tales to Astonish #70-101, Tales of Suspense #80, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1, Sub-Mariner #1)

As team member

  • Marvel Feature #1-3 (Dec. 1971 — June 1972; as part of the Defenders)
  • The Defenders #1-16 (Aug. 1972 — Oct. 1974)
  • Invaders #1-41 (Aug. 1975 — Sept. 1979)
  • Invaders Annual #1 (1977)
  • Avengers (1964 series) #262-293 (Dec. 1985 — July 1988)
  • Invaders #1-4 (May—Aug. 1993)
  • Invaders (New Invaders #2 onward) #0-9 (Aug. 2004 — June 2005)
  • Uncanny X-Men #515-present (Sept. 2009 - present)


External links