Marvel’s Sub-Mariner may have finally found his niche 100 years from now in Namor: Conquered Shores!
Namor (his name backwards is “Roman”) has a new five-issue mini-series now out, and it’s changing things around for the Sub-Mariner in quite a drastic way.
Here’s the description:
“A century into the future, not much land remains on Earth. A combination of a worsening climate and a devastating war with the Kree has left the surface of the planet mostly inhospitable, with an ever-dwindling population of air-breathers and a profound lack of super-heroes to protect them. Enter NAMOR, who these many years on, is no longer King of Atlantis… but ruler of the entire world.”
Good news for Namor has come in that he’s appearing in the Wakanda Forever film and being portrayed by actor Tenoch Huerta in his live-action debut. Now he’s getting a reboot/revamp by the House of Ideas in this new mini-series.
Does this book define the future for Marvel? Not really. Many of these mini-series’ are kind of “What If?” stories, so don’t expect to see the Kree change of Earth to be something we’ll see again. It just gives Namor a different set-up to play in!
Oddly enough, Atlantis in this future is being ruled by a relative of Namor’s, so the Sub-Mariner is free to patrol the entire world. He’s not quite the same person he was in “our” era, so we have to figure out just what he’ll do when.
This mini-series is scripted by Christopher Cantwell, an accomplished comics writer who has told stories about Iron Man and Doctor Doom for Marvel, but also has written an intriguing book for Vault Comics called The Blue Flame. I enjoy his unique take on superheroes.
In a column at the end of the premier issue, Cantwell says, “Namor finds himself as a hero of another time, even more so than he did when he coexisted among other heroes. He’s trying to reconcile who he was and what the world was with who he is and what it is now.”
The author also says that the world of Conquered Shores “might be our world of today.” He notes that “we as a species have conquered the shores of this world several times over. So what now?” It’s an interesting premise for a superhero still trying to figure out who he wants to be when he grows up.
According to Wikipedia, the Sub-Mariner was first developed by writer/artist Bill Everett. He first appeared in April 1939 and was described 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.”
When he first appeared in Marvel Comics, he was an enemy of the United States. However, he allied himself with other heroes of the day against the Axis Powers in World War II. He pretty much vanished for years after that.
He next could be found in May of 1962 in Fantastic Four #4 when Johnny Storm, the new Human Torch, found him without his memories in the Bowery section of Manhattan. There is that famous sequence with Johnny gives Namor that trimming of his beard, revealing his true identity. His memory is restored, and he goes about doing the same for Atlantis, which he finds destroyed by nuclear testing.
Namor gets his first ongoing comic in 1968 until 1974. He had another title from 1990 until 1995. During this time, the Sub-Mariner becomes the CEO of Oracle, Inc., and really resembled Lex Luthor in DC in my mind.
Of course, Namor was part of the Defenders often as he was part of the Invaders in the past, and he was given another ongoing series in 2011 called Namor: The First Mutant when the X-titles were all really big. However, it didn’t last an entire year. He’s still considered a mutant, though.
He’s been in and out of several Marvel storylines including “Atlantis Attacks.” He served as a host for a fifth of the Phoenix Force until he lost that during a battle with the Scarlet Witch.
The truth is, we just haven’t seen anything really take hold for Namor over the years. It would be great if this book actually works!
As a long-time comics fan and reader, I’ve seen a lot of the ups and downs for the Sub-Mariner. In fact, as a kid, I could never pronounce that name correctly. I called him the “submarEENer” as if he were a submarine. When someone finally corrected me, it still took me a while to remember the proper pronunciation. That’s a big problem for a superhero when you can’t say his or her name correctly!
He’s transitioned from hero to anti-hero often, and I was never quite sure just what he was. Still, he was royalty, and that helped me excuse some of his actions.
Of course, he gets compared to Aquaman from DC all the time. Arthur suffers from many of the same problems that Namor does, going from being the ruler of Atlantis to a superhero to someone not many people respect.
It would be something if this book takes off and Aquaman experiences something similar! Hey, if it works, I’m happy!
Anyway, I’m in for the long run with Namor, and I hope it defines the character for a long time to come!
What do you think? Do water-based heroes work for you? What about a hero in a future timeline that could easily be dismissed? Do characters who have had many fits and starts (Hawkman in DC comes to mind) deserve another chance? Whatever your opinions, be sure to share your thoughts below!