SUB-MARINER: Page 13 of 17

Publication Date: 14th Aug 2017
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Dean Clayton.


When Scorpio and the Zodiac transported most of the world's major cities and capitals to another dimension, the world was in crisis. What remained of the United Nations asked the Avengers to lead the world through the coming days. Scorpio's inter-dimensional whirlpools were not limited to the lands, and slowly began draining the seas as well. And with that, Namor declared himself an active Avenger once more. Arrogant and condescending to his "teammates," the Sub-Mariner nonetheless deferred to Captain America's leadership like any other Avenger. When the crisis had passed, Cap offered Namor a permanent spot on the roster. The Scion of Atlantis got a genuine fit of the giggles, thanked the Captain for his sense of humor and departed without further discussion. [Avengers (3rd series) #58-61]

Atlantis was targeted by the Mazikhandarian Navy, who staged repeated attacks on oil tankers passing above Atlantean territories, poisoning the water-breathers' environment by destroying the tankers and spreading the oil. Namor was joined in defense of the tankers by a new team of Invaders, gathered by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk and bolstered by British special ops. Out of respect for their aid and the wishes of Jacqueline Falsworth, Namor tolerated the presence of men he saw as pretenders to the names of Captain America and Union Jack. The oil tankers Mazikhandar was sinking were due for the West, and so USAgent proposed an alliance with Atlantis to overthrow the current regime and install a new, friendlier power. Namor agreed. [Avengers (3rd series) #83]

The Avengers did not. Now serving as an adjunct to the United Nations, the Avengers opposed the overthrow of a legitimate government, even that of Mazikhandar with its grotesque human rights violations. Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk had been revealed as the Red Skull since the Invaders began their mission as well, making their actions inherently suspicious to Captain America. Still, the arrival of the Avengers was planned for and only caused more chaos, allowing the Invaders to enter the palace and capture the king, arranging for a coup by local General Dauod Rafiq. Rafiq then surprised both the Avengers and Invaders, however, by summarily executing his predecessor instead of bringing him before a court for trial. [Avengers (3rd series) #84]

The Mazikhandarian situation was more complicated than the Avengers knew. The Invaders organizer, Thin Man, had already uncovered the Red Skull's role in their formation, but also learned that his Nazi terrorist cell known as the Axis Mundi had replaced the ruler of Mazikhandar with a synthezoid puppet. The Invaders had wished to capture the doppelganger alive, or functional, to track the neo-Nazis. Still, the execution was a sure sign that General Rafiq was unfit for office, and so Namor claimed Mazikhandar as an official protectorate of Atlantis, imprisoning Rafiq until he could be tried by his people for the crime. Namor named his General Sulumor as interim ruler of the protectorate. [New Invaders #0]

Mazikhandar came under attack by new synthezoid threats called the Pterorists, mass produced reincarnations of the spirit of Thin Man's arch-nemesis Agent Axis, restored by an Axis Mundi Necromancer. Agent Axis murdered the entire hidden society of Kalahia that gave Thin Man his powers decades ago, stealing their sub-dimensional transition technology. As Dell Rusk, the Red Skull had attempted to manipulate Thin Man into devising an even more powerful version of the tech as a counter, culminating in his dimension-shifting battleship the Infiltrator. In an effort to gather allies against Axis Mundi and the Pterorists, the Invaders propositioned Jim Hammond and the V-Battalion for aid. Namor personally appealed to the Human Torch, from "Water-Rat" to "Fire-Bug." He told Hammond he didn't trust Thin Man either, which is why he requested the Torch come on board as leader of the Invaders. Meranno had also resurfaced and had lured many Atlantean dissidents to join Axis Mundi against their king. [New Invaders #1-3]

While half the Invaders searched abroad for Axis Mundi cells, Namor and the rest attempted to locate the Necromancer and his Pterorist factory inside Mazikhandar's borders. During the search, Namor was forced to battle Wolverine, temporarily under the control of Hydra, whose Baron Strucker was lending aid to the Axis Mundi cause. Despite this intervention, the Pterorist factory was destroyed and the Necromancer captured, allowing Namor and Atlantis to cede the nation of Mazikhandar back to its people, under the direction of Colonel Mutasim Zai'id, leader of the Mazikhandar Liberty Legion. [New Invaders #4-6]

The Invaders reassembled to confront Meranno, who intended to fulfill an ancient Atlantean prophecy by detonating a thermonuclear weapon called the Trident at the pole, melting the ice caps and flooding the surface world. Namor and the Invaders defeated Meranno and his rebel Atlanteans, but Jim Hammond died a hero while containing the radioactive heat from the weapon. The Human Torch was buried with full honors before the Invaders and the Atlantean armies. [New Invaders #7-9]

Further dissidence among the Atlantean people led to a splinter cell of religious zealots developing, called At'la'tique, "The fury of the sea." Several known extremists such as Llyron, Shakkoth, Dragonrider and Nagala were among At'la'tique and their strike force, Fathom Five. Namor secretly sent Tamara Rahn among the zealots in an effort to monitor their activities and direct them from a far. They were unsuccessful, however, and Fathom Five began making terrorists strikes on New York, Beijing and other land settlements. Namor publicly denounced At'la'tique before the United Nations, making the acquaintance of the new Thunderbolts, the super-team who opposed Fathom Five during their landfall in Manhattan. One new recruit to the Thunderbolts was Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man, on loan from China to assist the Thunderbolts in a joint effort against the Fathom Five terrorists. [New Thunderbolts #1-3]

When Fathom Five next attacked New York, most of the members were captured, but Llyron escaped the surface, only to be captured by Atlantean authorities for imprisonment. Unfortunately, Radioactive Man had allowed him to escape because he had poisoned Llyron's gills with a radioactive contagion that infected the water around him, hoping to wipe out At'la'tique. Instead, Llyron was brought back to true Atlantis, infecting innocent Atlanteans. A furious Namor confronted the Thunderbolts and brought Chen to Atlantis to see his handiwork. The Radioactive Man was shamed into reversing the radioactive plague before any Atlanteans died. However, he also secretly infected Tamara with an incubating contagion set to become virulent in a few weeks once she returned to spying on the isolated At'la'tique camps. The end results are unknown, but many of Namor's foes and dissidents may have been killed by Chen Lu's plague. [New Thunderbolts #8-9]

Although tacitly removed from the surface world at the time, Namor and the Illuminati met several times in rapid succession. After a C-list super-villainess named Titania got her hands on the Power Gem of the Infinity Gauntlet, Reed Richards proposed the Illuminati gather the gems themselves to keep them out of other hands. Namor, Xavier and Doctor Strange retrieved the Mind Gem from the collective unconscious of the universe. Once assembled, Richards attempted to use the Infinity Gauntlet to will itself and the gems out of existence, but failed. Instead, the decision was made to separate the gems, with each member of the Illuminati taking and hiding a different gem, leaving no one with the knowledge of the whereabouts of all the gems. Namor was responsible for disposing of the Time Gem. [New Avengers: Illuminati #2] 

The Illuminati would meet again soon, as Namor chastised Iron Man for allowing the Avengers to reform in such a haphazard manner after the breakout on the Raft. Together, they also lent their support to the new Avengers in gaining control over their powerful but unstable new member, the Sentry. [New Avengers (1st series) #7-10]

A Defenders reunion against the power of Dormammu only reminded Namor how insufferable he frequently found his oldest allies, Doctor Strange and the Hulk. [Defenders (3rd series) #1-5] Nevertheless, it was Namor over all others who rejected Iron Man's idea for the Illuminati to permanently dispose of the Hulk. Banner's latest rampage in Vegas caused two dozen deaths and Director Maria Hill of SHIELD specifically called out Stark for not having done something before now. Stark and Richards came up with a plan to remove the Hulk from Earth via a wormhole, depositing him in a distant but peacefully uninhabited part of the galaxy. Even Doctor Strange accepted the plan, but Namor was violently opposed. He could not stand the idea of betraying a comrade like this and stood up for Banner when no one else would. Namor came to blows with Iron Man and abandoned the Illuminati before their plan was set into motion. This would be the last meeting of the Illuminati for some time. [New Avengers: Illuminati One-shot]

It wasn't until the Superhuman Registration Act was being proposed in Congress that Iron Man thought to summon the Illuminati again. Always the futurist, Stark believed some form of registration was inevitable for America and he wanted the Illuminati to use their connections to engineer support for the Act in the super-community in advance. He feared the inevitable day when a super-hero made a tragic mistake and the country polarized against the superhumans. Better to support and guide registration from the inside than to wait for the act to come to them. Namor and Strange rejected the idea outright, while Black Bolt and Mister Fantastic saw the possibilities Stark did (Xavier was believed dead at the time). Unable to reach a consensus and with further contention driving them apart, the Illuminati broke over this decision. [New Avengers: Illuminati One-shot]

Soon, the New Warriors triggered Stark's greatest fear as they battled a group of super-villains in suburban Stamford, Connecticut, setting off a wave of destruction that killed over 600 civilians and provided the inciting force for the Superhuman Registration Act passing through Congress. Namorita was among the New Warriors who died in the explosive blast of the super-villain, Nitro. [Civil War (1st series) #1] Seeing a growing need for a presence in the country, Namor began activating Atlantean sleeper cells, bio-engineered soldiers who had been living among humanity for years at his behest in case war came between American and Atlantis. These sleepers proved instrumental to his search for Nitro himself, as the villain escaped capture in Stamford. Although they clashed with Wolverine on his own hunt for the killer, Namor and the sleepers ultimately took custody of Nitro and helped Wolverine uncover a greater conspiracy that put Nitro on the path to Stamford in the first place. [Wolverine (3rd series) #42-45, Civil War: Front Line #4-9]

Namor saw the SHRA as a potential threat to his realm. Not trusting the Americans to stop at registration, he envisioned a drafted army of American superhumans ready to fight against Atlantis and other world powers when politics demanded it. He courted King T'Challa of Wakanda, asking him to lead an international response to the Americans, a coalition Namor could not lead himself due to his own international reputation as a hothead and troublemaker. Prince Namor hoped that diplomacy would prevent the Superhuman Civil War from spreading to other countries. [Black Panther (4th series) #21]

(Indeed, Namor's fears were wholly justified. America's pro-registration forces had begun drafting super-villains to their cause, controlled by nano-chains to guide and limit their responses. Iron Man had gone one step further, however, and arranged some increased freedom of action for Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin. Osborn attacked several Atlantean sleeper cells, exposing them to the public and prompting a diplomatic mission from Atlantis to America over the attacks and their espionage. Under Stark's control, Osborn then appeared at the summit and non-fatally shot the Atlantean ambassador, placing the countries on the brink of war. All of this was orchestrated by Stark to give America an outside foe to focus on, driving up registration among the super-hero community and ensuring amnesty for some previous hold-outs. It seems likely Namor never learned of Stark's plans, however, for the insult and manipulation of his people would not have gone unanswered otherwise. [Civil War: Front Line #11])

Despite his efforts behind-the-scenes, Namor remained openly neutral to the Superhuman Civil War in America. He even pointedly rejected an audience by the Invisible Woman seeking his aid on behalf of Captain America and the anti-registration forces. Namor refused to be manipulated and pointed out that his old friend Cap should have appeared himself for the request, rather than sending Susan to influence him. [Civil War (1st series) #6] Even with his injured pride, the Sub-Mariner did ultimately respond to Captain America's summons, providing the army of Atlantis to the final battle between the pro- and anti-registration forces in New York. Once Captain America surrendered, however, Namor and the Atlanteans swept back into the seas. [Civil War (1st series) #7]

Namor had essentially led an armed invasion on America soil, putting Atlantis on shakier political ground with the surface world than ever in recent years. Still, he negotiated a diplomatic cessation of hostilities with America, pledging to honor Captain America's surrender and recalling his sleeper cells from American lands. In fact, Namor left twelve Atlantean sleeper cells scattered around the country, a tactical risk which would prove to be his undoing.

Dissidents among the Sub-Mariner's people wished to pursue a harder line against the surface world and its people. An agitator named Zoran commissioned a thirteenth sleeper cell to move against America in spite of Namor's wishes. Cell-13 included Namor's long-forgotten son, Kamar, who had been raised by Zoran to believe his father tried to have him killed as a child and who now longed to seize the throne by right of royal blood. The sleepers destroyed a city in Kansas with a bomb-blast deliberately reminiscent of Nitro's destruction of Stamford. Cell-13 then carved gills into the throat of one of their victims, making their identities and intent clear.

Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. initiated a blockade of Atlantis using their deep sea fleet in order to investigate. Namor was shocked by the massacre and denounced Cell-13, but his own actions of seeding the country with sleeper agents left the Americans unwilling to take Namor at his word. The Sub-Mariner was forced to break the blockade to reach the surface world and perform his own investigation. During the hunt, Namor received aid from Charles Xavier and the Invisible Woman separately, but they both openly rejected his involvement with the cells. Namor claimed the action was necessary for the security of his nation, but his old allies saw Cell-13's terrorism as a direct extension of Namor's will. Losing friends left and right, Namor was also mutilated by the Thunderbolts' agent Venom, who severely damaged Namor's ankle wings and cost him the full power of flight until they healed.

The Sub-Mariner found Cell-13 in Seattle and stopped their next terrorist strike, but Namor being spotted at the scene of the attack in progress only fueled anti-Atlantean sentiment. After learning of Kamar's identity, Namor captured his son and brought him back to Atlantis for questioning. Namor returned in time to crush the uprising against the military attempted by Zoran's rebels.

Unfortunately, all of Namor's successes appeared to be inadequate at resolving the long-term concerns of his realm. Atlantis had become a target; Iron Man and the Americans refused to leave Atlantis entirely even after Namor's defeat of Cell-13, and intended to insist on an ongoing presence at Atlantis's borders until tensions were quelled. Unable to justify this insult to his people, Namor declared that Atlantis would be abandoned. He disseminated his people through the old tunnels to various parts of the globe, armed with the air-breathing serums used by the sleeper cells to mingle into the surface world populace wherever they chose. The Atlantean people would remain there, hiding in plain sight in every country on the planet, until it was safe to re-colonize Atlantis.

Meanwhile, Namor arranged for the destruction of Old Atlantis to deter pursuit and prevent the U.S. military and S.H.I.E.L.D. from pillaging the secrets of his people once they evacuated. With a heavy heart, Namor recognized he did not have the time to tend to Kamar's rehabilitation, nor was he in a position to take his wayward son as a mobile prisoner as the Atlanteans became nomads. Kamar had committed treason against the throne and must be made to pay for his crimes. Namor had Kamar chained to the throne of Atlantis and left him to die in the city's devastation. Kamar's brutalized body was discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. and briefly led them into believing Namor himself was dead after a genetic scan. Finally, Namor brought the army of Atlantis to the one ally who had not abandoned him during his quest: Victor von Doom, who offered his homeland of Latveria as a staging ground for Namor and the eventual reformation of Atlantis. [Sub-Mariner (2nd series) #1-6]

Of course, that haven went belly-up when Iron Man and the mighty Avengers stormed Latveria and arrested Doom for international crimes, effectively dethroning the doctor and leaving Latveria in a state of chaos. [Mighty Avengers (1st series) #11] Despite the distance that had grown between them, Namor responded one last time to an Illuminati summons, partly to curse at Stark for daring to call for his aid after driving his people from their homeland. However, Iron Man had larger issues on his mind: the discovery of a Skrull posing as Elektra while in charge of the Hand, and the fact that this Skrull was seemingly undetectable to the various enhanced senses of Wolverine, Daredevil, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Stark's concern that this was just the tip of the iceberg in a larger infiltration scheme proved prophetic when Black Bolt was revealed to be another Skrull, and the Illuminati barely survived his attack. Unfortunately, the existing fractures in the Illuminati's relationships meant they would not come together to face this threat. Namor accurately proclaimed that he couldn't trust any of his former allies now, and abandoned the Illuminati to make his own preparations. [New Avengers: Illuminati #5]