SUB-MARINER: Page 15 of 17

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


When the Fantastic Four explored a long-isolated underwater lake in the Antarctic, they discovered an undersea kingdom called Old Atlantis and a water-breathing triple monarchy. Susan Storm Richards became Ul-Oyt, the Speaker of Men, and acted as ambassador between the old kingdom and the new. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #576] To learn about the outside world, the king's children Vil and Wu became wards of the Fantastic Four, joining the Future Foundation school established by Reed. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #579] Sue negotiated with Namor and the Old Atlanteans to hash out a treaty for sharing of the waters. They met at neutral ground in the Gulf of Thailand to agree upon terms. Or so it seemed. In the midst of the negotiations, Namor leapt upon the ruling member of the Old Atlantean monarchy and brutally murdered him. As the guards raised their arms, Atlantean warships appeared outside the meeting dome and began bombarding their position. The Invisible Woman held off the warships with her force fields, and the Old Atlanteans took Namor and his retinue into custody.

Susan asked to speak with Namor, and he explained that the Old Atlanteans were an ancient threat to Atlantis -- predators, parasites and pillagers who had been driven out in days gone by. They were renowned for their treachery and often named a Speaker when meeting a new culture, before sacrificing that speaker once they had learned all they could from them. Namor's actions had been taken not only to protect Atlantis, but save Susan as well.

Namor and Susan confronted the remaining two monarchs of Old Atlantis, who equivocated and deflected. They acknowledged Namor's view of their "old ways" but claimed their philosophies were more honorable and peaceful in the modern age. They also unexpectedly elevated Sue in the discussions. Since the king was dead and his underage children were wards of the Fantastic Four, that made Susan regent of Old Atlantis. As the two kings bowed to Susan, Namor was enraged at what he saw as manipulation and deception. Sue recognized that the Old Atlanteans might still be manipulating her, but accepted the responsibility they placed on her shoulders. She pressed to move forward with the peace treaty, honoring the deal that had been hammered out before the fighting began. Namor balked at the notion, but the Invisible Woman struck him down with a single blow and made it clear she was no longer asking. These people had been made her responsibility and she would defend them. "God, you are magnificent," said Namor, before accepting the terms. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #584-587]

During the struggle with the Aqueos, the X-Men's student Loa had her oxygen helmet broken, yet she continued to breathe underwater. Studies by the X-Club and New Atlantis' Logomancer confirmed her transformation into a water-breather was the result of the necklace she wore. Loa was the grand-daughter of Namor's old acquaintance, Alice Terrel, and inherited the Atlantean amulet once given by Namor to Betty Dean when Alice died. Unfortunately, her transformation into a water-breather had become irreversible and so Namor accepted her as a de facto citizen of New Atlantis (and his new sidekick). [Namor: the First Mutant #4-6]

While Loa's amulet was being studied, Namor was pulled into a Hell dimension by the spirits of the Atlantean kings who resided inside the necklace. Abira and Loa were joined by Doctor Doom in navigating the Hell in order to reclaim Namor's soul. The prince was confronted by a series of visions and creatures in a spiritual desert, challenging the decisions he had made during his rule. In part, the spirits of former kings sought to teach Namor a lesson about relying upon others instead of taking the full burden of the realm on his shoulders alone. However, the experience also awakened within Abira the potential to become the next Logomancer, a path that threatened her growing relationship with Namor. [Namor: the First Mutant #6-8]

Another threat arose in the form of Krang. He took advantage of Namor's trip to Hell to drum up support against the prince, particularly in Little Lemuria. Krang lured more than a third of New Atlantis' population to his side and began walling off his territory as a blatant act of secession from the crown. As Namor attempted to calm the unrest in New Atlantis with the traditional festival of the Running of the Beasts, Krang's people arranged for the sea creatures to run amok. Krang appeared to help contain the beasts, showboating his decisiveness in comparison to Namor. The prince was ready to arrest Krang, but Krang openly denied Namor's right to rule. Without proof of Krang's involvement in freeing the beasts, Namor allowed Krang and his supporters to leave rather than begin fighting in the streets.

Namor, Abira and Loa sought out the Logomancer to prove Krang was responsible for the rioting. Matters became even more dire when a headcount revealed the great Burrower was missing among the recovered beasts. The Burrower could threaten the Pillar of New Atlantis which supported Utopia above and the Atlanteans below. Only the Logomancer had the power to control a beast like the Burrower, but Namor and his allies found the old man dead in his chambers. A mysterious yet familiar figure was at the scene of the crime, but vanished when Namor tried to confront him.

The Sub-Mariner tracked down Warlord Krang, and was surprised when his rival bent his knee and called Namor his liege once more. Krang revealed his plan was to kidnap the Logomancer and hold him and the Burrower as a threat to force Namor off the throne. Selach was more of an anarchist that Krang expected, however -- he deliberately disobeyed orders, killed the Logomancer and planned to use the Burrower, not merely as a threat but to destroy Utopia and New Atlantis utterly. Krang recognized the loss of Atlantean life that would follow Selach's plans, and so denounced his co-conspirator and joined Namor in opposition to him. Namor, Loa and Krang confronted Selach's rebellion, but it was too late as the Burrower was released at the base of the Pillar.

It was here that Namor's true test arose. Abira arrived with the mysterious figure, who was revealed as the son of Namor and Abira from the future. The power of the Logomancer was science and magic working together, channeled from the spirit of Atlantis itself as magicks through the blood of the reigning king. Only the Logomancer had the power to stop the Burrower, but the old Logomancer was dead. As an adept, Abira could become the new Logomancer. Unfortunately, the Sacra, the ceremony that empowered a new Logomancer, would take all her spiritual energy and refocus it towards the manipulation of magicks; she would literally be incapable of romantic love as the Logomancer and the bond between her and Namor would vanish. Namor's future son had come from a timeline where Namor and Abira stood by their love and refused the Sacra. In that future, the Burrower destroyed Utopia, killed Loa and caused the death of over 12,000 Atlanteans in the collapse of New Atlantis. In the decades to come, retaliatory wars would decimate the surface world and the sea, leading the child of Namor and Abira to travel back in time and undo his own birth. The final slap was that the rites of the Sacra could only be completed with Namor's explicit blessing.

Faced with disasters in both the present and the future, Namor and Abira shared one last lover's embrace. Bowing to her wishes, Namor then blessed the Sacra rites and Abira was empowered as the new Logomancer. Using the magicks of Atlantis that flowed through Namor as prince, Abira and Namor cornered the Burrower, defeated it and fixed the damage to the Pillar. His future averted, Namor's son ceased to exist before the eyes of his aggrieved father and indifferent mother. In the aftermath, Krang negotiated his way back into the fold as Minister of War by bending the cooperation of the Tridents and Lemurians who had served Selach. The cocky warlord offered Namor peace with a handshake. In response, Namor took his trident and murdered Selach in cold blood before accepting the shocked Krang's terms. Namor would survive. Atlantis would survive. One broken heart instead of many, or two, was a small sacrifice for the empire. Or so Namor told himself. [Namor: the First Mutant #9-11]

New Atlantis came under attack again during the Serpent War when Attuma became one of the hammer-wielding hosts of the Worthy, transforming into Nerkkod, Breaker of Oceans. With his newfound might, Attuma occupied New Atlantis with his generals Tyrak, Aradnea and Tiger Shark, further empowered by the Defenders' old enemies the Undying Ones. Namor and Loa fled from battle rather than risk death. In exile, Namor called upon Stephen Strange and, with the assistance of the Silver Surfer and Lyra, daughter of the Hulk, the Defenders lived again. Despite his allies, Namor was caught in the hold of the Serpent's worldwide fear effect, weakening his once unshakable resolve. Worse, the priestess Aradnea turned Namor's own people against him by using them as hosts for the Undying Ones. Still, Namor rallied his spirit for Atlantis and the Defenders dispatched the Undying Ones and freed the people of New Atlantis. Working as a team, the Defenders separated Attuma from his hammer and weakened him enough for the "Breaker of Oceans" to flee rather than face them. [Fear Itself: The Deep #1-4]

Despite the ongoing threat of the Serpent, Namor's restored confidence was strong enough to make another pass at Emma Frost before securing New Atlantis again. Although she rebuked his flirtations more firmly this time than usual, Namor retorted how Cyclops did not treat her with the respect she was due. After all... he married the redhead. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #540] When Emma touched the mind of the Worthy Juggernaut, she was rendered comatose for a time. Infected with fear, Emma awakened and nearly killed the messiah child Hope, for fear that her return signified the threat of the Phoenix and the return of Jean Grey, an old foe and rival for Emma. Namor arrived in time to snap her out of the spell. He once again painted the difference between him and Scott Summers, for he would always come to the side of a woman he cared for when she was hurt. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #543]

A schism came to the X-Men as Cyclops and Wolverine disagreed about the role of the mutant students in the X-Men. Logan took the majority of the student body back to Westchester to reopen the school and allow them to be kids again. Those who remained with Cyclops at Utopia would be soldiers. Namor remained with the Utopian X-Men due to the proximity to New Atlantis, his admiration for Summers' fighting spirit and his affections for Emma Frost. [X-Men: Regenesis #1] Cyclops recruited Namor into his Extinction Team, a squad of X-Men tasked with saving the entire world as boldly and effortlessly as possible. In this manner, he hoped to ensure mutantkind was at least feared more than hated. In their first outing, this team of powerhouses defeated Mister Sinister after he seized the power of the Dreaming Celestial, then stared down the Celestials themselves when they arrived in response. [Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #1-3]

Namor also reunited with the Defenders when Doctor Strange gathered forces to deal with the Black Hulk, a reincarnation of Hulk's Worthy identity from the Serpent War: Nul, Breaker of Worlds. This conflict brought them to Wundagore Mountain and exposed the Defenders to a Concordance Engine. The mysterious device held some influence over reality itself, yet literally defied description, as none of the Defenders could speak of or describe it to other people. Unable to ask for help from others, the Defenders investigated the secret history of Concordance Engines on Earth, including uncovering a lost team of adventurers that apparently included Namor's parents and Captain Nemo of the Nautilus. However, their final conflict with the Death Celestial seemingly undid the Defenders' reunion entirely, removing these events from history. [Defenders (4th series) #1-5]

The X-Men's Extinction Team investigated a mysterious new land called Tabula Rasa, an artificially grown ecosystem that experienced 65 million years of isolated evolution overnight thanks to a form of time manipulation. The now ancient races therein struggled to adapt to "real-time" once it kicked in. Namor encountered a race of water breathers who built their kingdom as if it were inside a lake, but it was actually a river. When time flow was restored, the currents of the river devastated their structures, causing great panic. Namor made diplomatic contact with the queen on behalf of the outside world and negotiated relations with them. He served well as a statesman, helping the queen and her people barricade the river in order to restore the conditions they were used to during "slow-time."

This adventure also led to an unlikely friendship between Namor and Hope Summers. The king and the messiah seemed oddly relaxed around each other, respectful but not letting their titles get in the way of some good-natured joking and even flirting on Hope's side (Namor, though, turned Hope's own words back on her after his encounter with Tabula Rasa's shellfish-like sea queen when she angled for a personal tour of Atlantis: "Redheads. Ick! Ick!") [Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #5-8]

For months, the X-Men had recognized a connection between Hope and the Phoenix Force, the cosmic bird of evolution that brings in its wake destruction and, sometimes, rebirth. The Avengers finally became aware of it after long-range scans confirmed the Phoenix was headed to Earth. With Wolverine's splinter school of X-Men firmly in the Avengers' camp, Captain America approached Cyclops on Utopia and insisting to take Hope into protective custody. Cyclops refused and conflict broke out between the Avengers and the X-Men. Despite his past membership in the Avengers and close ties to the likes of Cap and Doctor Strange, Namor remained united with the X-Men. Namor admired Scott Summers like no other for upholding the autonomy of his people, a species of less than 200 standing defiant in the face of America and its Avengers. (Besides, the Thing had joined the Avengers, and being an X-Man meant Namor could give Ben Grimm a good thumping.) [Avengers vs. X-Men #1-2, Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #11, AVX: Vs #1]

In the initial confrontation, Hope had a Phoenix flare-up and went on the run from both groups. The X-Men diverted the Avengers and began tracking her down, with Namor joining Hepzibah and Sunspot on a brief excursion to Tabula Rasa (and more Grimm-thumping). [Avengers vs. X-Men #3-4, Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #12] As the battles raged across Earth, however, Namor joined Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik and Colossus as the last X-Men available to confront the Avengers over Hope on the Blue Area of the Moon. When the Phoenix Force finally arrived, Iron Man attempted to destroy it on behalf of the Avengers. Instead, his efforts caused the Phoenix to fragment, and five equal portions of the Phoenix Force entered the X-Men who were present instead of Hope. [Avengers vs. X-Men #5]

Namor and the Phoenix Five took up the Phoenix's mission to heal Earth from the Decimation and evolve humanity beyond its current stage. They improved the ecology of the planet in desolate regions, provided free power to needy areas and ushered in a "Pax Utopia" at the United Nations, declaring no more war. The Avengers balked at handing over so much world power to the Phoenix Five, however, and infiltrated Utopia to steal away Hope. In the process, they learned the Scarlet Witch retained a unique ability to counter the Phoenix Force from her Decimation spell. With Hope taken (albeit willingly) and Wanda an imminent threat to the Five, Cyclops turned their sights on Earth's Mightiest Heroes, declaring "No More Avengers." [Avengers vs. X-Men #6]

At the direction of the Phoenix Five, the X-Men began hunting down the Avengers all over the globe. The Avengers went into hiding while trying to find a way to defeat the Five. During this crisis, Captain America evoked the Illuminati, trying to summon Namor and the secret council to negotiate an end to the hostilities. Cap was sure Namor would meet with him because of their brotherhood in the Invaders during World War II, but one-by-one the other Illuminati members left the meeting as Namor didn't show. The Sub-Mariner only revealed himself when Captain America was left alone. Their conversation was cordial and fraught with emotion and mutual respect, but Namor would not deviate from his chosen course. [New Avengers (2nd series) #29]

As the war escalated, Namor championed killing their opponents, but Cyclops refused. He was content to cripple the Avengers' operations, incapacitate their soldiers and focus on rescuing Hope and disabling Wanda. During one of their strikes, however, Namor faced the Scarlet Witch directly and was deconstructed by her power, casually dismissed from reality until he reformed on Utopia. This only enraged the Sub-Mariner further and he would no longer toe the line for Scott Summers. Emma Frost approached him privately and told Namor she agreed with him, sharing with Namor (and Namor alone) the secret location of Hope and the Avengers in Wakanda. At this point, Emma and Namor began a psychic affair, for to the Phoenix Five thoughts were as substantial as reality. They finally made love to one another in defiance of Cyclops, even if it was only in their minds, before Namor went off to annihilate the Avengers on behalf of the Phoenix. [Avengers vs. X-Men #7, Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #18]

More than a mutant, or a Phoenix host, Namor was the king of a sovereign nation, and leading the Atlantean army in his wake to confront the Avengers was indisputably an act of war against Wakanda. With the power of the Phoenix, he summoned tidal waves to the landlocked African country, drowning innocents and destroying treasured landmarks in the name of crushing his enemies. Captain America and the Black Panther assembled a dozen of the Avengers' mightiest, gods and demigods alike, joined with the Scarlet Witch to finally pummel Namor into submission. Once Namor was finally knocked unconscious, however, his portion of the Phoenix Force left him and was split evenly between the remaining members of the Phoenix Five, only making them more powerful. [Avengers vs. X-Men #8]

The Phoenix Five soon fell, one-by-one, and Hope finally reclaimed the Phoenix Force to undo the Decimation spell, but not before Cyclops' Extinction Team were marked as war criminals. Namor took sanctuary behind the crown, as Atlantis had no extradition treaties that would give up their monarch to foreign demands. He briefly encountered Hope in the wreckage of Utopia as it fell around the New Atlantis colony. Hope felt betrayed and furious with Namor over their fractured friendship and how far he fell under the Phoenix's influence. Namor, for his part, came as close as he ever did to apologizing or showing weakness when alone in Hope's presence. Although his mask of royal arrogance slipped for but a minute, Namor was clearly deeply affected by his experience with the Phoenix Five. [AvX: Consequences #4]