SUB-MARINER: Page 19 of 19

Publication Date: 9th Nov 2022
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Dean Clayton.

Biography - Page 19

Namor put effort into fortifying Atlantis’ defenses after his recent bout of madness. His continuing search for allies had mixed results. Bruce Banner and his latest incarnation, the “Devil” Hulk, began taking an active stance against humanity’s desecration of the environment. Namor applauded the new “Green” Hulk’s choice of targets, particularly when he focused on RoXXon, and the two men renewed their ties. [Immortal Hulk #26] Namor’s response to Krakoa was far more tepid, however. Atlantis would acknowledge the new mutant nation, but Namor refused several offers by Xavier and Magneto to “come home” to his people in mutantkind or join their ruling Quiet Council. [Powers of X #5, Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1]

Another burgeoning nation made waves with Namor and Atlantis. A billionaire named Mike Nguyen created the borderless city of Pan, connected by teleport passes to Asian cities and neighborhoods around the globe. “Pan passes” were revealed to be powered by magical dragon scales, harvested from a dragon sacred to the Atlantean people. Namor assaulted Pan to retrieve the dragon and was confronted by Amadeus Cho and the Agents of Atlas, whom Nguyen had manipulated into serving as Pan’s protectors. Removing the dragon would destroy Pan and strand many new citizens without a nation, particularly refugees taken in from Madripoor. Namor gave Cho 24 hours to find a solution, and the power of the dragon scales was artificially replicated. The dragon was released, but an implant forced it to attack Atlantis when it returned. A furious Namor struck back at Pan, and Nguyen was revealed to be in league with Atlantis’ ancestral enemies, the Sirenas. Alliances broke and loyalties were tested, but Mike Nguyen eventually died in a catastrophe of his own making, and Namor departed for Atlantis having a cautious peace with Pan and the Agents of Atlas. [Agents of Atlas (3rd series) #5, Atlantis Attacks #1-5]

During Earth’s invasion by Knull, the King in Black and Lord of the Abyss, Namor felt compelled to release members of the Black Tide to stand with him against the invading symbiote dragons and reign of darkness. At first, it was only Kharsa and Sycorax, who agreed to serve Namor for the duration of the invasion. By the end, however, the corrupted former heroes abandoned their allies and made it back to Harran’s Rift to release the rest of their number. The Black Tide swam again in uncertain waters, and Namor was forced to sit and wait for the consequences of his actions to find him again. [King in Black event]

Atlantis continued to suffer attacks from the greedy RoXXon, and Namor began to feel fatigue defending his nation. The trickster Mephisto tried to tempt Namor into an alliance with other forces he was manipulating (such as the Winter Guard and Vampire Nation) in attacking the Avengers, but Namor kept his own counsel. Instead, the Sub-Mariner made the dubious decision to reach out with his mind and call the Phoenix Force back to Earth. [Avengers (7th series) #32]

The Phoenix would not just bond with Namor, however – it held a tournament of sorts, empowering pairs of candidates at a time and testing them against each other to find the perfect host. An increasingly desperate Namor placed the Defenders of the Deep in the Avengers’ path while he communed with the firebird, beating his chest and demanding other potential hosts clear the path for him. He postured before Captain America, claiming he was prepared to kill to claim the Phoenix. In his bout, Namor beat the former Avenger Echo to a pulp and deposited her into the deepest of ocean trenches. The Phoenix Force did not seek strength, though, but those who had fallen and would rise. Echo emerged from the seas and claimed the remaining Phoenix Force from the combatants. She faced Namor and struck him with a single blow that dispersed all the seawater from his body. Utterly dehydrated, the “Emperor of the Deep” was left to crawl back to the ocean from their fight in Moscow, utterly emasculated and humiliated. [Avengers (7th series) #40-44]

Namor’s continuous and disastrous failures of leadership as King of Atlantis finally caught up to him when he was summoned to the Coliseum of the Bull Shark Matadors to face a sacred challenge to his title. As it turned out, his challenger was… basically everyone. The Defenders of the Deep, the Sea Blades, the Octopriests, even Black Tide came forward to denounce his rule and fight him for the Coral Throne. The broken king was trying to rally support when Jennifer Walters surprisingly launched herself into the ring. Captured by Russia’s Winter Guard, she had been subjected to brainwashing and turned into the Winter Hulk. Intended as an assassin for Namor, she was also essentially a distraction, as the Red Widow planned to detonate a gamma bomb that would obliterate Atlantis’ primary capital. Thusly, Atlantis would be eliminated as a threat to Russia and the Avengers would be positioned to take the blame for it.

In fact, Jennifer had resisted the conditioning treatment and warned Namor to evacuate his people. She even threw herself on the gamma bomb and absorbed 68 megatons of radioactive force to save the Atlanteans. No Atlantean life was lost that day, solely thanks to the heroism of a surface dweller. After that threat, the Atlanteans abandoned their city and returned to nomadic ways, traveling the seas and avoiding large groupings or their hated monarch. Namor had gained some uncharacteristic insight into his own failings from this event, and he realized how far he had fallen to even be asking “Why?” She-Hulk would save innocent lives like this. Accepting his absolute failures as an honorable warrior, Namor King of Nothing knelt before Jennifer Walters and asked what he could do to repay his debt. As She-Hulk was planning a leave of absence from the Avengers after the Winter Hulk ordeal, she could think of no better penance for Namor than helping to safeguard the entire world, above and below the waves, with the Avengers. [Avengers (7th series) #48-50]

Namor arrived at Avengers Mountain to face an unwelcoming Black Panther, but also the omni-threat of the Multiversal Masters of Evil. Deathloks from Infinity’s End brought a warning to the Avengers to fear the Doom Above All, who began bombarding the Progenitor Celestial that made up Avengers Mountain with the power of the Necromancer Supreme. Namor aided T’Challa and the Valkyrie against the sadistic Kid Thanos and held up the mountain as Doom’s assault brought the Celestial down around him. His valor allowed them to save one of the Deathloks for further study and convinced Black Panther to accept his offer of membership, at least for now. Namor did not expect his penance to be well-received but was surprised to learn that even Captain America was no longer willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. His fellow Invader refused to let Namor show him familiarity and told the broken king to consider himself in Avengers custody for the duration of his tour of duty. [Avengers (7th series) #51-54]