SUB-MARINER: Page 3 of 19

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

Biography - Page 3

The Sub-Mariner and the American Invaders joined their British allies, Union Jack and Spitfire, down in Egypt to oppose Rommel and his push through British lines. Foreign-born himself, Namor respected the Egyptian people's concerns over self-determinism, looking to establish themselves as something other than a British colony or a Nazi puppet. The prince also showed great respect and deference to the pyramids, whose ancient origins reflected ties to his own ancient race. It was Namor who both fought and respected a homegrown Egyptian super-being, the Scarlet Scarab, who wanted the European wars out of his homeland by any means necessary. [Invaders (1st series) #23, 25]

During their time in Africa, the Invaders uncovered a Nazi plot to use the unknown metal "Vibranium" as part of their atomic weapons program. A battle in the desert proved inconclusive when a third party stole the plans from the Nazi encampment. Namor chased down the enigmatic airship, but was humbled by the Black Panther, grandfather of the time-traveler he had met weeks earlier. Vibranium was his nation's property, and the Panther sought only to reclaim what belonged to his country. After eventually calming the enraged Sub-Mariner, the Black Panther impressed Namor with his efforts, and the sea prince would remember the encounter for decades to come. [Black Panther (4th series) #21]

[Note: Namor claimed this encounter occurred around the same time as Captain America's voyage into Wakanda depicted in Black Panther (3rd series) #30, but that isn't possible. Cap's meeting with T'Challa's ancestor led to America acquiring the Vibranium sample used to make his discus shield. Cap already had the discus shield before the Invaders were formed, and well before Spitfire and Union Jack II entered the war as costumed heroes.]

The Invaders' roster was modified when Bucky and Toro left the team to operate in California as the Kid Commandoes with their new allies, Golden Girl and the Human Top. [Invaders (1st series) #26-28] Namor and the Invaders were reduced to a quintet while operating overseas, battling the Teutonic Knight, a misled Thor, summoned from Asgard, and the creations of Baron Frankenstein. [Invaders (1st series) #29-34]

Namor, Captain America and the Human Torch remained the core of the Invaders, as they occasionally left their British members behind on the warfront and returned to deal with spies on American shores. When they did, the Invaders borrowed the Liberty Legionnaires known as Whizzer and Miss America to fill out their roster. [Invaders (1st series) #35]

Back in America, the Sub-Mariner battled against the Iron Cross, a German patriot who rejected Nazism but nonetheless fought for his country. He also had a rematch against U-Man, who had been recruited into a group of foes known as the Super-Axis. [Invaders (1st series) #35-41] A similar group known as the Battle-Axis fought the Invaders a few weeks later, threatening to set off earthquakes and spread poison gas throughout the Southwest. [Invaders (2nd series) #1-4]

Namor's relationship with Betty Dean continued, although he was often overseas with the Invaders or back home in Atlantis. Betty encountered him more often when she switched careers from policewoman to war correspondent, perhaps a deliberate move on her part. Betty's roommate Alice Terrel was disapproving of Namor and how he swept in and out of Betty's life when he felt like it, but Betty was in love. One night at the Stork Club, Namor presented Betty with an Atlantean amulet from his grandfather's collection. He did not know the amulet's origins, but only thought of it as a token of his affection. [Namor: the First Mutant #5]

As the war in Europe neared its conclusion, Namor and the Invaders were informed of the surface details of a new weapon being developed by American scientists in the Manhattan Project. They were only cleared for this information because it was necessary to recruit them in defiance of Baron Strucker, a Nazi from Hitler's inner circle who had began forming his own cult of terrorist followers called Hydra and intended to recreate the atomic bomb for his own purposes. Namor felt no nation should have the power of atomic weapons, hauntingly comparing the power of the atom to the legendary cataclysm that first sank the continent of Old Atlantis. Still, he fully agreed that Strucker should not have the bomb regardless, and helped Captain America, Human Torch and the Whizzer dismantle Hydra's plans. [Marvel Universe #1-3]

As the war pressed towards a conclusion, the Invaders were active overseas more and more, working directly with a regular battalion of “Invaders corps” soldiers. Bonds were formed on the battlefield, and Namor was particularly close with two American soldiers named Tommy Machan and Randall Peterson. As a result, he was crushed when Tommy died during the retaking of France. [Invaders (3rd series) #1] Sub-Mariner continued forming strong ties with his fellow Invaders as well. After he saved Captain America from drowning during a sea mission, the Sentinel of Liberty became uncomfortable in the water. During their shore leave, Namor invited Steve back to his home, sharing with him the grandeur of Atlantis, which often gave him the impetus he needed to keep fighting for his people. [Invaders (3rd series) #2, 10]

Thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Invaders, the European theatre of war soon came to a conclusion. The Human Torch executed Adolf Hitler in his bunker and the Nazi forces began to stand down across the continent. As the Invaders prepared to dedicate their efforts to the Pacific, however, Namor and the American members were called back to Washington by the president. The recently-sworn President Harry Truman confirmed the tragic news of Captain America and Bucky's apparent deaths in a conflict with Baron Zemo. After the recent loss of President Roosevelt, Truman believed America would not survive the blow to morale of Captain America's death. Therefore, with the support of the Invaders, Truman arranged for a new Captain America and Bucky to join the team: William Naslund, formerly the Spirit of '76 with the Crusaders, and Fred Davis, who previous posed as Bucky to help the Liberty Legion. With the Legionnaires Whizzer and Miss America added to their ranks, the Invaders continued the war against the Empire of Japan. [What If? (1st series) #4]

Namor attended the Potsdam Conference as both security and dignitary on behalf of Atlantis, working alongside the new Captain America and the Red Guardian of the USSR as a protection detail. Although the three national heroes prevented a suicide attack on the world leaders by a former Nazi, the growing divide between the USA and the USSR made Namor concerned about Atlantis' role with the surface world after the war ended. [Namor, the Sub-Mariner Annual #1]

The Pacific theatre of war took a turn when General Sawyer commissioned Namor and the Invaders for a unique tactical assault. By combining the tidal wave generating sea creature Namor controlled using the Horn of Proteus with the superheated air currents the Human Torch could produce and a vortex spun up by Spitfire, the military believed they could create a semi-controllable tsunami to completely wipe out the Japanese fleet. However, the Invaders were supplemented by the Kid Commandos on this mission, and Golden Girl opposed the loss of innocent lives that would occur among the inhabited islands in their wake. The armed forces, however, considered them acceptable losses and the adult Invaders went along with them. Golden Girl rallied the Kid Commandoes against the other Invaders and even fought Namor one-on-one. Their struggling led the heroes to crash on one of the islands, and Namor was confronted firsthand with the people who would die in their tsunami. The Invaders agreed to stand down from the mission and the Sub-Mariner took the heat with the brass by acting as a foreign king and refusing to participate any longer. The Invaders were unaware at the time that their refusal led the United States to proceed with an alternate plan to end the war: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [All-New Invaders #6-7]

When the war finally concluded on all fronts, President Truman made another request of the Invaders, that they stay together to protect America in peace-time as they did in war. The Sub-Mariner had come to appreciate his allies and considered working with the surface worlders as they revamped the team into the All-Winners Squad. [What If? (1st series) #4]

Namor felt the need to return home, for he found his abilities were failing him. His strength had decreased over time, and his ankle wings were virtually non-functional. The Sub-Mariner hoped Ikthon and the royal scientists could assist him. As he returned home to ruminate on his problems and joining the Squad, however, Namor found the decision made for him. Byrrah and Commander Krang greeted him at the outskirts of Atlantis with the royal army. Emperor Thakorr had finally awakened from his coma and Byrrah convinced his step-father that Namor's long absences from Atlantis fighting the war marked him as an inept ruler and a traitor to the crown. Thakorr was manipulated into banishing Namor from Atlantis, an order Byrrah and Krang were all too happy to give. Namor was furious at his cousin and nearly advanced upon the army of Atlantis when Fen and Dorma arrived. Fen convinced her son not to shed blood needlessly among the loyal soldiers. She asked him to abide by the exile until she had time to show her father the truth. Namor accepted his mother's wishes, but would not forget the insult hurled at him by Byrrah and Krang. [Saga of the Sub-Mariner #5]

Seeing few options, the Sub-Mariner accepted the role offered to him by his former comrades and joined the All-Winners Squad. As did many of the Invaders, Prince Namor made an appearance at the Nuremburg war trials in 1946 to give testimony. It was Namor's testimony in particular that cleared the name of Hans Gruler, the Iron Cross. The Invaders gave their perspective of Gruler's actions during the war as an honorable opponent and German patriot, not a Nazi guilty of war crimes or atrocities. [All-New Invaders #10]

The All-Winners Squad remained together for several years. In addition to local bank robbers, criminals and the growing Red Scare in America, they also faced fantastical opponents like Isbisa, Future Man and Madame Death. Tragically, the second Captain America died in battle with the new synthezoid called Adam II. He was replaced by the former Liberty Legionnaire Jeff Mace, aka the Patriot, ensuring that Captain America would always survive in one form or another. [What If..? (1st series) #4, All-Winners Comics #19, 21]

The Sub-Mariner's respect for Steve Rogers made him less than accepting of his replacements, particularly the former Patriot who felt overwhelmed by the legacy he took on. An old friend of the Patriot's committed suicide under a cloud of stigma after rumors of his homosexuality were made public, so even this Navy war hero's funeral was being blackballed. Captain America III wanted to attend the funeral in costume to defend his friend, but the FBI and All-Winners discouraged him from tarnishing the identity of Captain America in a political scandal. Undeterred, Jeff Mace attended the funeral in his discarded Patriot identity, destroying the Patriot's reputation in that phobic time period but saying what he needed to say. Afterwards, Namor almost commended Mace for his loyalty and determination, but still mocked the hero for how utterly pointless his sacrifice of the Patriot's good reputation was. Mace decked Namor for his comments, injuring his hand in the process. [Captain America: Patriot #2]

Not long after, a ruse by Madame Death made it appear as if the original Captain America and Bucky were caught between life and death, but could return if a sacrifice was made. Jeff Mace unflinchingly stepped forward and offered his own life in exchange for the original Cap to live again. The super-villainess's ploy was uncovered, but the nobility and honor Mace showed earned Namor's begrudging respect for the rest of their time together in the All-Winners Squad. [All-Winners Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1, Captain America: Patriot #3]

Meanwhile, Namor's relationship with Betty Dean deteriorated, as his cavalier attitude towards her became apparent even to Betty. She had previously dismissed his unexplained comings and goings as a necessity during wartime, but by 1947 the war was over and Namor would still disappear for months at a time without notice or apology. Her roommate Alice had moved out and moved on, marrying and having a child while Betty still pined for Namor. Alice was visiting Betty when Namor appeared for the first time in five months to demand her presence at a Broadway show. Betty lashed out at Namor this time, calling him on his neglectful treatment before storming out. Her words stung deeply and Namor wanted to retaliate. His wounded pride led Namor to proposition the lingering Alice Terrel-Ryan, coming on to her while she still held her infant son. When Alice walked out without a word, Namor finally recognized how unseemly his behavior had become. [Namor: the First Mutant #5]

The Sub-Mariner received a summons home to Atlantis by the emperor for his birthday celebration, and was overjoyed that his exile was being lifted. His happiness turned to sorrow, however, when he found Atlantis had been attacked by daring surface thieves. Namor was met by his wounded cousin Namora and Thakorr, who reported the thieves had murdered Namora's father before making off with pearls and other valuables. After seeing to the emperor's wounds, Namor and Namora left to find the attackers. Namor was surprised to learn his royal cousin was a hybrid like him, born of an Atlantean father and an Icelandic human mother. She had been a water-breathing, blue-skinned Atlantean when they played together in their youth; only upon reaching the age of majority did Namora develop her amphibious nature and the Caucasian flesh tone of her mother. Namor and Namora captured the robbers and avenged the death of Namora's father. With no direct family to call her own anymore, Namor arranged for Namora to stay with Betty Dean in her apartment on the surface world. [Marvel Mystery Comics #82, Saga of the Sub-Mariner #6]

[Note: The original version of this story claimed Namor and Namora met for the first time this day. Atlas Comics stories and the Saga of the Sub-Mariner later retconed them into having known each other since their teens.]

After Bucky was shot and forced to retire, Captain America III left the All-Winners Squad to train a new partner, Golden Girl, and the Squad as a whole ultimately disbanded. Namor and Namora adventured together for a time on the surface world, but by 1949 Namor returned to Atlantis on a full-time basis. Namora, recalling the death of her father, chose not to accompany Namor and returned to her colony home of Maritanas. [Young Men #24, Captain America: Patriot #3, Saga of the Sub-Mariner #6]

Namor remained friends with Betty Dean, and they reconnected when he began visiting the surface world again in 1953. A somewhat light-hearted romantic triangle began between Namor, Namora and Betty as the trio spent time together. Byrrah continued to act as a rival for Namor, seeking to undermine his position with Emperor Thakorr or drive a wedge between him and his American allies. As a consequence, Byrrah occasionally worked with Communist agents against the Sub-Mariner as well, but he was always forgiven or destroyed any evidence of his conspiracies, and so continued to harass his cousin over time. [Sub-Mariner Comics #33-42]

Namor's powers had continued to deteriorate over the intervening years, and eventually his ankle wings even withered and fell off, leaving him completely deprived of flight. Emperor Thakorr finally chose to address this fault in his grandson, commissioning the science council to construct a physio-rejuvenator to restore Namor to the peak of his abilities. The effects were successful, with Namor's strength, durability, and flight powers as strong as they had ever been once more. [Sub-Mariner Comics #40, Saga of the Sub-Mariner #6]

At some point during this time, Namor loved an Atlantean woman and produced an heir named Kamar. Tragically, this unnamed woman was targeted by terrorists opposed to the crown and killed. Namor never identified the culprits and believed his son to be in danger too. Seeing little choice, Namor ordered Kamar be removed from Atlantis and raised in the waters on the far side of the world. Complications in his own life soon rose which prevented Namor for keeping apprised on Kamar's development, an oversight he would come to regret. [Sub-Mariner (2nd series) #4]

In 1955, after more than a decade of cordial relations with the surface world, it was finally decided that Atlantis would seek entrance into the United Nations as an official member nation. As Prince Namor led a procession of Atlantean soldiers through Manhattan to reach the United Nations building, though, McCarthyists and xenophobic protestors opposed them. The protestors rioted, pushing back against the Atlantean troopers, leading to a crazed melee. During the skirmish, bullets ricocheted off of Namor's super-tough skin, killing an innocent bystander. Although the shock of the man's death ended the violence, Namor and the Atlanteans withdrew their application to the United Nations. Namor admitted to Emperor Thakorr that man was not yet ready to embrace them, and it was best that Atlantis withdraw from the surface world entirely. [Prince Namor, Sub-Mariner #1, Saga of the Sub-Mariner #6] Namor left Betty Dean behind on the surface world. Betty was devastated and convinced her great love for Namor had never truly been reciprocated by the sea prince. In fact, Namor admitted years later that he deeply loved Betty Dean, but could never admit it due to his dedication to the throne of Atlantis and preserving the royal line. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #8]

In the aftermath, however, love bloomed. Away from Betty Dean and the surface world, Namor finally saw Dorma as she wished to be seen. No longer taking their years of friendship for granted, Namor and Dorma blossomed into a full relationship in the months that followed. A lady from a royal house of Atlantis would make a good match for the prince politically, of course, but it was Dorma's personal love and loyalty to Namor over their life together that truly touched the Sub-Mariner's heart. [Saga of the Sub-Mariner #6]

One day in 1958, Paul Destine awakened from suspended animation in the City of the Ancients, his physical and mental abilities dramatically increased by the equipment he found there, especially his Helmet of Power. Calling himself Destiny, the sociopath sought a way to test his new might. Destiny mentally detected the Antarctic colony of Atlantis nearby and telekinetically started setting off explosions in the area. The fearful King Thakorr and Princess Fen dispatched Namor to find the source of the attack. Destiny recognized Namor as the spawn of his old antagonist Leonard McKenzie and prepared a trap for the Atlanteans. Namor's royal guard were butchered by Destiny and the psychic caused Namor to experience in his mind's-eye as further explosions rocked Atlantis, killing Thakorr and Fen among countless innocents. Destiny completed his revenge by taking over the mind of the distraught Namor and forcing him to fly to New York. Destiny damaged Namor's memory, leaving him confused and amnesiac to wander aimlessly, aware of his grief and loss but with no recollection of the details. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #1]

Despite his amnesia, Namor’s wanderings eventually led him back to the Petersons. Namor had remained close to Randall Peterson after the war and had stayed with his family for a time when Atlantis didn’t feel like home. Randall’s daughter was even named Namor in the prince’s honor. So somehow, decades later, the lost Namor found himself journeying back to the Petersons coastal home. He arrived just as Nay Peterson was pregnant with a son of her own, and he slowly regained his faculties staying among loved ones and helping to raise little Roman Peterson into a young man.

Namor wasn’t simply “better,” however. Destine’s attack left his memories raw as they returned, and Namor was haunted by his experiences during the war as if they had just happened recently. One day, Namor was found by Charles Xavier, a young mutant telepath who had begun the search for others of his kind. Charles was the first to explain to Namor that his extra gifts marked not only as a hybrid, but a mutant as well. Namor was intrigued and joined Xavier in his search for other mutants. In their travels, Xavier tried using his telepathy to calm Namor’s troubled mind. Namor’s temper proved as unstable as his memory, though, and the fruitless quest taxed his patience over time.

In the town of Stony Plain, Charles and Namor finally had their first encounter with a fellow mutant. Tim Roberts, dubbed Genus, had the ability to change the species of other lifeforms from one to another, and had tried to create friends by turning cats into people. His “cat-men” had caused a commotion in the small town, though. Xavier was momentarily overcome by the possibility of turning humans into mutants to increase their kind, but an angry Namor pointed out it was more likely Genus would be used by humans to wipe out mutants. As they argued, it became academic as Genus was shot and killed by the scared local police. A furious Namor was ready to murder the deputies, prompting Xavier to enter his head to calm him down. Seeing how Namor dwelled on the death of Tommy Machan, Charles thought he could help Namor by allowing Tommy to live on in Namor’s memory, a subconscious therapist he trusted and to whom could open up about his troubles. These acts only seemed to fracture Namor’s mind further, however, and Xavier was knocked senseless. By the time he woke up, Namor was gone from Stony Plain, addled and amnesic once more. [Invaders (3rd series) #4]