SUB-MARINER: Page 7 of 19

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

Biography - Page 7

With the help of Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner got his long-awaited revenge on Doctor Dorcas and Tiger Shark, the murderer of his human father. Dorcas used his Morphotron to unleash a cadre of Men-Fish against Namor and Spidey, but the machine overloaded and the two villains were seemingly killed in the explosion, Namor's vengeance assured. [Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #14] A civil crisis emerged at home in Atlantis for Namor, however, when the question arose of what to do with the civilian amphibians created by Doctor Hydro's experiments. Namor had reasoned they could not return to the surface world, facing hatred and ridicule for their mutated appearance. He wished the amphibians to be adopted into Atlantis' population, but the Atlanteans were reluctant to accept the outsiders. Indeed, Namor returned to find they were being kept isolated in a camp on the outskirts of Atlantis. 

The barbed wire enclosure stirred Namor's memories of Nazi Germany and he ripped open the camp with his bare hands. Still, once again, Atlanteans began to question whether Namor put the interests of his blue-skinned brethren first above all else. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #64] Indeed, Namor's good heart and adventurous spirit soon led him to another dimension altogether, moved by the plight of the Four from Zephyrland, who arrived in search of aid against the tyrannical Virago. Unfortunately, Namor's involvement only led Virago back to Atlantis from Zephyrland and she forged an alliance with Orka to conquer the kingdom. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #65-66]

During the battle, Namor was forced to tunnel through solid rock in order to reach safe haven from
Orka's pod of killer whales. Out of control as he emerged from the far-mountainside, Namor collided with a sunken U.S. Navy vessel that had been carrying an extremely toxic nerve gas. The pressurized canisters erupted on impact, immersing Namor in the toxins and launching him to shore. Somewhat fortuitously, Triton of the Inhumans had been assisting the Navy with the salvage and quickly flew Namor to the Baxter Building for treatment. Reed Richards analyzed Namor and determined the nerve gas had caused cellular damage, eradicating Namor's ability to retain moisture while on land. As a result, he would quickly tire out of water and die of dehydration, perhaps within only minutes of exposure.

To compensate for his new weakness, Richards crafted a micro-dermal plating to retain moisture for up to 24 hours at a time, building it into a new body suit for the Sub-Mariner to wear while on land. Fearing treachery when he first awoke, Namor soon accepted the assistance and gave his gratitude to Mister Fantastic for his help. This alone was not enough to quell his rage, however, when the surface world once again polluted his waters, this time at great cost to Namor personally. The savage Sub-Mariner had returned and he would not rest until the surface world paid the price for its folly. Little did he realize, at the time, how great the cost truly was. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #67]

When he returned to Atlantis, Namor found the battlefields ominously silent. It seemed the nerve gas released by Namor's impact had spread beyond the wreckage of the naval vessel into Atlantis, poisoning the attacking Virago and Orka, the Atlantean military and the entire civilian population. Only the space-born Tamara Rahn was immune, while Namorita and the Hydrobase amphibians were spared due to their isolation on the outskirts of Atlantis. Henry Croft, a biologist among the amphibians, explained to the grief-stricken Namor that his people appeared to be in a state of deep suspended animation, and may never recover. The agonized Sub-Mariner sought the council of Father Neptune directly and the Atlantean patron god reassured his supplicant that the current crisis was part of a prophecy, a test from which Atlantis would emerge from victorious, if Namor could only stay the course. With his new suit marked by Neptune with the sign of his trident, Namor emerged from his prayers resolute. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #68]

With his people in dire straits and the surface world to blame, the Savage Sub-Mariner had little patience for other matters. He was prepared to end his time with the Defenders and, when Doctor Strange forcibly summoned him against his will to deal with a new threat, Namor's decision became adamant. After Nebulon and the Squadron Sinister were beaten, the Sub-Mariner heatedly declared that, if Strange summoned him again, it would be as an enemy. [Defenders (1st series) #13-14] Henry Croft and the other amphibian scientists were ill-prepared for working their science underwater, and so Namor relocated them to Dr. Hydro's floating Hydrobase for the duration of their work. Croft promised to do everything in his power to help Namor's people and the Sub-Mariner spent weeks hunting chemicals and compounds to speed Croft's work, with Namorita and Tamara assisting. In the meantime, all of Atlantis was sealed off like a tomb beneath Damon Walther's experimental force field technology, preserving the population against any further contaminants. [Sub-Mariner (1st series) #69-71] They were eventually transported to individual stasis pods as well beneath the force field dome. [Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #2]

Meanwhile, Namor found himself summoned to a most unusual meeting in Wakanda. King T'Challa, the Black Panther, hosted a gathering where Iron Man of the Avengers addressed Namor, Doctor Strange, Professor Xavier of the X-Men, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four and Black Bolt of the Inhumans. The recent Kree-Skrull War that invaded Earth concerned Iron Man with how close they came to annihilation, and he wanted to propose a global network of information sharing among the major figures in the super-hero community. Namor was incredulous that common adventurers and former criminals like many of the Avengers at the time could be of any use to Atlantis or its security. Iron Man's global network idea was shot down, but the assembled figures did agree to secretly and privately meet in the future to share information solely amongst themselves. The sole opposition came from Black Panther, who warned them all to walk away from this idea before their own hubris brought them down. [New Avengers: Illuminati one-shot]

[Note: The Illuminati's origin is a retcon that is difficult to place. Iron Man's impetus for calling the meeting was the Kree-Skrull War "last week" from Avengers (1st series) #97. However, the Avengers/Defenders War from Avengers (1st series) #116-118 relied upon misunderstandings and the unfamiliarity of the two teams with each other, a situation hard to imagine with Namor and Strange on one side and Iron Man on the other. Also, Namor was depicted in this issue in his saturation suit, which he did not adopt until after the Avengers/Defenders War.]

Despite their efforts, Dr. Croft and his team of amphibian scientists failed to find a cure for the Atlanteans, turning Namor even more against humanity. In his bitterness, the Sub-Mariner decided to renew his one-time alliance with Doctor Doom, seeking his fellow monarch's support against the rest of the surface world. Namor approached Doom at a time when the Latverian was injured and fleeing from the Fantastic Four. Doom's pride prevented him from accepting aid from a position of weakness, and he attacked Namor before fleeing. [Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1] Once he composed himself, however, Doom saw the value of Namor as an ally and re-approached him to discuss their common goals. Each man suffered from an overabundance of pride, though, and neither could stand to be considered the "lesser" partner in their alliance, leading them to squabble before any true terms for their dealings could be laid out. [Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #2]

Namor returned to Hydrobase from Latveria, only to find it overrun by rogues. Doctor Dorcas and Tiger Shark had survived the earlier explosion of their labs and joined forces with the barbarian warlord Attuma. The trio seized control of Hydrobase and forced the amphibian scientists to build weapons for them. The Sub-Mariner fell before his arch-rivals' overwhelming numbers and base treachery, and was chained up in the dungeons. Fortunately for the Avenging Son, Doctor Doom's temper subsided and he traveled to Hydrobase to renew their alliance. Doom met Betty Dean Prentiss, one of the few free amphibians on the island, and she told him of Namor's predicament. Doom tunneled down to the dungeon chambers and Namor's allies fought to free him from his chains. In the melee, Dorcas tried to shoot Namor while he was off-guard, but Betty Dean threw herself in the path of the blast. Betty died from her wounds, leaving Dorcas and the others in the sights of a fighting-mad Avenging Son. [Super-Villain Team-Up #1-2]

Namor would have fought to the death against Dorcas, Tiger Shark, Attuma and the barbarian hordes if Doctor Doom had not teleported him away. Doom was able to momentarily calm Namor after his loss, convincing him of the necessity of crafting a battle plan and rejuvenating himself before returning to settle the score. Namor accepted Doom's counsel and soon they returned with a two-pronged assault designed to split the enemy forces. Namor's part in the plan required him to neutralize the ruling trio with a paralyzing force field before supporting Doom against the main barbarian army. In the moment, however, Namor's revenge could not be denied and he abandoned his and Doom's plan to beat his opponents with his fists instead of using the force field. Dorcas was killed in the fight that followed and Tiger Shark was captured, although Attuma fled to menace Namor again another day. Meanwhile, Doom had been temporarily humbled without Namor's assistance. He recovered but, as Namor arrived late, he saw Doctor Doom coldly engineer the death of Attuma's jester, Saru San, who had dared to mock Doom when he fell. Namor saw how petty Doom could be and the duo once again came to blows. Realizing a long-term alliance was impossible, Namor allowed Doom to momentarily believe him dead during their clash, abandoning the Latverian to return to Atlantis. [Super-Villain Team-Up #3-4]

Doom was not convinced for long, however, and he returned to secure Namor's aid by force. In a sneak attack, Doctor Doom disabled Namor's moisture-preserving suit, leaving him gasping for breath on dry land. Doom then mocked Namor with a chance to save himself -- he would give Namor an antidote to his moisture-deficiency that would last 24 hours, and gave Namor leave to journey to the Baxter Building and see if Reed Richards could fix Namor's moisture problem in that 24 hours. If he could not, however, Namor would vow to serve Doom unconditionally. Left with little choice, Namor took the antidote and flew to Richards as fast as he could. If it wasn't clear that Doom wanted to secure Namor's servitude and humiliate Reed Richards in one move, the hologram he projected to the Baxter Building after Namor arrived explicitly spelled it out. Richards furiously went to work repairing Namor's suit, but Doom was even more insidious than either man expected. Testing eventually revealed that Doom's 24 hour "antidote" had significantly altered Namor's cellular chemistry, so that Richards' suit would no longer work on him even once it was fixed. Having lost precious time working on the now-useless suit, Richards failed to cure Namor in the time allotted and the despondent Atlantean monarch was forced to honor his word and return to Doom's side, his indentured servant for life. [Super-Villain Team-Up #5]

The Sub-Mariner was kept in lavish quarters in Castle Latveria, subject to Doom's orders and the antidote he still needed every 24 hours to maintain his health. He was even forced by his oath to take up arms against the Fantastic Four when they came to Latveria in a vain attempt to rescue him. Namor's dark fate took a surprising turn when a neophyte costumed adventurer called the Shroud arrived in Latveria to kill Doctor Doom as his first mission. The Shroud actually succeeded in beating Doom, tossing him over a cliffside to his apparent death. Although Doom survived, he was waylaid from returning to his castle, and the Shroud came to Namor and told him his vow was ended with Doom's death. Namor and Shroud's efforts to leave Latveria also crossed paths with the deposed Prince Rudolpho, who used Doom's apparent death to don a copy of his armor and attempt a coup. Rudolpho's copycat armor even contained the true antidote to Namor's condition which Doom had dangled over his head, permanently freeing him of the moisture problems the nerve gas caused months earlier. Believing himself completely unshackled from Doom, Namor left Latveria immediately. [Super-Villain Team-Up #6-9]

In his flight, Namor learned that Attuma had risen up again and found himself fighting side-by-side with the Avengers against Attuma and his super-soldier, Tyrak. Oddly enough, Doctor Doom was also present during this conflict on the side of the Avengers, but circumstances prevented them from crossing paths, and so Namor continued to believe Doom was dead. [Avengers (1st series) #155-156]

Back in Atlantis, Namor found men answerable to the Red Skull mining the seabed using Latverian equipment. He returned to Latveria to find the Nazi nihilist had seized the throne before Rudolpho could complete his coup. Doom had also returned to Latveria, in the company of Captain America, to deal with the threat of the Skull. Reduced to miniature size by one of his own weapons hijacked by the Red Skull, Doctor Doom was temporarily at the Skull's mercy when he arrived. To regain his full stature (and the advantage), Doom promised to free Namor from his word and cure his afflicted people. Immediately seizing the deal, Namor did as Doom bade him and the Red Skull was eventually defeated. [Super-Villain Team-Up #10-12]

Honoring his word, Doctor Doom accompanied Namor back to Atlantis, only to find it overrun by Warlord Krang and other exiles and criminals gathered as an occupying mercenary army. Namor took to the front lines as a one-man army against the interlopers while Doom fulfilled his promise and awakened the Atlantean people from their great slumber. Seeing his people returned to fight by his side once more overjoyed Namor, so that even a great beast summoned by the Horn of Neptune wasn't enough to deter him. Krang's mercenaries were cowed and the warlord defeated. Prince Namor reclaimed the throne and the love of his people, finally fulfilling Neptune's prophecy of a great strife overturned by even greater victory. [Super-Villain Team-Up #13]

Namor's victorious resurrection of his people had some unexpected consequences. The thankful Atlanteans not only praised Namor, but came to deify him as well. They saw the sacred Trident of Neptune that he carried and charted the series of catastrophes that befell Atlantis when Namor left them, only to be overturned when Namor returned to defend them, and saw him as a true figure of worship. Namor was extremely uncomfortable with their idolatry, which went so far as asking him to lay hands on the sick and cure them. He fled Atlantis and his responsibilities, returning to Imperial Studios, the movie company he had bought in California years earlier. After an encounter with Susan Richards, however, Namor realized he could not flee his responsibilities as monarch of Atlantis and returned to the seas to help his people see he was but a prince, not a god. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #195]

The Sub-Mariner came to the aid of Doctor Strange when the sorcerer was threatened by a relatively minor mystic named Alaric, who had discovered the Sword of Kamuu. Kamuu the Greater was the last ruler of pre-Cataclysmic Atlantis, and Kamuu the Lesser was the founder of the underwater city of Atlantis, using the original Kamuu's sword to forge an alliance between two nomadic tribes of water-breathers. The sword had great mystical power, derived from the Eye of Zartra, a gift from Kamuu's bride, the warrior-queen of Lemuria. The power of the blade was enough to endanger Strange and the blood of a Sorcerer Supreme would make Alaric immortal for all time. Namor knew his heritage well, however, and he tricked Alaric into striking him with the blade. Shedding the blood of a descendant of Kamuu exposed Alaric to the Curse of Zartra. Alaric was vanquished by his own actions. In gratitude, Doctor Strange turned the sword over to Namor as part of his Atlantean heritage, while Namor left the Eye of Zartra with Strange. [Doctor Strange (2nd series) #31-32]

When Strange next approached Namor, it was to deal with the menace of the Unnamable, a literally unspeakable evil detailed by the Vishanti and the mystics of Atlantis. Namor and Strange joined forces with the Hulk and returned to Tunnelworld, where the other Defenders had recently encountered the pawns of the Unnamed. They met the kind wizard Xhoohx and Aeroika, a winged slave unable to fly, but who yearned to be free. The power of the Unnamable was that whoever heard his name fell under his sway and he remained a phantom figure behind the scenes. Namor and the Defenders helped Aeroika organize a revolution of the Winged Ones against the Unnamed's chief puppet, the dark wizard Ytitnedion of the Buzzard People. The Hulk heard the Name and turned against the Defenders for a time, but Strange tricked the Unnamable into consolidating his presence into the Hulk's mind. Strange then performed psychic surgery, cutting off the portion of Hulk's brain that retained the Name from the rest of his brain, leaving the Name forgotten and the Unnamable contained forever in those buried synapses. [Defenders (1st series) #74-83]

After the victory against the Unnamable, Namor held a celebration in Atlantis and agreed to allow the exhausted Hulk to recuperate among his people after Strange departed. Unfortunately, affairs of state would soon place Atlantis on the brink of war. Some of Namor's warlords had begun acquiring powerful weapons from smugglers in Wakanda. As Lord Vashti politely pointed out, this was occurring because Prince Namor's neglectful rule of Atlantis meant he occasionally didn't revoke wartime decrees and some warlords were a bit liberal in their interpretation of his commands. Respectfully admonished by his advisor, Namor vowed to end the dishonorable practice. Meanwhile, T'Challa the Black Panther himself had tracked his local-born criminals and the state secrets they had stolen for the weapons to the Wakandan protectorate, Kiber Island. He interrupted their rendezvous, capturing the smugglers and several Atlantean soldiers before pursuing the remainder into the sea. As a result, his small ship was captured by Namor's flagship and he was brought before the ruler of Atlantis.

Neither monarch was in any mood for diplomacy -- T'Challa was in the middle of chasing enemies of the state, while Namor was heated and embarrassed by the consequences of his lax attitude towards to Atlantean military. Because his men technically acted on behalf of the crown, the Sub-Mariner assumed responsibility for their actions and demanded the Wakandan captives be turned back over to Atlantis for his admonishment. The Black Panther refused, insisting they stand trial for Wakandan justice. This heated exchange led to blows between the two rulers and T'Challa ran free in Atlantis, trying to avoid Namor's wrath. As the Black Panther made his escape, Bruce Banner awakened from his rest and became the Hulk in the ruckus. Annoyed by the situation, the Hulk's powerful legs launched him out of Atlantis and all the way to the surface, flying through open air. The tense Wakandan military registered his flight and believed Atlantis had launched a missile at Wakanda, and responded in kind. When the Hulk reached the apex of his leap and fell away, however, that meant a Wakanda nuclear interceptor missile was now on an unimpeded path straight towards Atlantis. Unable to stop its flight, T'Challa alerted Namor to the matter directly and the Sub-Mariner was able to physically nudge the missile off course until it detonated on the uninhabited Kiber Island, sparing innocent lives. Atlantis and Wakanda returned to diplomatic channels for further exchanges, but a state of deep mistrust and resentment now existed between the two countries. [Defenders (1st series) #84-85]