Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has revealed its nemesis, Namor, an important Marvel figure long absent from the MCU. Who is this anti-hero king and ex-Avengers?
Since the disappearance of Chadwick Boseman, the actor under the mask of Black Panther, the sequel to the film about the hero of Wakanda is shrouded in mystery. Who will take T'Challa's place in the black suit?Will Black Panther be replaced by a new hero, or a new heroine? But even before this drama that upset the production of the film, fans were theorizing about the antagonist of the footage. A name came up regularly, that of the king of Atlantis and the Seven Seas: Namor. The trailer released at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 confirmed the presence of the Sub-Mariner, played by Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico).
Marvel's Aquaman is one of Marvel's very first superheroes and a bridge between the X-Men and the Avengers. As feared as respected, even hated, by superheroes, Namor is an arrogant, authoritarian and human-hating character. Yet there remains a lord who has already teamed up with Iron Man, the Fantastic 4 or Doctor Strange. Now that the man with the green underpants finally arrives in the MCU, after a long teaser, we give you a look back at the exciting and tumultuous personality like the Breton sea of this character.
Namor above all
Lord of the Oceans debuted in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly Vol 1 in April 1939 from an idea by screenwriter and cartoonist Bill Everett. But its official entry into the Marvel universe was in the very first issue of the publisher's universe with Marvel Comics #1 in August 1939, again thanks to Bill Everett. Finally, his first modern appearance will be in Fantastic Four #4from 1962, and is put on paper by the two most famous figures of Marvel, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (to whom we have dedicated a file). In this issue, he is the enemy of the Fantastic 4 and shows all his racism of the human species from the surface, a xenophobia that he will always have in 80 years of existence.
His first place in the Marvel stable gives him a special stature in the mythology of this universe. He thus fought alongside Captain America against the Nazis and was part of history's first superhero team, the Invaders. Yet his relationship with humans will remain conflicted, threatening several times to invade their world, often to add weight in the diplomatic balance. Namor will also be in a relationship with Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman, for a time, while Reed Richards is obsessed with his work and neglects his family. This idyll will often be used by Namor to provoke Mister Fantastic.
Which makes him a primordial hero of the Marvel universe obviously goes beyond his role of cuckolding others since he is half-human, half-Atlantean, and carrier of the mutant gene. Thus,he is considered the first of the Homo Superior, and therefore belongs to the great family of the X-Men. This status led him to take part in the war between the Avengers and the X-Men in Avengers vs. X-Menin 2012, conflict in which he will be one of the leaders of the mutants. This association with the X-Men makes it all the more interesting for its adaptation. After Miss Marvel who already gave us a wink at the Children of the Atom in her final episode, Namor is another building block that is the return of mutants in the MCU .
A half-man half-Atlantean of powers
The Sub-Mariner doesn't just have a devastating charisma, he also has an array of extraordinary physical abilities. As a mutant and Atlantean, he can live underwater and possesses herculean strength allowing him to confront biceps champions like the Hulk or Luke Cage. In addition, he has incredible agility, endurance and speed, even for an Atlantean. Also, he can communicate with aquatic species and control them, in the same way that he controls the weather and water. Lastly, he's one of the first Marvel superheroes to have the ability to fly, and that's a pretty cool title.
Namor's influence and power are such that 'he is part of the ultra VIP council of the Illuminati (introduced in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) alongside Black Bolt, Iron Man, Professor X, Doctor Strange and Mister Fantastic. This seat involves him in decisions that shook the Marvel Universe: the invasion of the Skrulls in Secret Invasion (the subject of the future series Secret Invasion), or sending the Hulk into space leading to World War Hulk in which the green giant seeks revenge on the Illuminati for exiled him (loosely adapted in Thor: Ragnarok).
< p style="text-align: justify;">Namor is above all a warlike and vengeful king. In 2006's Civil War, he sends his soldiers in pursuit of the villain who caused the attack that killed hundreds of innocent people in order to avenge his cousin, one of the victims. In the 2012 Avengers vs. X-Men comics, Namor has a fragment of the Phoenix power within him (Jean Grey's superpowered thing in Dark Phoenix), and will attack Wakanda with its army and sea monsters, massacring dozens of inhabitants. The Army of Wakanda (led by Shuri) will attack and raze Atlantis in retaliation. Out of revenge, Namor would lie to Thanos to trick him into destroying the Black Panther Kingdom for him in 2013's New Avengers #9.
Under the ocean
For a few years , Marvel drops small stones leading to Namor. In Iron Man 2, a SHIELD map pointer indicated an area in the ocean. Atlantis would have been teased in Endgame when Black Widow asks Okoye if she is handling the situation of the underwater earthquakes near Wakanda. An exchange that screenwriter Christopher Markus later returned to explaining that sometimes you plant a seed and it sprouts. From now on, no more doubt with the trailer of the film, Namor emerges from the seabed to type humans.
Given the images, the war between Wakanda and Atlantis is not half measures and seems destructive. Maybe it started after the earthquakes mentioned in Endgame? Somehow Thanos' actions may have impacted the Atlanteanswhich would have lost half of their population. The five years that passed before the Avengers brought everyone back may have damaged the Altante kingdom, and rekindled in Namor his contempt for those on dry land he would see as responsible for this mess.
From what we see of the king of the sailor people with bluish skin (as in the comics) seems to respect the basics of the design of the hero since he has his ankle fins, his seaweed-colored underpants, his pointed ears and his trident . The major difference is in the decorum of Atlantis which is reminiscent of Aztec culture. An interesting aesthetic which has the merit of offering visuals of a civilization little represented in the cinema, especially as it serves a character to which multiple symbols and legends can be affixed. Is Atlantis the Eldorado so coveted by the conquistadors?
Introducing Namor and his people as enemies of Wakanda in Black Panther 2 brings a major antagonist, in addition to finally make a founding character of Marvel Comics exist. This role of villain of a film, Namor will surely exchange it very quickly for that of the anti-hero in order to take a dominating place in the super-heroic community. The first elements of answers will fall on November 9, 2022, when this Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is released.