As one of Marvel’s oldest characters, Namor The Sub-Mariner has a history that connects him to the superhero and supervillain communities. The King of Atlantis has been a foil to every major Marvel team, including the Avengers, X-Men, Invaders and Defenders.
At other times, he’s played the vengeful anti-hero who has struck back against the surface world for the mistreatment of the ocean and the Atlanteans. In order to achieve his goals, he’s not hesitated to team up with villains like Doctor Doom.
Stubborn, complicated and arrogant, The Sub-Mariner has maintained a fierce independent streak that has put him at odds with heroes and villains alike.
While Namor has illustrated the capacity for good, there is no denying that he has committed heinous acts in his life. Some have been carried out in the name of protecting his people, while others have come from a place of selfishness and rage.
Whatever his motivations, the Avenging Son has never stopped to second guess himself. When he’s committed to a goal, he’ll see it through no matter the consequences. Imperius Rex!
10. Attempting To Seduce The Invisible Woman (Multiple Times)
As a notorious womaniser, Namor is prone to flirting with whatever beautiful women come his way, even when they are spoken for. None have beguiled him quite like The Invisible Woman. Namor first met Susan Richards when the Fantastic Four helped to restore his memory of Atlantis. Once he’d regained his memory, Namor instantly fell in love with Susan and tried to take her back to his kingdom.
This incident set the tone for their relationship. Namor has continued to flirt with Susan in the hopes that she would leave her husband, Mister Fantastic. The Sub-Mariner and Mister Fantastic’s rivalry has run the gamut from heated words to full-blown fighting. When Namor and Reed were members of the Illuminati, he flat out told Reed that he had tried to get Susan to come with him to Atlantis.
But despite Namor’s best efforts, the Invisible Woman remained faithful to her husband.
9. He Mutilated Members Of His Crew
The Marvel Noir universe is a bleak place that recalls the hard living of the 1930s. In this reality, Namor is an infamous pirate in charge of a ship called the Dorma. Like any self-respecting pirate, the Avenging Son turned his back on the land completely, having no loyalty to any country or nation.
His infamy earned him nicknames like ‘The Blood Mariner’ and ‘The Scourge of The Seven Seas,’ and it’s not hard to see why when you look at how he treats the people on board his ship. Captain Namor believes in a ritual that involves slicing the ears of his crew to look like shark fins.
Namor was hired by Tony Stark on an expedition to Atlantis. Stark hoped to find the lost city that contained the valuable Orichalcum, a material that would help to fix his heart. While Namor stayed by Iron Man’s side for most of the journey, he would have left him to die if not for the destruction of his boat. He chose to rescue Tony from the clutches of Baron Von Strucker because he believed he was owed a new vessel.
8. Usurping The Throne Of Atlantis
In the Ultimate Marvel reality, Namor led a different life to the mainstream version of the character. This version of the Sub-Mariner was a criminal who believed he deserved to be king. He wiped out thousands of Atlanteans in his quest for power, but was eventually imprisoned and stayed trapped for thousands of years.
In the modern day, Namor was awakened by the Fantastic Four, who mistakenly believed that the prison was a royal tomb. The wicked Atlantean attacked the team and defeated them easily.
Rising to the surface, Namor threatened to wipe out Manhattan with a giant tsunami if his demands weren’t met. In recognition of his victory, he demanded a kiss from the Invisible Woman. After Susan obliged his request, Namor returned to the ocean.
The Earth 1610 version of the character shares many similarities with his Earth 616 counterpart. But a key difference is that Ultimate Namor possesses the power of hydrokinesis, whereas that ability only manifested recently in the 616 version.
7. Joining Norman Osborn’s Cabal
A defining trait of Namor’s personality is his pragmatism. The king of Atlantis is willing to work with anyone else in a position of power, regardless of their alignment. Such was the case when he became a part of Norman Osborn’s Cabal.
Following the Skrull Invasion, Osborn was placed in charge of national security and he formed a group of powerful rulers who worked behind the scenes to manipulate the course of the future.
Namor found himself in the company of Emma Frost, The Hood, Loki, Osborn and Doctor Doom. Ever the opportunist, the Sub-Mariner negotiated a side deal with Doom. They formed a mutual alliance that allowed them to combine the forces of Latveria and Atlantis together. He and Doom planned to betray Osborn, so the Doctor could take control over the land, while Namor ruled the sea undisturbed.
At the same time, Namor also brokered a deal with Emma Frost to gain additional support for Atlantis in exchange for protecting mutants.
6. Feeding Stingray to sharks
Recently, Namor returned to his mission of fighting against the surface world. His change of heart came about through seeing Atlanteans poisoned by the Roxxon Cooperation.
Declaring war on all land dwellers, Namor began to marshal his forces. He formed The Defenders Of The Deep, alongside Orka, Andromeda, Echidna, Bloodtide, Manowar and King Crab.
Soon, Namor crashed a confrontation between Tiger Shark and Stingray, demanding their loyalty. A long-time friend of the king, Stingray tried to reason with him.
Namor responded by beating him to within an inch of his life. The beating was so brutal that even Tiger Shark shrunk away at the sight of it. After punishing his former friend, Namor ordered his war sharks to devour Stingray.
Although Stingray survived the assault, it was suggested by Captain America that he would never be the same after the attack. The Avenging Son’s ruthlessness was a symbolic representation of him turning his back on the surface once and for all.
5. Beheading Jim Hammond
During WW2, Namor joined Captain America, Jim Hammond and Bucky Barnes to fight against the Axis powers. Together they formed The Invaders. They were comrades, friends and brothers. In the Invaders, Namor found surface dwellers deserving of his respect. Over the years, the team reunited several times to take on threats from Hydra, Baron Zemo and a plethora of other enemies.
But even brotherhood wasn’t enough to prevent Namor from fighting against his allies. In the latest Invaders series, Namor launched attacks on the surface, forcing Cap, Bucky and Jim to confront him. When Jim tried to reason with him, Namor cut the original Human Torch’s head off with his trident.
The scene is shocking because Jim has always been one of the Sub-Mariner’s closest friends. The two of them developed a kinship over their outsider status. As an android, Jim felt out of place among humans, while Namor felt caught between two worlds.
That Namor would treat his friend so ruthlessly reflects his desire to bring peace to Atlantis no matter the cost.
4. Forcibly changing humans into Atlanteans
During Namor’s latest attack on America, the king launched chemical weapons on a small town. The Avengers had been trying to stop him but were unable to reach the bombs in time. When the weapons hit, they released a substance that turned the townsfolk into Atlanteans.
Then, Namor unleashed a giant wave to cover the town, giving the new Atlanteans the water they needed to survive. The humans who weren’t affected by the gas drowned instantly.
The Sub-Mariner’s motivations stemmed from wanting to create a better world at the expense of people who he deemed too weak to fit into his version of it.
What’s interesting about the scenario is that Captain America aids Namor in protecting the new Atlanteans, even ordering Captain Marvel to stop Iron Man from attacking the king.
It demonstrates the complex relationship that the two Invaders share with each other. As soon as the Atlanteans have the water they need, Cap sets off to try and rescue the humans who are in danger.
3. Destroying Wakanda
During the events of Avengers Vs X-Men, the Sub-Mariner sided with the mutants in their decision to contain the oncoming Phoenix Force. When the Phoenix arrived on Earth, it split apart, turning Namor into one of the ‘Phoenix Five’ alongside Cyclops, Magik, Emma Frost and Colossus.
The Phoenix fueled the sea king’s rage, making him more aggressive than usual. When he found out the Avengers were hiding in Wakanda, Namor attacked without mercy. He flooded the country, killing thousands of people.
With this incident, Namor continued his habit of burning down friendships. Before the event, he and Black Panther had shared a strong bond. Both characters were devoted to their people and they understood the burden of being king. After seeing his home destroyed, Black Panther vowed to kill him.
Although Namor was under the influence of the Phoenix when he attacked Wakanda, he showed little regret for his actions even after coming to his senses.
2. Aligning with Thanos
As part of the Illuminati, Namor went on a mission to stop an alternative universe from colliding with the 616 Marvel reality. The Illuminati are forced to destroy the other Earth to save their own, but they refuse to compromise on their values.
Disgusted with the team’s inaction, Namor assembles a new Cabal that consists of Thanos, Black Swan, Corvus Glaive, Terrax, Proxima Midnight and The Maker. With the Cabal at his side, Namor goes on a killing spree across alternative worlds, believing it to be the only way to keep the main Marvel reality safe from other incursions.
Namor choosing to work with Thanos could never end well. The Mad Titan quickly took over the Cabal, using it as a platform to strengthen his position. When Thanos started hunting for the Infinity Gems, the Sub-Mariner directed him towards Wakanda, throwing the country into turmoil again.
1. Annihilating a planet
When the Illuminati realised they needed to destroy Earth-4290001 to save their own, they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Having grown tired of ‘waiting for the inevitable’, Namor detonated an anti-matter device that blew up the planet.
Namor’s actions spared two universes from destruction, but it came at a heavy cost. After the bomb went off, the Illuminati turned against Namor and Black Panther tried to kill him (again). The Atlantean king broke off all ties with the group until he needed their help to stop Thanos and the Cabal.
The Avenging Son had become disillusioned with the wholesale slaughter of planets. He and the Illuminati came up with a plan to trap the Cabal on the next world they destroyed. But instead of getting everything he wanted, Namor was betrayed by Black Panther and Black Bolt and left to die with Thanos.
What goes around comes around.
Interested in reading a story that puts Namor’s douchebaggery front and centre? Check out Invaders: War Ghosts.