Remake & Reboot: The NAMOR Comic Series

Namor is comics royalty, in more ways than one. In addition to being the long-serving King of Atlantis in Marvel continuity, he was also Marvel’s first hero — debuting in Timely’s Marvel Comics #1 back in 1939. Initially being one of the company’s top three heroes in the 40s alongside Captain American and the original Human Torch, he fell into disuse until reborn as an anti-hero of sorts in the 1960s launch of Fantastic Four. Currently a member of the X-Men, he’s had tenures in the Avengers, the Defenders and even the ill-fated Illuminati but is still coming up short on getting the respect he deserves… just as the character himself feels in the comics.

If you ask why that is, some people might argue he’s pigeon-holed as a wet-behind-the-ears fish-man akin to Aquaman, or perhaps he’s not hero enough to get people to get behind him. But that’s all a matter of perspective; something that the right writer and artist with the right story could change instantaneously. Here’s how we’d do it.

The Concept:

As comics’ first anti-hero, Namor invented many of the things later heroes like Hawkeye, Wolverine, Deadpool and others would use to became household names. But Namor hasn’t really changed with the times, becoming an antiquated hero of sorts. What Namor needs to revitalize him for modern audiences is a reappraisal of the character in a modern context: think Iron Man: Extremis or Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting’s turn on Captain America. Last time we saw a Namor series it pushed him into a second-tier non-crossover with mutants versus vampires, which is like putting a shark in a fishbowl.. not much room to manuever.

To regain his place in the Marvel heirachy, people need to re-discover why he’s so cool in the first place. To be built up, you need to tear down the character to his roots. You know how opinionated Namor is as King of Atlantis? Imagine him stripped of his title by a nationalistic Atlantis people not wanting a half-breed telling them what to do. Think back to the empire that ruled Atlantis prior to Namor, taking power once again. What if they went so far as to exile Namor from the oceans. This could truly be a “fish out of water” story with Namor trying to regain his footing in his father’s surface world while trying to assemble an army to regain his throne… or possibly Namor coming to terms with the fact that he doesn’t need to be king?

The Creators:

The Writer – Kieron Gillen: Anyone who is reading Uncanny X-Men can vouch for me when I say that Kieron Gillen gets Namor. He’s Phonogram’s David Kohl turned up to 11, so imagine that crossed with the writer’s world-building schemes from Journey Into Mystery all centered around the Sub-Mariner.

The Artist – Frazer Irving: This artist has bounced around comics creating memorable short stints on books from Marvel, DC, Image and 2000AD but has yet to be given the chance to dig in and really sink his teeth into something substantial. But imagine Frazer meeting up with Namor: he has the unique style to really give you a new look at Namor, and has the chops to draw undersea scenes that are more than just blue backgrounds. And he’s worked with Gillen before on an over-looked Doctor Strange short back in 2010, and they seem like an ideal pairing just waiting for the right project and the right funding to make it sing.



  1. Just realized I have NO IDEA what Marvel’s Atlantis is like. What’s the culture? Are they religious? Are there different tribes or states? I know it’s a monarchy but is there a parliament? A caste system? Are they capitalists? What’s their justice system like?

    And even if you didn’t want to go the sociopolitical route, there’s just a ton of cool-looking shit in the ocean!

    Talk about possibilities for world-building. Add Keiron Gillen’s version of Namor as our guide and that is totally a book I would read.

    • Don’t worry, Marvel doesn’t have any idea either what their Atlantis is like. They’ve thrown a hodgepodge of cliches at it over the decades. The last ongoing, Namor the First Mutant, tried to pull some of this together and introduced some new elements with magic, but sadly was canceled before exploring things further.

  2. i love namor as a character. but he doesnt seem to be one who can hold a book for a long time. i know dc has found sucsess with aquaman but thats the new 52 and geoff johns and ivan reiss. namor is much better in the back with books like xmen and defenders. i still think he is more interesting than aquaman. but i dont feel he can support his own book.

    • I’m inclined to agree with you. Generally I feel that any character can be a success with the right creative team, but I prefer Namor as a supporting character in the X-Men books, I’ve really enjoyed his dynamic with the team.

    • Have to agree here namor is great supporting character. But he’s a tough sell on his own. I feel the same about aquaman but as you said new 52 and that creative team got fans excited.

    • I disagree. Namor’s supported his own book in the past and has a wealth of history and characterization to expand on. In team books, you rarely get to see the richness of the character, and he’s mainly used as a foil or antagonist., with very little development.

  3. Sub-Mariner was great in the late Silver/early Bronze Age incarnation.

    To make him truly bad-ass, I’d make him leader of the X-Men, with Wanda, Emma, Magnus & Doom as his team.

    Then I’d have him marry Susan Storm-Richards-McKenzie, and have her become the new Captain Universe.

    Next, At War With Gamma House!

    Imperius Rex!!!

  4. I remember the early 2000s when i was 6 or 7 the had a Namor book in the Marvel manga verse as its called and rrly enjoying it i still have those issues somewhere i should look em up or….or should I????

  5. Utopia/Atlantis War… Namor caught in the middle. He brings peace but ends up on the outs with both groups. No longer welcome in the oceans or with the X-folks, Namor in exile sees him traveling across Marvel Earth. Namor in Tabula Rasa, Namor in the Savage Land, Wakanda, Latveria. Fighting the Avengers, Fighting the FF, the Agents of Atlas. The closest thing to a home he has is the Deffenders, but can he keep his ego in check enough to stay with Strange? Eventually he cuts ties with the Deffenders as well. Maybe he ends up in space for a bit, or the Negative Zone, alternate realities or lost in time. Father and farther from home. During all this he is stripped down emotionally and spiritually. Once he hits bottom, far from home in an unfamilar setting with no friends he starts to build himself back up. He makes new connections, forges a band of friends (maybe helps a opressed people over throw their opressors). By sacrificing his pride he regains his honor and eventually finds his way home. He returns to earth to find Atlantis under the dominion of Attuma (who is supported by a cadre of other Namor villians- Okra, Sea Leopard, Tyrak, U-Man) who also controls the long lost powerful children of Namor and Marrina. Before Namor can retake his home land he has to repair his relationships with the superhumans of earth. Reconnect with Marrian Alpha Flight. Namora of Atlas. Namorita who was last seen in deep space. The Invaders, Deffenders, Avengers. The Fantastic Four. The X-Men. Even reforging his tempestous relationship with Doctor Doom. Then, backed by his allies from the surface world he returns and drives the forces from evil from his city and retakes his throne.

  6. I see Namor returning to his city, surrounded by the Original Human Torch, Marrian, Hulk, Captain America, Winter Soldier, Namora, Namorita, Tamara Rey, Photon, Thing, Invisible Woman, and Doom.

  7. I like Namor with the X-Men just for his powerful, arrogant and entitled presence, it adds a dynamic that works for the mutants. I also like him in any Invader stories or as a supporting character, not much if any interest to follow his solo adventures, just like Aquaman, I’ve heard great reviews and it has an obvious great creative team doing what they do best, refreshing or breathing new life into a character that isn’t in the spotlight. Sure its good but still don’t care what Aquamans doing.

  8. Namor The 1st mutant was a good mini though, I think thats what it was called.

  9. I enjoyed Byrne’s run which has made me a fan of Namour but in the last 15 years , His solo/limited series have been lacking there really is not much he can do. I have some old Bill Everett Sub-mariners and he also wrote Namour very well.

  10. I’m a very big Namor fan and I agree with pretty much everything you say here. It’s time he get’s his spotlight. Look at DC they have the inferior Aquaman who doesn’t get respect… so they put their top guy on his book. Likewise, Marvel should consider some top flight talent for Namor, and get him back to the level he deserves.

  11. I agree 100% that Marvel should invest the effort to reboot an ongoing for their first superhero, Namor. If DC can put out a properly done and supported Aquaman that outsells _every_ Marvel ongoing, I don’t understand why Marvel can’t do the same, with the much more interesting Namor. I also agree that Kieron Gillen would be a great choice for a writer. Sadly, you need more than just a good creative team these days in the market that events and $4 books have created.

    However, tearing Namor down to his roots, as you say, has been done, more than once, and usually to launch an ongoing or put him on his team. He lost his kingdom in mini-series to set up his tenure on the Avengers and recently to put him on the X-Men, as well as before John Bryne’s run. And the fact that many other modern heroes are still operating on traits and templates that Namor used before WWII, doesn’t seem to indicate there’s anything antiquated about the character at all.

    In the last ongoing, Namor the First Mutant, a very interesting reason for why the Atlanteans have kings, and why Namor can’t really escape that role was given. And perhaps that is how Namor can be “re-imagined” for new readers, i.e. in a different genre than straight super-hero. Marvel currently has no magic or fantasy / sword & sorcery books, and Namor would be ideal for either, if they wanted give him and Atlantis a central role in the magical universe. And given the success of Game of Thrones, there’s obviously an audience for the sort of labyrinthine, pseudo historical political drama that would be perfect for Namor and Atlantis. Alternatively, given their LOVE for noir, tales of Namor’s youth in the 40s done in that genre might also be successful.

  12. Can we get a Namor and Hope ongoing instead? The relationship between those two has been the best thing about Uncanny recently.