Namor has just won one of the toughest battles of his career, so why does it feel like he’s lost? The former King of Atlantis has lost his crown, his status as an Avenger, and his freedom. Avengers Assemble Omega #1 is not only the last chapter of the Avengers Assemble storyline, but also the grand finale of Jason Aaron’s five-year run. The comic contains a grand battle between the Avengers and the Multiversal Masters of Evil, and some big changes for Namor. If the Sub-Mariner won, why does it feel like he lost? Let’s unpack the latest developments in Namor’s life.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Avengers Assemble Omega #1!
Namor: How did we get here?
Namor’s current situation doesn’t stem from a single storyline, but from a pattern of behavior that eventually caught up with him. As many Marvel readers know, Namor doesn’t play nice with others. During his original Golden Age stories, there were times when he assisted the human race, and times when he terrorized it. Namor has a short temper, and often sees himself as the smartest person in the room. He’s loyal, and he would do anything to help the Atlanteans in his kingdom, and sometimes that has led him down a dark path.
Namor’s relationship with the Avengers began to crumble in Avengers #9 (2018) when he murdered some Roxxon employees who had attacked his people. Captain America saw this aggression as a declaration of war, and things only got worse from there. Namor began planning more acts of aggression against the surface world. The Sub-Mariner tried to obtain the Phoenix Force, hoping to use it to burn all land dwellers.
In Avengers #49 (2021) the citizens of Atlantis started an uprising against Namor. They had grown tired of his repeated failures against the surface world. Humbled and defeated, Namor took She-Hulk’s advice and joined the Avengers. Although Namor had burned many of his bridges with the team, they accepted him because they needed all the help they could get to fight the Multiversal Masters of Evil.
However, Captain America still made it clear that Namor would pay for his crimes. “You will answer for any crimes you’ve committed,” Captain America told Namor in Avengers #54 (2022). “From here on out, consider yourself in Avengers custody. Our headquarters have seen better days, but we still have rooms with bars that even you can’t bend, and I will haul you into one of them myself if need be.”
Namor: The king has lost his crown
Namor fought alongside the Avengers as they battled Doom Supreme, Mephisto, and the Multiversal Masters of Evil. The villains attempted to destroy every Avenger across space, time, and the multiverse. They nearly succeeded, and it took the combined might of Avengers from various timelines to end the threat. The epic battle took place over the course of 10 issues throughout the Avengers Assemble comic event.
Once the dust settled, Namor surrendered to the authorities. “This doesn’t seem right,” Iron Man said. “He fought bravely and saved all the worlds, and for this trouble, we’re sending him back to jail?” Captain Marvel reminded Tony that Namor knew this was the deal. “He didn’t even ask for clemency,” Carol said. “Namor wanted to start serving his sentence right away.”
Namor is handcuffed and sent to Seagate Prison, a correctional facility that was introduced back in Hero for Hire #1 (1972). Captain America approaches Namor as he enters the prison and extends his hand. Namor breaks his handcuffs to shake Captain America’s hand, before marching off with the guards. This demonstrates that Namor is here by choice and could escape anytime he wants.
“Well done. Avenger,” Captain America tells Namor. “I am as much an Avenger as I am the King of Atlantis. Which is to say, not at all. Not anymore,” Namor replies. We then get a full splash page of Namor sitting in his cell, silently contemplating the events that brought him there. Interestingly, this line of dialogue confirms that Namor no longer leads Atlantis. Although we saw his people desert him in Avengers #49, John Ridley’s Black Panther run confused the issue.
Namor: What does this mean for Wakanda?
Namor isn’t the only member of the Avengers who has lost their kingdom. Over in the pages of John Ridley’s Black Panther run, T’Challa has been exiled from Wakanda. In fact, Namor is partially responsible for the Black Panther’s current predicament. A terrorist cell began threatening the planet, and Black Panther had inadvertently been responsible for their creation. Wakanda turned to Atlantis for help, and Namor agreed to help them on the condition that they exile T’Challa. Wakanda’s leadership was already angry at T’Challa for his role in starting the terrorist cell, so they agreed to Namor’s terms.
How does this fit in with Namor’s imprisonment in Avengers Assemble Omega #1? That’s a good question. For starters, the chronology between Ridley’s Black Panther (which recently concluded) and Aaron’s Avengers is a bit confusing. Despite featuring the same characters, each title rarely acknowledged the events happening in the other book. Namor is still leading Atlantis over in Ridley’s Black Panther run, which would imply that it takes place before the end of Aaron’s Avengers run.
However, Aaron’s Avengers run seems to take place before T’Challa’s exile, which would place it before Ridley’s run. Perhaps Namor gets his kingdom back sometime after Aaron’s run, and before the events of Ridley’s Black Panther run. Or maybe we’re not supposed to think about it too much. These are the kinds of things that happen when you publish characters in a shared universe. There are times when suspension of disbelief is essential, especially when dealing with chronological chaos. Popverse readers, if I missed any contextual clues that untangle this mess, let me know in the comments section.
Namor’s current role might become clearer when Eve L. Ewing launches her Black Panther run this June. Either way, this latest development is an interesting wrinkle in the rivalry between Black Panther and the Sub-Mariner. Both men have lost their crowns, which would be an interesting dynamic to play with. Stay tuned to Popverse as we continue to track the royal developments from the shores of Wakanda, and the depths of Atlantis.