Sunday, September 9, 2012




Created by: Bill Everett  First Appearance: MOTION PICTURE FUNNIES WEEKLY (1939)

Namor McKenzie "The First" is the King of Atlantis and is the original "hotheaded" personality in the Marvel cast of characters from the late-1930s. He is extremely arrogant, charismatic and majestic and knows full well that he is quite capable of defeating just about any opponent in the Marvel Universe (he makes this very clear to everyone around him). He grew up with a strong sense of pride and due to his abilities and royal heritage (and to a lesser extent an imperialistic attitude towards the surface world) Namor feels he is leagues above any man. And if they just so happen to be in a relationship with a female he desires, it would be their honor to let her be "courted" by him. Despite his gall, Namor is quite the ladies man in which women have always been captivated by and have eagerly desired his "royal-hand" (he has had Sue Richards, Lady Dorma, Emma Frost and Marrina as just some of his conquests). 

The Sub-Mariner is also an impetuous fellow. Despite his advanced age he retains brash, aggressive tendencies bordering on reckless. Perhaps this is an offshoot of his longevity… he looks young, and acts like he did when he was young. He is very moody (although this has been explained by his physiological dependence on air and water that results in manic-depressive mood swings) and becomes angered very easily, unable to think clearly and logically. These "swings" are often unpredictable and almost always involve passionate positive or negative feelings. Regardless, they make him a perfect warrior on the battlefield (or under the bed sheets).

During his early years he had a major distrust for the surface world that constantly polluted and destroyed his waters. Eventually, Namor realized he had to put aside his hatred for humanity for the good of his people and banned official acts of war against them. He even grudgingly began using his superhuman abilities in defense of the surface world, but first and foremost, he was the monarch of Atlantis. As such, he was beholden only to his subjects because despite his temperament, Namor is also very noble, proud, honorable, intuitive, dedicated and loyal. In present times, he has been a member of the X-Men, Defenders and Avengers (among others) that truly show his dedication to the world and his willingness to protect it. 

But whether you were a friend or foe, if you didn't show Namor the proper gratitude or respect, your very life would be a stake. Yes, fanboys, the Sub-Mariner is that intense and that feared. He is one of the most powerful beings in the world and only a fool would challenge his powers, especially beneath the seven seas (just ask him). And being a "little-bit" edgy makes Namor a favorite among the most intense fighters in the Marvel Universe (he isn't nicknamed "The Savage" for nothing). With a huge reputation and the battle-cry of "IMPERIOUS REX!" Namor has challenged just about anybody who could flex a muscle, had the gall to question his authority or tried to claim to have a bigger... errr... ego(?) than him. As a result, the King of Atlantis can never be ignored. So here are his 5 greatest battles that defined him and turned him into a legend.

5.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #118 (1969)

Writer: Stan Lee  Art: Herb Trimpe
"Hulk vs Sub-Mariner" was a rivalry that was always intense, brutal and full of ego. Namor always hated that he was considered only a "close second" to the Incredible Hulk in physical strength. Although he respected the Hulk's immense power, he considered himself the stronger and more powerful when he was wet or beneath the sea. And even though they were unstable allies that mistrusted the humans, they always had this bitter rivalry between them. So when Lady Dorma finds Bruce Banner unconscious floating in the sea, she takes pity on him and puts him into her ship while giving him a 24-hour air tablet so he can breathe freely under the water. Now Dorma will take Bruce down into the sea for medical attention, not realizing that she has just brought the Incredible Hulk to Atlantis. When Namor finds out about this (by Mistress Fara who is jealous about his relationship with Dorma) he flies into a rage looking for the human and unexpectedly finds himself confronted by the Hulk!! 

They fight back and forth with Fara dying in the process from the wreckage (as she was trying to kill Dorma). At the end, Namor and the Hulk collide into each other hurling each combatant back countless fathoms. Namor eventually gets his strength restored by the waters and manages to stop himself and spots the Hulk's limp body rocketing out of the sea. Namor will then swim after the Hulk and surprisingly finds a passed out Bruce Banner instead. Namor will then turn around and go back into the waters as Banner is beneath his notice. 

Was Namor now considered the most powerful being on Earth because he was able to take the impact while the Hulk could not? The question still remained unanswered, but this fight proved how truly powerful Namor was when he was beneath the sea and he shouldn't be considered a "close second" to anybody.


Writer: Carl Burgos  Art: Carl Burgos and Harry Sahle

Namor and The Human Torch have teamed up and fought each other so many times during the Golden Age that it's hard to keep count. It was the definitive rivalry on "Water vs Fire" that readers couldn't get enough of. But despite all their classic fights, this incredible issue gave the readers their greatest and biggest slugfest ever!! And what is even more amazing than the fight itself was the fact that this monstrous 60 page comic was fully completed by the writers and artists in just THREE DAYS!!!

As the Sub-Mariner nears Atlantis, he comes across a sea battle between Allied and Axis forces. Knowing that this will endanger his people, Namor enters the fight and sends both sides fleeing. In the aftermath of the battle, the Sub-Mariner dives down into the ocean and inspects the carnage that the conflict has wrought. Entering an underground shelter, Namor is reunited with his mother Princess Fen. Fen informs him that various undersea races are now meeting to decide how best to deal with the surface dwellers war. He meets with a woman named Rathia. She suggests that they all rally their forces together to wage war on the surface world and take it over. She convinces Namor to support this move, using her female seduction and playing on Namor's ego by suggesting that he would be a great leader of the entire world. Namor then contacts Casey and finds out where he will be covering the war. When Casey responds that he is covering the Russo-German front, Namor sends him a warning to avoid that region. Finding it suspicious, the Human Torch and Toro go to investigate for themselves. As the two heroes fly to Russia, Casey arrives in Moscow where he steals a soldiers uniform so he can sneak onto the front line and get a first hand account of the battle. To his surprise both sides are suddenly swept up in a massive whirl pool that floods up from the nearby water. Casey almost drowns along with the soldiers, but is rescued by the Torch and Toro. 

With the conflict ended, and a new danger presented Casey is reassigned to London while the Human Torch and Toro decide to seek out their sometime ally the Sub-Mariner. Meanwhile, Namor is happy over his first strike against the undersea dwellers and Rathia plays up his ego again. When Namor spots the Torch and Toro coming to visit him, Rathia tells him that a conqueror has no friends only pawns, and so the Sub-Mariner decides to try and recruit the Torch and Toro as allies. Sweeping the flaming duo up in a whirl pool and taking them below the sea, Namor offers them a part in his conquest of the entire world. The two heroes ultimately refuse to aid him, and Namor floods the room with water. While the Human Torch manages to escape, Toro is captured. Rushing to the surface, the Torch flies over both Germany and Russia and attempts to warn them of Namor's pending attack. Both sides of the conflict dismiss the Torch's warning as an enemy trick. The Torch decides to return to London to try and get Casey to put the word out hoping the press will have a better job warning the world of Namors threat. 

Along the way, the Torch stops in Africa and warns Ka-Zar of the potential threat of floods in his region. As the Torch rushes off to London, Ka-Zar begins building a massive ark to protect his animal friends from any flooding. Meanwhile, the Torch's warning reaches the presses and it spreads across the world. The Patriot brings the news to the President of the United States who agrees to mobilize US troops to deal with the coming crisis. While the Torch meets with the British Prime Minister for troops that he can lead in a strike against Namor's undersea kingdom. However, in attempting to tunnel their way through the ground, they are easy targets by the Sub-Mariner who uses his whirlpool device to flood the tunnel. The Torch has no other choice but to save himself and seal the tunnel so that Namor does not use it to invade Britain. Going after Namor, he confronts the undersea monarch in his hide out and the two fight it out. However the fight is cut short when Rathia arrives and douses the Torch's flame. The Torch is then easily overpowered and locked in a water filled cell. The Torch is then fed drugged food that bends his will to Namor's cause. 

With the Torch as his slave, Namor sends him to prove his loyalty by destroying Allied forces before mobilizing a massive undersea army to launch a full out attack on the surface world. While down below, Toro -- who has been locked in a water filled room since his capture earlier -- has started to become delirious thanks to the onset of pneumonia. Namor has the Torch's young side kick taken out of his cell and placed in medical care. That night as the conflicted Namor struggles with the guilt of Toro's position and his desire to rule the world, Toro awakens and in his impaired mental state manages to escape. Toro makes it as far as the British coast where he is found by a soldier and taken to a hospital. 

Meanwhile, Namor and his legion attack the British post on the Gibraltar. The invasion is a complete success and eventually the soldiers stationed there surrender to Namor's forces. After attacking British naval ships and Nazi U-Boats, Namor then activates one of his whirlpool devices to flood Africa. Thankfully, Ka-Zar and his animal friends are spared from drowning thanks to the ark he had built earlier. The Torch has meanwhile been sent to melt glaciers near Russia, causing massive flooding in the area. While Hitler plots to change his tactics, unconcerned with the sudden freak floods the Torch snaps out of his mind control. Free from Namor's control, the Human Torch stops the continued flooding from the area and then is contacted by Casey who tells the Torch that the United States is threatened by the melting of glaciers in Canada. The Torch rushes off and stops this flood as well and briefly clashes with the Sub-Mariner, however when Namor begins to lose the battle he flees. 

Learning where Toro is located, the Torch pays a visit to his injured sidekick and offers to bring him to New York to get away from the bombings going on in London. Toro however is inspired by the bravery of the British people and decides to remain in London to recover. Meanwhile, Namor's campaign against the surface world continues as his forces attack and flood Nazi Germany, and easily over powers their army. However when the Human Torch arrives, the Sub-Mariner and his forces retreat. They head toward the United States, sinking British fleets along the way and activate one of their whirlpool devices to flood New York City. The Torch arrives and minimizes as much of the damage as possible, and in battling Namor within the Statue of Liberty convinces Namor that he is fighting a lost cause and that Rathia will eventually betray him and take over. Realizing the folly of his ways, Namor decides to give up his aggression against the surface world and stop his attacking army. When Namor rushes off to confront Rathia alone, the Torch soon catches up with a specially pipe that sucks the water away from him allowing him to turn on his flame underwater. The two destroy the last of the whirlpool devices and capture Rathia and forcing the undersea army to surrender. 

3.) THE SUB-MARINER #8 (1968)

Writer: Roy Thomas  Art: John Buscema and Dan Adkins

During the '60s and '70s nobody did a better job fighting against both of Marvel's legendary man-monsters; the Incredible Hulk and the Ever-Lovin-Blue-Eyed-Thing than the "Savage" Sub-Mariner did! He was just as brutal and tenacious as either of those brutes and had many epic battles with them that laid the foundation of the Marvel Universe during the Silver Age. These slugfests are what truly gave Namor his reputation, proving that he could stand up to any Marvel Super-Heavyweight no matter how big, how durable or how strong and still be victorious! When Namor fought either the Hulk or the Thing it was always an event with a lot of ego and destruction involved. 

When Namor and Diane Arliss nurse Lady Dorma back to health. Namor tells her of another woman he loved, Betty Dean, whom he met decades ago and she had convinced him to fight against the Nazis in WW2. Meanwhile, the Thing is hired to deliver Destiny's Helmet of Power to Washington. Namor intercepts him because he's concerned that its power is too much for anyone to handle. With Namor being already distraught over Dorma and the Thing always ready for a scrap, it doesn't take long for both guys to go at it. Their battle rages back and forth with both combatants being evenly matched. Soon Namor will use guerilla tactics and ambush Thing by hurling an electrical generator at him and hurting him badly for the first time in the fight. While Namor goes in for the kill, an older Betty Dean appeals to Namor to end the carnage. Namor then leaves to dispose of the helmet with the Thing knowing he lost the scrap on a TKO but feeling like he won due what just happened. This fight is another classic among the Silver Age and enhanced the legend of the Sub-Mariner (as well as the Thing) into the consciousness of the readers.

2.) TALES TO ASTONISH #100 (1968)

Writer: Stan Lee  Art: Marie Severin and Dan Adkins

With the Incredible Hulk being considered the most brutal and relentless slugger in the Marvel Universe, the Savage Sub-Mariner goes all-out to prove he can match the Green Goliath and be his equal in every way. Under the control of the Puppet Master, the Hulk attacks and has a legendary battle with Namor! This fight rages all over the city and beneath the sea with both combatants going back and forth. At this point in the fight, a raging-mad Hulk will go toe-to-toe with a wet Namor on land and gets the better of the Sea-Prince. Namor must now fly to the air and take a breather after the brutes brutal onslaught.

As Namor recomposes himself, he stands ready and tactically brings the Hulk to the beach were he drags the fight under the water again so he can gain the advantage. The Hulk now fights awkwardly as he tries to muster up his last ounce of strength to resist the control of the Puppet Master. Namor will take this advantage to put the Hulk in a whirlpool and even though the Hulk breaks free from this, Namor greets him with a punch to the face that sends him back into it. The Puppet Master is soon caught in a big wave that will destroy his lab and release the Hulk from his control. When Namor finds the Hulk again, he finds Bruce Banner washed up on the shore unconscious. The Sub-Mariner would soon leave back into the sea as Banner is beneath his notice. 

Once again, Namor proves his mettle as he goes one-on-one with the Hulk and comes out looking incredible and proving that although the Hulk is the most powerful being on the surface, he is the most powerful beneath the sea. This fight easily stands as one of the most brutal battles of the Silver Age and made "Hulk vs Sub-Mariner" a legendary match up.

1.) TALES OF SUSPENSE #79, 80 and TALES TO ASTONISH #82 (1966)

Writer: Stan Lee and Roy Thomas  Art: Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, Jack Abel, Gary Michaels and Dick Ayers

This three-part epic slugfest ranks as not only Namor's greatest battle, but one of the greatest battles in all of Marvel history!! What also makes this fight so interesting is the legend behind the making of this comic book. Artist Gene Colan drew the first two issues and then only the first two pages in the final issue before coming down with the flu. Stan Lee had to scramble to make the deadline and asked the King of Comics Jack Kirby to finish the art to the story. The 10 pages that Mr. Kirby did in such a short amount of time is a true testament to the man's unmatched skill! What readers got to witness was an absolute genius piece of work that was the pinnacle of superhero action at its finest. Tales to Astonish #82 (and this entire 3-issue saga) is another example that made the Silver Age the greatest age in Comic history.

Following his battle against the Mandarin and his creation, Ultimo, Tony Stark has returned to the States to find that his factories have been closed, his accounts frozen, and himself with a warrant for his arrest for refusing to appear before a Senate committee to reveal the secrets of the Iron Man armor. Hiding, in the dark street, Stark soon finds that his chest plate is almost out of power and that he needs to recharge it or risk his heart failing him once again. Caught in a bind, Stark rushes to Pepper Potts' apartment but finds that she isn't there, just as his chest plates power runs dangerously low. Changing to Iron Man so that the built in power supplied could temporarily recharge his chest plate, Stark then seeks the aid of Happy Hogan to find that he isn't home either. With nowhere else to go, and low on power, Iron Man begins considering turning himself over to the authorities, however while he is near the harbor thinking this over, he finds himself attacked by Warlord Krang who appears near the shore in a Atlantean sub with Lady Dorma in tow. He attacks Iron Man hoping to kill the hero, however Lady Dorma prevents this, giving Iron Man the chance to blast the sub and force it to submerge. 

With his armor damaged and his power supply running dangerously low, Iron Man is forced to break into his own lab in order to recharge and repair himself. While he's there he is suddenly visited by the Sub-Mariner who proclaims that this is Iron Man's finish. During their fight, Iron Man proves to be at a great disadvantage to the Atlantean monarch and so he locks himself in a lab in order to repair his damaged armor and recharge himself. Iron Man finally repairs his armor, recharges to full power and opens the door to take on Namor, only to find that he is gone. Just then the police, Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan arrive to find out what's happening. There Iron Man tries to explain to the police that he was attacked by the Sub-Mariner.

Meanwhile, Namor had fled because his strength was weakening and so he flew to the nearest source of water to replenish his powers. Now at peak strength, Namor once again charges off to get revenge on Iron Man. Eventually they face off with both combatants at full power, Iron Man gains the upper-hand against Namor because he thinks that Iron Man is still weakened. After some major blows, Namor is back into the fight and both heroes go back and forth causing a ton of property damage. Soon the police arrive on the scene and prepare to attack. Noticing this move, the Sub-Mariner turns his aggression's on them, sending the officers at bay. While shouting threats warning the officers from striking him again, Namor is distracted long enough for Iron Man to jump him from behind. As Namor and Iron Man struggle again, the monarch's keen eyesight allows him to spot Warlord Krang's submarine out at sea. Breaking off from the fight, the Sub-Mariner dives back into the ocean and swims after his hated enemy Warlord Krang. With the battle over, Iron Man leaves the scene as well.

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!

Check out other "TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:

Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!)




The Thing



Iron Man

The Avengers 


John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.


  1. I got a nice response by legend Roy Thomas about this write up so I'm posting it here...thanks Roy!

    Hi John--

    Thanks. Nice to know a couple of stories I worked on made the top two... though I only dialogued that ASTONISH issue.


  2. If you ever do a greatest fights of Daredevil make sure you include his fight with Namor. It was epic

  3. I hope to see more of these Greatest Fights lists!
    By the way, how dumb is Namor? Twice he sees Banner floating in the water after a battle with the Hulk and can't figure out that Banner is the Hulk?

  4. it is too bad that marvel no longer shows namor the sub-mariner, their oldest character, any respect. now they portray him as a blow hard who can not back his smack up. in the 60's and 70's, the writers were aware of the importance of the character in the history of timely/marvel and the history of comic in general (he was the first anti-hero). since his own title got cancelled in '72 three or four generations of readers + comic writers have come along and simply do not like namor. the new writers are evidently not aware of namor's history and like to have he spout off and then some character put him in his place. i agree with all of the battles except number one. namor should have finished off iron man easily enough.

  5. You should have included the fight with Wolverine from Namor's mini a few years ago.

  6. I always thought Namor was way overrated during the Silver Age. I know Jack Kirby always gave the character props because he was good friends with Bill Everet. That said, Namor made his mark in Marvel by doing very well against the Hulk. Today, the Hulk would crush him easily...didn't the Thing just recently thrash Subby underwater? LOL!

    1. Yes, it is true that Jack Kirby and Bill Everett were good friends. Bill was also having a ton health (he was an alcoholic) and financial problems at this time. So you can see the love Kirby (and Stan Lee) always gave Namor during the Silver Age. Everett is a sad story, I think he was found dead and penniless in a church basement in 1973.

      On another not Everett was a decedent of the poet William Blake and Richard Everett, who founded Dedham, Massachusetts...pssst, I'm from Massachusetts so that's a big deal.

  7. The Thing kicking Subby's ass underwater in the AVX series was nothing short of awesome. A long time coming and immensely gratifying.

  8. The Hulk made Namor back during the Silver Age, but the Hulk also eventually broke him. A shout out to the Thing as well who broke him underwater. God, I loved it.

    1. Namor has historically always done well against the Marvel monsters, The Thing and The Hulk. For a while he even had a nice winning percentage against the Hulk and could claim to have an EDGE in their overall rivalry with solid victories in Avengers #3 and Hulk #118 (both due to water advantage, but victories nonetheless) and many toe-to-toe fights. Back then he could boast of something even Thor couldn't who never beat the Hulk toe-to-toe and yet had solid victories over Silver Surfer and Namor himself. This is where the so-called "myth" began as Namor's early fights with the Hulk basically "made" him and put him over. The Hulk can claim his place as the Heavyweight Champion of Marvel by his legendary battles with Marvel's elite; Surfer, Sentry, Hercules, Rhulk, Thor, Juggernaut, etc. etc. But it's more than just victories and plot-devices, the Hulk has the influence to make (or break) characters. He's the guy you fight to prove yourself. Even death-worshiping Thanos is afraid of him and despite what Thanos-fans say, he said it (I love that). Just look who is always the topic of conversation on message boards? Hulk vs this guy or that guy...

      Thing was always a tough durable contender for the belt but he just never matched up well against Hulk and the others. Namor was always somewhere in between with the Thing so they had good solid fights where Namor historically had the overall EDGE. Yes, water was always a factor and Thing's "hot-headiness" always got him in trouble, but Namor's victory in Sub-Mariner #8 "In the Rage of Battle" (1968) was the fight that gives Namor his solid victory over Thing (and if you read the issue, Thing admits he got beat). So this answers your question.

      Today, Namor just doesn't have that "myth" like he did back in the day. Sure, he's a powerful force but the Hulk has recently laid their rivalry to rest. Watch Namor copping out in WW Hulk showing his true colors as he wanted nothing to do with fighting the raging-mad-Hulk and his humble defeat later in Hulk #10. And let's not forget when the Thing totally defeats Namor underwater in AVX #3 (that was a huge feat).

      Namor has always had a ton of respect from Marvel, especially during the early days. I always believed Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did this to give Namor creator, Bill Everett some happiness (because he was a miserable drunk who would eventually die due to his drinking). Regardless, Namor always had props and is a true heavyweight and will always do very well in all his fights.

  9. That battle between Subby and Iron Man that Kirby did was monumental!

    Great list!

  10. Namor's ego always got the best of him. It was a pleasure to see him get killed off by Black Panther. I know he'll come back (as all characters do) but still, it was a nice moment for Ta' Challa and comics.

    1. Thanos humbled Namor and made him look pathetic as well in Avengers World #21.

    2. Namor got killed off by Hyperion and came back. I guess killing Namor is a thing lol.

  11. Namor has consistently been shown as Grimm's superior. The AvX fluke was just a case of biased writing. To the Panther fan above, T 'challa should never be able to touch Namor. He's in a far lower weight class. IMPERIOUS REX!!