[WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for Squadron Supreme #13.]
Sometime referred to as Marvel’s “first mutant,” Namor, the Sub-Mariner is one of comic books’ longest running anti-heroes – surly and sub-aquatic since 1939. Within the Marvel Universe, he has a long history of running afoul of surface-dwellers (either accidentally and antagonistically). He’s also served with some of the MU’s big wigs such as Doctor Strange and Iron Man in the Illuminati and the Defenders, as well as holding an on-again off-again place on the first-stringer Avengers.
Much like the rest of the Marvel Multiverse, the events leading up to and following the Secret Wars were not kind to the Atlantean king. He found himself at odds with his Illuminati-mates and much of the universe as it threatened to collapse on itself. Of course, Namor wasn’t particularly kind to manifold reality either. The events of the past year or so all come together in Squadron Supreme #13 as Namor finds a new lease on life… sort of.
The Death of Namor
During the cataclysmic events of Secret Wars, Namor found his reality-saving compatriots in the Illuminati too slow and weak-willed for his tastes. So, he reformed The Cabal, with the likes of Thanos, Black Swan, and Maximus the Mad and set to work literally destroying worlds before they could collide into one-another (yes, this is legitimately sanctioned). Eventually, he found his new cohorts’ tactics too brutal, and he worked with the Illuminati to destroy the Cabal. After seeing his horrific actions at play, though, his Illuminati mates Black Panther and Black Bolt set him up to die alongside the others.
However, Namor managed to survive Battleworld, escaping into the Ultimate Universe. Months after the events depicted in the “Time Runs Out” story arc, the Squadron Supreme reformed from surviving members of the multiverse on Earth-616. Their first action as a reformed team is to take out Namor, whom they decided is the true villain of the Secret Wars – thanks to the Cabal’s planet-smashing. which left Captain Spectrum without a home world. Taking revenge upon the sea lord, they wage a war with Atlantis, where Hyperion beheads Namor and smashes Atlantis into the Earth, destroying the technologically-advanced kingdom.
The Squadron Supreme Rises from the Ashes
For those wondering, The Squadron Supreme was initially created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in 1971 as an alternate reality “good” version of the Squadron Sinister (who faced off against the Avengers in 1969). An analogue to DC’s Justice League, the team was mostly used in minor appearances, and crossovers until writer Mark Gruenwald’s created several impressive dystopian story arcs for them in the 80s. The original members existed in an alternative universe, Earth-712, and consisted of Hyperion (Superman), Nighthawk (Batman), Amphibian (Aquaman), Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern), Power Princess (Wonder Woman), Whizzer (Flash), and Skymax the Skrullian Skymaster (Martian Manhunter).
After a number of lineup changes over the years, the Squadron now consists of members of several different alternative world iterations of former members, including Nighthawk, Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum, Blur, and Power Princess, who’s was replaced by Warrior Woman – an evil alternate version of herself from yet another alternate Squadron Sinister. After their attack on Namor, they were detained briefly by the Avengers Unity Squad before being escaping to Weirdworld, thanks to their newest member Thundra.
However, Power Princess, who’s hell-bent on world domination, betrayed the Squadron and is working alongside twisted mystic Modred to revive Namor, thanks to a vision from Ulysses where she and the Sub-Mariner ruled the planet together. As a result, she seeks Reed Richards’ time machine to prevent his demise and bring about her victory. During a pitched battle, Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum are ensnared by the time machine and pulled back in time to the very battle between which started everything.
The latest issue picks off during the skirmish where Namor lost his life. Although the duo initially sought to stop Warrior Woman from reviving the Sub-Mariner, after watching the carnage they’d wrought on Atlantis, and a good deal of soul-searching, the duo have a change of heart. Rather than allowing events to play out, Spectrum and Hyperion decide to save Namor’s life whatever the cost.
Although none too pleased with the Squadron Supreme, the Atlantean king chooses to return to the present, at least for the moment, in exchange for some help rebuilding his kingdom and a free shot at Hyperion (how very Namor). The squad members and the sea king return to an uncertain future, one where he could yet play a role in conquering the planet alongside Warrior Woman. Beyond Atlantis, though, the Squadron has a lot of cleanup remaining, what with two S.H.I.E.L.D.-captured teammates, two Power Princesses, and Nighthawk on the loose and none too pleased with his own possible future (also thanks to Ulysses).
Will Namor Join the Squadron Supreme?
As with other visions of the future, Ulysses’ abilities to predict, create, or alter events is still very much in question. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark both found that his accuracy is far from one-hundred percent and his powers are still growing and developing. Namor’s role in the Squadron Supreme’s future whether alongside or against it, remains a huge question mark. Throughout time, he’s always been one of Marvel’s biggest wildcards, flipping his hero switch on and off thanks to his super-powered ‘evolved’ Atlantean morality.
In an interview with Newsarama, writer James Robinson teased some big developments for Namor and the Squadron, though, but naturally wasn’t at liberty to say how the team changes, or how the Sub-Mariner figures into it all. The next issues promise to reveal more about the undersea ruler’s allegiances, as well as an uncertain fate for the original Human Torch Jim Hammond (what Robinson’s beef with Marvel’s oldest characters, anyway?). With an Avengers tie-in also on its way, apparently, things are about to get very interesting for the Squadron Supereme indeed.
Squadron Supreme #13 is currently available online and in print. Squadron Supreme #14 arrives on December 21.
Source: Marvel, Newsarama