Today, find out why Namor left the Avengers so soon after finally joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as a team member for the first time.
This is a feature called “Beg Steal or Borrow,” which is all about when comic book characters are abruptly pulled from one book to another. I’m not talking about when comic book characters just migrate from one title to another. I mean examples where a writer has a character removed from the book against her will. This almost always happens in team books, but sometimes it happens in solo titles as well.
My friend Alan wrote to me asking, “Why did Roger Stern bother to have Namor on the team, given how little he used him before stepping away from the script of Masters of Evil? Obviously there have been Avengers with short stays before like Tigra’s membership on the East Coast), but for the fucking submariner to become an Avenger is a big deal, and Stern doesn’t ‘Did almost nothing with him. Looks like Stern had a big plan that then derailed behind the scenes, or he didn’t think about the impact of having this guy on the team, and quickly did. abandoned once he found out. “
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Let’s see what the deal was!
NAMOR WASN’T MUCH FOR TEAMS AFTER WWII
Last week, I spoke about the Defenders’ early days and noted how Namor essentially formed the team when he recruited the Hulk and Silver Surfer to help them shut down a United Nations project which Namor said would doom the Earth. Shortly thereafter, the author of this story, Roy Thomas, would reunite Namor and Hulk with Doctor Strange to form the Defenders (with Surfer then joining briefly when the team had their own series underway).
However, despite his past membership in the Invaders during WWII, Namor wasn’t much to the teams (the whole point of the original Defenders was that no one on the team was really cut out to be a member. of a team) and so in Defenders # 14 (by Len Wein, Sal Buscema and Dan Green) Namor leaves the team, telling them to add Nighthawk as a replacement (which is basically what they ended up doing) …
Namor returned to the Defenders three times before this series ended in the mid-1980s. First, writer Ed Hannigan and artists Herb Trimpe and Mike Esposito made an arc starting in Defenders # 78 where the original Defenders gathered for a mission. Then Namor returned for Valkyrie’s funeral (then stayed when it turned out she wasn’t actually dead and needed to be saved) and hung out for a while during JM DeMatteis’ run and Don Perlin to Defenders # 107. Finally, DeMatteis and Perlin (and Kim DeMulder) brought the original team back to write them off for good as the book became “New Defenders” with issue # 125 (the new direction lasted until that the book be canceled with # 152). .
Around the same time, DeMatteis, Bob Budiansky and Danny Bulanadi made a Prince Namor the Submarine miniseries, and by the end of it, he had to abdicate his throne, leaving it somewhat aimless. It was his status quo for a year.
HOW DID HE JOIN THE AVENGERS?
In Avengers # 362 (by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer), the Avengers were forced to find a new location to store their Quinjets after the Federal Aviation Administration revoked their license to fly from their New York mansion (in response to a previous story where the Vision tried to take over the world. The government was not very happy with that). Various cities offered to let the Avengers keep their Quinjets there, but ultimately the Avengers accepted an offer from Walter and Diane Newell, who suggested that the Avengers use their Floating Hydrobase. It was near New York, but outside of US jurisdiction.
Once there, they met Namor, who was hanging out with his old friends, the Newells, having nothing else to do. After Hercules starts a fight with him to cheer him up (ah, Hercules logic), Captain America talks to his old friend and when he learns that Namor’s only plans were essentially to roam the planet, he suggests Namor joining the Avengers instead.
Namor served with the Avengers with distinction for the next ten issues, which included the Secret Wars II crossover, so Namor has appeared as an Avenger in a bunch of comics. However, you see, before the Submariner miniseries, even, John Byrne had worked Namor in the pages of Alpha Flight where he was dating Marrina, one of the team members. Namor even offered him! But then Marrina disappeared before Namor lost her throne.
HOW DID NAMOR LEAVE THE AVENGERS?
In Alpha Flight # 36 (by Bill Mantlo, David Ross and Gerry Taloac), Namor discovers that Marrina has been found and is caught in a complicated Atlantis situation and he abruptly leaves the Avengers to deal with her …
I asked Roger Stern about the story and he explained that he was unaware that the Alpha Flight editorial staff claimed Namor for this story BEFORE Stern decided to make him join the Avengers. However, he made it clear that they never “lost” Namor, they just had to lend him to Alpha Flight for this story (to which Stern even linked in Avengers # 272).
Funnily enough, however, the Alpha Flight story then ended with Namor and Marrina’s wedding in Alpha Flight # 40 (by Mantlo, Ross and Whilce Portacio) and then it was also dropped into THIS book, so Namor hasn’t appeared in any comics for almost a year!
However, Stern noted that it really wasn’t a problem for him to lose Namor by ten numbers, as “having Namor out for a few issues ended up working to the story’s advantage during the Masters of Evil arc. [Where the villainous Masters of Evil took over Avengers Mansion, aided by the fact that Namor was no longer a member, so they had less Avengers to fight]. So, win-win! “
Namor came back in Avengers # 282 and stayed with the team for the remainder of Stern’s run on the book.
Thanks to Alan for the question and many thanks to Roger Stern for the great information!
If anyone else has a suggestion for an example comic book character from a series, drop me a line at [email protected]!
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