Monday, June 06, 2016

Real Name: Namor McKenzie
First Appearance: Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (April, 1939)
Fight Club Ranking: #21

Featured Fights:
- vs X-MEN: X-Men #6 (Jul 1964)
- vs DR. DORCUS & TIGERSHARK: Marvel Team-Up #14 (Oct 1973)
- vs ATTUMA: What If? #41 (Oct 1983)
- vs AQUAMAN: Marvel versus DC #2 (Mar 1996)
- vs MR. FANTASTIC: Fantastic Four #412 (May 1996)
- vs AVENGERS: New Invaders #0 (Aug 2004)
- vs PTERRORISTS: New Invaders #1 (Oct 2004)
- vs WOLVERINE: New Invaders #6 (Mar 2005)
- vs RED SKULL & MASTERMAN: Captain America #5 (Mar 2005)
- vs MIND GEM: New Avengers: Illuminati #2 (Mar 2007)
- vs IRON MAN: Invincible Iron Man #12 (Jun 2009)

A recurring piece of superhero movie trivia may have died last week, with reports film rights to Namor, The Sub-Mariner are believed to be squarely with Marvel Entertainment!

The bombshell was dropped by Marvel's "Convoluted Editorial Title" Joe Quesada during the Fatman on Batman podcast. If true, it signals the presumptive untangling of the character from Universal Pictures, and X-Men/Fantastic Four rights holders - FOX Studios.

Given Namor's long running, iconic association with the Fantastic Four - it's a slight shame. If FOX had been able to produce a single worthy Fantastic Four film, it would have been a wonderful premise to see Atlantis invade the surface world. Further; as the studio who owns the X-Men, the prospect of at least acknowledging his mutant status -- perhaps in a Reed Richards examination sequence -- could have been interesting. Even if overlapping the two franchises has never held a lot of appeal.

Sadly, FOX have not managed the Fantastic Four license well. The one-time hypothetical slam dunk of an FF movie has arguably been rendered completely toxic by a mediocre film version in the mid-2000s, and even more disastrous reception for their troubled, grimy 2015 reboot.

One studio's loss is another's gain, and the long, winding road of one of Marvel's oldest superhero characters has a lot to offer!

If news that Marvel Studios has Namor up their sleeve holds any appeal, it's the prospect of stitching authentic back matter into their Second World War history! As a big fan of the Golden Age of comics, I was pretty excited to see a WWII origin story in 2011 franchise-builder: Captain America: The First Avenger. Unfortunately, the film's CG buffed sheen reflected a haze of perfunctory adventure. It smacked of a get-it-in-the-can gamble riding high on the promise of a widely reported Avengers film, failing to capture the true grit and thrills of the heroes who fought the Nazis.

Whether or not The Invaders are ready to come to the screen is up for debate. The original Human Torch has a famous, nameless cameo in the first Captain America film, but usage of the character could invite unfavourable confusion amongst movie-goers, to say nothing of  cranky FOX lawyers.

If the combustible android is up for grabs, then the holy trinity of Marvel's World War II heroes could be a wonderful palate cleanser for Cap's paranoia charged clashes with Hydra infested SHIELD, and Iron Man's Civil War Avengers.

The Civil War rift even provides the perfect opportunity for Cap to reunite with his secret 1940s allies for an all new mission! The chance to see flashbacks to meatier moments of Captain America's WWII career could be a real breath of fresh air, even if they're anchored to a modern threat. You only need the big three, but I'm sure the world would welcome appearances by other Invaders, like; Union Jack, Spitfire, Blazing Skull, Thin Man, and Dyna-Mite. They could certainly add some much needed color should TV's Agent Carter ever need new adventures.

In the comics, Namor's also a charter member of The Avengers, with potential to transpose his return and/or invasion of the surface world to a future sequel. In more recent times, he also held membership with The Illuminati - a secret cabal of kingpin heroes that included; Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Professor X and Black Bolt.

Revealing Namor's existence through an already in-place Illuminati conspiracy could be a very unique and memorable beat for the ballooning cosmic spectacle of the long promised Avengers: Infinity War film. Black Bolt and The Inhumans have certainly been on Marvel's table for some time, with Dr. Strange arriving later this year. Mr. Fantastic and Professor X are easily replaced with the likes of movie versions of Black Panther and General "Red Hulk" Ross.

Boy... Getting carried away much? Hey! What ever happens, it's sure to be an interesting talking point! For now, it's the glint of what's possible that makes Namor the Hero of the Week!

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