When it comes to some of Marvel's characters there are some that have been on both sides of the hero/villain line, serving as an antagonist for the other heroes at various times in their histories. This week, in Avengers #8, it's Marvel's oldest superhero who crosses that line once again.
WARNING: Spoilers for Avengers #8 ahead. Continue at your own risk.
At the end of Avengers #8, Namor, King of Atlantis, makes a stunning return and to say he's not happy would be an understatement. The Sub-Mariner is seen set to declare war on the surface yet again. This time he's specifically going after those on a Roxxon Corporation ship who murdered a handful of Atlanteans and, gruesomely, hung their corpses off the side of their ship. While that might not sound particularly villainous on Namor's part -- after all, Roxxon is regularly the bad guys in Marvel and their actions here are solid evidence of that -- it's very clearly a set up for conflict between Namor and the Avengers going forward. This is especially true when you consider that Black Panther is now the leader of the Avengers team and it's not like Namor and Black Panther are exactly best friends.
However, while it's not outside of Namor's character to want to go after the surface world or specific people within it for crimes against Atlantis what's somewhat confusing here is that it's not like Namor has been absent from Marvel comics as of late. The character is currently a member of Jean Grey's team in X-Men: Red where he is absolutely not waging war on the surface. Instead, he's collaborating with Jean to establish a new mutant nation. How X-Men: Red will handle Namor's antagonist status or Avengers will handle his nation-creation status -- if at all -- remains to be seen.
If done correctly, though, it could make for an interesting story. Namor has never exactly been simply a hero despite technically being Marvel's first with his debut in 1939. He's frequently been a foe of the Fantastic Four but has also served with the X-Men as well as on the Avengers not to mention his status as a founding member of the Defenders. Even with those heroic moments, though, he's always maintained a bit of gray area when it comes to his alignment with his actions largely being driven by what is best for Atlantis. He is king, after all.
What do you think about Namor being set up as an antagonist for the next arc of The Avengers? Are you ready to see Namor get all Imperious Rex on Roxxon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Avengers #8, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Ed McGuinness, is on sale now, both online and at your local comic shop.