For weeks now writer Jeff Parker has been reintroducing CBR readers to a group of golden age Marvel Comics characters who will be reassembling in the present day to continue the fight against injustice in the pages of "Agents of Atlas," a six issue mini-series debuting in August. Readers have also been eagerly awaiting the revelation of the identity of the final mysterious member of the "Agents." Well the wait is over! But before we begin, this reporter must apologize for the accidental use of the pronoun "he" in last week's feature, which proved misleading to some readers trying to guess the identity of the final member. So, without further ado . . . Everybody out of the pool! Jeff Parker checks in again one last time with the final Agent Profile: Namora.
Readers not familiar with Namora might assume she has a connection with the Avenging Son of Atlantis, Prince Namor, and they would be right. "Namora is credited to Ken Bald, who we mentioned in talking about Venus, and I'm not sure if the writer was ever named," Parker told CBR News. "And of course, she was presented quite a bit by Bill Everett [creator of Namor]. She's Prince Namor's cousin, which makes her royalty as well. Namora was a name she gave herself to note her dedication to stomping evil -- her original name is Aquaria Nautica Neptuna -- quite possibly the most sea-related name a character could have!"
In the original "What If the Avengers Fought Evil in the 1950s" story that inspired "Agents of Atlas," Namora makes a brief appearance and assists the group in the salvaging of an important find from the sea. "In the 'What If'' story, Namora helps out the Secret Avengers by bringing them an interesting find -- the Human Robot," Parker explained. "We mention in some of the preview pages that Jimmy asked her to join the team, but she declined. Though her excuse is the need to deal with her undersea affairs, it's worth noting the year always given for the birth of her daughter -- 1958!
"When I reread the 'What If' story, I think I had the same reaction as a lot of readers. They bring Namora into the story for a minute and I immediately thought, 'Hey, why isn't she on the team? Then you'd have a lot of extra power, and a heroine with actual history!' The obvious reason is they were more concerned with making this team a counterpart of the current Avengers," Parker continued. "But if you have Namora on board, besides the fact that she was an actual character from the time, then you have a team of archetypes, pulp icons. I quickly went digging for her last appearance to see what became of her and lo and behold I found the issue of 'Sub-Mariner.' There she is, frozen in a block of ice. I don't know about you, but when I see a Golden Age Marvel hero in a block of ice . . ."
In her last appearance Namora was confined to a frozen prison, but much of the world believes her dead. "As Bill Everett later wrote, Namora was poisoned by her rival Llyra. Then all the info we have is from Namorita, who believes her mother is dead," Parker said. "So a 14 year old is convinced, but for some reason Submariner's enemy Byrrah kept her on ice. The popular complaint with this is that poison wouldn't take out Namor, so it's unlikely it would her either. I mean, she can survive a direct hit from a torpedo!
"It seemed clear to me that Everett wasn't just keeping her body around for decoration," Parker continued. "Then I found out, thanks to the posters over at the Invaders Message Board at Comicboards.com, that Roy Thomas even wrote that Bill Everett planned to bring her back -- but of course Everett's health was deteriorating then. He died soon after, and Marvel had a rare full page tribute to him, which coincidentally Tom Spurgeon ran on the Comics Reporter site recently."
Unfortunately for Namora her resurfacing coincides with a tragic event for her. "I have to say this, since people will immediately wonder. When I told my editor (and subsequently other editors and executives) my intent to bring Namora back, I had no idea what was going to happen in 'Civil War.' By which I refer to her daughter Namorita being killed along with most of the New Warriors. I think some readers are going to assume it was planned, but when I found out that was happening, it was pretty bizarre -- it felt like some cosmic trade-off was happening. It's a little strange because, as you'll see, our story is very much about grand manipulations, where destinies are being decided in secret, and though I'm still fairly sure bringing Namora back was my idea, it doesn't feel like it!"
Parker concluded the agent profile with a dedication. He said, "Bill, this one's for you."
That wraps up CBR News' spotlight on "Agents of Atlas." We would like to thank Jeff Parker, Leonard Kirk, Mark Paniccia, and Jim McCann for all their contributions to our multi part feature.
Week 1: Editor Mark Paniccia - Agent Profile: Gorilla Man
Week 2: Writer Jeff Parker - Agent Profile: Venus
Week 3: Leonard Kirk - Agent Profile: The Human Robot
Week 4: Agent Profile: Marvel Boy
Week 5: Agent Profile: Jimmy Woo