Marvel has finally introduced mainstream audiences to Namor the Sub-Mariner in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but there are certain things from the character’s comic book history which absolutely should be left to the sands of time.
The most heinous of Namor’s actions in the comic books is when he entered into a relationship with his cousin because apparently incest is perfectly fine under the deep blue sea. Though, there are a few more twists in the tale as to how it even happened in the first place.
The time Namor decided to keep it in the family
Namor has always been a bit of a Marvel bad boy since his introduction in 1938, with him somewhat famously remaining neutral in WWII, citing ‘both sides’ being bad. Often called both Marvel’s first mutant and its first antihero, he’s remained a tricky character to completely understand.
The extended character roster around Namor and Atlantis (adapted as Talokan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) is a complex one, and unfortunately, it has its own House of the Dragon-style family exploits. Namor and cousin Dorma became an unlikely first in Marvel Comics, being the first related characters to end up married.
Namor and Dorma are “distant” cousins, although the family tree isn’t particularly clear as to just how distant. Namor and Dorma have always been a bit on the flirty side with each other as wedding bells rang in 1971’s Sub-Mariner #36. While the Sub-Mariner was often on the surface world, his partner Dorma was jealous and assumed he was seeing someone else, or perhaps a different cousin.
Upon returning to his kingdom following shenanigans on the surface world, he decided to propose to his beloved cousin. There was a background of political intrigue before the wedding day and a suspicion something was wrong, and we’re not talking about cousins getting married.
The ceremony went through, with Namor and Dorma completing their vows and having the kiss. But it’s not all as it seemed; it turned out Dorma wasn’t Dorma at all. It was the villainous Lleyra from rival underwater nation Lemuria!
Lleyra had actually kidnapped Dorma before the wedding in order to become the queen of Atlantis and crush the nation from within.
Like any good villain, Lleyra straight-up just tells Namor it’s her and not Dorma. Namor then chases Lleyra back to Lemuria, and finds the real Dorma imprisoned. Using her last ounce of strength during a struggle, Dorma manages to knock Lleyra out. Unfortunately, Dorma doesn’t make it to live another day and tells Namor she loves him before her consciousness fades.
The awkward ordeal never really tackles the whole cousin thing at all, because we can only assume it might just be fine in Atlantis. Namor isn’t the only Marvel hero to have an intimate relationship with a sibling, with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver having a very uncomfortable incestuous relationship in the Ultimate comics.
It must be remarked upon the Ultimates were attempting to be gritty, dark, and controversial. The relationship wasn’t much liked by fans and has swiftly been unused in the regular 616 canon. Namor, however, still canonically married his cousin, or at least, someone pretending to be his cousin.
Unfortunately for Dorma, she’s remained dead since the wedding fiasco. The comics industry famously isn’t fans of happy marriages, but we’ll give them a pass on this one.
Whatever you do Kevin Feige, never adapt this 1971 storyline to screen, Never, ever.