Aquaman vs. Namor the Sub-Mariner

Lego Aquaman

Lego Aquaman

Growing up, I admit, my first recollection of Atlantis didn’t come to me by reading Plato, or even learning about it in school, it came to me via a comic book hero named Arthur Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman. It wasn’t so much that I read many Aquaman comics books, I was more into Spiderman back then, but I do remember watching The Justice League. Yes there was Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but who was that hero riding the giant seahorse and talking to fish? Why that was none other than Aquaman himself.

It wasn’t long after I received my first Aquaman action figure. No, it wasn’t a doll as my sister would say, it was an action figure. You didn’t dress him up and put on pretty little outfits. You would smash him, throw him, drop him from the second floor, it was pure action. I remember taking him with me whenever I had any underwater adventures, which for me back then was either in the bathtub, or the local swimming pool. This was where I first imagined Atlantis as an actual undersea world.

Now, when it came to the comic world, both DC Comics (Aquaman), and Marvel (Namor the Sub-Mariner) did a wonderful job in exploring the idea of Atlantis in very creative ways. The most important impression they left me with was that Atlantis was indeed a thriving underwater nation that currently existed in the world we live in today. Both Aquaman and Namor were the respective rulers of their great nation; Aquaman a king and Namor a prince. But who better represented Atlantis? This is where it gets a little complicated.

Let’s start with Aquaman … talk about your identity crisis. When he was first created, it was said that his father, a famous undersea explorer discovered Atlantis. He taught his son, Arthur, how to breathe underwater and speak with sea life. From there it gets a little fuzzy. Was he the son of a common man and woman, or was Arthur’s real mother Atlanna, an outcast from Atlantis, who gave him his underwater super powers? Regardless, he viewed as the king of Atlantis. He then joined up with the famous Justice League, and from there, so many twists and re-creations of his character entered his life that now I don’t think even he would recognize himself. The last I recall, he has a spear in place of his left hand and he turned in his super hero good looks to become the Grizzly Adams of the sea. That aside, his adventures took place all over the world, and his base was in Atlantis.

Now let’s take a look at Namor the Sub-Mariner. Namor was actually born in the Atlantean empire. His father was an American sea captain, and his mother, the daughter of the Atlantean Emperor, Thakorr. He was raised in Atlantis, and later became their prince, and a warrior for their nation. He’s still around today, alternating between living there and adventuring above land. The last I recall he was seen with some pretty questionable characters and had a distaste for people who lived above the sea.

That said, both did an excellent job of representing Atlantis as a prosperous and thriving nation still in existence today. The question of who did a better job of opening up your imagination to the lost city really depends upon the character you followed closest. To me, even with all his flaws and changes, my nod still goes to Aquaman, his name said it all. Namor, not really sure how his name came about, never did it for me. I don’t think I cared much for his European style swimming trunks. This is just one man’s opinion, what do you think?


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