Black Panther: T’Challa wasn’t the first Wakandan to defeat Namor

Tenoch Huerta Mejía as Namor in Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL.
Tenoch Huerta Mejía as Namor in Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL. /

The first time Namor met a Black Panther in Marvel Comics, he quickly found out that the King of Wakanda isn’t an easy target.

There was a lot riding on Namor when he made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, he was going to be a mutant. Second, he had to  follow Killmonger -one of the MCU’s greatest villains. Thankfully, Marvel’s newest antagonist made a splash in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (pun intended).

Namor (N’Amor or K’uk’ulkan) was very much like Killmonger in the first Black Panther movie. Where some projects like Thor: Love and Thunder and She-Hulk have an obvious villain, Wakanda Forever had an antagonist. What’s the difference? An antagonist is an adversary that may not have ill intent. A villain does things that are flat out evil. Namor wasn’t wicked. What he wanted to do may not have been good, but it was for good reason.

The rivalry between Namor and Black Panther in Marvel Comics is intense. The Sub-Mariner flooded Wakanda in Avengers vs X-Men and later sent Thanos and his Black Order to destroy the African nation. Because of that, T’Challa wanted the Sub-Mariner dead. He would have succeeded (in Avengers No. 24 by Jonathan Hickman) if he wasn’t saved by the Cabal. T’Challa and Namor may have teamed up to help Reed Richards in Marvel Comics Secret Wars (2015), but their feud will never ever end.

The funny thing is this isn’t the first time the King of Atlantis had an altercation with the Black Panther of Wakanda. That was the first and the last time Namor underestimated anyone from Wakanda.

Namor vs The Black Panther

During World War II, The Red Skull was attempting an invasion of Wakanda. Once Azzuri (T’Challa’s grandfather) found this out, he killed all of his operatives. When the Invaders found out, they sent their teammates to find out who did it. Namor was the first to make contact while Azzuri and the Dora Miljae were flying away. In typical fashion, the Sub-Mariner aggressively ordered the Wakandan jet to land. That’s when things got crazy.

When the Dora Milaje opened the door, they blew dust in Namor’s face. The dust immediately took him out by dehydrating him. Being deprived of water meant that he couldn’t fight back. Azzuri told Namor that he’d give him something to counteract the dust if he promised not to rip his head off. He agreed. However, while telling this story to T’Challa, the Sub-Mariner admits that he tried to attack him two more times. But, after getting hit with that dust a couple more times, he calmed down and the two kings talked.

The rivalry between the Black Panthers and the former ruler of Atlantis has been weird ever since. The sad part is both cultures are similar. They both have advanced in technology, beautiful art, and do their best to keep their culture intact. Nevertheless, the two civilizations continued to fight. If this writer is being honest, Namor’s anger and stubbornness is to blame. Maybe after the events coming up in Black Panther No. 13 and 14, this will help mend the relationship between Namor and T’Challa as well as Atlantis and Wakanda.

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What do you think, readers? Did you enjoy the story of Namor’s first encounter with the Black Panther? Let us know in the comments below.