X-Men #6 (last issue | next issue)

"Sub-Mariner Joins the Evil Mutants!"

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cover date: July 1964
Cover price: 12 cents


Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner was apparently one of Stan Lee's favorite characters. One of the Marvel heroes from the WWII Timely Comics days, Lee revived him in Fantastic Four #4. He was more complex than your average supervillian, and he wasn't really a villain. He was never motivated by evil, but pride, revenge, anger, and lust, and thus utterly unpredictable. Since the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were both actively recruiting new members, and since Namor was making the rounds of the Marvel titles, it seems inevitable he would show up here. Is Namor a mutant? Yes, but an unusual one. He's the offspring of a human, Captain Leonard McKenzie, and an Atlantean, Princess Fen, and neither race has the powers which Namor wields.

The X-Men are sitting down to a meal prepared by Jean Grey, since it's the cook's day off (the X-Men have a cook?) and it's the early 60s, so the boys aren't expected to work the stove. Professor X is reading a newspaper article about Namor and wonders if he's a mutant. At the same moment, on Magneto's uncharted island (which, if memory serves, is in the Bermuda Triangle just like Mole Man's Monster Isle), Magneto plans on recruiting Namor as well. Both Magneto and Professor X send out mental images of themselves to seek out the Sub-Mariner. Professor X senses Magneto's presence and hangs back, but Magneto doesn't detect the Professor and he presses on.

At the Sub-Mariner's undersea castle, Namor is having a temper tantrum because he's been spurned yet again by the Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four #27. Magneto deduces that this is a bad time to approach Namor and cleverly gets someone else to do his dirty work for him. He approaches a greedy looking member of Namor's court and makes him a proposition: if the Atlantean tricks Namor into joining Magneto, then the courtier can seize power in Namor's absence.

The Professor has investigated reports of a freighter encountering magnetic oddities and a mysterious island with a strange, powerful device. Deducing that this must be Magneto's base, the X-Men charter a sailboat which looks like a pirate ship and take to the high seas. Under the sea, the courtier suggests that Namor seek out the powerful Magneto to aid him in his quest for revenge on the surface world. Namor remembers that bad things happen to him when he takes on allies, such as the Hulk in Avengers #3 or Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #5. Apparently the third time is the charm, because he takes his "undersea racer" (sold separately) to the island, with directions kindly provided by the courtier.

The Sub-Mariner arrives and blows off Magneto. No fool, Magneto practically tosses the Scarlet Witch at Namor and he mellows at the sight of an attractive surface woman. Mastermind is unimpressed and provides an amusing description of Namor: "So that's the famous Sub-Mariner! He's just a man in swimming trunks!"

And just then, the Angel stops by with a message for Magneto, but we never find out what that message is as Magneto uses his power to toss boulders at him. Unimpressed, Namor takes to the air, grabs Angel, and tosses him back out to sea. The X-Men catch Angel before he can be injured, but Magneto destroys their ship with a blast from his giant magnet.

Before the Professor's wheelchair can even get wet, Iceman creates an ice bridge and they walk to shore. With Professor X, Mastermind's illusions prove no barrier, so Magneto sends out Quicksilver to stop them. With the coordinated power of the team, the X-Men quickly subdue the lone mutant. Magneto aims his big magnet at them, but the Scarlet Witch tries to stop him because her brother is with the X-Men. Namor is always ready to take the side of attractive surface women and turns against Magneto as well.

Magneto subdues Namor with a barrage of scrap metal, but the distraction gives the X-Men enough time to break in. The Toad, Mastermind, and Magneto flee, but the Scarlet Witch stays behind. Namor demands that the X-Men set Quicksilver free.

Beast: Look you piscatorial pirate…you may be Mr. Big when you're in the briny deep, but your imperial idiosyncrasies don't impress the X-men!

Namor: Fool! It will take more than a fancy vocabulary to stop Prince Namor!

And with that, they come to blows. Namor is about to make short work of the X-Men, but Professor X stops the fight and frees Quicksilver. Namor, who apparently bores easily, gets fed up and just leaves, vowing to conquer the "air-breathers" once and for all. Eventually. On his way out, Magneto ambushes him with the big magnet, controlling it from the magnet's base instead of the control room. Namor simply destroys the magnet and dives back into the sea.

Magneto in and his minions flee in his "magno-ship", and with them go Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. The Professor orders the X-Men to let the siblings go, correctly reasoning that they can't be coerced into leaving Magneto, they must do so of their own free will. And, conveniently, Magneto has left a boat behind so they aren't stranded in the Atlantic.

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