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The Disappearance of the Supporting Cast of John Byrne's Namor

This is "Split Up on a Dark Sad Night," the first edition of a brand-new feature where we look at instances where the supporting cast of a comic book series just disappear into comic book limbo when either the title is canceled or if the direction on the series changes dramatically.

This time around, we are going to look at John Byrne's Namor series from the 1990s and how the supporting cast that Byrne set up were saved from limbo after Byrne left the book only to see them eventually end up in limbo anyways when the series ended.

In Namor the Sub-Mariner #1, John Byrne came up with an interesting approach to Namor. He decided to use an aspect of Namor that had not really been seen since the early days of the Fantastic Four, that if Namor the businessman. In the first issue of the series, Namor runs into a father and daughter marine biologist team, Caleb and Carrie Alexander. They help him while he is dealing with some issues...

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Caleb, you see, had actually met Namor when he was a little kid. Caleb was obsessed with superheroes and went out of his way to go see Namor when he was in New York City one day during World War II. However, Caleb accidentally fell into a river. Namor saved him and that really cinched Caleb as one of Namor's biggest fans, but also instilled a fascination with water. He became a marine biologist and so, too, did his daughter.

Anyhow, Namor repays them by making them the front people on his purchase of a holding company that would become Oracle, an environmentally friendly corporation.

At the end of the first issue, we meet Phoebe and Desmond Marrs, siblings who were powerful corporate executives who specialized in taking over companies. Desmond tried to kill himself because he felt that there were no challenges left. Phoebe saved his life and then piqued his interest with news of Oracle being formed...

In the following issue, we also see that Namorita, then of the New Warriors, was also a cast member in the series...

She doesn't REALLY count, though, since she was pulling dual duties at the time.

Desmond had his sister try to seduce Namor, but Phoebe actually found herself falling in love with Namor for real...

So that was the status quo of the supporting cast. There was a sort of love triangle with Namor and the good Carrie and the sort of evil Phoebe, there was the wise old father figure in Caleb and there was the scheming villain, Desmond. Byrne, though, used Desmond in his then-current run on Iron Man, too, where the Marss Corporation tried to take over Stark Industries. They failed and were ruined in the process. When Namor went on a mission, he left Desmond in charge of Oracle (as Desmond had tricked Namor into believing he was his friend). When Caleb learned that Desmond was skimming from Oracle, Desmond assaulted him...

However, Desmond had also turned to selling drugs to make some quick money, so the Punisher showed up to, well, punish him and Desmond took his own path out...

So it was down to just Carrie and Phoebe.

In Namor #26 (a new start for the series, with Namor missing for months. Jae Lee took over on art), we see that with the death of Desmond, Namorita (left in charge of Oracle) is dismantling Marrs Corp...

while Carrie is spending her time with her comatose father...

That was pretty much it for both characters as Bob Harras took over the book from John Byrne (Jae Lee remained on art). Eventually, Glenn Herdling and Geof Isherwood took over the series and Herdling made sure to bring back the Byrne cast members.

In Namor #46, Namor used Oracle funding to re-establish Hydro-Base, a marine biologists heaven and sure enough, Carrie goes to work there...

Pheobe, meanwhile, tries to take advantage of Namor's absence to take control of Oracle...

In Namor #57, Namor is dealing with being framed for crimes by the son that he never had, who is also trying to take over Atlantis. Phoebe, knowing that Namor's connection to Atlantis is a big part of Oracle, agrees to help him clear his name, but when they go to Hydro-Base and meet Carrie, the other members of Hydro-Base agree to turn Namor in...

He goes on the run at the end of the issue and that's the last we have heard from Phoebe and Carrie since (outside of a New Warriors appearance by Phoebe right after Namor #57 that was clearly meant to be set before it). The series was canceled a few months later and Phoebe and Carrie have been in limbo ever since.

Okay, folks, I know you have some examples of this! Send your suggestions into me at brianc@cbr.com!

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