How Was Namor Cured From Having to Wear His Special Suit?

This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.

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Today, we look at how Namor got over being "permanently" forced a special suit to survive.

First, to set the scene, it is important to note that Bill Everett, creator of Namor, was allowed a basically free hand with the character starting with around the 50th issue. Roy Thomas knew and respected Everett's work and, again, the guy CREATED Namor, ya know? So Everett could do what he wanted with the book. The sad thing is, though, that Everett was dealing with some major health issues, so the book was sort of stuck in a holding pattern. Everett could do some plots, but he couldn't draw the book, so Steve Gerber was scripting over Everett's plots. Everett then tried to return to penciling the book but sadly died just three issues into a story.

His death was acknowledged a few issues later, in Sub-Mariner #65.

So now Marvel had to figure out a new direction for the book with the death of Namor's creator. Roy Thomas theorized that a problem with Namor was that he lacked a costume. He basically just fought crime in his bathing trunks. So the great John Romita designed a new costume for Namor in Sub-Mariner #67, which also set up a new direction for the series...

The concept of the issue (by Steve Gerber, Don Heck and Frank Bolle) was that Namor was fighting the villainous Orka when he accidentally collided with a ship containing nerve gas...

Triton of the Inhumans found him and brought him to the Fantastic Four to see if they would help.

Reed realized that this was a case of Namor's cells being altered by the nerve gas...

Namor used to be able to survive on land because his body retained the moisture from the ocean, but now it wasn't, so Reed came up with a special suit that would do the job...

While Namor was grateful to Reed, he was angry at humanity for doing this to him.

So the concept of the book was Namor vs. the world...

When the series ended, Namor moved over to a new series called Super-Villain Team-Up, where Namor was paired with Doctor Doom. That eventually led to the end of Namor's "permanent" suit...

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