So Sayeth the Odinson: A Look at Comics History: Part 2 of 10 – Hulk and Namor

Greetings from the Odinson,

A Look at Comics History: Part 2 of 10 – Hulk and Namor

Not every team-up goes over as smoothly as peanut butter and chocolate.

The Odinson is taking a look back at Comics History.  More specifically, I will be looking at interactions and relationships between characters that do not necessarily have much in common but when they do interact, it’s always noteworthy. 

I’ve written down the names of ten different odd couples on Post-its, threw them in my winged helmet, and each week I will pull one at random. 

This week, Marvel’s Jade Giant and the Avenging Son from Atlantis.  

The Incredible Hulk is the strongest one there is, he is the bar by which all other powerhouses are measured.  He is a monster that has been both friend and foe to the heroes of the Marvel Universe.  The Savage Sub-Mariner is unparalleled beneath the sea, and he too has been both friend and foe to the heroes of the Marvel Universe. 

It is entertaining when the Hulk battles the Thing or Thor, and it is exciting seeing whether or not Namor will fight against the Avengers, or stand beside the Avengers.  But one thing will always be for sure.  Every time Hulk and the Sub-Mariner cross paths, it is a must read comic book for the Odinson.

The Green Behemoth and the Prince of the Sea have a long history of tumultuous interactions, team-ups, and bone-crunching throw downs.

Astonishing Encounter – Namor has tried to destroy the surface world almost as many times as he has saved it.  In Tales to Astonish #100, he is in one of his bad moods and seeks allies in his war against man.  Seeing a kindred spirit in the Jade Giant, the Prince of Atlantis tries to recruit the Hulk to his cause.  However, the devious Puppet Master intervenes and uses his resources to set these powerful beings against each other. 

Incredible Crossovers – The next time they meet in Incredible Hulk #118, Bruce Banner is brought to Atlantis by the lovely Dorma.  This issue features a fantastic cover by longtime Hulk artist Herb Trimpe.  In Incredible Hulk #316, Namor is among a quartet of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that try to wrangle in a savage Bannerless Hulk that is raging out of control.  What follows is one of the most earth-shaking battles ever seen in the four color format.  Incredible Hulk #321-322 sees the Sub-Mariner return, this time with the entire roster of active Avengers at his side, a team that consists of nearly a dozen heroes.  Their mission: take down the out-of-control monster once and for all.  And in Incredible Hulk Annual 1998, after the death of his beloved wife, Betty (see Incredible Hulk #466), the Hulk is emotionally at his lowest.  He enters the ocean with no intentions of returning.  However, after a strange transformation, the Hulk teams up with his old pal Namor to take down the tyrant of the sea, Attuma.

Defenders Assemble – In the early 70s, Marvel assembled a team of mismatched, eclectic anti-heroes and monsters, creating the world’s first non-team, and thus, the Defenders were born.  Alongside Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, Valkyrie, and a revolving door of assorted misfit heroes, Namor and the Hulk took on the toughest challenges the Marvel Universe could through at them including the Avengers, Squadron Sinister, the Presence, and more!

Rumbles and Reunions – When you have two guys as volatile as Banner and McKenzie, it’s hard to keep the team together.  After the Defenders disassembled, it would be years before these hot-blooded heroes would reunite, but when they did, man was it fun.  In Incredible Hulk #370-371, Doctor Strange, Hulk, and the Sub-Mariner are drawn together to battle a mysterious force from beyond our reality.  In Return of the Defenders, the original team reunites for an adventure that never fails to entertain with each turn of the page and sees the mighty Sub-Mariner body-swap with professional sidekick Rick Jones!  In Indefensible, the incredible creative team of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin MaGuire, once again assemble Marvel’s non-team in order to invade the Dark Dimension and take on the All-powerful Dormammu!  And in Hulk No More, the team assembles once more to take on their dark counterparts, the Offenders!

Even as recent as 2019 and 2020, Marvel’s premiere non-team has begrudgingly assembled to take on powerful forces of evil in The Best Defense and Tarot

Frenemies – Throughout the years, Hulk and Namor have punched each other in the face almost as many times as they have teamed up.  In their earliest meeting, the Jade Giant and the Avenging Son formed a short-lived alliance to take on the original Avengers!  When the Illuminati voted to exile the Hulk from planet Earth, a bad decision that led to the events of Planet Hulk and ultimately World War Hulk, Prince Namor was the sole member of the clandestine group to reject the idea.  He even went so far as to warn the self-appointed Illuminati that the Hulk deserves the revenge he will take if he returns.  And in the pages of Immortal Hulk, it is Namor’s counsel the Hulk seeks when he is about to embark on a campaign against the status quo.  For who could have more experience in such matters than the Avenging Son himself. 

These two hard-headed he-men have, whether they want to admit it or not, formed a bond.  Dare I say it, a friendship?  Whether they battle each other or stand together against others, whenever the Incredible Hulk and the Savage Sub-Mariner share the page, that is must read comic books for the Odinson.

Be sure to tune in next week as the Odinson picks another pair of random names from my winged helmet and explores their shared Comic Book History. 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

NOTE: Be sure to check out my new book – Autumn Dawn: A Glen Haven Tale.  Available in Paperback, on Kindle, and Audiobook.

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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