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Does Namor The Sub-Mariner Have Mental Illnesses?

By Chandraboli Majumdar
September 30,2022

With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever right around the corner, fans are excited to see Namor the Sub-Mariner for the first time in the MCU. New images are being released every day showing the brilliant costumes of the characters, especially Namor. In fact, new stills have also been released which show Queen Ramonda and Shuri ready to battle, and Namor’s new ornate headgear. But most fans don’t know that Namor actually has a history of mental instability and erratic behavior in the comics. That’s why though he isn’t a villain, he’s often shown as a morally grey anti-hero. While Black Panther 2 will be changing a few things such as rebranding the underwater kingdom from Atlantis to Talocan. Most of his personality and purpose will be the same. In the comics, Namor is afflicted by a number of mental illnesses and we’ll be exploring why.

Emotional abuse by Namor’s Grandfather Thakorr

Thakorr ruins Namor's childhood

Thakorr ruins Namor’s childhood

Namor was a result of a sort of tabooed love between his mother Princess Fen, an Atlantean and a simple seafaring human Leonard McKenzie. As a result, Thakorr, disapproving of their match, banished Princess Fen from Atlantis. Eventually, she gave birth to her son Namor who was half Atlantean and half human. Initially, he and his mother lived away from Atlantis till Namor turned 10 after which they returned. Emperor Thakorr the went on to absolutely ruin Namor’s childhood with constant emotional abuse and maybe even physical abuse. In fact, as a result of all this trauma, when Namor faced Thakorr in battle, he killed him. This has definitely had a lasting impact on the rest of his life causing a distrust in men in power.

Charles Xavier’s experimentation goes wrong

Charles Xavier's experiment on Namor goes horribly wrong

Charles Xavier’s experiment on Namor goes horribly wrong

Professor X once tried to help Namor cope with the death of his friend during the second world war. He used his psychic powers to create an image of Tommy Machan in Namor’s head and help him find closure. However, this simply drove Namor further into madness and made his condition worse. Although Xavier wanted to help Namor, he unintentionally triggered his mental instability even further.

Namor’s genetic composition adds to his instability 

Namor's half Atlantean and half human genetics make him more unstable

Namor’s half Atlantean and half human genetics make him more unstable

This is something very interesting. A lot of Namor’s erratic tendencies and mental instability is due to his split heritage. If he cannot strike a balance between time spent under water and above, there’s a blood imbalance within him that makes him unstable. In fact, it can also be attributed to some sort of oxygen imbalance or deficiency. This is why Namor cannot spend too much time on the surface without risking his sanity. It’s an interesting and very plausible explanation for some of his actions.

PTSD and Bipolar Disorder

Causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

Causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

Namor’s most ideal diagnoses are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. His PTSD naturally stems from the horrific and atrocious sights that he witnessed during World War II. He even lost one of his dearest friends and always blamed himself for not being able to save him. These memories and flashes remained with him and were often relived by him. Small triggers would make him angry and violent.

His mental instability, obsession and delusionHis mental instability, obsession and delusion

The Bipolar Disorder diagnosis also explains a lot of his mood swings and erratic behavior. He loses his wit, logic and conscience when in a fit of rage and becomes extremely reckless and violent. This is also why he gets branded as an anti-hero. There have been several instances of his manic-depressive mood swings. These sudden changes in his emotions were also seen in regards with his obsessive toxic relationship with Sue Storm. In fact, this also points to the fact that Namor was obsessive and delusional.

He also had an immense fear of abandonment and that’s why held on to Sue despite everything. Why he has these issues could obviously be a number of reasons. Another cause is the multiple head injuries he suffers in the comics which were bound to have left some brain damage. He has also had instances of mind control, amnesia and being possessed by the phoenix force.

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