Namor the Sub-Mariner has reached a higher level of popularity thanks to his debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In the movie, his charm, power and ruthlessness were on full display and perfectly showcased why he has always been such a deadly force in the Marvel Universe. But one of the most exciting aspects of his character that was shown was his famous ankle wings. Not only did they show up perfectly in the movie, but the action sequences explained how he used them in battle as he took to the skies. As a result, he has also drawn renewed attention to his wings in the comics.
As far as his printed history is concerned, Namor’s wings have been taken as fact. Never underestimated or exaggerated, they have always been a great aspect regarding his ability to fly and have for the most part not been explored further. However, there is no doubt that the wings on his ankles have a comedic quality, as his small size shouldn’t take Namor to such heights. But even though they might be a point of humor for many, readers and creators should never downplay the importance of his wings. Those same ankle wings have played a part on at least two occasions to show just how powerful Namor is made of.
Namor’s wings do it incredibly fast
Namor’s wings had always granted him the ability to fly, even when he was created by Bill Everett. But in his first comedic appearances, his wings did more than keep him aloft. They were also a source of incredible speed. In submarine comics #38 by Bill Everett, Namor was shown saving his mother and quickly flying with her on his back. Even with the weight of a full-grown adult on his back, his wings managed to carry them at the speed of a bullet. But if he hadn’t had someone on his back, it’s likely that he could have flown even faster. Although brief, the scene was definitive in his early history, as it showed the first example of the speed at which he could fly. Years later, he too would have to rely on this speed, as he faced off against the likes of The Human Torch.
This was one of the first examples of why her wings are so crucial to her character, as she had already been shown to swim at high speeds. By showing how much speed and control he had in the air, he fit his metaphor of being a child of the land and the sea. In addition, the drive to save his mother also explored how far he was willing to go to any lengths to save someone he loved. From then on, his wings would also allow him to slow down and stabilize himself to maneuver in different directions. That being said, no matter how fast he stopped and took off, he always maintained super speed. But speed was only a small aspect of why his wings are arguably his most important attribute.
Namor’s strength is best used in conjunction with his wings.
While speed has always been important for movement, they can also be reused to build strength. In Namor’s case, one of his most powerful feats occurred while he was airborne. In Submariner #3 (by Matt Cherniss, Peter Johnson, and Phil Briones), Namor tried to uncover a plot to usurp his rule of Atlantis. However, the plan enacted involved the destruction of a surface world city, framing the ruler. After seeking the help of Professor Xavier, Namor was confronted by a squad of Sentinels sent by S.H.I.E.L.D. Instead of bending the knee, he quickly took to the skies and smashed the Sentinels to pieces. In one instance, he grabbed the arm of one of the mecha and used it to destroy another without touching the ground.
Although his strength was the main focus here, the wings on his ankles allowed Namor to distribute his weight and likely amplify his strength to tear apart a huge robot. Some of the strongest mutants imaginable have even wrestled with this feat, and yet Namor did it while he was flying. In the end, Namor has always been a character willing to dispel any doubts that an individual may have against him. But he always did it while showing the power that his ankle wings had. Because of this and the fact that they’re so crucial to his power and characterization, it’s impossible to think of them as anything less than impressive.