By Marc Strom
With the release of DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 on June 24, writer Matt Fraction and legendary X-artist Marc Silvestri begin one of the most eagerly anticipated stories of the summer.
As Norman Osborn continues to extend his Dark Reign, he assembles a group of Dark X-Men loyal only to him. This week, Marvel.com presents the Dark X-Men Dossiers, bios on each of the team's members straight from Cyclops' personal files, along with writer Matt Fraction's thoughts and exclusive art from Terry Dodson.
It's All About the Politics
As UNCANNY X-MEN writer Matt Fraction recently revealed, the Dark X-Men's leader, Emma Frost, has something of a past with
Namor sketch by
Namor. Now, after their mutual involvement with Norman Osborn's Cabal has brought that history to the surface, fans should expect it to play a major role in the upcoming DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN crossover, "Utopia."
"[UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #2] is super important in terms of grounding and framing what [Emma and Namor's] relationship is," the writer explains. "['Utopia'] is an extension of that. They're both members of the Cabal with Norman, and now they're both on this X-team. It's the critical relationship of the team."
Fraction also tells us that, if not for his relationship with Emma, Namor wouldn't have found himself on Osborn's team of X-Men.
"Here's a little reveal: Norman has assembled every one [in his X-Men] but Namor," Fraction divulges. "Namor is Emma's pick, and part of the deal for Emma to lead the team is she wants Namor there. So Namor is Emma's insurance."
But Emma's request alone didn't factor into Namor's decision to ally himself with her team.
"There is no silver bullet reason [for his joining the group], there's this very complicated web of political intrigue and media one-upsmanship," Fraction enlightens us. "Without revealing where several stories are going, this is the right move for Namor at this time."
Given Namor's strong, forceful, and rather arrogant personality, the idea of him getting along with any team seems a little odd. But according to Fraction, Namor doesn't see the Dark X-Men in quite the same terms as most of its other members.
"It's very much something that he tolerates, but the politics of the moment are much greater," he elaborates. "What he's doing above the surface and what he's doing below the surface—that's literally a metaphor—it's very complicated. He's not a team player, so this is more of an association, a political alliance if you will. One that's very crucial to this exact moment in time."
Cyclops' Strike File: Namor
The son of an Atlantean emperor's daughter and an American sea captain, Namor first came to the surface world's attention around the start of World War II, during which time he would frequently attack New York City and clash with the original Human Torch.
Though he eventually assisted the Allies' war campaign, Namor has only ever acted in the name of Atlantean interests. Prince Namor has only taken action against the surface world for perceived injustices committed against Atlantis. Namor's a ruler first and foremost, and thus does not fall into any traditional categories of the X-Men's typical opponents.
Though himself a mutant, Namor feels no particular allegiance with the surface-dwelling community now concentrated in San Francisco, and as such can only be counted on as an ally if the relationship were to benefit Atlantis in some political manner.
Most recently, Namor saw his kingdom destroyed in a massive explosion centered on Nitro in the midst of an attempted coup led by his own son, Kamar. He currently maintains an alliance with Latverian ruler and longtime Fantastic Four foe, Doctor Doom. As part of this partnership, Doom has allowed Namor to base a contingent of Atlantean soldiers in Latveria.
While this alliance may appear unsettling, mutantkind itself should have little to fear from Namor unless he finds we have committed some perceived crime against the Atlantean people.
With Atlantis in ruins and its people scattered around the world, Namor now must go about rebuilding his kingdom while also restoring its status on the world political stage. Every move Namor currently makes has some political logic behind it, and it is important to remember that he does nothing without reason.
DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 launches one of the biggest events of the summer on June 24, but be sure you check back here tomorrow for another Dark X-Men Dossier on Professor X!
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