The Marvel summer event, Secret Wars, has made quite the impact on Marvel comics. Many characters from different universes are all now part of the same world, but right away, the new series Squadron Supreme did the unthinkable by killing off one a legendary character in a brutal way.
The first issue of Squadron Supreme hit stores on December 16th, featuring the writing of James Robinson and the art team of Leonard Kirk (pencils), Paul Neary (inks), and Frank Martin (colors). What's different about this series is that this new team, the Squadron Supreme, remember the events of Secret Wars and Battleworld. Now, in the new Marvel Universe, they're making a name for themselves in a memorable way.
After introductions to the new team, which consists of Nighthawk, Doctor Spectrum, Hyperion, Blur, and Power Princess, the team decides that Namor must pay for his crimes against humanity. Namor is known for being a turncoat and while many see him as a hero, he's been a villain just as often. The Squadron Supreme decides to take matters into their own hands and runs off to attack Namor and his fellow Atlantians.
Hyperion takes the battle to Namor and the two are pretty evenly matched. However, this isn't the Hyperion from the classic Marvel books, who was once an Avenger and a hero. This Hyperion, who originates from another Earth, has no problems doing the unthinkable. What happens next is a pretty big game changer in the Marvel universe.
Hyperion single-handily raises Atlantis out of the ocean and does probably the most dastardly thing a villain can do by tossing it into the ground, destroying it. Why go that far? Hyperion is simply getting Namor's attention in a big way. Namor, now filled with rage, tries to go after Hyperion, but Namor isn't thinking.
Namor gets blasted by Hyperion and loses the battle. Namor is one of Marvel's tougher characters, so there's a little bit of hope that he'll be ok, especially considering that he's one of Marvel's oldest characters, even pre-dating the actual company. The next page isn't very reassuring.
The Squadron Supreme stands above a decapitated Namor, reveling in their victory. Writer James Robinson is known for embracing the past and history at Marvel, so seeing the Sub-Mariner's head removed from his body could be quite the shock to long-time comic fans.
Namor first appeared in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 back in 1939. This was 6 months prior to Marvel Comics #1, the issue many incorrectly consider to be the character's first appearance. Bill Everett created the character and wrote and drew both the introductory issue, as well as Namor's Marvel Comics appearance.
The golden age character helped usher in the start of Marvel comics, fighting nazis alongside the All-Winners Squad with Captain America and Bucky. Namor was both a hero and a villain working with the Avengers and Defenders but also teaming up with villains like Doctor Doom.
Death is rarely permanent in comic books but killing off a character that's been around since World War II is quite the statement to make in the first issue of a series. Squadron Supreme #1 is available in local comic shops and in digital formats through Marvel and Comixology.