Homo mermanus

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Homo mermanus
Sub-Mariner 33.jpg
A group of Atlantean Homo mermani berate Namor the Sub-Mariner (cover to Sub-Mariner #33, art by Sal Buscema).
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMotion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (April 1939)
Place of originAtlantis, Earth
Notable membersNamor

Homo mermanus is a fictional race of gilled aquatic humanoids appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. This race is best known as the people who live in the Atlantis of the Marvel Universe. Namor the Sub-Mariner is the most notable character representative of the race. Bill Everett often called them sub mariners and Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, but Stan Lee began to call everyone Atlanteans and the undersea kingdom Atlantis.

An offshoot of the Homo sapiens species with an as yet undisclosed origin, Homo mermanus are a mammalian species, but with some fish-like characteristics. Each one possesses two twin gills located on their necks near the clavicle bone, which allow them to breathe underwater. Their skin pigmentation can be either blue (most Atlanteans) or green (most Lemurians and nomads)

Their physiology is also much stronger and more durable than that of the Homo sapiens, necessitated by their exposure to the vast pressure of the deep sea. As a consequence they are physically much stronger than regular humans and can swim up to 30 miles (48 km) per hour. The typical lifespan for a Homo mermanus is 150 years. However they cannot survive outside of water for longer than five minutes without aid.

The total population of Homo mermanus has been estimated at over 1,000,000 globally.[citation needed]

Publication history[edit]

Atlanteans first appeared in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (April 1939).

Fictional race history[edit]

The Homo mermanus are often referred to as Atlanteans, as it is in the city of Atlantis that their first complex society emerged. Like humans they learned to domesticate animals, such as dolphins, while humans domesticated horses, dogs and camels.

Atlantis itself had been a small above ground continent with many human settlements, when an event 10,000 years ago called the "Great Cataclysm" caused it to be submerged into the sea. 2,000 years later, a group of Homo mermanus made the ruins of the human settlements in Atlantis their home and went on to develop a society there using as much of the material as they could scavenge from the wreckage. Many of the warring tribes united under a single emperor (although by the 20th century there were still some barbarian tribes).

500 years after the settlement of Atlantis, another group of Homo mermanus left Atlantis to found their own city -this time in a part of the ruins of another continent submerged during the Great Cataclysm - Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean.

These "Lemurians" would discover the Serpent Crown in the ruins of their city, and through their Leader Naga's exposure and extensive use of the ancient mystical device, they would become more serpent-like in appearance than their Atlantean cousins.

Many Atlanteans worship Neptune, Roman god of the sea.

During the 20th century the Homo mermanus race began to come into sustained contact with their human cousins. These contacts have often been hostile, and have included many aborted invasions (Atlantis Attacks etc.) and even separate occasions when large numbers of Homo mermanus were rendered comatose or sterilized for periods. During the Second World War the kingdom of Atlantis also fought against the Axis Powers in alliance with the Allied Powers.[volume & issue needed]

However, not all interactions between Homo sapiens and Homo mermanus have been hostile - during the 1920s a Homo mermanus female, Princess Fen of Atlantis mated with the human sea captain Leonard McKenzie - a union which produced the first human/Atlantean hybrid - Namor {avenging son in atlantean}, the Sub-Mariner.[volume & issue needed]

In the aftermath of the Civil War and the World War Hulk events the homo mermanus, being blamed for the terrorism due to the actions of Kamar, militaristic son of Namor, are forced to leave the seas, using the established sleeper cells to live within humanity.[volume & issue needed] The Atlantean Army resided in Latveria, guests of Doctor Doom, and the civilians lived alongside the rest of humanity.[volume & issue needed]

After their leader Namor allied with the X-Men, the Atlanteans began to build a support pillar that would keep the newly established mutant nation of Utopia (near the coast of San Francisco) from sinking.[1] Around this pillar, called the Atlantean column, they established a city called New Atlantis.[2]

As part of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel," Atlantis was later attacked by the Squadron Supreme in retaliation for Namor and the Cabal having destroyed the worlds of some of its members. After Hyperion beheaded Namor and Power Princess killed Attuma, the Squadron Supreme recalled the information of Atlantis' previous attacks on the surface world. Hyperion then lifted Atlantis above the ocean and then threw it onto the ground enough to kill the other Atlanteans present.[3]

Namor then begins to work to unite the different branches of Atlanteans when it comes to keeping the oceans safe from surface world invaders.[4]

After his failure to get the Vodani on his side, Namor turned his attention towards the Sea Blades faction. Having siphoned the aquakinetic abilities of Hydro-Man, Namor parted the oceans and leaving the Sea Blades and their leader to asphyxiate unless they ceded leadership to him. Their leader Karris agreed to the terms upon being awestruck with Namor's aquakinesis.[5]

Subraces and branches[edit]

Homo mermanus is divided between the Atlanteans and the splinter group that settled in the sunken continent of Lemuria and took the name of Lemurians. They differed as they possessed a more reptilian greenish skin color compared to the blue-skinned Atlanteans.

The Vodani are a branch of the Atlanteans that have followed a portal in the Mindanao Trench that took them to a watery planet that they named Vodan.[4]

The Sea Blades are a militaristic branch of shock-troopers that defected from Atlantis years ago.[5]

Known Homo mermanus[edit]

Known Atlanteans[edit]

Listed below are the known Atlanteans that are sorted by those who appear in the Golden Age and those who appear in the Modern age.

Golden Age Atlanteans[edit]

Modern Age characters[edit]

Known Lemurians[edit]

Listed below are the known Lemurians:

Known Vodani[edit]

  • Kataw - The Princess of the Vodani who helped Namor fight the Skrilkrak. She becomes Queen after the death of King Okun.[4]
  • Okun - The King of the Vodani. He was killed by Namor when he tried to kill him at the Canyon of Sorrow.[4]

Known Sea Blades[edit]

  • Karris - The admiral of the Sea Blades.[5]

In other media[edit]


  • The Atlanteans appear in the Sub-Mariner segment of The Marvel Super Heroes. Besides Namor, the featured Atlanteans are Lady Dorma, Warlord Krang, and Attuma.
  • The Atlanteans appear in the Fantastic Four episode "Now Comes the Sub-Mariner." Namor, Lady Dorma, and Warlord Krang are featured in this episode.
  • The Atlanteans appear in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "To Rule Atlantis." While Namor and Attuma are featured, the episode includes Pecos and Dara who are exclusive to this TV series.
  • The Atlanteans appear in the Fantastic Four episode "Imperious Rex." Namor planned to lead the Atlanteans into invading the surface world. In the episode "Atlantis Attacks," the Fantastic Four team up with Namor when Attuma attacks Atlantis.
  • The Atlanteans appear in Avengers Assemble. Known Atlanteans include Attuma, Orka, a variation of Lady Zartra (voiced by April Stewart), and Attuma's daughter Elanna (voiced by Ashley Eckstein). In the episode "Depth Charge," Attuma leads his Atlantean soldiers in attacking Manhattan and trying to sink it. In "Beneath the Surface," it is revealed that Attuma's chief adviser Lady Zartra and those with her have gotten tired of Attuma's tyranny and planned to use the Serpent Crown to control Giganto into helping them fight against Attuma's army. Following a misunderstanding between Lady Zartra's group and the Avengers, both groups work together to fight Attuma's army when he obtains the Serpent Crown and controls Giganto. After Attuma is defeated, the Atlanteans on Lady Zartra's side gain the trust in the Avengers. In the episode "Avengers Underground," some of the Atlanteans on Attuma's side arrived in Manhattan only to encounter Hyperion. The Atlantean soldiers present were annihilated by Hyperion after he threw one of them back into the ocean to inform Attuma what he just saw and that Earth is under the Squadron Supreme's rule. In the two-part episode "Shadow of Atlantis," Attuma and Atlantis are mentioned to have signed a peace treaty with the surface world. However, Attuma's former general Tiger Shark leads the Atlanteans on his side to target the Wakandan embassy. When Tiger Shark is defeated, Attuma shows up with his men to arrest Tiger Shark. In the episode "Into the Deep," it was revealed that N'Jadaka was the ambassador to Atlantis up to his plot to secretly destroy Atlantis with his bombs. After the bomb plot was thwarted, Killmonger and Tiger Shark got away. In the two-part episode "Kingbreaker," Attuma has appointed Commander Orka to replace Tiger Shark as the head of Attuma's armed forces while his daughter Elanna improved the security measures. Princess Zanda plots to bomb Atlantis while rigging Tony Stark's armor in the form of Black Widow in order to kill Attuma. After the bomb is disposed by White Wolf, Attuma works with Black Panther to save the Atlanteans and fix the cracks that the bomb left. By the time Black Panther and Attuma settle their differences, Attuma is fatally attacked by Killmonger using Attuma's trident and dies in Elanna's arms. Black Panther and White Wolf couldn't give a defeated Killmonger to Elanna because of his intel on where the real Black Widow is as the two of them take Killmonger as their prisoner. Elanna's first act as queen is that she released Tiger Shark to assist in her upcoming war with Wakanda.

Video games[edit]

The Atlanteans appear in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. The game features a stage where the players must travel to the underwater city of Atlantis to stop a riot orchestrated by Attuma, who believes he will become the sea kingdoms' new ruler as foretold in the Atlantean Chronicles. Attuma uses sonic emmiters to cause the Atlanteans to riot and turn against Namor. Attuma is assisted in his goal by Byrrah, Tiger Shark, and Warlord Krang. When Attuma and Tiger Shark are defeated, Tiger Shark mentions that Doctor Doom was their benefactor in Attuma's plot. Within the game, there is also a temple devoted to Negrete, whose shrine is protected by temple guardians trained to defeat any trespassers. The Eyes of Negrete are holy objects used by the temple priests for access to the inner sanctums of the temple. In the Atlantis briefing, Captain America mentions that the Atlanteans dislike surface dwellers.


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External links[edit]