The new Black Panther movie is out, and fans of the MCU finally got introduced to Namor – a character that has been around in Marvel Comics since their very beginnings. He is quite a powerful guy, much stronger than you might think. But is Namor stronger than, for instance, the Hulk? If the two ever fought, who would win?
If we’re talking about pure strength only, the Hulk is undoubtedly much stronger than Namor. However, if the question is, who would win in a fight, then both characters have a chance. In fact, Namor has beaten the Hulk in the comics several times.
Granted, it would all depend on which versions of the Hulk and Namor we are talking about, where the fight is taking place, etc. But the point is, it’s not a one-sided demolition like it usually is when it comes to the Hulk fighting other superheroes. Let’s break this fight down into categories to see who is stronger (or more powerful), Namor or the Hulk.
Let’s get this out of the way first – there is no way that anybody beats the Hulk when we’re talking about pure, raw strength. However, don’t be fooled and think nobody can match him, at least in some instances. Oh, yes, Namor is very capable of going hand-to-hand with the Jade Giant.
Namor isn’t just an Atlantean, with their regular set of ocean-based powers. He is an Atlantean mutant with very specific powers that other Atlanteans don’t have – that’s why he’s their king.
Underwater, Namor is one of the most powerful beings on the planet. We’ve seen him lift several thousand tons almost effortlessly, and the longer he’s in the water, the stronger he is. One time, he lifted a WWII destroyer without breaking a sweat.
Heck, in Uncanny X-Men: Exodus Vol. 1 #1, the guy held his ground against the Sentry for a while – the guy who has the power equivalent to ‘one million suns.’
Even on the surface, he easily defeated guys like Luke Cage, and in the same issue, he knocked out She-Hulk and matched the Thing in a physical battle (Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2 #12). Namor is much, much stronger than you might think.
Compare him to almost any other superhero, and he is an even match or stronger. However, it’s the Hulk we’re talking about here. ‘The strongest one there is.’ His strength has been deemed as infinite about half a dozen times. If we’re talking about pure, raw, physical strength, nobody outmatches the Hulk. Not even Namor.
Point: The Hulk (1:0) Namor
This category was actually quite hard to gauge, even though I initially thought that Namor was running away with it, pun intended. However, despite his atrocious size and strength, the Hulk can actually utilize it to achieve astonishing speed.
You’d be surprised to hear that the Hulk can run so fast to outperform an aircraft (Indestructible Hulk #11). He can easily dodge bullets and missiles shot at him from point-blank range (Incredible Hulk #132, Iron Man #131).
One time, he displayed such fast reflexes that he was able to tag Spider-Man himself (Amazing Spider-Man #120) or catch an arrow shot by Hawkeye (Hulk Smash Avengers #4).
Even underwater, he was seen swimming at an insane 80 knots (Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #33), and in Incredible Hulk #118, he matched Namor himself while going after each other underwater.
That being said, Namor wasn’t going his fastest possible in that situation. Underwater, there’s practically nobody that can go as fast as Namor. He’s the King of Atlantis and can move so fast that he creates whirlpools and even propulsions.
On the surface, Namor can move just as fast, but the problem is the longer he is out of the ocean, the weaker he gets. He can even fly at amazing speeds, but his reflexes aren’t as great as they are underwater.
I’d say that, in the water, Namor has a slight advantage, whereas, on land, the Hulk has a speed advantage. They are both rated as Speed Level 3 on the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe power grid, so we’re rating this category just the same – both Namor and the Hulk get a point for speed.
Point(s): The Hulk (2:1) Namor
Durability & Healing
All Atlanteans have a phenomenal healing factor that’s activated when they are in the water. They can rapidly heal most injuries, although they can’t regrow lost limbs like, for instance, Wolverine. Compared to his kin, Namor’s durability and healing factor are much, much stronger.
He also ages incredibly slowly and can recover from grueling injuries, but only if he can get back into the water. Also, his healing factor is just as powerful as his durability, meaning it takes a lot to actually hurt the Sub-Mariner, but if you do, he’ll likely heal in the water.
The only exception is the wings on his legs – they are a product of a mutation, so they don’t respond to the common Atlantean physiology and healing. They need to heal slowly, as any other injury would on a human being, for instance.
That being said, Namor’s durability and healing factor might be incredible, even by Atlantean standards. But, compared to the Hulk, they are as good as nothing. The Big Green is practically invulnerable and essentially immortal. He was shot by nuclear missiles from point-blank range with no damage.
Bruce Banner himself stated that he tried everything to commit suicide – drink acid, shoot himself in the mouth… and the ‘other guy’ just spits out the bullet. That being said, even if you somehow manage to find a way to harm the Hulk, his healing factor is so incredibly powerful that he’ll heal and survive, hands down.
I mean, even when you submerge him into the water, his insane gamma-radiated physiology literally grows new, gill-like orangs, allowing the Hulk to breathe underwater. Despite Namor being impressive in this category, there’s nothing you can do to hurt the Hulk.
Point: The Hulk (3:1) Namor
I want to be clear that if we’re comparing Namor to Bruce Banner, he’s like a kindergarten kid wondering what sand tastes like. Banner is one of the most intelligent super-geniuses on the planet, and it’s a no-contest. However, we’re comparing Namor to the Hulk here, not Bruce Banner.
And, in that case, Namor is much more intelligent. He isn’t known for his intelligence, per se, but it’s absolutely respectable. Heck, he’s a member of the Illuminati, consisting of brainiacs like Iron Man, Black Panther, Professor X, Black Bolt, and Doctor Strange. Compared to Namor, the Hulk is a ‘dull creature’ (shout-out to MCU’s Loki for the nickname).
That being said, different versions of the Hulk have different levels of intelligence. He appears dumber in earlier versions, but he’s not always a total buffoon. There are also versions of the Big Green, like Professor Hulk, that combine the intelligence of Bruce Banner with the strength of the Hulk.
So, Banner is much smarter than Namor, but Namor is much smarter than most versions of the Hulk. I think it’s only fitting that both characters get points in this category.
Point(s): The Hulk (4:2) Namor
With everything being said, one would assume it’s a pretty straightforward battle in the Hulk’s favor, right? Well, not exactly. The Jade Giant usually pummels through just about anybody, but Namor has been a thorn in his behind for about six decades. In fact, the Sub-Mariner has defeated the Hulk in battle at least three times.
Granted, those occasions where the Hulk was defeated came earlier in the comics when the Big Green wasn’t at his full comic book potential yet. Also, most of those fights happened underwater, meaning Namor had the home-court advantage, but it absolutely still counts.
There was this one time, in Tales to Astonish #100, the Hulk was under the brainwashed influence of the Puppet Master when he fought Namor. Namor hit the guy so hard that he knocked him out, making him change back to Banner form.
Then, in Incredible Hulk #118, the two fought and collided underwater. It created such a colossal wave of energy that it made a tsunami big enough to destroy a city. While Namor was briefly knocked out, he quickly recovered in the sea, whereas the Hulk was still knocked out and actually reverted to his human form.
Finally, we witnessed a time when Namor pulled the Hulk underwater and swam so fast around him that it completely drained the Hulk of his strength (for some reason, I don’t know).
Later in comics history, though, the Hulk had his fair share of ties and wins, especially because he grew in power as a character over the years. However, Namor proved that he is more than capable of fighting the Jade Giant and winning – especially when the fight takes place under the sea.
Point: Namor (3:4) The Hulk
Namor Vs. Hulk: Who would win the fight?
In the end, the result says 4:3 in favor of the Hulk. In reality, and in today’s comic book continuity, I’d say that the Jade giant would likely win even easier. However, Namor is an absolutely formidable opponent and has shown several times that he has what it takes to beat the Hulk – or at least incapacitate him.
If the fight happens underwater, then Namor might even have a slight advantage, as he’s literally fighting in his element. But if the fight is taken out of the water, then the Hulk’s strength, durability, and stamina would be too much for Namor to overcome, especially considering the fact that he grows weaker the longer he’s out of the sea.
And, if you add the dimension of a ‘battle to the death’ to this fight, then Namor stands no chance. There’s nothing he could do to end the Hulk, whereas the Hulk could potentially end Namor. His healing factor is quite strong in the water, but he’s not immortal and can’t recover from lost limbs or organs.
I would bet on the Hulk winning at least 7/10 times when fighting Namor, with the three times being a close, underwater battle win for the Sub-Mariner.