What If... the Sub-Mariner Never Regained his Memory?

What If? #29 contains an additional story, fiddling with Namor's modern origin (but thankfully not his American idiom spouting Golden Age self). A small change. An unassuming story. But it would have meant widespread changes to the Marvel Universe. You'll just have to do your own research on that. The issue doesn't spell it out.

What If Vol.1 #29 (October 1981)
Based on: Fantastic Four #4
The true history: The Human Torch leaves the FF and takes refuge in a homeless shelter where an amnesiac Namor is staying. He burns his beard away and recognizes him, then throws him into the sea so he'll remember who he is. Namor goes on to fight the FF, throw Captain America's frozen body into a southern current, etc.
Turning point: What if the Human Torch thought the shelter was a big stinky dump?
Story type: Deviated origin
Watcher's mood: Suffering a Crisis
Altered history: Johnny Storm wrinkles his nose at the "Bowery" and doesn't go in (surprised it didn't happen that way, actually). Consequently, Namor is never discovered. Five years later, he has enough of the homeless life and joins a boat crew.
He feels like he belongs on the open seas, but still doesn't know who he is. Captain Candless takes a shining to him because he's the only crew member who doesn't bitch about the Captain's obsession with finding a way to the center of the Earth. He's clearly unhinged, quoting Verne and Burroughs as scientific authorities, but Namor's got his persisting amnesia to contend with. He's out of hinges. Things come to a head when the crew tries to mutiny, and Namor remains the only man loyal to Candless.
In the ensuing battle, everybody dies and the ship blows up. Namor is thrown overboard and floats to the same Inuit island where they worship Captain America's frozen body. He's alive, but concussed, so even more of an amnesiac. They proclaim his god of the sea and stays there, well fed and no doubt well wenched, with his pal frozen Cap, forever.
Yeah, that's the life.
Books canceled as a result: Unless you're interesting a "Mr. Smith - Super Boat Captain" comic, we'll have to cancel any Namor/Sub-Mariner comics. And then there's no Captain America. That one hurts a little more.
These things happen: It's very difficult for a "what if something never happened" to have happened, short of a Crisis (wrong universe) or Mephisto contract (super lame).

Next week: What If Spider-Man's Clone Had Lived?
My guess: I don't need to guess.



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