Namor and Valkyrie joining Marvel's core Avengers team in 2022

Avengers #53 cover by Javier Garron
Avengers #53 cover by Javier Garron (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The roster of Marvel's core Avengers team is expanding with two somewhat unexpected recruits from the team's past in February's Avengers #53 - including at least one returning member who was straight up trying to kill the Avengers as recently as this summer. 

Those two new recruits are Jane Foster, the current head Valkyrie, and Namor, King of Atlantis - who has been a recurring enemy for the Avengers throughout writer Jason Aaron's run, even recruiting his own squad of villains to fight surface world targets, and clashing with the Avengers for control of the Phoenix Force in the story Avengers: Enter the Phoenix.

Namor has been an Avenger multiple times in the past, most notably in Roger Stern's '80s Avengers run and in Geoff Johns' short-lived Avengers stint in the early '00s. 

It seems Namor's return to the team, after a period as their enemy (he's often gone back and forth from hero to villain and everywhere in between), will be predicated on Doctor Doom's new Masters of Evil, formed by villains from around the Multiverse. Weirdly enough, Doom and Namor had their own long-running villainous partnership in the classic '70s title Marvel Super-Villain Team Up.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

As for Jane Foster, she's also a former member of the Avengers from her time as Thor, prior to dying and being resurrected as a Valkyrie. She's since gone on to reform the Asgardian order of Valkyries, including recruiting the original Valkyrie Brunnhilde, who was herself a member of the Secret Avengers

Even though Jane's been an Avenger before, she hasn't been on the team at the same time as Thor Odinson, from whom she inherited the mantle and powers of Thor, and to whom she returned it later on when she became Valkyrie. Avengers #53 will mark the first time both Thor and Jane have been Avengers simultaneously.

There's another surprising Avengers reunion going on in Avengers #53 - a meeting between Black Panther and Namor, the monarchs of Wakanda and Atlantis, respectively. They haven't been Avengers together in some time (if ever, for longer than a short period). 

In fact, they're more recently known as bloodthirsty enemies, owing to Namor leading Atlantis in an invasion of Wakanda in Avengers vs. X-Men, and Black Panther's counterstrike in which Wakanda attacked Atlantis in the event Infinity

Though they did sorta work together as members of Marvel's Illuminati in Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers, that partnership was tenuous at best, with Infinity complicating it even further. Black Panther and Namor's rivalry and what them both being Avengers could mean isn't lost on artist Javier Garron either, who put the two at each others' throats on the cover of Avengers #53.

It's interesting that both Jane and Namor are joining the Avengers in 2022, as Jane is about to become Thor in the MCU film sequel Thor: Love and Thunder, while Namor has been rumored as the villain of the Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever.

Avengers #53 goes on sale on February 9.

Namor and Jane Foster are new to the current Avengers roster, but they've been on the team before. These are the best Avengers line-ups ever.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)