“The Threat of the Living Bomb!”
Strange Tales #112
Written by Stan Lee & Joe Carter
Pencils by Dick Ayers
Inks by Dick Ayers
A bit of an oddball adventure for Johnny this month as we see him go head to head with a villain who proves to be a bother for reasons outside the norm for your typical antagonist. Chasing down The Eel who has accidentally stolen a weapon of atomic force and activated it, Storm finds himself at odds with what to do with a nuclear bomb about to go boom-boom next to a Vet’s home. Taking the blast into himself with some stodgily written pseudo-science pieces (there are plenty here by the way, from a tracker fireball guided by vibrations and a miracle dues ex machina cure from the nuclear blast amongst others), the world stands by in shock as they await to here whether Torch will live or not. As a plot piece, I can see why Lee thought this would be a good idea—the problem though is that it’s neither convincing nor as emotive as it should be. What we’re left with then is an off-beat race-against-the-clock issue (something of a first this early on) that tries to be grander than Joe Carter ever achieves. We also see a little attempt at the Peter Parker curse of the public being turned against him, but this too feels all too contrived and inconsequential to be effective. All in all, a disappointing, but somewhat daring issue that also lacks the appearance of Dr. Strange, who was receiving a regular story here but has seemingly been postponed just two issues in. Strange.
Dick Ayers however, is on top form here.
MY SCORE: 2.5/10