“The Human Torch”
Strange Tales #101
Written by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber
Pencils by Jack Kirby
Inks by Dick Ayers
It’s an invasion of superheroes! Yet another anthology series gets made-over and starts placing a superhero in its cover story, this time it’s with an already established character—that of The Human Torch. This is fine, and I’m sure Stan thought this would appease his teenage readers by presenting Johnny as something more than a sidekick, but there’s a reason Spider-Man was created, and that was because Johnny always suited being around his companions more than being on his own.
Here in his solo debut, a lot of details are thrown around that differ from the Fantastic Four book, such as where Johnny lives, and who actually knows about his “secret” identity (this particular discrepancy would be retconned, however), but everything else seems pretty solid. Oh but hey, wait, what’s with all the asbestos? Ah, the innocent sixties. Catch a little cosmic ray and you think living in a cube of toxic fibres is the best idea since instant noodles. But yeah, check out that diagram of Storm’s bedroom. Neat!
Nevertheless, Johnny’s story here, despite middling details, is mostly forgettable. Following another commie intelligence plot (aliens next time, maybe?), things go through their usual motions until we find out the truth which—thankfully—has nothing to do with aliens. Thank the heavens for dirty reds!
MY SCORE: 3.0 (out of 10)