Human Torch #5A
Issue(s): Human Torch #5A
The Human Torch is at a send-off banquet for a reporter named Casey who is heading to Russia to cover the War. Toro, the Angel, and the Patriot are also at the banquet.
Namor returns home to find his kingdom has been destroyed during a sea battle between the Germans, Russians, and English. He calls together the leaders of other underwater nations and they agree to help him end the war under his leadership.
One of the other mer-people, a 'dazzling beauty' named Rathia from the Baltic Sea, twists Namor's plan, planting the suggestion that Namor take over the world. Namor is easily swayed by this, and starts thinking of himself as an underwater Napoleon or Mussolini.
Namor and his forces attack the Nazis during a battle with the Russians, using whirlpools. The Torch, visiting his reporter friend, realizes that the attack is Namor's doing and goes with Toro to Atlantis to investigate. Namor tries to capture them both but the Torch escapes. He tries to warn both Hitler and Stalin to join forces against the Sub-Mariner but they both discount it.
He also visits the Golden Age Ka-Zar in Africa and suggests he build an arc to save all the animals.
The Torch gets himself captured again, and this time Namor drugs his food, making him his slave. Namor has fantastic technology and manages to destroy large parts of the world...
...as the Torch melts glaciers for him, threatening Russia and the US with floods. But when the Torch sees an American flag, his patriotism overcomes his brainwashing. After an extended series of fights, the Torch manages to beat Namor, but Namor pleads for his life claiming (?) that he was under a spell of Rathia's.
The Torch buys it, and Namor dismantles his army. Namor is granted freedom by the US president as long as he'll "behave" and Namor turns in Rathia to stand trial as the world's enemy #2 next to Hitler.
Toro, who caught pneumonia trapped in Namor's dungeon, and then escaped to a British hospital that was bombed by the Nazis, has gone missing at the end of this issue.
Namor's military might is awesome. At one point he floods NYC in a tidal wave, completely destroying it.
He also takes out the Italian fleet, conquers the Rock of Gibralter, floods Berlin, etc.
This issue doesn't have the bizarre but fascinating attributes that made Marvel Comics 8-10 such a surprisingly compelling read. This is probably due to the fact that it was rushed; it was created in a weekend by group of about a dozen people. It's still interesting, but not very good.
The introductory page depicts the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Death, Hitler, Mussolini, and the Sub-Mariner!
Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin both have cameos in this story. I'm listing them by their eventual super-villain names. Hitler will return in the Silver Age as the Hate Monger and Stalin eventually becomes the super-demon Coldsteel. Ah, the Marvel Universe.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Timely Presents: Human Torch
Inbound References (2): showAngel (Golden Age), Coldsteel, Hate Monger (Hitler), Human Torch (Golden Age), Ka-Zar (Golden Age), Patriot, Princess Fen, Rathia, Sub-Mariner, Toro
The reason why there are two #5s of this title is because "Human Torch" started life as the poor-selling "Red Raven Comics". That book was retitled "Human Torch" with the 2nd issue in order to avoid paying expensive mailing permit fees. The post office didn't accept the retitling and forced publisher Martin Goodman to put out a 2nd #5 to get the numbering straight.
Writers John Compton and Joey Epstein worked on this story, according to interviews whose appearances I can't remember right now.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 30, 2011 7:45 PM
Might Burgos have intended the Casey in this story to be the one from Casey the Crime Photographer #1-4?
In that series the main character's police contact is Lieutenant (sometimes Detective Captain) Logan.
Could this Lieutenant Logan have been our stubby mutant, and if this would mean he was active in Boston after WWII!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 26, 2014 9:07 PM
While Human Torch #2-5A were indeed referred to by these numbers in their indica, it should be noted that they're completely unnumbered on their front covers (instead just being labeled "Fall Number", Winter Number", "Spring Number" and "Summer Number"), while ads for them in other titles referred to them as issue 1-4 (generally worded in ways like "third great issue", etc). It's somewhat likely Goodman just changed the numbering system because he wanted to print the actual issue number on the front cover rather than because the post office started meddling.
Posted by: Adam | September 24, 2014 10:14 AM
The Golden Age Ka-Zar intrigues me. Has a connection ever been made between him and the Silver Age version?
Posted by: JP! | September 7, 2017 4:07 PM
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