Characters Appearing: Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Sub-Mariner, Thing
Strange Tales #107 (Human Torch)
Issue(s): Strange Tales #107 (Human Torch story only)
Review/plot: Johnny Storm is mad because Reed and Ben don't consult him when writing the plots to the Fantastic Four comic book (what???!!?? it's just a comic book?!?). Never mind the fact that they also don't consult Sue, and they rub it in by making her type up their notes (and you know Reed can afford to hire a secretary; he just likes to put her in her place).
Johnny figures he can get the rest of the FF to take him more seriously if he can defeat the Sub-Mariner on his own. So he flies out to the middle of the Atlantic ocean where he promptly runs out of firepower (is he impulsive or just... dim?) and he has to land on a passing ship, where he is taken for a stowaway and made to swab the deck.
Eventually he gets his flame back, and after helping the ship through some fog, he flies around trying to get Namor's attention. In the process he accidentally singes the fins of a flying fish. Later, during a routine inspection of every fish in the ocean (Hey Namor! Maybe the reason you can't find your missing Atlanteans is because you aren't actually looking for them!), Namor notices that the fish is burnt, and swims to the surface, uttering his famous battlecry: "Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!"
Something weird happens in these early Silver Age Namor appearances. Stan Lee seemed to be under the impression that the Sub-Mariner has the abilities of every living creature in the ocean. This has included electric eels and, in this issue, a "puffer". Unable to avoid crashing into an iceberg, Namor puffs out his body. After he crashes, he "un-puffs" and is able to extract himself from the hole he made. Ok!
One thing about these Strange Tales Human Torch stories: everyone's got asbestos. It's everywhere. Johnny's room is covered in it and every villain has some laying around. Just about everyone in Glenville later died from cancer. In this issue, Namor pulls a "torn bit of asbestos" out of his ass along with a statue that hypnotizes his opponents.
After screwing with his mind and beating him senseless, Namor sends the young punk home on the back of a dolphin.
Anyone else would know when they are beaten, but Johnny Storm eventually flies back to fight Namor again.
This time Namor gets buried under the ocean floor and Johnny leaves, thinking he has won, before Namor breaks free. I think Namor was just patronizing him this time (he is deliberately trying not to hurt him to stay on Sue's good side). Namor swims off, contemplating teaming up with the Torch at some future date to defeat the rest of the FF and conquer the world (he's a complicated man).
Johnny goes home and passes out, no longer concerned about impressing "Reed and the others" (it's all about Reed).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: No context dictating placement between FF issues.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Human Torch #7
I wonder if Martin Goodman dictated this story in an attempt to replicate the success of the Golden Age Torch vs. Sub-Mariner stories(which Stan had nothing to do with). If so, it didn't work.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 1:30 AM
-a nearby iceberg? where the heck are they? does the Torch have super speed cause i haven't seen any icebergs floating around near the northeast coast of the US.
-the Sub-Mariner's super strength (which he later uses to tunnel out of the ocean floor) is somehow not up to breaking out of an iceberg so he has to use his pufferfish powers instead??? in the words of Arte Johnson, "Very interesting....but shtupid."
-it's pretty clear that Johnny Storm is a psychopath. he causes wanton destruction to the ocean with his supernova trick (pretty sure instead of creating a pocket of oxygen as he boils away the ocean, he would actually burn away any breathable oxygen). he buries the Sub-Mariner alive in the "bowels of the earth" for no reason other than to prove himself to Reed. for all he knew, this could have killed the Sub-Mariner. and after committing murder and mayhem, he takes a nap. no crisis of conscience there. yeah, Johnny, you proved something alright.
Posted by: min | August 14, 2011 6:31 PM
"Namor swims off, contemplating teaming up with the Torch at some future date to defeat the rest of the FF and conquer the world (he's a complicated man)."
At this point, Namor still has partial amnesia (as per Destiny and the Serpent Crown brainwashing), so he doesn't necessarily remember a lot of his 1940's adventures. One could always assume that his stray thought about teaming up with the Torch was a sort of faint echo of his own memories of fighting (and then later teaming up with) the original Human Torch.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 23, 2014 1:44 AM
How could Reed afford a secretary? Any profit the FF makes goes into scientific research. You think he keeps Sue around just for her looks? [Ok, scratch that last thought.]
Posted by: ChrisW | April 8, 2016 11:17 PM
Well Reed does build a robot secretary later; probably for the better I presume.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 9, 2016 8:31 AM
I placed this one before FF#12 in my reading order.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 23, 2016 7:43 PM
"Puffer" Namor looks like he should be the Savage Sumo-Mariner.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | March 25, 2018 10:17 PM
Comments are now closed.
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