Strange Tales #114 (Human Torch)
Issue(s): Strange Tales #114 (Human Torch story only)
Review/plot: Please don't reveal the surprise ending of this tale. The Human Torch nearly kills some of his buddies who interrupt his training...
...to tell him that Captain America is back.
Unfortunately, Captain America is helping some hoods rob Glenville. He's actually a bad guy that Johnny has fought before called the Acrobat. Even the Acrobat feels dirty about impersonating the great Captain America, although i'm sure getting to wack the Torch in the face with a wet mop makes him feel better.
Johnny gets trapped in an asbestos lined truck. Eventually he beats Captain America and figures out the truth. He goes back and reads some old comic books, which reveal Captain America's identity. That's going to be a problem when Cap really does come back!
The end caption says "You guessed it! This story was really a test! To see if you too would like Captain America to return! As usual, your letters will give us the answer!"
Also Doris Evans thinks Captain America is her idea of a real man, which pisses off Johnny who thought she didn't like super-heroes. But Cap is different. A girl could go for him. This infuriates Johnny so much that he bursts uncontrollably into flames, explodes his soda in a very unfortunate looking panel, and then burns all Doris' mother's linoleum floors. "Hello, hello," exclaims Doris on the phone, probably to some confused pizza guy. "Send some new linoleum over right away!" The kids in the sixties really were all wacked out on drugs.
Jim Shooter has a multi-part lecture on storytelling that uses this issue as an example. I'm know i'm unfairly hard on these Silver Age stories because they are kooky and clearly a product of their time, but if you read through his lecture it makes you realize how incredible the craftsmanship is in these issues and how much modern creators could learn from them.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Thank you for the link to Jim Shooter's lecture!
I love "comic theory" as it were.
Posted by: Ice | July 5, 2012 12:43 PM
Maybe the first clue that he wasn't the real Cap should have been those goofy red shorts he's wearing?
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 10, 2014 4:52 PM
Given the March '64 cover date for "Avengers" #4, I'd always assumed Lee and Kirby were inspired to bring Cap back after the Kennedy assassination. This issue was cover dated November '63, so much for that theory.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 9, 2016 2:16 AM
I placed this one between FF#19 and 20. I wrote my first fan letter after reading this one saying that yes I wanted to see Cap brought back. He is my all time favorite super-hero.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 25, 2016 7:44 PM
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