Strange Tales #118 (Human Torch)
Issue(s): Strange Tales #118 (Human Torch story only)
This is actually a pretty significant issue for the Wizard, because it's where he develops his anti-gravity discs that form the basis of his future arsenal (and allow him to adopt his "Wingless" adjective, although not until his next appearance).
While the discs are undeniably useful, the Wizard gets a little carried away imagining how much of a success they'll be.
After capturing Johnny, the Wizard disguises himself as Johnny and uses the element of surprise to capture Sue as well.
In case you're wondering how the Wizard became so good at disguises, he read a book in the prison library. It's also what allowed him to escape from jail. Doh! Someone needs to review the book selection more closely.
Johnny and Sue are trapped inside a giant replica of a box of matches that is lined with asbestos (natch).
Johnny locates the one tiny hole that is supplying his and Sue's oxygen and forces a flame through it to signal Reed and Ben.
After they are rescued, Johnny heads after the Wizard, who tries to escape by flying into the stratosphere where there's not enough oxygen for Johnny's flame. But the anti-gravity disc gets jammed and he seemingly floats up forever.
I also want to note that a lot of issues of Strange Tales show Johnny training in a fairly elaborate set-up, sometimes in his backyard and sometimes out on the edge of town. It's kind of cool how in the early stories Johnny was inexperienced, and his flame often died out, and at some point Marvel let him grow up a bit and his abilities increased power-wise, which you can attribute to his relentless early training.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Now, the problem here is that the Wizard is shown floating off into space. We next see him in a flashback in Fantastic Four #36 being rescued by Paste Pot Pete and the Sandman. By that point, Pete is wearing his new costume, which he won't don until Strange Tales #124. In FF #36 we see Pete escaping jail along with the Sandman, and Pete grabs a spare copy of his costume which he hid outside the prison grounds. Unless we want to assume that the Wizard floats in space during all the events in Strange Tales #119-124, which would be a long time even allowing for Sliding Timescale compression, something's got to happen out of publication order. The good news is that most of these solo Torch stories in Strange Tales are completely context free. In the Official Marvel Index to the Fantastic Four #3, George Olshevsky places this issue after Strange Tales #128 to account for that. Presumably he placed it after #128 instead of just directly after #124 to give Paste Pot Pete time to actually be in jail. It also has to take place after the Sandman goes to jail in Amazing Spider-Man annual #1. The MCP follows this placement as well.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Human Torch
I also use this placement for this story for the same reasons.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 30, 2016 10:30 PM
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