Characters Appearing: Human Torch, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thing
Strange Tales #128 (Human Torch)
Issue(s): Strange Tales #128 (Human Torch story only)
Magneto has taken the rest of the Brotherhood out for sundaes, and Quicksilver has apparently been waiting for this moment because he's got the suitcases packed and ready to go.
In the past we've seen the mutant siblings as reluctant members of the Brotherhood, but with no plans to leave. They owed Magneto a debt for saving Scarlet Witch's life from an anti-mutant mob, but Quicksilver says now that the debt is paid. The siblings decide that they should reach out to super-heroes for advice, and the Fantastic Four are the only super-heroes that have a public address (the address of the Avengers Mansion should be publicly known at this time as well, but perhaps Wanda and Pietro aren't aware of that).
Unfortunately only the Human Torch and the Thing are home at the Baxter Building and as they proved with Namor's attempted visit a few issues back, they are exactly the wrong people for potentially reforming villains to approach. To make matters worse, the X-Men have apparently released "official photos" of the Brotherhood, and the public is urged to be on the lookout for dangerous mutants.
This seems incredibly out of character for the X-Men, and a bad way to promote acceptance of mutants amongst the public. The last thing the X-Men want is for citizens to be going around suspiciously hunting for scary-looking mutants. Maybe the X-Men only released the photos to the FBI but they got leaked to the press, and the rest is just scaremongering by the media. Or someone higher up than Agent Duncan decided to betray their trust. In any event it seems to be an outreach attempt gone horribly wrong.
The most immediate effect, of course, is what happens when Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch show up at the Baxter Building.
After a long misunderstanding fight which ends with the Scarlet Witch summoning up a giant storm...
...the mutant siblings decide to return to Magneto.
Quicksilver will one day have a turbulent connection with the Fantastic Four when he marries into the Inhumans, so it's interesting to note the fact that they started off on the wrong foot here. More importantly, while there's been a lot of hints in the X-Men series, this is the first time Stan Lee really plays with the idea that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver might seek redemption. In their next appearance in X-Men, the Brotherhood breaks up due to reasons unrelated to their actions, so there won't be any further development for them until they apply to join the Avengers.
Because we can't go an entire issue of Strange Tales without someone inhaling some asbestos, there's a weird extended scene where the Thing has to don an asbestos suit to fight Quicksilver while the speedster is trapped in the Human Torch's flame net.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between FF #33-34.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Human Torch
Frank Ray is a pseudonym for Frank Giacoia.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 17, 2012 5:56 PM
Credits updated (i incorrectly listed Paul Reinman, inker for the previous issue). Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 17, 2012 6:21 PM
It's not necessarily a bad idea for the X-Men to release photos of the Brotherhood directly to the people at this time. While its mentioned mutants are distrusted, we don't see anywhere near the hostility and fear until the Sentinels storyline and afterwards.
Xavier obviously created the X-Men as an attempt to benefit from the goodwill and popularity of the new superheroes. He could be trying to distinguish, in the public mind, the difference between heroic mutants and villainous mutants, and cement the idea that heroic mutants are no different than other heroes.
The Brotherhood is a threat to humanity, and not giving the authorities and the public information about them could lead to harm. Also, since the Brotherhood are already known terrorists, it's not like they are exposing unknown mutants to hatred. If the X-Men didn't somehow relate what information is known about them, then that silence might be considered evidence of something wrong happening!
The idea that only the X-Men should be the ones fighting mutants, and that Xavier can somehow limit that isn't going to happen. The public and other heroes will encounter them at some point. Trying to associate the X-Men more with "heroes" and less with mutant solidarity is not an inherently bad strategy.
Posted by: Chris | January 11, 2014 3:19 PM
Is it really possible that the thing may get burned by the torch's flame?
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | January 23, 2016 9:45 PM
In the earliest FF stories Thing wasn't as invulnerable as he would be later. Or rather, the characters didn't know how invulnerable he was. Johnny used his flame to keep him in line a lot in the early days and I remember at least once where Thing was concerned about getting shot so he must not have known he was bulletproof yet.
Posted by: Robert | January 23, 2016 9:51 PM
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