Strange Tales #134 (Human Torch & Thing)
Issue(s): Strange Tales #134 (Human Torch & Thing story only)
Human Torch & Thing
It's possibly because Kang was only here to fool around and pass the time. He sure looks bored once he's taken over King Arthur's court.
The MCP lists the "Merlin" in this story as Maha Yogi, the long-lived mutant who masqueraded as Merlin, as opposed to the actual Merlin.
There's no indication in this issue that that is the case; Merlin is actually on the good guys' side in this story. But it's confirmed in the back-up in Avengers annual #22.
Additionally, it seems that Kang has speculated in Thor Annual #17 (part of the Citizen Kang crossover) that the Watcher appearing in this story was actually Immortus in disguise. If so, it explains the fact that the Watcher would get so involved, especially in a time-travel related story (See Nathan Adler's Fanfix for an expansion on this theory, that goes as far as to speculate that Merlin and Immortus are one and the same as well). The MCP still lists the Watcher as a Character Appearing, however.
This is the last issue of Strange Tales to feature the Human Torch and the Thing. They're replaced by Nick Fury next issue. The series was never of good quality, and it also felt a bit redundant with frequent appearances by the rest of the FF and especially after the Thing permanently became a co-star. Of course by modern standards Marvel was being remarkably restrained having only a single spin-off series of their most popular book.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Strange Tales #132-134 take place between FF #37-38. See the Considerations note on FF #37 for more. I unfortunately have FF #37-38 in a single reprint, so i've placed these issues immediately afterward. Note that as always, i don't track locals (i.e. "Merlin"/Maha Yogi) in time travel stories. I'm not even sure where this Kang appearance really takes place (but MCP does have it in his standard publication chronology, between Avengers #11 and #16).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showHuman Torch, Invisible Woman, Kang, Mr. Fantastic, Thing, Uatu the Watcher
In the Alan Moore/ Alan Davis Captain Britain strip in particular British comic Daredevils #1, there's a moment where Roma is chastising her father for not showing himself to Brian Braddock at a crucial juncture and providing vital information, Merlin shifts appearance over a succession of panels including to the Silver Age Marvel version of Merlin.
So is it actually true that Maha Yogi masqueraded as this Merlin or was he always Roma's father?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | May 28, 2012 6:36 PM
I agree the Torch (and later Torch/Thing) stories were not good. I think there were a few that were entertaining in one way or another but nothing on the level of the better Marvel books at the time. The art was flat and the writing uninspired. It reads like it was aimed at a pre-teen audience (and maybe it was, IDK). Still, on the whole I don't think it was as hard to get through as the Pym stuff or early DD (which, as I currently try to get through, I am trying my hardest not to dub Boredevil).
Posted by: Robert | February 16, 2016 4:37 PM
I did like the cover to this one, though:
Posted by: Robert | February 16, 2016 4:46 PM
The Torch book was an interesting experiment, more or less riding on the success of Spider-Man's initial popularity with the idea that there could be two teen heroes running around. But of course what made Spider-Man the success it was isn't just that he was a teenager but because of the Lee/Ditko collaborations that gave him dramas and angst. Johnny didn't have any of that and was just "a teen hero fighting things in some town that may or may not remember he's a F4 member too". The only advantage that this series (compared to, say, Speedball) has is that it was early enough in Marvel where it wasn't a bad idea to try things even if they weren't successful; that and it probably was good for the development of some early and key characters on the villain side, namely the two future Frightening Four members (Wizard and Paste-Pot Pete), as well as the Beetle (who at least was strong enough a concept to be taken up by other heroes as a threat before becoming a Thunderbolt) and, surprisingly, Plantman.
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 17, 2016 8:52 AM
Wood drew another story about superheroes in King Arthur's court in the 70s for ALL-STAR COMICS #64. Paul Levitz was credited as the writer there, but the GCD credits Wood as having co-plotted. This makes me wonder if he co-plotted here.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 16, 2016 9:53 AM
I liked this one but then I love both time travel stories and King Arthur. I'm not for sure if this was the Warlock or not. All I know is that at some point the Warlock impersonated Merlin while he was imprisoned by Nimue AKA the Lady of the Lake until Merlin escaped and with the help of Sersi the Eternal imprisoned the Warlock who sometime after being friend in the present era took on the name Maha Yogi.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 31, 2016 10:39 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|