> Fantastic Four Masterworks Volume 6

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"There was another Human Torch...a much older one...more than 20 years ago! I don't remember too much about him, except that I saw him in action a few times during the war!"

-- Reed Richards, to Ben Grimm, page 2

Isn't there a saying about fire fighting something?


Fantastic Four Annual #4
November 1966 • 19 pages

Script: Stan Lee • Letters: Sam Rosen
Pencils: Jack Kirby • Inks: Joe Sinnott

Title: "The Torch That Was!"

First Appearance: Quasimodo

Villain: Mad Thinker, Quasimodo

Guest Appearance: Wyatt Wingfoot, Lockjaw, Human Torch I (Jim Hammond), Professor Horton (in flashback)

Origin: Human Torch I

Innovations: First Silver Age appearance of original Human Torch

Gadgets & Technology: Discipline Beam, Liquid Asbestos Solution, Aqua Chamber

Inside Front Cover: Link

Synopsis: The Fantastic Four are answering their fan mail when Ben comes across a letter asking about the original Human Torch. Reed tells the Thing that he saw the original Torch in the war but can't verify the rumors that he may not have been human. Just then Johnny and Wyatt Wingfoot appear inside the Baxter Building, led by the teleporting powers of Lockjaw. Johnny is frustrated that Lockjaw has not yet brought him to the Inhumans. Reed gives the giant dog a bucket of milk and as Lockjaw converts it into energy, it lets loose with a blast of electricity! They realize he was eating too much too fast.

Meanwhile, the Mad Thinker has discovered the original android Human Torch. After he awakens the Torch, the android recalls his creation at the hands of Professor Horton, and how he was stored inside a block of concrete and then escaped (see MARVEL COMICS #1), but he can't remember anything after that. But the Mad Thinker has done what Horton could not- he has found a way for the android to exist while exposed to oxygen without bursting into flame. The Mad Thinker demands that the android serve him as his slave, or he will destroy him with a great power at his disposal.

Johnny has retreated to a lonely desert landscape to test his nova flame, so that he could use it to break through the dome around the Great Refuge. Just then the original Human Torch appears from inside a tornado, declaring his intention that he has come to destroy his successor!

The original Human Torch has both experience and strength and soon gains the upper hand. He turns the nearby hills into lava. Johnny escapes into the caves and the two Torches battle beneath the earth. But the conflagration of their battle ignites the underground gasses surrounding them and explodes the entire hillside!

The Mad Thinker consults his living computer, Quasimodo, for updates on the battle between the Torches, but the computer is distracted. It begs the Mad Thinker for a body to so it can be free and live life just for a few moments as a human would. The Mad Thinker declares that he will never honor that request, that Quasimodo was built to serve his functions as a living computer, and he punishes him with a Discipline Beam. He then orders Quasimodo to throw the destruct switch on the android Torch upon his command.

Meanwhile, the two Torches are fiercely battling each other, literally fighting fire against fire. The Fantastic Four and Wyatt arrive to break up the fight between them. Just then, the Mad Thinker teleports the entire group into his lab. The android Torch realizes that he's been bidding an evil madman the whole time, and nobly charges him to end his menace. Quasimodo pulls the destruct switch and the original Human Torch dives away from the group as he realizes he's about to explode. His flame blazes beyond control and overloads his circuits.

The Mad Thinker escapes through an Aqua Chamber and the group lays the original Human Torch to rest, "reborn, only to die again" as Sue states. Lockjaw appears and Johnny and Wyatt leave with the beast. The rest of the Fantastic Four take their own leave, no one noticing Quasimodo trapped alone in his console.

--synopsis by Jonathan Clarke, aka doesitmatter, and Gormuu

--panel images provided by Jonathan Clarke, aka doesitmatter

--house ads provided by mdnitoil

Issues Reprinted
Fantastic Four #51-60, Annual #4

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


FF #51

FF #52

FF #53

FF #54

FF #55

FF #56


FF #57

FF #58

FF #59

FF #60


All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

Website design by Doug Roberts and John Thomas. All images on this site are copyright of Marvel Comics. This site is for reference purposes and promotion of the Masterworks line of books as well as Marvel Comics and their properties.

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