Fanastic Four #587: The Torch has passed: R.I.P. Johnny Storm
(Editor's Note: The news of The Human Torch's demise has spread like "wildfire" throughout the various media outlets and internet. So don't e-mail us about spoilers!)
By: Managing Editor Byron Brewer & Publisher/Editor Matt McGloin
News came down late Monday night/early Tuesday Morning that one of the Fantastic Four had met their demise. Marvel has just announced Fantastic Four #587 to go to second print with a special Variant Cover from none other than former Marvel EIC turned Marvel Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada. Reports of signed copies of Fantastic Four #587 from writer Jonathan Hickman are coming in. Cosmic Book News' own review of the issue gave it high marks with, "Hickman more than comes through in Fantastic Four #587, which comes as no surprise to those of us who have been following his run from Fantastic Four #570."
So now, like Thunderbird, Bill Foster and Uncle Ben – and maybe also like the Phoenix, Bucky and Captain America -- Johnny Storm has fought the good fight and perished in Fantastic Four before its coming relaunch. Will we ever see the brother of the Invisible Woman again?
Odds are in the affirmative, and hopefully a good while from now and when we least expect it!
It was with his sister Sue that the 16-year-old Johnny joined her fiancee Reed in a space flight. Riddled with cosmic radiation, Johnny transformed into a flaming monster when the flight crashed back to Earth. Calling himself the Human Torch, in tribute to the World War II-era hero of the same name, the youthful Johnny found new adventure as part of the Fantastic Four, proving to be an invaluable (if somewhat volatile) member of the team.
In the team's first appearance, he battled the Mole Man for the first time and was able to rescue the team from one of the Mole Man's monsters. He first fought the Skrulls soon after that. Falling out with his teammates after a battle with the Molecule Man, Johnny left the group and encountered the amnesiac World War II hero, the Sub-Mariner. Recognizing Namor from his old comic books, Johnny did one of the most monumental things in Marvel history: he dropped Namor into the sea, hoping to restore his memory. The plan worked, but after Namor found Atlantis in ruins he declared war on humanity. Johnny rejoined the Fantastic Four and they drove Namor off. So much for good deeds!
After graduating high school, Johnny enrolled at New York City's Metro College in February 1965, where he befriended his roommate Wyatt Wingfoot, who unfortunately was more interesting than the Torch. Shortly after this, he and the Fantastic Four first encountered Galactus and the Silver Surfer and, guided by the Watcher, the Torch took the flight of his life!
Soon, Johnny met the young Inhuman Crystal, whose elemental powers complemented his own well. It was love at first sight and Johnny, along with the rest of the Fantastic Four, helped her overthrow the mad Inhuman prince Maximus. Their love was passionate and Crystal joined the FF for a short time. But eventually she married Quicksilver and bore him a daughter.
Johnny eventually began an invigorating romance with blind sculptress Alicia Masters, former girlfriend of the Thing and the step-daughter of the Puppet Master. I loved it, but many fans despised the union. The couple eventually amrried, but the whole storyline was late retconned to reveal Johnny had not married Alicia buit instead the shapeshifted Skrull Lyja.
With the events leading up to superhero Civil War, public perception of powered heroes was at an all-time low. Johnny felt unaffected by the issue, and went to a nightclub with his girlfriend. Johnny was attacked and beaten severely. When he finally awoke none of his Fantastic Four teammates were there to greet him. Reed and Sue were too deeply involved with various crises (and someone had to watch the kids). The Thing had left for France, there to be involved in adventures of his own. After the death of Bill Foster (Goliath), during a battle between the two opposing factions, he went with his sister, Sue, to join Captain America’s so-called “Secret Avengers.” Through Nick Fury’s connections, the two were given new identities as husband and wife, which they accepted (with understandable reluctance and unintended humor, I am sure).
At the beginning of Civil War #7, Johnny made an attempt to sneak attack Iron Man from behind, but was deflected by his fist quite easily. At the end of the Civil War, all founding members eventually returned to the FF.
It must be noted, that during Hickman's run leading up to the events of Fantastic Four #587, that Johnny Storm seemed to be the least of the four to get the spotlight. Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards was the first, with his "Solve Everything" arc; Sue with her recent encounters with Namor; then of course there is the Ever Lovin' Blue Eyed Thing becoming a man. All the while, Johnny Storm seemed more a supporting character throughtout the arc. Perhaps, it just wasn't Johnny's time and as this issue shows -- The Human Torch would out shine them all.
And now we are … where? Awaiting another “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine?”
What I do know – because I have been around Marvel Comics since they actually had subplots, thought ballons and writing to enhance the art – is that Jonathan Lowell Spencer “Johnny” Storm will be back. You can bet on it.
Tell them you heard it at Cosmic Book News first!
FF #1 hits stores in March!