Sunday, July 4, 2010

Marvel History Post 22: Strange Tales # 102

Issue: Strange Tales # 102 Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Lieber Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: November 1962 Brief Summary: The Wizard is a super smart scientist who catches a newsreel of the Torch's exploits, and decides to pit his mental prowess against Torch's fire. He decides to make Torch come to him. He drills the world's largest hole (yup), which caves in, and thus Torch has to go rescue him. Torch does rescue him, and as reward the Wizard tells him he'd like to show the Torch the many inventions in his home. Torch goes with him there, where the wizard douses the Torch, and then forces him into...an asbestos room! With Torch trapped, Wizard uses a device to impersonate the Torch's power, and then goes out to discredit his good name. He does this by robbing banks, freeing prisoners, and the most dastardly deed of all, charging an enormous toll to cross a bridge! But, what the Wizard doesn't know is that Torch has found a way to generate enough heat for a short time to blaze through asbestos! Torch: 1, Asbestos: A lot. Torch catches up with the Wizard, who tells Torch he must meet back at the Wiz's house for the final test of power. Torch makes a phone call, and then goes off to see the Wizard (yuck, yuck). The Wizard has photos proving he impersonated Torch, but won't give them to the Wizard unless he kills the Wizard or flames off and fights him like a man. Otherwise, the Wizard will destroy the photos. But, the Torch makes the photos float out of the Wizard's hand, proving he is all powerful! How did he do it, kids? He made a call to that sis of his the Invisible Gal, and she grabbed the pics for him. The Wizard is whisked off to jail and the Torch's good name is cleared. Commentary: It doesn't seem that the Wizard is given the strongest motivation in the world for turning to evil. He's shown here as being a pretty prominent genius, and one that's done a thing or two to help humanity, so why attack the Torch? Still, he's not the first villain who's primary motivation is to prove he's better than the heroes, and he surely won't be the last. Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on this issue... Quick Thoughts:
  • Good to see the Torch finally got a hold of the whole asbestos as his Kryptonite thing
  • Nice cameo by the Invisible Girl in the issue.
  • The Wizard is one ugly guy! It seems only hero scientists are good looking in the MU
  • How the hell is the Wizard controlling the fire?
Favorite Panel:Here's the Wizard impersonating the Torch and setting up his toll on the bridge. The best thing about this is that there's a sheet of fire in front of all these people, and the one guy's biggest concern is that they're all going to have to back up and take the George Washington instead. Right. Next: Tales to Astonish # 37