Saturday, July 17, 2010

Marvel History Post 36: Strange Tales # 105

Issue: Strange Tales # 105 Writer: Stan Lee/Larry Lieber Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: February 1963 Brief Summary: The Wizard is still razzed about the Human Torch kicking his ass, so he devises a plan to escape prison. He then returns to his estate, which is just where the police expected him to go. However, they can't get to him, as there's a force field blocking their way. He demands a showdown with Torch, who's prepared to give him one. Torch is allowed into Wizard's estate, where the Wizard throws a number of death traps at him. Invisible Girl has gone after Torch as well, and the Wizard finds out she's on his property, and then catches her by spraying something that forces her to become visible again. He says he will Torch into the room she's in if Torch flames off, which he does. Now Torch and Invisible Girl are trapped in a room with a bomb set to go off in five minutes. Wizard also tells them that if the temperature in the room increases, the bomb will go off early, so no flaming on allowed. Sounds like a good plan in theory, but Torch stops the hammer set to trigger the bomb if the temperature rises, and then, able to flame on, he burns a whole through the wall, grabs the bomb, and shoots it far up into the sky, where it detonates harmlessly. Clearly the Wizard should have stuck with the asbestos dungeon death trap. Then Torch takes down the Wizard, who is put back into police custody. Commentary: There are still some cameos by the rest of the Fan 4 in these Torch centric stories, with Invisible Girl being given the largest role given her closer relationship with Torch. While it's hard to tell that the Fan 4 are going to turn into comics' closest family given the tension in their early stories, it is already clear that there is a strong brother-sister bond between Sue and Johnny. The Wizard, similar to Dr. Doom, has become hell bent on defeating his rival, so much to the point that it has become his chief act of villainy. After all, the Wizard probably could have escaped prison and then gone into hiding somewhere, but his vanity got the better of him as he demanded that he re-battle the Human Torch instead. It's odd to find a man so vain that's actually uglier than the Mole Man. Favorite Panel: Once you become a superhero, kid, you too can sit around and eat pie all day! Next: Tales to Astonish # 40