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598: Fantastic Four Annual #4

" The Torch that Was "
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Fantastic Four #4
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Editor-in-Chief: Stan Lee
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby
Writers: Stan Lee
Pencilers: Jack Kirby
Inkers: Joe Sinnott
Letterers: Sam Rosen
Editors: Stan Lee
Cover Date: November 1966
Release Date: August 1966
Story Arc: -
Pages: 19
Cover Price: $0.25
Times Read: 619                 Times Rated: 360
Plot Flags:  
Universes:   Earth-616  
Go to Issue #3 Go to Issue #5a

Strange Tales #157a (v1)
Strange Tales #158a (v1)
Fantastic Four #4
Fantastic Four #57 (v1)
Fantastic Four #58 (v1)
596: Strange Tale...
#157a (v1)
597: Strange Tale...
#158a (v1)
599: Fantastic Fo...
#57 (v1)
600: Fantastic Fo...
#58 (v1)
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Strange Tales #157a (v1)
Universe Tag
Strange Tales #158a (v1)
Universe Tag
Fantastic Four #4
Universe Tag
Fantastic Four #57 (v1)
Universe Tag
Fantastic Four #58 (v1)
Universe Tag
Strange Tales #157a (v1)
Strange Tales #158a (v1)
Fantastic Four #57 (v1)
Fantastic Four #58 (v1)
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Issue Blurb
The Mad Thinker is back with a new plan to bring down the FF! Will his new super-computer and the return of a classic character spell the end of Marvel's original super hero team?
Issue Detail Divider
Character Appearances
Main Characters
  Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic last appeared in Strange Tales #156a (v1). Mr. Fantastic next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
  The Invisible Girl
The Invisible Girl last appeared in Strange Tales #156a (v1). The Invisible Girl next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
  The Thing
The Thing last appeared in Strange Tales #156a (v1). The Thing next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
  The Human Torch
The Human Torch last appeared in Strange Tales #156a (v1). The Human Torch next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
Supporting Characters
  Wyatt Wingfoot
Wyatt Wingfoot last appeared in Fantastic Four #56 (v1). Wyatt Wingfoot next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
Lockjaw last appeared in Fantastic Four #56 (v1). Lockjaw next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
  Phineas Horton
Phineas Horton last appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #39a. Phineas Horton next appears in Avengers #133 (v1). He appears only in a flashback.
  The Mad Thinker
The Mad Thinker last appeared in Tales of Suspense #72a (v1). The Mad Thinker next appears in Avengers #39 (v1).
First Appearance
This is the first appearance by Quasimodo in the mainstream continuity. Quasimodo next appears in Fantastic Four Annual #5c.
  The Human Torch
The Human Torch last appeared in Captain America Comics #78d. The Human Torch next appears in Marvel Super-Heroes #16b (v1).
Group Appearances
The Fantastic Four (Roster I)
The Fantastic Four last appeared in Strange Tales #156a (v1). The Fantastic Four next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
The Inhumans
The Inhumans last appeared in Fantastic Four #56 (v1). The Inhumans next appears in Fantastic Four #57 (v1).
Issue Detail Divider
Issue Notes

Why Essential Notes

The original Human Torch (Jim Hammond) has his first Silver Age appearance in this issue.
Issue Detail Divider
Issue Review
There is no review of this issue.
Issue Detail Divider
Issue Synopsis
As Reed, Sue, and Ben are going through their fan mail, Ben is puzzled when one of them is asking if they know anything about the original Human Torch. Reed explains that over twenty years ago, there was another hero with the same name whom he saw in action in World War II.

They are startled when Johnny and Wyatt suddenly materialize in the room with Lockjaw at their side. The boy explains to his teammates how they found the pooch and how they used his inter-dimensional teleporting powers to try and penetrate the Negative Zone, with no conclusive results yet. He adds that all attempts have failed because Lockjaw was trained to lead strangers away from the Inhumans so Johnny is desperate that he will never see Crystal again. They decide to feed him a giant bowl of milk to persuade him to stay, but instead, the dog eats it so fast that it causes an energy blast around him.

Somewhere else, in a lab, the Mad Thinker opens a nitrogen chamber inside which stands the original Human Torch. As he comes out, the android tells him of his origin. He was created by Professor Horton as the first android. The only problem with Horton's invention was that he would burst into flames whenever he was in contact with oxygen. While the professor was demonstrating the android to the press, everyone told him to destroy him. But instead, Horton had decided to place him in solid concrete while he would continue his research. However a crack in the concrete had allowed some oxygen to seep through, enabling the android to break free.

The Human Torch concludes by saying that he remembers nothing after that and wonders how he can now walk outside without bursting into flame. The Thinker explains that he found a way to control his flame and tells him that he's giving him a mission of destruction. He makes it very clear that he can easily terminate him if he does not comply.

While Reed is studying Lockjaw's powers, Johnny travels out to the desert to try to find a way to break through the Negative Zone using focused fire beams. Soon, the boy's experiments are interrupted by a tornado. When it stops, the original Human Torch emerges and apparently knows who Johnny is. The android announces that he was ordered to vanquish him. He attacks and Johnny soon finds out that his opponent is stronger than he, so he tries to escape.

The younger Torch reaches some underground caves and tries to rest. The nova force he used during his experiment has drained him of his power and now he is exhausted. The android finally finds him but apparently he has run out of energy as well. He tells Johnny that he does not wish to harm him but he is forced to do so by the Thinker. Storm deduces that he means the Mad Thinker and because of the villain's expertise in androids, he deduces that his adversary is not human.

While they are both out of flame, Johnny engages his foe in a fist fight. But the original Torch has restored his power and strikes back with a flame blast. He tries to give the boy a chance to flee, saying that he can stall for time when he gets back to his master. When asked why he is so scared of the Mad Thinker, the android explains that it is because of Quasimodo, a dangerous and complex computer. As they fight, a vein of natural gas is suddenly exposed to their flames causing a huge explosion.

As a result, the Mad Thinker is no longer able to monitor the fight. He activates Quasimodo who confirms that both opponents are still alive. The machine offers to trigger the destruct cell inside the android, claiming that he could serve him better if the Thinker gave him a human form. But the mad man denies him that favor, saying that the face that he allowed him to form is all that the machine is going to get. He adds that giving him a name was a mistake, as it should have remained a Quasi-Motivational Destruct Organ. After the Thinker submits him to his Discipline Beam, Quasimodo has no choice but to obey.

Having survived the gas explosion by flaming on first, both Torches resume their battle. The original Torch being far more experienced at fighting than Johnny, he once more gets the upper hand. The fight is interrupted when the Fantastic Four and Wyatt appear thanks to Lockjaw. Using a special lotion on their own hands and bodies, the Thing and Mr. Fantastic are able to separate the adversaries. Reed tries to offer his help to the android, but with no more success than Johnny.

Without notice, Lockjaw transports the whole group to the Mad Thinker's lab using the android's thought waves. When the villain threatens to destroy everyone, the original Torch can no longer take it and turns against his master. The Thinker activates Quasimodo who triggers a detonator that dissolves the nitrogen coating on the android's skin, causing him to overheat and self-destroy. The commotion allows the Mad Thinker to escape in a miniature submarine.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Fantastic Four are saddened by the short-lived rebirth of the legendary Human Torch. When Lockjaw shows signs that he's about to teleport, Johnny and Wyatt join the beast to resume their search for the Inhumans. As the other Fantastic Four are about to leave, Quasimodo's supplications to make him human are left unheard, then die off.
Issue Detail Divider
  Mr. M. Says:    
  2012-07-25 19:56:08  
  I love the idea of bringing the original Human Torch into picture. Execution could be better but still. I always enjoy reading Golden Age heroes in 'centemporary' environment, except for Namor. Also Quasimodo's finale is a nice idea and even touching in its corny way.  

  Webslinger Says:    
  2013-03-06 23:05:14  
  Quasimodo finale was a nice idea, I second that.  

  Robareid Says:    
  2013-07-12 06:23:11  
  Mad Thinker and only went grey at the end there  

  leisch Says:    
  2013-08-12 12:56:13  
  The Torchbattle was great as was the new character of Quasimodo but the Thinker is still a lame villain.  

  Raistlin903 Says:    
  2014-01-20 21:58:38  
  Return of the Original Human Torch was actually a pretty good story......  

  duncanm Says:    
  2014-02-25 17:06:54  
  Well it was cool to see the original Torch in action again, but what the heck is up with Quasimodo? That thing is just weird. He looks like the Hulk with Down's Syndrome...  

  Anonymous Says:    
  2014-05-03 11:25:41  
  The original Torch looks ike they put so much more effort into his design when he's enflamed.  

  gloomyharvester Says:    
  2014-08-04 00:22:23  
  That ending with Quasimodo; shades of HAL 9000. Although this was several years before 2001, so more likely HAL was an echo of Quasimodo. Nice touch, at any rate.  

  TheAmazingGatorMan Says:    
  2014-09-01 14:43:27  
  I agree, the original Torch looks much better. While I like the idea of bringing the original flame head back, I thought the story was lacking. I gave it 3 stars.  

  specialque Says:    
  2014-09-08 08:38:19  
  After reading Marvel Comics: the Untold Story I've been somewhat dreading reading this issue since the story behind it is all kinds of disgusting. Basically, the year this issue was about to come out Carl Burgos was about to finally get creator credit and ownership of the original Human Torch character because Marvel hadn't used it in years. Marvel had no reason to bring the original Torch back, but because this happened to be the year where Burgos would get ownership over the character he created, Marvel created this issue specifically to destroy his chances of ever owning the original Human Torch.

That said, this was the first time that I've ever been happy that a Fantastic Four story was mediocre and just not very good. I liked how the story ended, but the original Torch's reappearance was every bit as pointless as its history suggests, so now I can one-star this atrocity with no problem.

  Safis Says:    
  2014-09-23 23:30:00  
  I love the way each of the Torches was drawn in a unique style. This way it was easy to keep track of who's who. It also reminds me of the solo Human Torch stories and in particular I noticed how much better the art has gotten in the intervening years!  

  MattzLadd Says:    
  2014-10-15 16:40:56  
  Much flame. Good issue. I too prefer ol' Jim's hairstyle.  

  skerit Says:    
  2014-11-03 17:16:11  
  Quasimodo made me think of Tyrion a lot.

And yes, the original torch looked much better.

  opusaug @ specialque (original post):    
  2014-11-09 15:22:36  
  Cry me a river. Nobody put a gun to his head when he cashed his check.  

  Locust75 Says:    
  2014-11-29 18:27:18  
  3 stars for the 1st modern app of the original Human Torch, and the 1st app of Quasimodo!!!

Insider - Is this the 1st time to have a table of contents on the inside cover?

Location - So, I guess the Inhumans Great Refuge is now in the Himalayans. When, before it was in the Andes!!! (FF 47)

Man's Best Friend - Ol' Lovable Lockjaw! I always thought it would be cool to have him pop up more in other titles. Seen in the background just chewing on things!

Flame Off - So, Johnny goes all the way from New York to the West to try out his power!?

Inconceivable - And of course, the Mad Thinker calculated that Johnny would be in that area, and built a lab there months in advanced!!??

Splash - Great image of the Torches head butting each other!

Just For Men - @Robareid: I agree; the Mad Thinker was so scared it turned his hair white!

Loose Ends - How are Reed, Sue, and Ben supposed to get back home? Lockjaw teleported them before. Did Reed just left the original Human Torch at the Mad Thinker's base alone with Quasimodo???

'Nuff Said - "He was amazing! There seemed to be nothing he couldn't do with that flaming body of his!"-Impressionable Reed

  ClownShoes Says:    
  2015-06-10 12:00:10  
  ...and like a sitcom, eveyone's back where they started at the end of the story (mostly regarding Johnny, Wyatt, and Lockjaw teleporting in at the start and out at the end)


  g2thet Says:    
  2015-06-18 19:02:52  
  The original human torch in modern marvel. Decent story, could have been better.
3 Stars

  Vancelot Says:    
  2015-07-22 23:40:03  
  Good fun for an Annual. I enjoyed it a lot.  

  Bramwell Says:    
  2015-07-23 03:32:14  
  The Torch fighnt was good and I actually like the art for the original torch better. I'm also starting to really like Lockjaw. There's something magical a put a giant dog randomly telepprting around.  

  Beaustaff Says:    
  2015-09-09 11:02:26  
  I thought this issue was just meh.  

  GroovyGolem Says:    
  2015-12-02 18:07:44  
  I liked that this annual maintained the existing continuity of the main storyline without just being a one-off story.

Gotta love that old Silver Age sensitivity with Ben calling Wyatt "Geronimo."

And speaking of Wyatt, is anyone else disturbed by how smooth and shiny he always looks? It's a little weird.

I thought for sure Locust's 'Nuff Said quote would be the one about Johnny heating up his body for maximum penetration. Oh well!

  wingot Says:    
  2016-05-17 23:44:41  
  I enjoyed it but it did also feel very short, especially for an annual. Possibly part of why it was enjoyable though.  

  Russ Says:    
  2016-10-01 09:41:30  
  It could've been better but the story was still pretty good. I couldn't help but chuckle at Quasimodo's sentiments at the end of the story but it did have some pathos behind it, which isn't a bad thing at all.

And the way the android Torch was drawn was fabulous. (Sorry, I really can't call him the HUMAN Torch). I honestly don't care if it was a gratuitous, unnecessary appearance; characters are created to be used if they're liked well enough. And maybe Marvel WAS getting mail asking about the original Torch.

As far as @specialique's comment goes, I know there were new Torch stories published by Atlas in 1954-5, and then Johnny Storm's publication in 1961 likely rendered the copyright issue moot anyway. Carl Burgos attempted to bring a lawsuit to Marvel concerning rights and ownership of the Human Torch in 1964, but nothing came of it. I'm not really an expert on copyright laws, but I don't think the rights would've automatically reverted to Burgos in 1966, although he and Marvel were clearly in dispute at the time. Anyway, that's my two cents on the subject. Anyone else have anything that can shed light on this?

  skabeaters Says:    
  2016-12-10 18:32:02  
  I finally get it! You've got to fight fire, WITH fire!  

  TonyRolloBrownTown Says:    
  2017-03-19 15:54:25  
  Johnny's more annoying than Anakin from Attack of the Clones. No joke.  

  dadoodoflow Says:    
  2017-03-20 21:30:06  
  Any panel contains Lockjaw is instantly five stars  

  kungfufan Says:    
  2017-04-17 11:12:02  
  Liked the return of the original Human Touch (I'm a reader of Golden Age too), and hope he'll be back, but by golly, for an annual, that story went by quick. Quasimodo was sorely underused, hope we'll be seeing him again too.  

  JonahBlack Says:    
  2017-05-25 11:25:31  
  Oh my god, enough about Crystal! Now that Jane Foster is out of the picture, this is my least favorite 'relationship' in the order (though, I'm not reading Daredevil, so YMMV).

I mostly liked the rest of it, and I really liked how Lockjaw was used - especially him taking them all to the Thinker's hideout.

  Leander Malurt Says:    
  2017-06-19 11:21:17  
  Fun average annual, but this time was a good average. Then there's the introduction of the original Human Torch. Not only was that pretty cool, but the fact that Marvel already then cared about and wanted to finish the old and forgotten characters (unlike Cap) is brilliant. So 4 stars for this ish  

  jakeisquite Says:    
  2017-11-16 00:19:47  
  The first monster of the week story I've enjoyed in quite awhile. Another cool throwback after the shield story too.  

  RobinHoodMtl @ JonahBlack (original post):    
  2018-03-18 00:53:47  
  • Yes. I find Lockjaw's random teleporting quite amusing! You never know where you're going to end up! Crystal should so create a travel agency!

      RobinHoodMtl Says:    
      2018-03-18 00:59:06  
    • That's my line "I would rather return to the nothingness of android's death, than to stand idly by while murder is done!" (The original Torch)

    • As much as I hate when the authors pit super-heroes against one another, I was always curious to see how both Human Torches would fare if they ever fought. Also, I like that they gave the original Human Torch a different flame aspect that looks more... vintage! I totally agree that he looks way better than the new one. The details and the coloring are much more interesting

    • A battle between two flaming heroes is the perfect pretext to offer very colorful panels, to say the least.

    • Quasimodo is a very interesting entity. This kind of story has been the bread of butter of sci-fi authors for decades, from Asimov to current days TV series like Westworld. I hope they writers will take this a little further because the ending here was very well handled.

    • The liquid asbestos lotion made me smile. It has been a while since we heard of anything related to asbestos. Kinda reminds you of the good old days with the Torch solo stories, right?.... NYOOOOOPE!

    • Quasimodo should have done us a favor by getting confused and deactivating the other Torch instead. Imagine that: a better hero, more mature, no more whining, better looks. On the other hand, if this means that Toro could show up at any moment, forget I ever mentioned it!

    • I was really looking forward to reading this issue and learn how they would bring back the original Human Torch from the Golden Age. He was one of the most enduring super-hero of the time and it makes sense that he would eventually reappear, like Sub-Mariner and Captain America did. This story was truly worthy of an annual issue, but due to the Mad Thinker I hate this villain with all my soul I cannot give a perfect 5.

    Issue Detail Divider
    Fantastic Four Omnibus, Volume 2
    This collection includes Fantastic Four #31 (v1), Fantastic Four #33 (v1), Fantastic Four #34 (v1), Fantastic Four #35 (v1), Fantastic Four #36 (v1), Fantastic Four #37 (v1), Fantastic Four #38 (v1), Fantastic Four #39 (v1), Fantastic Four #40 (v1), Fantastic Four #41 (v1), Fantastic Four #42 (v1), Fantastic Four #43 (v1), Fantastic Four Annual #3, Fantastic Four #44 (v1), Fantastic Four #45 (v1), Fantastic Four #46 (v1), Fantastic Four #47 (v1), Fantastic Four #48 (v1), Fantastic Four #49 (v1), Fantastic Four #50 (v1), Fantastic Four #51 (v1), Fantastic Four #52 (v1), Fantastic Four #53 (v1), Fantastic Four #54 (v1), Fantastic Four #55 (v1), Fantastic Four #56 (v1), Fantastic Four Annual #4, Fantastic Four #57 (v1), Fantastic Four #58 (v1), Fantastic Four #59 (v1), Fantastic Four #60 (v1)
    Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four, Volume 6
    This collection includes Fantastic Four #51 (v1), Fantastic Four #52 (v1), Fantastic Four #53 (v1), Fantastic Four #54 (v1), Fantastic Four #55 (v1), Fantastic Four #56 (v1), Fantastic Four Annual #4, Fantastic Four #57 (v1), Fantastic Four #58 (v1), Fantastic Four #59 (v1), Fantastic Four #60 (v1)
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    Date User Name Update
       March 22, 2018 RobinHoodMtl Changed comic details.
       March 22, 2018 RobinHoodMtl Added synopsis for this issue.
       January 31, 2018 TStarnes
       January 15, 2018 Urgat
       November 24, 2017 TStarnes
       November 21, 2017 TStarnes
       May 23, 2014 TStarnes Updated the listing for Phineas Horton.
       May 23, 2014 TStarnes Updated the listing for The Human Torch.
       January 11, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for Lockjaw.
       January 11, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for The Human Torch.
       January 11, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for The Thing.
       January 11, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for The Invisible Girl.
       January 11, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for Mr. Fantastic.
       January 11, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for The Fantastic Four.
       July 22, 2013 fragsel Updated the listing for The Inhumans.
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