Wednesday, March 18, 2009

History of the Marvel Universe, April 1963, part 2


We finally get a sincerely entertaining Human Torch story. It seems that once that secret identity nonsense was finally kicked out of the series, it made room for some nice, straightforward action tales. The cover is pretty cool, as well.

Johnny is in a bit of a funk because he thinks the rest of the FF considers him to be just a kid. So he opts to fly out to see and take on the Sub-Mariner all by himself.

There’s a fun bit where, with his flame running out while over the ocean, he’s forced to land on a merchant ship. Unable to flame on again until he rests awhile, the rest of the crew assume he’s just a stowaway. He’s thus put to work swapping the decks.

But eventually he’s able to flame on again. He soon locates Namor by leaving challenges written in the air with fiery letters and heating up the ocean waters. This annoys Namor sufficiently to get the fight started.


After this, artist Dick Ayers provides us with seven pages of well-choreographed action, with the battle ending in a more-or-less draw. This fight is the meat of the story, of course. It doesn’t make for a gourmet meal, but it’s a tasty treat all the same.


Loki is still confined to Asgard by Odin, but that doesn’t stop the god of mischief from granting incredible mental powers to a circus side-show performer named Sandu. Saudu starts a campaign of crime, levitating away banks and jewelry stores, taking the valuables, then teleporting the empty buildings to the moon.

Thor intervenes and gets a building or two dropped on him. Eventually, Sandu pretty much defeats himself when he short-circuits his powers by trying to levitate Thor’s enchanted hammer. It’s a nice little twist to bring a pretty good story to an end. Lee and Kirby seem to have pretty much settled down to throwing the sort of cosmic-level threats at Thor that present the Thunder God with a real challenge.

Next time, we’ll move on to May 1963. The FF will encounter a pair of old enemies; Thor will go up against Loki more directly; Iron Man battles Dr. Strange (no, not THAT Dr. Strange); Ant Man is turned into an old man; and the Human Torch fights an evil, um, artist.


  1. If my jewelry store was levitated to the Moon, do I still have to pay my Mortgage? Congress should look into this.

  2. I shudder to think what the tax laws and insurance regulations in the Marvel Universe must be like.


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