Human Torch 2003-2004

With the recent box office flop known as Fant4stic, I wanted to do some research on Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, to learn more about what the character is like. One people think about Johnny Storm they think about him being hotheaded, a speed demon, and a ladies man. And what would Johnny be without his family, the Fantastic Four? That last bit, however, isn’t really explored in this solo series, as Johnny is mostly solo throughout. So I guess the real question is can Johnny carry his own 12 issue series?

The first arc, which takes up half of the entire run, is Burn. In this story Johnny and his old friend from high school, Mike, team up to catch someone who murdered his firefighting chief, Vinnie. Mike picks Johnny to help him out because it looks like Vinnie just combusted for no reason, like a Human Torch. There’s some definite tension between Johnny and Mike because Johnny accidentally burned Mike during a small fight they got into back in school. At the core this is a murder mystery, with everybody at this fire station being the possible killer and I really enjoyed the suspense and mystery to it all. My only gripe would be the character Sheila Donner, a stereotypical paparazzi character who just annoys everyone and takes advantage of Johnny’s kindness.

Afterwards, we have the four issue arc, Plague of Locusts. Johnny and his assistant Jian go to the Balkans to uncover a secret experiment called the Locust Project. The Locust Project promises to end world hunger, but in an odd way, by shrinking people down to make the food bigger. Johnny becomes prisoner of the Locust King, and must escape with the help of the king’s daughter and one of Jian’s Balkan friends. This is also a pretty good arc, with some good action and humor, but a predictable twist.

The last two issues are two different stories from the rest. The first is a more serious issue where Johnny and his ex-girlfriend, Namorita, meet up at an Atlantean teleportation experiment. The artist on this issue changes, who gives this a much less cartoony style to match up with the subject matter. The last issue goes back to the cartoony style for an issue about Johnny and The Thing at a college football game. Dragon Man attacks while Ben and Johnny argue about the need for college. The ending to this is a little rushed, but it seems like this was intentional.

Final Thoughts: The very cartoon-like style for the first 7-8 issues, really made this more enjoyable. I wish this style was used more often

Rating: Full Price

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