Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #103

“Prisoner of the 5th Dimension”

Cover Date: December 1962

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

While hanging out in his hometown, the Human Torch hears about a housing development whose homes are sinking into the ground, against all logic. When Torch stakes the area out to investigate, he observes a man with some green-skinned humanoids. When Torch confronted the man, he revealed himself to be from the 5th Dimension.

The alien promptly captures the Torch and brings him to the 5th Dimension. Once there, the local warlord was kind enough to explain his dastardly plot.

Torch is held captive only for a little while; there is a rebellious underground in the 5th Dimension opposed to the militaristic Zemu. Torch joins the resistance, but can he lead them to victory? (Yes.)

Is It Good?

As much as I appreciate a Scooby-Doo-villain-in-a-rubber-mask twist, this issue is only okay, at best. This is another one-off sci-fi story, and that’s about all I can say about it.

Sub-Plots:

  • Apparently, the Fantastic Four have adventures without Johnny regularly enough for him to not be surprised or offended by it.
  • Johnny saves the day in the 5th Dimension with ease **cough**cough**white savior**cough** and naturally has an alien girl fall in love with him.

Continuity:

  • The Torch can now control the amount of smoke he generates?
  • This is the first appearance of the 5th Dimension, as well as its inhabitants: Valeria, Phineas, and the evil Zemu.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Oh yes, this seems like a normal conversation between high school students.
  • Why would anyone ever create asbestos-covered bullets?
  • The Human Torch, leader of men, and eloquent skywriter.

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