Cover Date: September 1963
Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
“The Threat of the Living Bomb!”
Plotter: Stan Lee
Scripter: Jerry Siegel (credited as Joe Carter)
Penciller: Dick Ayers
Inker: Dick Ayers
What’s Going On?
When the villainous Eel unwittingly steals a nuclear reactor , a countdown is triggered. It’s up to the Human Torch to find the Eel and the device before the nuclear pile explodes!
Is It Good?
Not especially. The Eel is not a very interesting villain; to be fair, I think that was an intentional choice. The rest of the story deals with some public unrest regarding the Torch. Unfortunately, the Human Torch is obnoxious to the point where I was sympathizing with the people that were condemning him. The dull enemy and misfire of a B-plot adds up to another subpar Torch story.
- A TV broadcaster has been condemning Johnny on the air, and the people of Greenville have turned against the Human Torch.
- Johnny goes to the TV studio to confront the broadcaster, but it only exacerbates the problem.
- Meanwhile, the Eel stole something he didn’t understand, and wound up setting a nuclear device up to explode.
- The Human Torch tracks down and defeats the Eel, but reaches the nuclear device with only moments to spare.
- Johnny absorbs the heat of the explosion and successfully saves the town from destruction.
- Johnny was seriously injured by the bomb, but Mr. Fantastic is able to save his life. The general public — and the broadcaster that was smearing him — once again loves the Human Torch.
- This is the first appearance of the Eel, Leopold Stryke.
- Johnny can track something via fireball?
- Yet another nuclear explosion has gone off in the Marvel Universe.
Comics Are Goofy:
- The TV broadcaster accuses Johnny of being a glory hound and acting like he’s more important than normal people. Here’s the thing, though: the broadcaster is right! Johnny’s actions in this issue definitely support those claims, and his actions in previous issues show him to be a consistently obnoxious brat.
- This scientist is definitely speaking like a normal human would in this situation.
- Is this a design flaw, or a feature? Why would you ever not want the button pressed?
- There is an hour countdown on the nuclear device. Naturally, that is plenty of time for the Wizard to hear about it and be granted an audience with the warden.
- Johnny is given a tracking device to find the Eel, but he almost immediately breaks it by acting impetuously. Way to prove your critics right, Johnny!
- “Molecular flames”? That may be some of the dumbest pseudoscience I’ve seen in this series.
- The Eel has a gun that attracts water. How does that work, and why would you make such a device into a gun?
- Absorbing the heat from a nuclear blast is a smart move by Johnny. Too bad nukes have other side effects that he isn’t countering.
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- Thanks for the footnote. Without this, how would I be able to identify Sue’s gender?