Friday, October 02, 2009

Hey, it turns out The Human Torch was kind of a dick too

Among the many things that Golden Age Namor, The Sub-Mariner was famous for were a) the fact that he was an incredible prick and b) his many spectacular battles with the Golden Age Human Torch.

But did you know that The Human Torch was also a bit of a prick? It's true, as I learned from a story originally created by Carl Burgos for 1940's Marvel Mystery Comics #8 (reprinted in 1997 trade paperback The Golden Age of Marvel Comics).

Let's examine the evidence, shall we?

This Human Torch story was, according to Roy Thomas' introduction to the collection, one of a pair of stories showing the same events from both the Torch's perspective and Namor's. As the story involves the Torch flying around New York City witnessing various forms of wreckage wreaked by Namor and pausing long enough to repair the damage, I'm fairly positive that the Namor half of the story was the one I posted about here.

As our story begins, the Human Torch has been made a member of the New York Police Department and charged with capturing Namor. He tells no one in particular that he's been flying around for hours without seeing a single sign of the Sub-Mariner, before landing and flaming-off in front of a police cruiser.
He then proceeds to bum a ride off of them. Can't you fly, Torch? What's the big idea?

At headquarters, he threatens to punch out the chief of police, and then melts a giant hole right through his superior officer's office wall. No time to open a window!
"Hot tempered lad!...He'll be a worthy opponent for the Sub-Mariner," the chief says while staring out the gaping hole, before barking at an underling to get the mason to patch up the wall and call out the riot squad.

Torch finds a smashed commuter train and stops to mend the rails and wheels when a nearby workman tells him that a dame wants to see him.

The dame is police woman Betty Dean, "The Sub-Mariner's only friend!", and she tries to discourage the Torch from provoking Namor.
Ha ha ha! She said Namor's dangerous when aroused! It's funny because aroused has more than one meaning, one of which is sexual! Hee hee!

Before the Torch can ask Betty how she knows so much about what Namor is like when he's aroused, the police radio crackles with news of a Namor sighting at the Empire State Building. What's he doing there? Oh, nothing much. Just ripping off the spire and throwing it at a baby!

"Step on it, Betty!" the Torch commands, but she can't, she's stuck in a traffic jam. So the Torch doesn't waste a second opening the car door, but melts his way straight through the roof of her car, setting it on fire!
He then takes a few panels to absorb the flames from her car before they can burn her to death and/or reach the gas tank and cause an explosion.
Surely it would have been quicker to get out of the car and then fly away, wouldn't it? I like how slow Torch is to realize that he nearly killed Betty too, saying in the second to last panel, "Betty looked kind of scared!"

Jeez, what's with these dames, anyway? Set their car on fire and suddenly they're scared.

Torch arrives too late at the Empire State Building, but manages to rescue some people trapped under the wreckage. Then he helps police and zoo keepers round up a bunch of animals that Namor freed from their cages.

Oh, and he totally kills a gorilla:

He finally finds Namor at the George Washington Bridge, and after the eleven-page, 82-panel search, the two engage in the most anti-climactic battle of all time:
Yes, that is what it was all leading up to! And-- Wait, what's the narration box say in that fourth panel? Namor has a sprinkler system? He doesn't even have clothes, but he has a sprinkler system...?

Anyway, that's Namor the incredible prick's greatest opponent, the Human Torch, who is apparently also kind of a prick.


Sea-of-Green said...

I never did like the Torch. :-/

Kid Kyoto said...

Namor keeps his 'sprinkler system' in his pants.