Friday, June 22, 2018

Johnny Storm: The Bane of Muggers

OR: "I'm Comin' For YOU, Doom!"

In the Better Late Than Never category, there came a time when Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, admitted to himself that without his flame power, he was fair game for practically anyone who wanted to use him as a hostage--or, for his more brutal foes who had some time to kill, as a punching bag.

Granted, there's not much that even the Rock could do against an armored menace like Dr. Doom--even a robot version of Doom, as was the case here. But, while normally it wouldn't be possible for someone battered to near-death by armored fists to still carry on a normal conversation with himself in his head, Johnny came to the conclusion that his uniform was the key to staying alive, and saving the day.

Come to think of it, it might even be Doom (the real Doom) we have to thank for giving Johnny a wake-up call as to his liability to the FF when his power is on the fritz. Doom probably isn't thrilled to sully his hands with any of the FF in hand-to-hand combat, but, were it not for his mask, we'd probably see no small amount of annoyance in his features when onrushing teenagers have the presumption of thinking they're capable of taking him on. You're dismissed, kid.

Finally, Doom would drive the message home to Johnny in a later encounter, where even the Torch wouldn't have stood a chance against Doom. So when Johnny's power is easily nullified, you can imagine how Doom regards the helpless specimen he's left with.

It's also possible that in the back of his mind, Johnny was also thinking about similar encounters--for instance, with beautiful women:

...or even college jocks, who only need a beverage to humiliate him.

So perhaps with the words of Doom and Whitey Mullins ringing in his ears, Johnny would eventually get serious about his gym time--and while he's no Wyatt Wingfoot, he's at least ready to handle an ambush in the Negative Zone. (Though maybe not the ambush he was hoping for, if you catch my drift.)

No problem falling short of Iron Fist, Johnny--just ask your sister for some pointers.

It looks like muggers in any dimension had better run for the hills from now on.  Though even three years earlier than Johnny's Negative Zone scuffle or his beat-down from Doom, artist John Byrne had him trying out--judo, I guess?--by taking on an obnoxious bar patron with designs on Dazzler.

So maybe the days of the Thing bailing Johnny out of a fight are behind him? Because maybe even back in the day...

...Johnny Storm coulda been a contendah.


dangermash said...

The torch with his thumb on fire in the canteen s thevonlynpanel in the whole of FF #53 in which any of the team use their powers.

But I'm guessing most people know that already?

karl said...

One of my favourite characters, tho of irks me that the Torch can be so easily ambushed and his flame extinguished, considering how powerful he is when roused.

Tiboldt said...

It's always nice to see a superhero whose description doesn't include 'XXX is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant having trained extensively with Captain America/in the Danger Room.'

Anonymous said...

It's hard not to like Johnny Storm.
Yeah, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's got moxie.
Blastarr and the Sandman tearing up Manhattan? He dive bombs 'em.
Doctor Doom gets cosmic powers? He goes right at him. Galactus on the roof? He...well, you get the idea.
The guy doesn't rattle.


dbutler16 said...

I've always despised Johnny Storm and don't mind seeing someone take his lunch. To me, the FF is all about Ben and Reed. You can throw the Storms in a blender for all I care.

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