warning: murder of the harmless, deadly illness, alien invasion, imprisonment
Young Men 26
Young Men 25
Human Torch “The Return of the Human Torch”
There is a sudden crime wave, and the thing that sticks out about this (though the art style truly doesn’t show it well) is that all the crooks are 20 or younger figuring out that bullets are useless against the flaming heroes, one of the boys take a hostage and the force the two into the vault of the bank they were robbing. It takes a while, but within a few minutes Jim and Toro melt their way out of the vault and are after the boy criminals.
They play with the criminals in their getaway car, making them flee for fear the gas fueled machine might blow. They then try to scatter but can’t make it past the flaming loops the two draw around them. They bring the boys in to jail, but they are far from upset. In fact the officer mentions how strange it is that none of the young gangs brought in seem displeased with the situation.
While crossing over town they note that an old-folks home is being boarded up and stop by to ask some questions. They find out that all of the old folks homes are shutting down, as all their residents had left. Thinking there might be a connection he and Toro disguise themselves as old men and wander about town. They are approached by a man who says he was once old, and he takes them to be changed to youngsters, in return for turning to crime. If they don’t they will be killed.
Tired of the deception the two flame on, and strapping the man holding the meeting into the machine he is threatened with it unless he tells them what is going on. Scared the man admits that his machine only returns youth for thirty days, and then those who have had the machine used on them turn to dust. Angered one of the old men turned young shoots the man, and it destroys the machine as well.
Captain America “Top Secret”
A news paper headline calls for Captain America’s help in Washington, and so he and Bucky head that way at once. They are shown an atomic cannon, and told that there are wanted to protect it and its secrets from foreign agents. We cut to the foreign agents- Arnold and Lupa. They are worried about the Executioner, a man who kills all who fail, and nothing else is known about him. Cap and Bucky see off the man who holds the key to the cannon, as he heads to Vegas to see his girl. He drops a picture and Cap recognizes the woman as a spy (it’s Lupa).
As they hurry after the man Lupa and her husband tell their hired hands to kill Captain America if he turns up. Something is slipped in the man’s drink as he talks with Lupa and he is then helped to a car by Arnold, and as they drive away they unknowingly bring Bucky who is atop the car. Cap sees him going and leaps off the roof, presumably to get his bike and follow but some men see him and try to fight him, and he gets the destination out of them instead.
The man is refusing to give Lupa and Arnold any information, and so they are about to kill him so Bucky attacks, and is narrowly beaten by them. They are pleased to see him,as they believe that killing him will save them from the Executioner. They also tell Bucky that Cap is dead, only to eat their words as the shield bearer smashes a fist into Arnold’s face. Then Lupa turns a gun on Arnold, revealing herself as the Executioner, and then killing herself as well.
A woman is running through a crowd saying that she desperately needs to get through, pushing and forcing her way. Her destination is the sea itself, and she leaps- fully clothed- into the wet. A policeman jumps after her, but despite much searching all he can find is her clothing. He even has the bay drug, to no avail.
We cut to Betty, who is reading about the incident in the paper, and the following identical cases. Namor agrees with her that it’s odd and begins investigation. While walking the dock he finds a dead body, torn up by what Namor knew to be a shark. But sharks don’t live in this area, he was too far from the bank to have washed up, and the wounds too fresh for someone to have dumped him.
Again we cut to another scene, this one a far away shark attack. There are no survivors. Also, there is no sign as to why the boat they were on capsized. While talking with the police a strange man talks about the sharks starving and turning the boat over for food. Note, this dude looks like a shark. Later Namor sees this guy strip down and head into the sea.
He follows but he only finds a great white, which attacks him. Namor kills it by ripping it’s jaws apart. Brutal. When a human body washes up, with the same wound Namor gave the shark the Sub-Mariner figures it out. Namor waits by the beach late into the night, and when a woman suddenly appears and comes on land he tells her he has a plan to kill all the sharks. In anger she hurls herself at him, but he bests her and says he will keep her on dry land if she doesn’t tell him what he wants to know.
Apparently they are aliens, astral projected to Earth where their minds gained the bodies of sharks, but they can shift to look human. Knowing no one would believe this tale without proof, Namor aims to bring the girl to the police. (oh and they want to rule the world) She escapes his grip and dives into the sea where she then becomes a shark and commits suicide. So Namor brings out a fleet of fishing boats and they haul up a shit ton of sharks. He tells them to go home, or they will dry up on land. So they go.
Young Men 24
Ah it is good to see these faces again. Not that I don’t like their westerns, but these characters are good in a different way. A more Marvel way in my opinion. So without further ado:
The Torch burns through the wall and goes after a gang, who cry out in confusion saying that it couldn’t be him as they had buried the torch in the desert years before. (remember, in this time period Comics were always supposed to go in time with real time, so his long disappearance had to be explained.) He then gives and explanation of his powers, control over flame, and a mean punch.
They spray him with the chemical they had used before to turn off his flame, which for some reason they have on them even though they thought they were free of him for good. Seer force of will made him flame on again, an immunity was built against the substance. He takes out the crooks, the go to jail, and he is welcomed back to the living and begins to search for his sidekick- Toro.
It then retells his origin, and that of Toro as well. If you don’t know it you can either go to the first post where they are tagged, or look it up. It also shows some highlights of their years fighting crime, and finally gets to why they vanished. As we know they were sprayed with the chemical so their flame went out, and The Torch was taken to the desert where he was buried for four years. He was only freed when and atomic explosion near his grave somehow allowed him to flame on again. He then asks the crime boss where he took Toro, and not nicely.
As a trade for the flame killing chemical, they had given Toro to a country behind the iron curtain. He quickly heads to where streaks of fire had been reported in the sky in Korea. He finds Toro, but he yells things about the Torch being an enemy of communism and they begin to fight. Torch knocks him out and bring him back to America where the Torch is told he was brainwashed. (No duh)
As this is going on a man bursts in and tells the Torch that his daughter was kidnapped and he was the ransom. So Jim heads to a specially prepared steel coffin, and seals himself in. Later a helicopter picks in up and drops it in the sea. As the copter leaves, Toro rushes on scene, proclaiming how glad he was the shock treatment had cleared his mind. He dives after the casket and unseals the coffin with a white hot finger. Together they free the girl, capture the crooks and vow to continue their fight against crime.
Okay quick reminder before we begin. The characters here are called Steve and Bucky, but they are later retconned to be William and Jack.
Okay, so they’re fighting the Red Skull in a video, and the Red Skull is telling his men they are dead, elsewise he wouldn’t dare act upon his new scheme where he’ll be working with the reds. Then we cut to William/Steve in his class room where he happens to be teaching his students about Captain America. So we hear a retelling of his origin, look it up if you don’t know it. Bucky/Jack gets in a fight because the kids don’t believe there was such a person as Cap. Then he begs William to take the mantle back up, but is told that there is no longer a need for the star spangled hero.
Just then there is a radio bulletin about the Red Skull holding the U.N. hostage, and Jack helpfully pulls out their costumes, which he had been keeping in the backseat of the car all this time. So they bust in through the window, kick ass, are hailed as heroes and decide to restart their lives as crimefighters.
One island has six shipwrecks happen near it in the span of one week, so the begin routing traffic away from the place. When divers are sent to look over the ships they find that all the equipment has been stripped from them. Betty Dean reads about this in the newspaper and decides to contact her old friend the Sub-mariner. (A retelling of origin again) She tells how after the war he decided to go back to his people, and rebuild his empire. He arrives, and she gives him the lowdown. A few days later the two are parachuting onto the island. Since all the land was pillaged and burned Namor goes underwater.
He finds robots peeling everything from the ships. Once on shore he tells Betty to call the government, but her call is dismissed as a joke. So Namor goes back under and starts fighting the robots. He allows himself to be captured so he can find the leader, as just taking out the machines will do nothing in the long run. He is taken to a larger robot, who is from Venus. He shakes off his ‘captors’, traps all of them in a room with only one exit til they ask to be let to go home. He keeps one, so to explain to the humans, and all the rest go home. At least that was the plan but the leader blows itself up and all the rest die. When crews return to confirm Namor and Betty’s story they find no evidence of what took place.
I adore Marvel, it was this company that brought me into comics in the first place. 1939 brought us a few iconic characters, though none of them really match up with Superman’s fame.