Alternative versions of the Human Torch

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Alternate versions of the Human Torch
The Human Torch, as seen on the cover for Fantastic Four #542. Art by Adi Granov
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
Characters Jonathan Lowell Spencer Storm (main continuity)
Jonatha Storm (Marvel Mangaverse)

The Human Torch is a Marvel Comics superhero and a member of the Fantastic Four. There have been many alternative versions of him over the years.

1602[edit]

In the Marvel 1602 universe, Jon Storm is a young hothead who has to leave London following a duel. Along with his sister, who is escaping a man she does not love, he joins Sir Richard Reed on his explorations, and is caught in the radiation of the Anomaly, turning him into a Human Torch. The Four continue their explorations until they are captured by Otto von Doom prior to the original 1602 miniseries.[volume & issue needed]

At the start of the miniseries 1602: Fantastick Four, Jon has rejoined high society, and once more finds himself embroiled in a duel, this time with Lord Wingfoot, who is betrothed to the 1602 version of Doris Evans. When he is called upon to battle Otto von Doom, he kidnaps Doris and takes her with them, believing this is for her own good.[volume & issue needed]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse, Johnny never becomes the Human Torch. Instead, he is among Reed Richards' crew, along with Ben Grimm as pilot and Johnny's sister Susan. Reed Richards attempts to evacuate a full contingent of refugees in his own experimental tran-ship, but a mutant saboteur interferes with the launch. Johnny and Reed sacrifice themselves to save the others from the forces of Apocalypse.[volume & issue needed]

Earth-98[edit]

In Earth-98 universe, Johnny married Crystal and has a daughter named Luna and a son named Ray. He is also the leader of the Fantastic Four. He first appeared in Fantastic Four / Fantastic 4 Annual (1998).[volume & issue needed]

Earth-A[edit]

The Earth-A version of Johnny does not join Reed and Ben in their trip to space. He serves in the Vietnam War, where he is believed to have been killed. However, Johnny is found and saved by Arkon, who gives him superpowers and the new identity of Gaard.[volume & issue needed]

Heroes Reborn[edit]

In the Heroes Reborn history of the Marvel Universe, created after a battle with Onslaught, Johnny is an owner of a popular casino and part financial backer of Reed Richards' plan to go into space. His handprint is one of two — the other being his sister's — needed for launch. His rivalry with Ben Grimm now extends into much more dangerous areas, such as a potentially deadly game of 'chicken' without thought to the life of the woman in his passenger seat.[volume & issue needed]

After being attacked by agents of Doctor Doom, Johnny ends up going up into space on Reed's spacecraft prototype as he really had nowhere else to go. The entire launch base had been overtaken by enemy forces and it was miles to civilization. It is during the flight a cosmic anomaly imbues him and the others with their powers. After the crash of the prototype, Johnny would prove more reliable, recovering Reed Richards and rescuing his own sister.[volume & issue needed]

House Of M[edit]

In the House of M: Iron Man limited series, Johnny Storm is a contestant on a reality game show called Sapien Death Match. He has no inherent superpowers, but wears a suit of powered armor that has a 'flame on' ability.[1]

Marvel Mangaverse[edit]

In the Marvel Mangaverse comics, the Human Torch is portrayed by two separate characters spanning two very different continuities. The first character is a member of the Megascale Metatalent Response Team Fantastic Four on Earth-2301a and the mirror opposite of Earth-616's Johnny Storm in terms of personality. The team uses power-packs to boost their talents to manifest at mecha-sized levels in order to combat Godzilla-sized monsters that seem to constantly attack Earth. In volume two of Mangaverse, which takes place on Earth-2301b, the character of Johnny Storm has been replaced with a young woman named Jonatha Storm, who is the half-sister of Sioux Storm. Jonatha is quite hotheaded; sometimes riding into battle singing "I am the Goddess of Hellfire." She denies being impulsive, saying she can only be described that way in comparison to her "neurotic" teammates. In New Mangaverse Jonatha is slightly redesigned to look a few years younger than she did in volume one of Mangaverse, and no longer wears her hair in multiple braids, instead sporting two pigtails on each side of her head. After witnessing the murder of the other Fantastic 4 members by supernatural assassins, she joins Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (Mary Jane Watson), Black Cat, Wolverine, and Iron Man, in hopes of getting revenge.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In this alternative universe crazed Reed Richards recently infects Johnny Storm, Sue Storm, and Ben Grimm with the zombie virus. The three then turn Reed into a zombie and the four of them go on a rampage with the other zombies. Eventually Reed contacts the Ultimate Reed and gets him to come to the infected universe. Johnny travels with the three others to the Ultimate Universe. They attack the Fantastic Four there but are thwarted, and are locked up in a containment cell. Johnny eats live animals and loathes the Ultimate version of himself, remarking that he especially hates his hair. When they escape the four attack the Baxter Building. Ultimate Reed switches bodies with Ultimate Doom and takes on all four zombies. Johnny is last seen being torn apart and extinguished by Reed in Dr. Doom's body.[volume & issue needed]

MC2[edit]

In the MC2 alternative future Johnny leads the Fantastic Five. He is married to Lyja and they have a son Torus Storm (who calls himself "Super-Storm" when role-playing as a hero). Torus has inherited both his father's flame powers and his mother's stretching / shapeshifting powers.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Johnny Storm is the youngest child of Franklin Storm, but is not as intelligent as his sister and father. He spent time at the Baxter Building, but his rebellious nature meant that he learned little from his time spent there. Although he is portrayed as being very vain, narcissistic, and displays some misogynistic tendencies, he is also shown to have a deep devotion to his friends and family. He is good friends with Spider-Man, and has a friendship/friendly rivalry with Bobby Drake due to each other's respective powers.[volume & issue needed]

He is present at Reed Richards' test of the N-Zone Teleportation Device in the Nevada Desert. After a malfunction in the device, he wakes up in France in a hospital bed. He uncontrollably bursts into flames until he learns to control his powers by saying "Flame On" and "Flame Off.". When Mole Man's creatures attacks, Johnny finds out he can fly while on fire. It is explained by Reed that Johnny's combustion makes him lighter than air. Johnny's body is covered with a microscopically thin film of transparent plates that make him impervious to flame. When he activates his powers, fat cells beneath his skin create clean nuclear fusion and jet out between the plates as plasma which then ignites on contact with air. Periodically, Johnny enters a hibernation where his old layer of skin peels off as ash while a new layer forms underneath. Unlike the mainstream Human Torch, Ultimate Johnny's power sometimes have detrimental effects on his health, specifically causing unhealthy levels of weight loss and exhaustion.[volume & issue needed]

In issues #68 and 69 of Ultimate Spider-Man, Johnny meets Spider-Man when his sister says he has to finish high school. Johnny picks a school in Queens which happens to be Midtown High. He quickly meets and becomes friends with Peter Parker, Mary Jane and Liz Allan. At a bonfire, he catches fire and scares off Liz Allan. He arranges to meet Liz, but she does not show up.[volume & issue needed]

Encouraged by Mary Jane, Spider-Man shows up instead and gives Johnny a heart-to-heart talk about great power and great responsibility. Together, they save people from a burning building when Johnny absorbs the flames. Spider-Man shows Johnny that they will not always be appreciated by the public.[volume & issue needed]

In issue #98 of Ultimate Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four learn Spider-Man's identity, and Johnny recognizes Peter. In issue #101, Nick Fury and a regiment of Spider Slayers try to arrest Peter but are stopped by Johnny and the rest of the Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed]

In the "Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends" story arc (beginning with issue #118 and concluding in issue #120) Johnny returns to Midtown High wanting to spend time with real friends after becoming frustrated on a date with a popular pop-star who only came for publicity. After some prodding, Johnny arranges for a group consisting of himself, Peter, Mary Jane, Kitty Pryde, Kong, Bobby Drake and Liz Allan (Johnny's apparent romantic interest) to have a somewhat normal day at the beach. During the evening bonfire, mirror his last visit, Liz Allan bursts into flame, exposing herself as a mutant. At the end of the arc, Liz returns to the Xaiver Institute with Iceman.[volume & issue needed]

In Issue #129 of Ultimate Spider-Man, Johnny attends another unsuccessful date with the same pop-star as before and after again becoming frustrated calls Peter Parker to give him an excuse to leave. Johnny laments that he does not know any nice girls and has no real way of meeting any, and wants Peter to set him up. After flying off, he encounters The Vulture mid-robbery. Johnny attempts to stop him, but is thwarted several times before being assisted by Spider-Woman (a female clone of Peter Parker who is still mentally Peter up to the point of her "birth" in the Clone Saga story arc, a fact not disclosed to Johnny). Johnny proceeds to follow her around asking her for details about who she is, going as far to flirt with her. The very embarrassed Spider-Woman swings off.[volume & issue needed]

Throughout the first story arc of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man (the continuation of Ultimate Spider-Man), Johnny Storm appears at Peter Parker's door and passes out in his arms. When he wakes up he informs Aunt May that he does not wish to return to the Baxter Building. Aunt May decides to let him live with her, Peter and Gwen (later also adding Bobby Drake to the household as well). As to not raise suspicion and to not reveal Peters' secret identity, Aunt May comes up with the idea of coloring Johnny's hair black and changing his name to Johnny Parker, Peters cousin. She then enrolls him and Bobby at Midtown High along with Peter and Gwen. The school is then attacked by a Spider-Slayer, created by Mysterio, to hunt down Spider-Man. Johnny runs away from the school before "Flaming On", as to not reveal his new secret identity, then returns to aid Peter in the fight, only to discover that the Shroud has already taken care of it. Johnny decides to melt the remains of the Spider-Slayer anyway.[volume & issue needed]

Later when Norman Osborn escapes alongside The Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, Doctor Octopus, and The Sandman, Johnny and Bobby find them at Peters home and Johnny manages to knock Osborn unconscious before sandman does the same to him. Spider-Man then wakes him up to fight Osborn again but Johnny only succeeds in adding to Osborn's power before being knocked out yet again. Afterwards Spider-Man is killed after defeating Osborn and the other supervillains and Johnny is the one who checks to see if he truly is dead.[volume & issue needed] Ultimate Johnny appears briefly in issue one of Ultimate Fallout. In this issue, distressed by Peter's death he screams and releases most of his energy above the city.[volume & issue needed]

Johnny eventually joins Kitty Pryde's team of mutants in the pages of Ultimate Comics: X-Men. He elects to stay behind and defend a group of younger mutants in the Morlock tunnels while Kitty, Iceman, Jimmy Hudson, and Rogue decide to head to the Southwest to fight off the Sentinels.[volume & issue needed]

Johnny also makes an appearance in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, in which he challenges Spider-Man to a series of races.[volume & issue needed]

Counter-Earth[edit]

On Counter Earth, counterparts of the Fantastic Four hijack an experimental spaceship in order to be the first humans in space. Man-Beast negates the effects of the cosmic radiation for all of them except Reed Richards who succumbs to the effects a decade later.[2] Johnny Storm's counterpart is shown though nothing is specifically said about him.[volume & issue needed]

What If? Vol. II #11[edit]

In What If? vol. 2 #11 (March 1990), the origins of the Fantastic Four are retold, showing how the heroes lives would have changed if all four had gained the same powers as the individual members of the original Fantastic Four. In "Pyros", all have the power of the Human Torch; after the team sets fire to what they believe to be an uninhabited area in order to battle a monster, they inadvertently cause a death; the guilt causes them to disband, after which Storm becomes a race car driver and Grimm adopts the Human Torch moniker and joins the Avengers. In "Team Elastics", all have the power of Mister Fantastic, but Grimm and the Storms believe their powers to be silly and do not become superheroes; Johnny uses his powers to gain fame, fortune, and women. In "Monstrous", all become monsters, and relocate to Monster Isle. In "The Phantoms", each gain one aspect of the invisibility power, with Johnny able to become intangible. The story focuses on the four becoming a special secret unit of S.H.I.E.L.D. which defends against an attack by, and ultimately captures and places in custody, Doom.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ House of M: Iron Man #1
  2. ^ Adam Warlock #6
  3. ^ What If? Vol. II #11/4