JS: I picked these up in the controversial recolored hardcover collection, and I have to admit I'm a fan. I think the contemporary coloring, while perhaps not an accurate representation of how they originally appeared, breathes new life into Kirby's artwork. I look forward to learning more about Asgard over the coming months!
PE: It's not very good Kirby/Ditko art at that. It's a rush job, lacking any of the traits that we've come to appreciate from the two masters. The script's a quickie as well, all predicated on several coincidences. The Torch is fuming over the attention Spidey gets. Bad guy frames Spidey so the Web-Slinger heads off to get help from The Torch for some reason (Ant-Man and The Wasp were busy with the Porcupine). The Torch is getting a call from the police to help hunt down Spidey when, who should come calling? It's one of those "Mistaken heroes fight it out but make nice in the end" stories that Marvel would trot out almost monthly throughout the sixties and seventies (Marvel Team-Up should have been titled Marvel Misunderstandings)
PE: Yeah, Professor Jack, I agree. Even though the lead story is abysmal there's a lot of comic book here. For those keeping score, you also get these ten pulse-pounding sagas of science fiction and wonder: "I Was the Invisible Man" (by Jack Kirby); "I Was Prisoner on the Planet of Plunder"; "Nightmare Planet" (by Joe Sinnott): "I Am the Scourge of Atlantis" (by Dick Ayers); "I Captured the Abominable Snowman" (by Steve Ditko); "Worlds Within Worlds" "I Am Robot" (by Bob Powell and Joe Sinnott); "I Was the Man Who Lived Twice"; "I Fly to the Stars"; and "Prison 2000AD" (by Kirby and Christopher Rule).
JS: Call me crazy, but for my money, I'd settle for a good comic at a fraction of the length.
Johnny is dating Doris Evans, who prefers him as Johnny rather than the Human Torch. Doris's father fires Sam, the gardener, who becomes Plantman after his invention to increase the I.Q. of plants is struck by lightning. Plantman becomes Master of All Plant Life and battles the Torch, but when his plants turn on him he escapes capture by hiding in a hollow tree.
Jack: How to write a Human Torch story: introduce a dopey new villain, have him battle the Torch to a draw, have the Torch figure something out and win a rematch.
JS: If it were only that painless. No, this time out we've got The Shadow going up against the Torch. That is The Shadow, isn't it?
Jack: The menacing bushes on the cover sadly do not make an appearance in the actual story.
JS: Yes, the testicular bushes are noticeably absent. Fortunately there are plenty of wrestling trees and other plants on the move to be found inside.
|Same old story--girl vs. career.|
JS: In light of these tales, The Torch has been inching past The Ant Man as my least favorite solo character in the early days of the Marvel Universe.
JS: Back then they probably had to submit the names early to secure the copyright.
JS: Oddly enough, despite not liking her in almost everything she's done, I do love Gwyneth as Pepper.
JS: All the skills that money can buy! Are we any closer to the red and gold Iron Man?
PE: The Doc mentions that it's strange that Spidey (actually Flash) is wearing his costume in broad daylight. I haven't been paying attention: was there, at some point in this series, an unwritten rule that Spider-Man didn't go out until dark?
JS: I haven't been paying attention either, but even I know there's no nocturnal limitation on PP's abilities.
JS: Those fall right behind "great girlfriend." I love that evil genius look in his eye...
JS: Let's not get ahead of ourselves until the taboos are actually busted.
JS: I've got four words for you. Next Month = The Lizard.
PE: I'm having a hard time picturing a battlefield filled with soldiers wearing porcupine costumes. But a harder time believing that Alex Gentry morphs from All-American Scientist aiding his country to would-be super-villain in three panels.
JS: Really? Where have you been for the past two years?
JS: It's about darn time. I've been thinking (for the past several issues) that the ants are the most reliably interesting characters in the book.
JS: Clearly he can vault from one panel to the next with the greatest of ease.
JS: That's right out of the Evil Genius' playbook.
JS: Why stop there. Aside from the free insect transportation offered, why even bother shrinking?
JS: For a brief moment, I was thrilled. Until I saw the cover to TTA #48.