2021 is the 60th anniversary of the Fantastic Four, but only comic book fans may know that one of its key members the Human Torch, predates the team. The history of the Human Torch goes back to the Golden Age of Comics, even though Johnny Storm was an all-new character for Marvel back in 1961.
The rich and long history of the Human Torch is likely to be mined by the MCU when the character makes his highly anticipated debut in the next couple of years. As fans look ahead to the screen future of the character, they might want to look back to get an idea of where the next movie version of the character is going.
10 He’s Not The Original Human Torch
The original Human Torch was a human-like android who first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 back in 1939. Despite the title of the book, the company was Timely Comics at the time. Hammond was a member of the Invaders alongside Captain America and Namor the Sub-Mariner.
Hammond had no relation to the eventual Johnny Storm character, but his Golden Age history was grandfathered into the Marvel Universe when The Mad Thinker resurrected him in Fantastic Four Annual #4. Many years later, he would become a member of the West Coast Avengers.
9 He Discovers Namor, The Sub-Mariner
Johnny Storm was also instrumental in the introduction of another major Golden Age Timely character into the burgeoning Marvel continuity of the 60s. In Fantastic Four #4, Johnny encounters a homeless man, who he discovers is actually Namor by burning off his beard and hair.
Namor at this point was an amnesiac, but with the help of the Fantastic Four, regains his memory. He would go on to become a villain and sometimes ally of the team, with many of the best Namor comic book stories ever connected to the Fantastic Four.
8 He Quit The Team
Johnny Storm actually encounters Namor because he’s just quit the Fantastic Four. Johnny is famously hot-tempered and he bristled under the leadership of Reed Richards in the early going, leading to his impulsive departure from the team in the fourth issue of the team.
His discovery of Namor brought him quickly back into the fold, but his ego and temper would continue to be dominating features of his personality well into the present day of Marvel Comics.
7 He’s Not Friends With Spider-Man At First
Most comic book fans recognize Spider-Man and the Human Torch as one of the best friendships in Marvel Comics. They may not realize it’s one of the most unlikely Spider-Man friendships. The two didn’t start off as friends at all but instead clashed hard thanks to their equally showy personalities.
Despite being inspired by Storm’s perseverance in The Amazing Spider-Man #3, things got rocky in subsequent stories like Strange Tales Annual #2. Johnny Storm was upset about Spider-Man’s positive (at the time) press coverage, leading to some friction.
6 His Romance With A Hearld Of Galactus
Johnny Storm was once in love with a woman named Frankie Raye. Their relationship took a dramatic turn when she became the herald of Galactus, one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe. This shocking development came in Fantastic Four #244 during John Byrne’s epic run on the title in the 80s.
Nova willingly accepted Galactus’ offer and would become one of his most prominent heralds, including playing a key role in the unfinished “The Last Galactus Story” by Byrne which only had nine of its ten chapters published.
5 The Tragedy Of Lyja
Johnny Storm’s love life has been fairly rocky in the comics. One relationship with intriguing MCU potential is with Lyja. Lyja was a Skrull who secretly infiltrated the team by impersonating Alicia Masters, who was the girlfriend of The Thing.
Lyja and Storm fell in love during a rocky patch in the romance between Ben Grimm and the false Alicia. She was genuinely in love with Storm, but her betrayal made any relationship impossible. She is also certainly a character who could appear in the upcoming Secret Invasion Disney+ series.
4 His Role In Civil War
Johnny Storm found himself fighting against his own colleagues and family during the Civil War crossover event in 2006. While Mr. Fantastic sided with Iron Man and the effort to force superpowered people to register with the government, Storm opposed it.
He joined the Invisible Woman on Captain America’s anti-registration team, the Secret Avengers. This was despite the fact that Johnny had actually been assaulted by a group of people for being superpowered after the tragedy in Stamford that incited the event.
3 The Fantastic Four Becomes The Fantastic Three
In Fantastic Four #587 from 2011, the Human Torch died. His heroic sacrifice left the team the “Fantastic Three” of the storyline’s title. Johnny Storm gave his life saving the Earth from an invasion of aliens from the Negative Zone.
In his absence, his good friend Spider-Man joined the team. The Human Torch wouldn’t be gone for long. He would return two years later after being resurrected by one of the team’s most notorious villains, Annihilus, who sought to use Storm for his own ends.
2 Joining The Avengers Unity Squad
The MCU seems to be building toward a number of potential teams like the Young Avengers and Thunderbolts. Another they could potentially realize in the future is the Avengers Unity Squad.
Torch joins a number of other heroes like Rogue, Deadpool, and Brother Voodoo in an effort to improve mutant and human relations after the fallout of the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover. He appears to die again during a battle with Thanos’ Black Order, but he survives and returns to the Fantastic Four.
1 Crashing Doctor Doom’s Wedding
Johnny Storm’s complicated love life plays a major role in the most recent Fantastic Four comics. During the wedding between Doctor Doom and Lady Victorious in Latveria, it comes out that Johnny once had an affair with the fiancee of Doom.
This leads to absolute chaos as Doom – feeling betrayed after making Reed Richards his best man – launches an attack against the team. All the goodwill the team had fought to build with their greatest enemy is completely squandered, and things are much as they were sixty years ago between Doom and the FF.