Appearing in "Fire in the Streets!"
- Pyron (First appearance)
- Howard Stark (Referenced)
- Maria Stark (Referenced)
- X-Men (Referenced)
- WNBS Network
- New Jersey Fire Department
- President of the Liquigas Company
Races and Species:
- United States
Synopsis for "Fire in the Streets!"
An industrial saboteur plants a bomb at Liquigas, a Jersey City chemical plant. But at the very last moment, he realizes the bomb has been rigged to detonate immediately, giving him no chance to escape. Just before he’s seemingly killed in the explosion, he realizes he’s been betrayed.
Sometime later, the Avengers are alerted to a news report of a massive fire taking place at the Jersey City plant. The Human Torch of the Fantastic Four had been called in to help fight the blaze (since he can absorb flames into his torch form) but is unsuccessful and admits to a reporter that there is something unnatural about the blaze, as if it’s alive. The news footage also reveals something disturbing -- there is a laughing face in the fire. Realizing that something strange is going on, the team heads out to investigate.
The quinjet flies over the blaze which just seems to be getting bigger. Since Iron-Man and the Vision are relatively flame-resistant, they fly down for a closer inspection. But the flames engulf them, as if reaching out for them.
The quinjet lands near the firefighter command station. The team members are supplied with asbestos suits that will accomodate their individual abilities. The Wasp, however, notes that none of the suits will shrink or permit her to fire stings. Since there’s no time for arguments, Cap simply asks Jan to remain behind.
The team, minus Wasp, suit up and enter the firestorm. They find Iron-Man frozen in a block of ice. The heat is so intense that the only way for Iron-Man to survive was to extend his cooling system to its radical extreme and encase himself in ice, even though he will be unable to move. The Vision can move, but must remain intangible lest the flames incinerate him. He resolves to stay and guard Iron-Man while the rest of the team plunge further into the flames.
The remaining five heroes reach the nucleus of the firestorm and encounter Pyron. The saboteur from the issue’s beginning survived the explosion but was somehow transformed into a pyrokinetic being capable of commanding massive fires. Pyron is seeking revenge for his betrayal by the President of Liquigas -- he hired him to plant the explosive in order to collect the insurance money. But he thought he could eliminate the saboteur as well in the process. He now wants to destroy all of Liquigas. That, however, will also kill hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding area when toxic gases are released. Pyron does not care.
The Avengers engage him in battle. Cap tosses his shield at him and it appears to dissolve (!) Jocasta fires her eye beams at him, shattering her visor in the process and exposing herself to the intense heat. She literally begins melting, so Wonder Man is tasked with carrying her out of the flames before it’s too late. Cap, the Beast and the Scarlet Witch are left, but they are pinned down by the flames and will soon be engulfed by them, asbestos suits or no.
Wonder Man gets Jocasta to safety and relates to the authorities what Pyron revealed about the company president, who is then led away. Just then, Wonder Man realizes Jan is missing. He is told that when a company worker brought a capsule of a possible fire retardant that could be used against Pyron, she suited up and entered the flames herself.
Jan makes her way into the heart of the fire. Using her sting, she bursts open her asbestos suit and flies at Wasp size into Pyron’s face, unleashing the chemical and dousing Pyron. No sooner than his own flame is extinguished does the flames all around Liquigas peter out. The Wasp believed she was on a suicide mission, but she handily survives the fire. Afterwards, her teammates apologize for doubting her abilities.
- Editor Jim Salicrup received several reader letters about a perceived flub in the story. At one point, Cap tosses his shield at Pyron to no effect. The Beast remarks that "Cap's shield is melting!" But being indestructible, it shouldn't have been affected. Salicrup explained this away by simply stating that "the Beast was incorrect" and pointed out that Cap retrieved his shield after that panel/caption and it was in perfect condition.
- For once, the Wasp saves the day and proves she's a competent hero.
- This issue contains an advert for Hostess Twinkies featuring Spider-Man vs. kidnappers.