Appearing in "The Torch That Was!"
- Mad Thinker (See chronology)
- Quasimodo (First appearance)
- Human Torch (Jim Hammond) (first Silver Age appearance)
Synopsis for "The Torch That Was!"
While Reed, Sue, and Ben read over some fan mail, they are suddenly startled when Lockjaw transports Johnny and Wyatt into the Baxter Building. While elsewhere, the Mad Thinker (with the help of his computer Quasimodo which he promises to provide a human body in exchange for help) recover the body of the original Human Torch and begin repairing it.
While Reed is examining Lockjaw's teleportation powers, Johnny travels out to the desert to try to find a way with his own power to break through the Negative Zone sealing off the Hidden Land of the Inhumans. There he is attacked by the original Human Torch. The battle is eventually broken up with the arrival of the rest of the Fantastic Four and Wyatt when they are transported there by Lockjaw. Separating the two, the original Torch gets back under control. When they are teleported into the Mad Thinker's lab, the Thinker has Quasimodo activate a device which causes the original Torch to destruct, allowing the Mad Thinker to escape. When Lockjaw begins teleporting Johnny and Wyatt leap onto the beast being transported away. In the aftermath the rest of the FF depart as well, leaving Quasimodo with his dreams of being human crushed.
Appearing in "The Hulk Vs. the Thing"
- Fantastic Four
- Rick Jones
- Alicia Masters
- Yancy Street Gang
- Sam (First appearance)
- New Mexico State Police (First appearance)
- Joe (First appearance)
- United States Army
- Aunt Petunia (Mentioned) (First Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- United States of America
Synopsis for "The Hulk Vs. the Thing"
Reed Richards has once again created a formula he believes will cure the Thing. However, this time, Ben is uninterested in a cure, because his girlfriend Alicia Masters loves him the way he is.[Continuity 1] When Reed presses the issue, the Thing destroys the beaker containing the cure, much to Reed's frustration. When Alicia later arrives, she informs the group of the latest news about the Avengers' manhunt for the Hulk.[Continuity 2]
Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the Hulk flees from the authorities. With a cordon surrounding the area, the Hulk forces some truck drivers to stow him in the back of their truck. As he sleeps, the Hulk reverts to Bruce Banner.[Continuity 3] When the truck is stopped at a checkpoint, Banner flees into the desert. Banner seeks shelter in a nearby cave, hoping that he can find Rick Jones and get help. Unfortunately, the stress causes him to transform into the Hulk once again, and Hulk seeks shelter in his cave.[Continuity 4] Elsewhere, the Avengers and their ally, Rick Jones, search the nearby wreckage for clues to the Hulk's whereabouts. As their search turns up nothing, the Hulk learns that the Avengers have replaced him with Captain America and decides to get revenge against them.[Continuity 5] The Hulk then bounds off to New York City to face them.
Back at the Baxter Building, Reed suddenly collapses while working on an experiment and Johnny is sent out in the Fantasticar to fetch a doctor. Along the way, he spots the Hulk trashing the streets and flames on to face the gamma-spawned monster. The Torch is no match for the Hulk and is quickly defeated and his flame smothered. As the news of the Hulk reaches the Baxter Building, Reed tells Ben and Sue to deal with the Hulk instead of him, leaving them to worry that his sudden illness is grim and their leader might die. When they arrive at the scene, Johnny is still fighting a losing battle against the Hulk. Sue protects her brother with her invisible force field but soon passes out from the strain. That's when the Thing steps in for a rematch against the Hulk.[Continuity 6] As the Thing and the Hulk battle it out through the city, Reed tries to leave his bed to help the team but finds that his malady has made him too weak to do anything. Ben and the Hulk's battle takes them onto the George Washington Bridge. Exhausted, Ben tries to get a reprieve by trying to bind the Hulk in one of the bridge's tension cables.
Meanwhile, Sue returns to the Baxter Building with a doctor and the prognosis is grim: Reed has been afflicted by an unknown virus, and all the doctor can recommend is bed rest. Meanwhile, the Hulk defeats the Thing in battle and moves on, seeking his revenge against the Avengers. Left behind, the Thing picks himself up and follows after the Hulk, intent on stopping him.
Appearing in "The Avengers Take Over!"
- Fantastic Four
- Rick Jones
- United States of America
Synopsis for "The Avengers Take Over!"
Continued from last issue...
Following his defeat, while battling the Hulk, the Thing pulls himself up and starts the fight anew as an army of soldiers and news crews watch. Watching this on television, Mister Fantastic tries to go into action but is still too weak from his illness to do anything. Out of concern, Sue calls for an ambulance and hands over the formulas that Reed had been working on, so the doctors can try to cure him. Also at the hospital is the Human Torch, who has been patched up following his failed battle with the Hulk. Realizing that the Hulk is still on a rampage, Johnny flames on and heads back into battle, despite his injury.
He catches up to the Thing and the Hulk, who are still brawling, and tries to lend Ben a hand. When the Hulk swats the two away, the soldiers step in by firing a mortar shell at the Hulk, but he easily deflects the shot. Johnny is winded after the conflict, and Ben tells him to stay put while he continues after the Hulk. As he plods along, Ben shrugs off an attempt by reporters to interview him. Meanwhile, the Hulk has retreated into the subway, where he commandeers a train to ride toward Avengers Mansion. When he arrives, he finds that the Avengers are waiting for him, and a battle breaks out. Outnumbered, the Hulk grabs Rick Jones and then flees the scene, unaware that the Wasp is following him.
Back at the hospital, the doctors have succeeded in formulating an antidote that instantly cures Mister Fantastic. The Fantastic Four regroup and head out to stop the Hulk, once and for all. They spot the Hulk on the street as he is stunned by the Wasp, who is using her Wasp's sting in his ear. Distracted, the Hulk is ambushed by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four at the same time.[Continuity 7] However, the two groups are uncoordinated and get in each other's way. During the confusion, the Hulk bounds onto a nearby construction site. After a brief squabble about who is best suited to stop the Hulk, both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four agree to work together. This time, the two teams proved too much for the Hulk.[Continuity 8] In the ensuing chaos, Rick tosses a gamma-ray treated capsule into the Hulk's mouth.[Continuity 9] This triggers a transformation into his alter-ego as he falls into the Hudson River. It's Bruce Banner who surfaces from the water and is swept away by the current.[Continuity 10]
In the aftermath of the battle, Rick is commended for his bravery and the Avengers and Fantastic Four part company as allies.
The Torch That Was!
- Johnny and Wyatt were trying to utilize Lockjaw to teleport them beyond the Negative Zone barrier that trapped the Inhumans, as seen in Fantastic Four #56. The continue on their journey in this issue following into Fantastic Four #57
- This marks the return of the original android Human Torch from the 1940s who was last seen in Sub-Mariner Comics #35. His origins explained here are an abridged retelling of his origin in Marvel Comics #1. Saga of the Original Human Torch #4 explains what happened to the Torch between his last appearance in 1955 and the Mad Thinker reviving him: That his powers flared out of control and he seemingly perished in the Nevada Desert.
- The Mad Thinker was last seen in Tales of Suspense #72 when he was hired to clash with Iron Man. Escaping here he resurfaces again pitting his Triumvirate of Terror against the Avengers in Avengers #39.
- Following his deactivation here the android Torch's body was part of a long standing scheme to manipulate the Avengers by the time traveler known as Immortus. Using his powers over time he made a chronal duplicate of the Human Torch's body as revealed in Avengers: Forever #8. One copy of the body was later taken by the Mad Thinker and used to lure the Torch's former partner Toro into a trap, as seen in Sub-Mariner #14. This body was buried in a cemetery as seen in Avengers: West Coast #50 where it remained buried for years before being reactivated by the Avengers West Coast. The other duplicate was recovered by the robot known as Ultron who forced the Torch's creator Phineas Horton in assisting him to rebuild the Torch's body into the android known as the Vision, as seen in Giant-Size Avengers #3.
- Quasimodo was trapped in the Mad Thinker's hideout until he was given a physical body by the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four Annual #5
The Hulk Vs. The Thing & The Avengers Take Over
- ↑ This is the first time Ben mentions his Aunt Petunia, who raised him after his parents died. She does not make an appearance until many years later in Fantastic Four #238.
- ↑ The Avengers had been hunting down the Hulk since he quit the team in Avengers #2. The Hulk was seeking revenge against the Avengers following his battle with them in Avengers #3.
- ↑ In this story Banner is referred to as "Bob Banner". Per Incredible Hulk #1 it was established that Banner's first name was Bruce. Calling him Bob Banner in this issue was an error on the part of writer Stan Lee. When this mistake was pointed out in the letter pages of Fantastic Four #28, Stan declared that Banner's legal name was Robert Bruce Banner. While often things in letter pages were dismissed in continuity, this was one of those rare cases where it has become part of long-running continuity.
- ↑ The Hulk's transformations to and from his alter ego Bruce Banner became unstable since Avengers #3.
- ↑ At the time of this story, the Avengers had recently replaced the Hulk with Captain America after they recovered him from years of suspending animation in Avengers #4.
- ↑ The Thing and the Hulk previously clashed in Fantastic Four #12.
- ↑ This is the first time the Fantastic Four and the Avengers work together, but this is not the first time members of each team have interacted with each other: Mister Fantastic's earliest encounter with Tony Stark was depicted in Thor: First Thunder #3 prior to Stark becoming Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39. Iron Man's first recorded contact with Reed was in Avengers: The Origin #3, and he later met the rest of the Fantastic Four in Avengers #3. In both instances, he was seeking assistance in capturing the Hulk. Likewise, Thor first met Reed in Thor: First Thunder #3, when Thor met with government officials who were nervous about his activities. He later was tricked into battling the Fantastic Four in Thor: First Thunder #5. Giant-Man first met the Fantastic Four in his previous identity of Ant-Man in Fantastic Four #16. This is the first recorded time that both the Wasp and Captain America have met the Fantastic Four. Rick Jones met the Fantastic Four during their previous clash with the Hulk in Fantastic Four #12.
- ↑ Thor states that Rick was training to be Captain America's partner after the death of his previous one. He is referring to the apparent death of Cap's wartime sidekick Bucky, who seemingly died trying to stop a drone plane launched by Baron Zemo circa 1945, as depicted in Avengers #4. However as per Captain America Vol 5 #8, Bucky had survived and had been recovered by the Russians, and had secretly been working as the operative known as the Winter Soldier for decades.
- ↑ Rick helps the Hulk escape in this story because prior to joining the Avengers in Avengers #1, Rick used to act at the Hulk's some-what sidekick, since Banner was transformed by the Gamma Bomb in Incredible Hulk #1.
- ↑ Banner clearly did not drown here, he reappears alive and well in Avengers #5.
Events occur behind the scenes in this story that affect the chronologies of the following characters:
- Page 1-18, Panel 2 - Mad Thinker revives the original Human Torch.
- Page 18, Panel 3-19 - Mad Thinker forced to flee, abandons the Torch and Quasimodo.
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