Appearing in "Here There Be Dragons!"
- Negative Zone (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Here There Be Dragons!"
The Thing has dragged out the Human Torch to State University to watch a football team. While Ben is glad to be back on the old campus and seeing the old team play, Johnny is trying everything to not be noticed. When Ben tries to get Johnny into the game, he finds football boring compared to racing a car. The Thing reminds Johnny the best reason to be here watching the game: the cheerleaders. Suddenly in the middle of the game, someone begins to run out into the field and he is attacked momentarily by the Dragon Man. Johnny and the Thing quickly go into action, with the Torch rescuing the man while Ben fights Dragon Man. Pulling the android's intended victim to safety, Johnny recognises him as Greigson Gilbert, Dragon Man's creator. Eventually the Thing and Torch manage to force Dragon Man into retreating.
They are thanked for saving Greigson by Dean Kendricks who are happy to see two former Statue University students back and wonders if Johnny is coming back to resume his studies. Johnny declines the offer and they begin questioning Gilbert about why Dragon Man attacked him. When Greigson tells them that he doesn't know why, they find this hard to believe as the simplistic mind of the Dragon Man seldom attacks unless provoked. Dean Kendricks suggests to them that Greigson, as Dragon Man's creator, knows the creature better than anyone. When they begin discussing a solution to the Dragon Man issue, Griegson tells them that he believes the creature is not operating properly and suggests that it be destroyed. The Thing refuses to do that so Johnny suggests capturing it so that he can take care of it. Although the others are against this idea, they agree to help set up a trap to snare him.
Soon Johnny and Ben are hanging out in Griegson's lab discussing the their time in school. Soon Ben realises that Johnny's animosity today is due to the fact that his teammate is jealous of Ben for completing graduated. Eventually Ben gets it through Johnny that while education is important, not having a diploma doesn't make him less of a person than Ben is. Suddenly their heart-to-heart is interrupted by the arrival of Dragon Man who comes smashing in through the roof. As the two fight it out with the creature they are suddenly landed an assist by the Professor who unleashes his new creation upon his old, the robot called Zzord. As Dragon Man and Zzord begin battling it out, Johnny questions the recklessness of this move. Suddenly "Griegson" reveals his true identity, that he is really a Skrull who took his place. Johnny quickly subdues the Skrull with ease.
Outside, Dragon Man easily destroys Zzord, proving himself to be the superior creation. When the Thing recovers and tries to renew his attack on Dragon Man, Johnny arrives with the real Professor Gregson and stops the fight. With the Skrull situation explained, Gilbert also explains that Dragon Man detected the impostor when nobody else could, and goes on to tell them that Dragon Man has regularly come to him since his creation and has hoped to try and domesticate the creature. Accepting this reality, Johnny and Ben allow Dragon Man go free again, in the hopes that it will eventually return to its creator and complete it's domestication.
Later, Johnny meets with Dean Kendricks who offers to give Johnny an honorary diploma. Johnny is honoured but burns the diploma, telling Kendricks that he would like to earn one by his own merit. Johnny then tells the dean that he will be back one way or the other and takes off.
In this SERIES FINALE and turning point for the Human Torch, Ben Grimm & Johnny battle the Dragon Man on the lawns of State University!
- Both Ben and the Thing attended State University. The Thing was first depicted as doing so back in Fantastic Four Annual #2. While Ben graduated, Johnny's tenure lasted from Fantastic Four #50-52 when Johnny became pre-occupied with the activities of the Fantastic Four. Johnny has since attempted obtaining a post-secondary education since then each with more dismal results:
- Johnny attempted to attend Security University until he and Spider-Man uncovered it as a front for the Enclave. This was in Fantastic Four #204-205 and 207.
- Johnny also briefly attended Empire State University in Fantastic Four #362. This lasted until Fantastic Four #371 when Johnny accidentally set fire to the school defending himself from Paibok the Power Skrull and Lyja.
- Professor Gilbert first created the Dragon Man back in Fantastic Four #36. Gilbert states that it has gone astray for "many years" and manipulated by others. Dragon Man was first brought to life by the Alchemist known as Diablo and since then has mostly been used by others.
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